Fort Lauderdale attorney Eugene K. Pettis is The Florida Bar’s president-elect designate. No other candidates came forward to challenge Pettis, who will be the first African American president in Florida Bar history, in Bar elections.
Pettis will be sworn in as president-elect at the Bar’s annual convention in June 2012, when Tampa attorney Gwynne Alice Young will be sworn in as president. He will become Bar president in 2013.
“The reach of the Bar and its members’ contributions to public good is unparalleled,” said Pettis. “Through my travels across the state, I have seen hundreds of lawyers who are using their skills in service to their communities. These observations have ignited in me even greater pride in our Bar.”
As co-founding partner of Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, Pettis, he focuses his practice in the areas of medical malpractice, personal injury, commercial litigation and employment law. Mr. Pettis earned Martindale-Hubbell’s top “AV” rating for his high professional and ethical standards. Mr. Pettis attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1982 and graduated from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law in 1985. He co-founded Haliczer Pettis in 1996 with James S. Haliczer, adding Richard B. Schwamm as partner in 1999.
In 2005, he was elected to The Florida Bar’s governing board from the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors and co-chairs The Hawkins Commission, which is comprehensively reviewing the Bar’s discipline system.
For three years, Pettis chaired the Bar’s committee that fights to preserve the independence of Florida’s judiciary and led the committee as it launched its Benchmarks program for attorneys to teach civics education to adults. He remains committed to working to make sure Florida’s courts receive the funding they need instead of relying on volatile fees that have fallen with the troubled economy.
“Our challenge is to make it clear that sufficient funding for our court system is not an option but is essential,” Pettis said, adding that he will continue efforts to identify “a long-term, predictable source of court funding so that every Floridian will be assured access to our courts.”
Pettis also co-chaired the Board of Governors’ blue ribbon committee formed to promote diversity and inclusion in the practice of law.
“The Florida Bar has made diversity and inclusion an objective in its strategic plan,” he said. “I truly believe the strength of the Bar rests in the whole; together, there is benefit for us all.”
A graduate of the University of Florida in 1982 with a B.A, he went on to get his law degree at UF in 1985. Currently, he is on the Board of Trustees at the university’s Levin School of Law and serves on several university advisory committees.
In addition to his admission to The Florida Bar, Pettis is also admitted to the Federal Bar for the Southern District of Florida, Northern District of Florida and Middle District of Florida.
Pettis has extensive trial experience in the areas of medical malpractice, personal injury, employment law, professional liability and commercial litigation. He also represents clients in administrative hearings and other alternative dispute resolution forums.
He holds Martindale-Hubbell’s highest AV rating and has been selected by his peers in The Best Lawyers in America.
In 2009, he was honored and admitted by The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, an academy recognizing lawyers who are regarded by their peers as leaders in the community who have contributed significantly to the legal profession.
The Florida Bar has more than 93,000 members.