History

About Our Organization

The Dade County Bar Association (DCBA) is a local voluntary bar association with approximately 4,500 members. The association was founded in the early 1900′s and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1920.

In addition to services provided for members, the DCBA provides services that benefit the general public.

We operate on a fiscal year, beginning July 1 and ending June 30.

Browse through the links below to learn more about the DCBA.

History: A Time Line

1916: First hard evidence of Dade County Bar Association although the association probably was established earlier

1920: Incorporated DCBA as non-profit corporation in Circuit Court of Dade County

1928: Printed first Pictorial Roster

1939: Organized Legal Aid program

1940: Minutes reflect that Executive Committee was asked to recommend lawyers for judicial vacancies by the Circuit Court Commission.

1941: Appointed first DCBA member to Advisory Committee of the Florida State Bar Association

Authorized a Judicial Poll of the members of DCBA as to fitness for retention in office of Florida Supreme Court Justices

Honored Charles W. Zaring on 50th anniversary of admittance to the bar and commemorated the fact that he had been admitted to the bar before any other member of DCBA Adopted resolution urging Circuit Judges to hear all divorces in open court

1942: First woman elected to the Board of Directors of DCBA but the Annual Installation Banquet was still “stag” Set up special non-dues paying category for members on active duty in the armed services

1943: Established first “Lawyers Reference Plan” and referral program for military personnel and general public

1946: There was no action on a recommendation that a “Junior Bar” section be authorized

1947: Approved publication of a bar journal. The journal concept was abandoned when the University of Miami School of Law began publishing the Miami Law Quarterly in late 1947.

A portion of DCBA member dues was paid to print and mail copies of the Quarterly to members.

Changed By-Laws to require a special General Membership Elections Meeting to elect all officers

1949: Junior Bar Section was in existence in June of 1949 but no specific date can be established

Legal Aid Society of the Dade County Bar Association was chartered

1950: Florida Bar asked DCBA to terminate its Grievance Committee

1952: Transferred Unauthorized Practice of Law obligations to The Florida Bar

Approved establishment of a Legal Aid Society at UM School of Law and coordinating it with DCBA’s Legal Aid

1953: Approved establishment of Lawyer Referral Service in office of DCBA

1954: Opened Executive Office, hired Mrs. Johnnie M. Ridgely, Executive Director and hired full-time Lawyer Referral Service secretary

1957: Earned seat in American Bar Association House of Delegates

1959: Hired full-time Lawyer Referral Secretary

1960: Formed Relief Fund for Cuban lawyers

Established Judicial Trust Fund to provide filing fees and campaign funds for Circuit and County Court judicial candidates were rated at least 70% qualified on the DCBA Judicial Polls. (Fund was later terminated when it was found by the Secretary of State’s office to violate election laws by co-mingling funds).

1965: Hosted American Bar Association Annual Meeting

Began fund raising campaign to build headquarters building, leased land and began construction

1966: Completed construction of four story office building in downtown Miami which now houses DCBA, Legal Aid, “Put Something Back” and various other pro bono projects

Won American Bar Association “Award of Excellence” for the most outstanding bar association in the United States for our “Valley Forge” project

1975: Purchased land on which our building is situated

1976: Established Appellate Filing Box in Dade County Courthouse

1978: Approved concept of DCBA Public Interest Law Bank, now Volunteer Lawyers and “Put Something Back”

1981: Established first formal pro bono program

1986: Established Judicial Campaign Practices Commission to hear complaints about judicial candidate misconduct.

1987: Consolidated Lawyer Referral Service with The Florida Bar statewide LRS

1989: Established “Criminal Justice Award” for most outstanding contributions to criminal justice

1991: Formed partnership with Chief Judge of Eleventh Circuit for “Put Something Back” program and consolidated all DCBA pro bono projects into “PSB”

1992: Co-Founded “Children First” pro bono program

Established legal information and assistance programs for victims of Hurricane Andrew

1995: Hosted American Bar Association Mid-Year Meeting activities

Established and funded “Children Whose Parents Have Died of Aids” program

1997: Established “David W. Dyer Professionalism Award”

Established joint funding program with the Dade Foundation to fund charitable activities of the association

Chaired fundraising committee for restoration of the historic lobby of the Dade County Courthouse and raised in excess of 350,000 in contributions from lawyers

Established “Teen Court” in cooperation with Dade School Board

1998: Co-sponsored activities for Miami meeting of national Legal Services Board of Directors

Supported revision of Article V of state constitution

Supported Miami-Dade County Ordinance to amend county code to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation

1999: After raising $400,000, participated in the dedication of the restoration of the lobby of the historic Dade County Courthouse

2000: Opposed Multi-Discipline & Ancillary Practice proposals which would allow non-lawyers to own law firms

Received The Florida Bar award for Most Outstanding Professionalism Committee in Florida

Changed eligibility for DCBA House of Delegates representative seat

2001: Participated in dedication of Thomas D. Barkdull Third District Court of Appeals Building

Instrumental in having new family court building located at 175 N. W. First Avenue, named Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center and sponsored dedication

Established DCBA Website

Opposed proposed changes in lawyer regulation requiring Supreme Court and District Court judges to stand for election and imposing term limits on the Florida judiciary

2002: Endorsed electronic filing in Probate Division of Circuit Court

Appointed special committee to train bar and public on new voting machines

Established World Trade Center Fund

Established Judge Steven Levine Children’s Scholarship Fund

Appointed special committee to study public financing of judicial elections

Ceased DCBA participation in Self-Help program

Co-Sponsored reception on Freedom Schooner Amistad

Sponsored Diversity Training for DCBA members

2003: Endorsed raises for Federal Judges Co-sponsored reception for Justice Raoul Cantero, III investiture to the Florida Supreme Court

Sponsored Judicial Retirement Luncheon for Circuit and County Court Judges

Co-sponsored Cable Tap TV program on County Court matters

2004: Re-established monthly General Membership Luncheon meetings

2004: Established and endowed the Alan R. Schwartz Judicial Excellence Award, the Mario P. Goderich Legal Ethics Award and the Robert L. Shevin Public Service Award

2005: Restoration of the Dade County Courthouse ceremonial courtroom 6-1 begins as DCBA lawyers contribute over $300,000

2006: Mrs. Johnnie M. Ridgely, Executive Director from 1965-2006 passes away. Following the wishes of the family, the Board of Directors unamimously approve dedicating the DCBA boardroom in her honor.

2007-08: Launch of the eMentoring online program and the Put More Back Pro Bono Initiative. Instrumental in the
restoration and dedication ceremony of the Historic Courtroom 6-1.

2008-09: Won Florida Supreme Court’s Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Award; Portrait unveiling and dedication of the Johnnie M. Ridgely Board Room; Initiated and sponsored dedication ceremony at the once segregated drinking fountains at the Dade County Courthouse; held inaugural “Diversity Summit”; Commenced membership benefits and recruitment drives; Approved formation of University of Miami School of Law Student Chapter

2009-10: Conducted twelve Mortgage Foreclosure Seminars/Public Forums. Successfully lobbied the Federal Government for the granting of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals and completed the first ever DCBA “webinar” entitled “Immigration Solutions for Haitian Families in Crisis” in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Established Paralegal Committee and Solo/Small Firm Committee.

2010-11: Launch Lawyer Referral Service; Celebrated 60th Anniversary of Legal Aid;  Justice Stephen Breyer addressed DCBA membership; One of first bar associations to issue state-wide resolution opposing attacks on Judicial System by Florida Legislature; presented the Johnnie M. Ridgely President’s Award.

2011-12: Inaugural Bench and Bar Conference; Launch Technology and Business Development seminars; Battle of the Bands Legal Aid Society Fundraiser.

For almost ninety years, the Association has been among bar association leaders in the country initiating new programs. We have opposed programs and legislation that were detrimental to lawyers, the bench and the public and fought hard for those things which were beneficial to the common good. At the same time, we have tried to broadly represent our varied membership and resist supporting one dimensional or single-issue groups and programs.

The Association has worked particularly hard to protect the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession and continue efforts to preserve the separation of powers of legislative bodies and our judicial system.

Two of our more worthwhile, ongoing accomplishments is the formation of the Legal Aid Society and establishment of a formal volunteer lawyer program for the poor which have become models of numerous associations in Florida and throughout the United States.

DCBA PAST PRESIDENTS

18/19       Mitchell D. Price

19, 20, 21 & 22 F. M. Hudson

22/23       ???

23/24       ???

24/25       Uly O. Thompson

25, 26 & 27             W. I. Evans

27/28       Fred Botts

28/29       E. Clyde Vining

29/30       James M. McClskill

30/31       James E. Calkins

31/32       Robert L. Shipp

32/33       M. Luther Mershon

33/34       Lewis Twyman

34/35       ???

35/36       Walter O. Marshburn

36/37       Grady C. Harris

37/38       Richard H. Hunt

38/39       D. H. Redfearn

??             Frank Bryant

39/40       M. Vernon Hawthorne

40/41       W. L. Gray, Jr.

41/42       Stanley Milledge

42/43       Ben E. Hendricks, Sr.

43/44       Charles B. Cleveland

44/45       Leo S. Julian

45/46       Will M. Preston

46/47       William A. Lane

47/48       Melbourne L. Martin

48/49       Darrey A. Davis

49/50       John H. Wahl, Jr.

50/51       Lyle D. Holcomb

51/52       Roger E. Davis

52/53       Walter B. Humkey

53/54       C. Clyde Atkins

54/55       David W. Dyer

55/56       Perry Nickols

56/57       Reginald L. Williams

57            Mallory Horton

57/58       W. P. Simmons, Jr.

58/59       Joe Creel

59/58       William C. Martin

60/61       Samuel J. Powers

61/62       William C. Steel

62/63       Frank J. Kelly

63/64       Charles A. Kimbrell

64/65       Sam I. Silver

65/66       Edward J. Atkins

66/67       Robert L. Floyd

67/68       M. Lewis Hall, Jr.

68/69       Joseph Gassen
69/70       Frank A. Howard

70/71       John R. Hoehl

71/72       James L. Armstrong

72/73       Robert A. White

73/74       Irwin J. Block

74/75       Ben E. Hendricks

75/76       Leland E. Stansell, Jr.

76/77       Gerald F. Richman

77/78       James F. Crowder

78/79       J. B. Spence

79/80       Robert E. Livingston

80/81       Robert L. Parks

81/82       Joe Unger

82/83       Richard P. Cole

83/84       Neal R. Sonnett

84/85       A. J. Barranco

85/86       William Hoppe

86/87       Henry H. Harnage

87/88       Judith M. Korchin

88/89       Richard C. Milstein

89/90       Charles H. Baumberger

90/91       Kendall B. Coffey

91/92       Dean C. Colson

92/93       Karen Gievers

93/94       Herman J. Russomanno

94/95       Francisco R. Angones

95/95       Robert F. Bouchard

96/97       Joseph H. Serota

97/98       David B. Rothman

98/99       Benjamin B. Kuehne

99/00       Dennis G. Kainen

00/01       Ervin A. Gonzalez

01/02       William Aaron

02/03       Tom Pennekamp, Jr.

03/04       John H. “Jack” Hickey

04/05       Robert J. Fiore

05/06       John W. Thornton, Jr.

06/07       Merrick L. “Rick” Gross

07/08       John P. Murray

08/09       Timothy M. Ravich

09/10       Steven P. Befera

10/11       Steven W. Davis

11/12       Andrea S. Hartley

12/13      Garrett J. Biondo

DCBA YOUNG LAWYERS SECTION PAST PRESIDENTS

58/59 Fred Davant

59/60 Walter Beckham

60/61 Richard M. White

61/62 Frank A. Howard, Jr.

62/63 Robert J. Beckham

63/64 William H. Peeples

64/65 William M. Hicks

65/66 Richard Pettigrew

66/67 Sandy D’Alemberte (Talbot)
67/68 Tom Schulte

68/69 Aaron Podhurst

69/70 Robert Josefsberg

70/71 Robert L. Parks

71/72 James F. Crowder

72/73 Guy B. Bailey

73/74 Sam Holland

74/45 William T. Huggett

75/76 Stephen N. Zack

76/77 Douglas Lyons

77/78 Bruce Harper

78/79 Jay Durie

79/80 John Cosgrove

80/81 Henry H. Harnage

81/82 Byron Petersen

82/83 Celeste Hardee Muir

83/84 Herman Russomanno
84/85 Kendall Coffey

85/86 Sara Herald

86/87 William C. Crenshaw

87/88 Hilarie Bass

88/89 Jennifer Bailey

89/90 Gary Siplin

90/91 Valerie Jahn Grandin

91       Peter Reinert

91/92  Raquel Rodriguez

92/93  Kathy Adams Gibbs

93/94  Madeline Auerbach

94/95  Steven E. Eisenberg

95/96  Anthony N. Upshaw

96/97  Carroll J. Kelly

97/98  Roberta R. Loomar

98/99  Mark S. Shapiro

99/00  Andrea Stone Hartley

00/01  Barbara Perez

01/02  Sheri E. Nott   

02/03  Jennifer Ator              

03/04  David Sampedro        

04/05  Russell Jacobs

05/06  Tiffani Lee

06/07  Garrett Biondo            

07/08  Damian Thomas

08/09  Gisela Munoz

09/10  Joshua J. Hertz

10/11  Stephanie L. Carman

11/12  Sorraya M. Solages

12/13  Suzette L. Russomanno