John S. Slye-
Claude Pepper Outstanding Government Lawyer

John SlyeThe Government Lawyer Section of The Florida Bar announces that this year’s recipient of the Claude Pepper Outstanding Government Lawyer Award is John S. Slye, Esquire, Deputy General Counsel with the Department of Children and Families.  Mr. Slye was nominated by John J. Copelan, Jr., the 1992 Claude Pepper Award recipient and Bob Butterworth, founding chair of the Government Lawyer Section.  The award will be presented to Mr. Slye on June 25, 2010, during The Florida Bar Annual Convention at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.
John Slye has chosen public service as the capstone of his legal career.   After graduating from Duke University in 1959 and Stetson University College of Law in 1964, he quickly distinguished himself in both the legal community and the health sector by becoming President of Legal and Public Affairs and Corporate Secretary for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., where he practiced for over twenty years.  He then joined the law firm of Foley and Lardner in Jacksonville where he practiced health and employee benefit law.  However, in 1991 he made a decision that has been the hallmark of many dedicated public servants including Senator Claude Pepper.  He decided to enter public service as a government lawyer by accepting appointment as the General Counsel for the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.  Since then he continued to serve the children and citizens of this state in positions with the Department of Children and Families including his current position.  He is a dedicated public servant, a great colleague and provides constant advice and mentoring to all the attorneys at the Department of Children and Families.  To quote from his nominating letter from Messrs. Copelan and Butterworth: “[I]t has been said that there is no higher calling for lawyers than public service.  For some that is a slogan; for John that is a way of life.” 

The Claude Pepper Award is presented to a government lawyer, typically with many years of service, whose character and accomplishments exemplify the highest ideals of government service. Recipients are well-rounded lawyers, whose importance to their agency or employer is irrefutable.  The 2010 recipient John Slye exemplifies the highest ideals of dedication, professionalism, and ethics in service to the public.  The award is named in honor of the Honorable Claude Pepper, a Florida attorney, United States Senator, and United States Congressman, who was an advocate on behalf of the people, and who represented the highest ideals of government service through twelve presidential administrations.  Originated in 1989, there have been twenty recipients of this prestigious award.

This article was contributed by Francine M. Ffolkes on behalf of the Government Lawyer Section, Keith Rizzardi, chair, and Morgan Rood, chair of the Claude Pepper Outstanding Government Lawyer Award Committee.