By Lyndsey Siara, Senior Staff Attorney, 13th Judicial Circuit
By way of background, my co-chair, Christian Katchuk, and I proposed the creation of the Hillsborough County Bar Association Government Lawyers Section a little over two years ago.
Our HCBA Board voted to create the new Section, and last year was our first year in existence. Of course, that was all virtual during COVID. We hosted four webinars last year and built up our membership base. We have over 120 members!
We've really geared up in this second Bar year now that we're mostly back in person. We host a bi-monthly "Government Gatherings" lunchtime get-together. We had "Coffee with the Chief," during which our government lawyers could enjoy a cup of coffee with our Chief Judge and his judicial colleagues.
And we recently hosted our first CLE program, E-Filing Exhibits: How to Do It and Do It Well. We were fortunate enough to receive a grant from The Florida Bar Diversity Committee recently, so we look forward to that program in 2022.
With respect to the proclamation, we were brainstorming (free!) ways to recognize and honor government lawyers, and decided to reach out to two county commissioners who are also attorneys. We’re grateful to Commissioner Harry Cohen—who himself was a government lawyer before becoming a commissioner—for honoring all government lawyers in Hillsborough County on November 17, 2021, named Government Lawyers Day! To celebrate, on the morning we were presented with the proclamation, we partnered with our HCBA Young Lawyers Division to host a coffee truck at our bar building where members could swing by for a cup of coffee on their way to work. It was a wonderful way to kick off the season of gratefulness. We also hosted a food collection drive to benefit a local food pantry.
About the HCBA Government Lawyer Section
The Government Lawyers Section is dedicated to the advancement of government attorneys. The goal of this new Section is to join together government attorneys from all types of government offices under one larger government sector umbrella. The Section will provide a platform for information sharing, for providing programming and messaging specifically targeted to government attorneys, and for collaboration with other voluntary bar associations to maximize government attorney involvement. The Government Lawyers Section will collaborate with other HCBA Sections and Committees, as well as other local voluntary associations, to expand the free or reduced cost program offerings for government attorneys. The Government Lawyers Section will work to reduce the financial barriers to bar association participation in an effort to acknowledge and achieve professional diversity within the HCBA. The Government Lawyers Section will provide programming and continuing legal education offerings of specific value to government attorneys. All government attorneys and friends or supporters of the government sector are invited to join the Government Lawyers Section.