News and Updates |December 2021
Thank you to our 2021 Executive Board
Erin Jackson
President
Johnson Jackson PLLC
Anitra Raiford Clement 
Treasurer 
 Shook, Hardy & Bacon 
Jordan Maglich
President-Elect
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Ashley Gallagher 
Secretary 
Johnson Jackson PLLC
Jason Stearns 
Vice President 
Freeborn & Peters, LLP
Lauren Pilkington-Rich 
Immediate Past President 
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
See what's happening this month.
Announcements & Court Vacancies

Annual Membership Luncheon
The TBCFBA was honored to welcome Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Caryl Delano, Acting U.S. Attorney Karin Hoppmann, and Federal Defender Alec Hall as they gave remarks on the State of the Middle District at the 2021 Annual Membership Luncheon on December 2, 2021.
Judicial Investiture of District Judge Mizelle
In October, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle was honored with a reception following her investiture ceremony.
Featured Mentoring Pair
The chapter’s annual Mentoring Program launched in April of this year. As part of the program, mentors and mentees are encouraged to meet once a month, either in person or virtually, to discuss topics provided by co-mentoring chairs Soma Nwokolo and Michelle Moretz-Smith. Below is a snapshot from one of our mentoring pairs of their experience in the program thus far.  

From mentee, Ed Gruchacz

Ellen has been an extraordinary mentor. Although we haven’t been able to meet in person due to the covid pandemic, she has provided support every time I reach out through email and when we talk over the phone. It has been invaluable learning from her how to best navigate my legal career. She’s been an amazing resource and I’m very grateful for all the help she’s provided. I look forward to meeting and sharing laughs with her face to face sometime in the near future.

From mentor, Ellen Lyons

I’ve enjoyed getting to know Ed. He’s savvy and accomplished and ready to do great work as a lawyer. He’s been receptive to my advice about how law firm recruiting works and how to leverage the help of mentors wherever he may find them. I’ve really enjoyed serving as a mentor for the FBA’s mentoring program and working with Ed has been particularly nice.
Revisions to the Court's Bench Bar Fund Plan
The Board of Judges for the Middle District of Florida recently approved revisions to the Court’s Bench Bar Fund Plan and Bench Bar Fund Request Form and created a dedicated email for Bench Bar Fund requests and questions: FLMD_bench_bar_fund_request@flmd.uscourts.gov. The revised Plan and Form included changes that simplify the processing for Bench Bar Fund requests.

Below is a summary of important changes to the prior BBF Plan:

Updated references to the Local Rules for the District and Bankruptcy Court

Increased the disbursement amount requiring two signatures (II. D.)
  • All check disbursements in excess of $2,500 require two authorized signatures (prior limit was $1,000)

Increased expenditure authorizations (Section V. C. (1), (2), (3), and (4))
  • The Custodian (Clerk of Court) is authorized to approve expenditures not to exceed $2,500 (prior limit was $1,000)
  • The Committee Chair is authorized to approve expenditures not to exceed $10,000 (prior limit was $1,000)
  • The Committee is authorized to approve expenditures not to exceed $35,000 (prior limit was $10,000)
  • The Board of Judges must approve BBF Committee-approved expenditures in excess of $35,000
Increased payment authorizations under the Plan for Pro Bono Representation by Appointment in Civil Cases to reflect the revised Plan’s increased limits (Section V. D. (1) and ((2))
  • The presiding judge may approve total reimbursement up to $20,000 (prior limit was $5,000)
  • The presiding judge and the BBF Committee must approve total reimbursement in excess of $20,000 (prior limit was $10,000)
  • The requirement for Board of Judge approval was eliminated (prior requirement was to approve in excess of $10,000)

Funding from the Bench Bar Fund is available for a variety of educational programs, outreach efforts, support of CLE programs sponsored by voluntary bar associations, preservation of the Court’s history and other court-related projects. Both the Plan itself and The First Amended Parameters for Use of Bench Bar Funds provide examples of eligible uses of Bench Bar Funds. Anyone may make a request for funding from the Bench Bar Fund.

The revised Plan, new Bench Bar Fund Request Form, and related information are now available on the Court’s website for immediate use. Questions may be directed to FLMD_bench_bar_fund_request@flmd.uscourts.gov.
For questions or to submit announcements or other content,
please contact Erik Johanson.