Lawyers in Florida have a new leader - Michael Higer, a South Floridian has taken over as the Florida Bar's 69th president.
Higer is in his first month of a one-year term leading the 104,000 lawyers in the Florida Bar.
The Bar regulates the lawyers licensed to practice in Florida and provides training and services for its members.
Higer was born and raised in Miami Beach and graduated from the University of Miami's School of Law in 1985. He specializes in commercial litigation and is a partner of the firm Berger Singerman, with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Tallahassee.
“It’s a really daunting, humbling,” said Higer of being the new Bar president. “In any year, there are always way more things that we would like to do than we could ever accomplish.”
A few of the things Higer would like to tackle over the next 11 months include:
1) Technology: Higer wants to help better connect lawyers, clients, courts and the public through technology. The Bar hopes to make available more digital tools that can help lawyers be of use to people who are navigating the legal system without the help of a lawyer.
2) Inclusiveness: During his tenure, Higer hopes to implement the recommendations from a study of gender equality in the legal profession conducted by the Bar in 2016, with the broader intention of ensuring that the legal community and courts are reflective of Florida in terms of gender, ethnicity, and race.
In his eyes, the push for inclusiveness also extends to a person’s ability to access justice. The Florida Bar has already been working with the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice on closing the gap between individuals and their ability to get useful, affordable legal representation. Higer suggests that changes in technology can help deliver legal services where there is the greatest need.
“I think it starts, in part, with a change of mindset,” said Higer. “Just because it’s a legal issue, doesn’t mean it’s a lawyer-only problem, any more than the food crisis or world hunger is Publix’s problem. We’re all in this together and we all have to address these issues together.”
3) The Constitution Revision Commission: This commission meets every 20 years to suggest changes to the state’s constitution. These proposed amendments could touch on any number of things – from the environment to education. Higer sees the Florida Bar's role as raising awareness amongst members of the legal profession and the larger community about the process and acting as support in educating members of the commission on issues they are considering for potential constitutional amendments.