Welcome to the Fifth Judicial Circuit’s Professionalism Committees home page.
The Fifth Judicial Circuit has divided the Professionalism Committees into two divisions:

Professional Practice Division

Professionalism Practice Committee Chair

The Honorable Ann Melinda Craggs
Circuit Court Judge, Marion County
Administrative Order A-2016-13-D

The current professionalism movement in Florida began with a Florida Bar task force created in 1989 which generated a report to the Florida Supreme Court in 1996 that reported lawyers’ professionalism to be in a state of steep decline. In July of 1996, The Florida Bar requested that the Supreme Court create the Supreme Court of Florida Commission on Professionalism with the overarching objective of increasing the professionalism aspirations of all lawyers in Florida and ensuring that the practice of law remains a high calling with lawyers invested in not only the service of individual clients but also service to the public good as well.

Florida has traditionally followed a more passive, academic approach to enhance and improve professionalism. Continuing legal education programs, speeches, contests, meetings and other academic methods of addressing professionalism have been implemented on both state and local levels. During the last two years, the Professionalism Commission has studied and reviewed both the status and progress in advancing professionalism in Florida. The Professionalism Commission has concluded that we continue to experience significant problems that are unacceptable, requiring further and more concrete action. The Commission concluded that further integrated, affirmative, practical and active measures are now needed. The Florida Supreme Court accepted the proposal of the Professionalism Commission to create a structure for affirmatively addressing unacceptable professional conduct.

The Commission proposed, and the Court adopted, the collection and integration of our current and already existing standards of behavior as already codified in: (1) the Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar; (2) The Florida Bar Creed of Professionalism; (3) The Florida Bar Ideals and Goals of Professionalism; (4) The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar; and (5) the decisions of the Florida Supreme Court into and as part of the Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints.

Presently, the mechanism for initiating, processing, and resolving professionalism complaints is the Attorney Consumer Assistance and Intake Program (ACAP) created by The Florida Bar. ACAP has been previously created and already accepts, screens, mediates and attempts to resolve any complaints concerning professional behavior. This structure exists to receive and resolve any complaints before and in the place of the initiation of formal grievance proceedings.

The Florida Supreme Court issued Administrative Order AOSC2023-0884 on July 6, 2023, mandating the establishment of local professionalism panels independent of The Florida Bar in each circuit for the purpose of informally resolving referrals of claimed unprofessional conduct by lawyers practicing in that circuit. The Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit has issued Administrative Order A-2023-37 creating the Fifth Judicial Circuit Local Professionalism Panel (LPP) to receive claims of unprofessional conduct by lawyers practicing in the Circuit, and to resolve those claims informally if possible, or refer to The Florida Bar if necessary.

Local Professionalism Panel Members

Educational Division

Professionalism Educational Division Committee Chair

The Honorable Jennifer Bass
Circuit Judge, Marion County

In order to provide effective coordination of professionalism programs and activities throughout the Fifth Judicial Circuit and in accordance with the Florida Supreme Court’s Administrative Order entitled In Re: Commission on Professionalism, dated June 11, 1998, mandating the establishment of a local Professionalism Committee in each judicial circuit. In the interest of promoting professionalism, a Professionalism Committee allows the bench and the Bar to coordinate professional activities for lawyers and judges in furtherance of and in an effort to maintain the highest standards of professionalism in the Fifth Circuit.

Every two years the Fifth Judicial Circuit proudly hosts a Professionalism Conference. Attendees travel from all over the State to attend. Information below is from our most recent Conference.

Thank you for attending the 2024 Professionalism Conference

The 2024 Professionalism Conference focused on the First Principles of Professionalism
Presented by the Fifth Circuit Professionalism Committee

For more information and conference materials, click here.

Past Conferences

The 2024 Professionalism Conference

Presented by the Fifth Circuit Professionalism Committee
Friday, April 5, 2024 at the Cultural Center in Ocala, FL
Registration at 7:30 a.m. Program from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Breakfast and lunch provided.

Presenting plenary presentations from:

The Honorable Brian D. Lambert on Civility, Legal Etiquette, and Why Professionalism Matters.

Scott Westheimer, Esq. on How to Avoid Florida’s Lawyer Discipline System.

The Honorable Nushin Sayfie on Professionalism and Uncivil Behavior.

The Honorable Mark Klingensmith on ChatGPT: What Will the Judiciary’s Future Look Like?

Gordon Glover, Esq. on Florida Bar’s Special Committee on AI Tools & Resources.

The 2022 Professionalism Conference

Presented by the Fifth Circuit Professionalism Committee
Friday, April 22, 2022 at the Cultural Center in Ocala, FL
Registration at 7:30 a.m. Program from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Breakfast and lunch provided.

Presenting plenary presentations from:

John Stewart on Recognizing and Addressing Common Security Threats in Your Law Firm.

Circuit Judge Jason J. Nimeth on The Virtual Courtroom- Professionalism, Ethics, and the Future of Our Profession.

Renee Thompson, Esq. on How a Practice Management Program Can Help Prevent Malpractice Claims in Your Law Office.

Elizabeth F. McCausland on Leveraging Legal Technology for Your Practice, Clients and Cases.

Robert Brownstone on Legal Ethics and the Twenty-First Century

The 2018 Professionalism Conference

Presented by the Fifth Circuit Professionalism Committee
Friday, April 20th, 2018 at Hilton Hotel, Ocala, FL-
Registration at 7:30 a.m. Program from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Breakfast and lunch provided

Presenting plenary presentations from:

Justice Pariente on bias elimination in the Courts.

Dr. Kate Ratliff on implicit bias and Project Implicit.

Judge Estrada as chairman of the Florida Supreme Court Standing Committee on Diversity on racial bias in sentencing.

Arnell Bryant-Willis, Esq., Diversity Initiatives Manager for The Florida Bar, on racial bias in the courts.

Jean Kilbourne on gender bias in the media.

Dean Rosenbury on gender bias in the courts

The 2016 Professionalism Conference

Presented by the Fifth Circuit Professionalism Committee
Friday, April 15th, 2016 at Hilton Hotel, Ocala, FL
Registration at 7:30 a.m. Program from 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Breakfast and lunch provided

Presenting plenary presentations from Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga;
Renee Thompson, Esq., Gordon Glover, Esq., and Jacina Haston,
Director of The Florida Bar’s Latimer Center on Professionalism.

Also including workshops on:

  • Substance Abuse, Mental health and Aging
  • Stress Management
  • “LGBTQ Comes to Court”
  • Judicial Ethics and
  • Mindfulness in Judging and in the Practice of Law

Helpful resources on the Professionalism Committee

“The professional man is in essence one who provides service. But the service he renders is something more than that of the laborer, even the skilled laborer. It is a service that wells up from the entire complex of his personality. True, some specialized and highly developed techniques may be included, but their mode of expression is given its deepest meaning by the personality of the practitioner. In a very real sense his professional service cannot be separate from his personal being. He has no goods to sell, no land to till. His only asset is himself. It turns out that there is no right price for service, for what is a share of a man’s worth? If he does not contain the quality of integrity, he is worthless. If he does, he is priceless. The value is either nothing or it is infinite.

So do not try to set a price on yourselves. Do not measure out your professional services on an apothecaries’ scale and say “Only this for so much.” Do not debase yourselves by equating your souls to what they will bring on the market. Do not be a miser, hoarding your talents and abilities and knowledge, either among yourselves or in your dealings with your clients…

Rather be reckless and spendthrift, pouring out your talent to all whom it can be out of service! Throw it away, waste it, and in the spending it will be increased. Do not keep a watchful eye lest you slip and give away a little bit of what you might have sold. Do not censor your thoughts to gain a wider audience. Like love, talent is only useful in its expenditure, and it is never exhausted. Certain it is that man must eat; so set what price you must on your service. But never confuse the performance, which is great, with the compensation, be it money, power, or fame, which is trivial.

…The job is there, you will see it, and your strength is such, as you graduate… that you need not consider what the task will cost you. It is not enough that you do your duty. The richness of life lies in the performance which is above and beyond the call of duty.”

– Judge Elbert Tuttle; Commencement speech at Emory University

For further information please contact:
Jeffery K. Fuller, Fifth Circuit’s Trial Court Administrator