As president of the Jacksonville Justice Association, Jason T. Ellis, partner with the firm Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis, P.A., recognizes that the organization needs to meet the needs of a diverse group of civil justice attorneys.
The organization’s membership is not only diverse in terms of gender, race and age, but also in level of legal experience and firm size, with members who are solo practitioners to lawyers in firms with dozens of attorneys.
“Whether the potential member is fresh out of law school looking for mentorship, a solo practitioner looking for general feedback, or a seasoned litigator looking to hone their legal skills, the organization offers products and services that will meet their respective needs,” Ellis said.
The organization’s primary benefit to members is the opportunity to participate in a community-wide sharing of information and resources, Ellis said, with the old saying that “a rising tide lifts all ships” being the underlying philosophy.
“Our email listserv is very active and provides an immediate resource for practitioners that may be in need of help regarding specific legal issues,” Ellis said.
Ellis and the board are focused on implementing programming with a broader focus on practical pre-trial litigation tips and strategies that will assist all members, including those who may not take a case to verdict.
“I have learned from presidents of the JJA that in order for the organization to continue to flourish, we as a board need to produce a product that will not only meet our membership’s needs but will also generate continued interest from prospective members and promote our standing in the larger legal community,” Ellis said. “We are fortunate to have a robust membership that is diverse, vocal and passionate. It can be challenging to manage a group with, at times, divergent viewpoints and approaches to their respective practices. Awareness and anticipation of these challenges and developing strategies for addressing those issues has been a valuable lesson that previous leaders in the organization have passed along to myself and the board.”
Programming includes three general membership meetings, an annual judicial panel comprised of local circuit court judges, and an annual seminar which has ranged in the past from half-day to full-day workshops.
Each meeting consists of networking time and a continuing legal education (CLE) accredited presentation to allow members to learn and grow as trial lawyers while staying current on their licensing requirements. A CLE seminar at the end of each year is taught by various practitioners and educators from across Florida and the country.
“New this year is the start of an annual social event, something interactive to get our members outside their offices and into a relaxed and fun state of mind,” Ellis said. “We are also proud to host a luncheon at the Duval County Courthouse for the local judicial assistants, where we invite all our members and their legal assistants and paralegals to mingle with and show their appreciation for all our hardworking judicial assistants.”
The association’s events are also a great way for attorneys to get to know each other.
“There are also several networking opportunities throughout the course of the year that allow the membership to engage with one another in an informal atmosphere, along with our various sponsors who offer a wide range of legal services and products,” Ellis said.
Ellis graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in 2011 after earning an undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Florida with minors in history and environmental studies. He has been involved with the Jacksonville Justice Association for eight years.
He is the current president of City Beautiful Jacksonville and of his homeowners’ association, and he serves on the board of the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida and on the executive committee of the E. Robert Williams Inns of Court. He and his wife, Lauren, have two boys: Jackson, 4, and Teddy, 3.