West Palm Beach attorney Michelle R. Suskauer will be sworn in as the 70th president of the Florida Bar when the bar holds its annual convention from June 13-16 in Orlando. Suskauer will be sworn in at the General Assembly on Friday, June 15. Vero Beach attorney John M. Stewart will be sworn in as president-elect.
Suskauer is the sixth woman to serve as bar president and is the first former public defender to hold the office.
Suskauer is a criminal defense attorney with Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A., practicing in state and federal courts. Suskauer has been a member of the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors since 2010 and has chaired the Board Disciplinary Review Committee, the Board Communications Committee and the Annual Convention Committee.
Suskauer’s goals as president for the coming year reflect her experience in the legal profession. A longtime small-firm practitioner, Suskauer will focus on helping solo or small firms become more productive and profitable. More than three-fourths of bar members practicing in Florida are part of firms with 10 or fewer attorneys. “As someone who is a small law firm practitioner myself, I understand the daily struggles of balancing client needs with managing the business of the firm,” Suskauer said. “Solo and small law firms are the backbone of the bar, and we can give members more tools to help them with the daily pressures they face in their practices.”
Suskauer also will lead the bar in seeking common-sense criminal justice reform that focuses on rehabilitation, rather than punishment. The bar will hold a Criminal Justice Summit in October, with the goal of proposing legislation that can help bring reform.
Finally, under Suskauer, the bar will continue ongoing initiatives to prioritize attorney health and wellness, while also destigmatizing the issue so members feel comfortable seeking the help they need.
Additionally, the bar will promote inclusion and gender equality in the legal profession and justice system by implementing the recommendations put forward by the bar’s Special Committee on Gender Bias/Diversity.
Suskauer said that the bar will continue developing and investigating potential programs and member benefits.
With nearly 106,000 members, the Florida Bar is one of the largest unified bars in the nation. It is charged by the Florida Supreme Court with regulating the practice of law in the state, as well as promoting the administration of justice. Learn more at www.floridabar.org.