Chair's Message

Message From the Chair – May 20, 2019

Dear Members of the Business Law Section:

It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of my term as Chair of the Section. It has been an exciting year and we have much to be proud of. Annual Meeting – June 26-29, 2019 Before recapping some of the Section’s accomplishments, I want to first encourage you to attend this year’s Annual Meeting, which will be taking place June 26-29, 2019, at the beautiful Boca Raton Resort & Club, coinciding with The Florida Bar Annual Convention. For registration information and a detailed meeting schedule click HERE. 

You won’t want to miss the Section’s Annual Luncheon taking place at 12:00 PM on June 27th, featuring Courtney Seely, General Counsel at Orangetheory Fitness, one of the fastest growing franchises in the world, headquartered in Boca Raton, with over 1100 studios in 48 states and 22 countries. Come hear what Courtney has to say about “Health, Wellness and Outside Counsel.” (We may also be hearing from at least one of our Florida legislators with a legislative update. Stay tuned.)
We also look forward to welcoming our new 2019-2021 class of BLS Fellows: Amanda Finley, Roberto Ibarra, April Stone, Lyudmila (Luda) Kogan, Lauren Stricker, Kelly Roberts, Patricia McConnell and Tamara Van Heel. Please help us give them a warm welcome at the Fellows Welcome Meeting taking place at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, June 26th, followed by Steven Peretz's acclaimed presentation “10 Steps to Effective Legal Writing.”
The Annual Meeting of the Section for the election of next year’s officers will take place at 3:30 PM on Thursday, June 27th, immediately followed by the Executive Council Meeting, where, in addition to our usual business, we expect to entertain a motion to establish a new cannabis law committee or task force. The Executive Council meeting will be followed by a cocktail reception, celebrating the Section’s newly elected officers. All members of the Section are invited to attend. 
Some of this Year’s Accomplishments and Activities
The Florida Legislature recently concluded its 2019 session, which definitely kept our legislation committee on its toes. First and foremost, congratulations to Phil Schwartz, Gary Teblum and the entire Chapter 607 Subcommittee on passage of our 400+ page Corporations Rewrite bill. It was not always smooth sailing, but through persistence, creativity and several trips to Tallahassee, years of hard work finally paid off. The comprehensive amendments to the Florida Business Corporation Act have modernized it, incorporated updates from the Model Business Corporation Act and harmonized it with the recently updated Florida Revised Limited Liability Corporate Act. 
Congratulations to Intellectual Property Law Committee on passage of the Trademark Classification bill, which revises the classes of goods and services to conform to the classification adopted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Special thanks to Dineen Wasylik for your hard work in heading up this project.
Congratulations to the Bankruptcy/UCC Committee on passage of financial literacy legislation, which requires all school districts to offer a financial literacy course consisting of at least one-half credit as an elective beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. The Section’s persistence over the years for legislation on financial literacy has finally borne fruit. Special thanks to Judge Isicoff, Judge McEwen and everyone else who has been behind this effort for several years. 
We also closely followed legislation involving blockchain, lis pendens and service of process, court jurisdiction, the Uniform Interstate Depositions & Discovery Act, restrictive covenants, court judges and much more. 
Our Legislation Committee Chair and Vice Chair, Doug Bates and Mark Stein, and all the members of the Legislation Committee did outstanding work. We also owe multiple standing ovations to our legislative consultants Aimee Diaz Lyon and Doug Bell, who went above and beyond the call of duty this year. We can’t thank you enough for all your hard work and effort.  
Our substantive law committees had another productive year with world class CLE programs. The Bankruptcy/UCC Committee’s View from the Bench was a big success once again. Kudos to our program Chair, Judge Michael Williamson, and our Bankruptcy Judicial Liaison Chair, Stephanie Lieb, on a job well done. The Business Litigation Committee in coordination with the State and Federal Court Judicial Liaison Committee organized another informative Business Court Judges Roundtable during the Labor Day Retreat. Special thanks to Amir Isaiah for heading up this effort. The Computer Law and Technology Committee recently hosted an informative webinar on ADA Title III Issues involving accessibility laws, regulations and guidelines for websites. Congratulations to the program Chairs Peter Maskow and James “Scott” Curry.  I was pleased to attend the Corporations, Securities & Financial Services Committee’s Federal Securities Institute this year, which featured some of the country’s most respected scholars and practitioners in the field. Kudos to program Chair Greg Yadley and Co-Chairs Keith F. Higgins, Steven A. Rosenblum and Lisa A. Schmidt. I also had the privilege to attend the Intellectual Property Law Committee’s inimitable Annual Symposium, which was another great success. Program Chair Michele Moss did a fabulous job. There were many other CLE opportunities throughout the year. Thank you to our CLE Committee leadership, Paige Greenlee, Cori Lopez, Matt Horowitz and Judge Delano.
Business Courts Task Force
Our Business Courts Task Force continues to meet regularly. Its mission is to evaluate the need for a business court system throughout the State of Florida, and if it is determined that there is such a need, to then design and provide a draft structure for the system, and identify and secure appropriate resources, support and funding to implement that system. Task Force Co-Chairs, Judge Gill Freeman and Jon Polenberg will be presenting an update on their findings and recommendations at our upcoming annual meeting. 
Executive Council Retreat - Israel
This year’s Executive Council retreat took 52 of us to the Land of Israel for an educational, adventurous and at times awe inspiring journey. Some of the highlights include a speed boat ride on the Mediterranean Sea to the Lebanon border, hiking and ATV riding in the Golan Heights to the Syrian border, tours of the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, the City of David archaeological site, Yad Vashem and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv. We were privileged to have private meetings with a member of the Knesset and the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, and an exclusive tour of the Israel Supreme Court. The trip included the following CLE opportunities:
  • Behind the Start Up Nation, presented by Gerald Ostrov, Director of Entera Bio Ltd. and former President at Johnson & Johnson and former Chairman and CEO of Bausch and Lomb. Mr. Ostrov earned a B.S., in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, from Cornell University in 1971 and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1973.
  • Legal Issues and Challenges Facing the Israel Immigrant Community, presented by Member of Knesset Avraham Neguise, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 1985. Mr. Nequise holds a Ph.D. in Education from Sussex University in England, a BA and MA in Social Work from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an MA in Initiatives and Renewal from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne Australia, and a LLB from the Sha’arei Mishpat in Hod HaSharon, Israel.
  • The Israel Legal System and Key Issues and Challenges Facing the Israel Supreme Court, presented by an Israel Supreme Court Clerk, Jerusalem Post writer Jeremy Bob and attorney Ze’ev Dasberg.
  • Ethical Issues with Business Reimbursements, presented by Attorney Ari Wasserman, a Harvard Law School graduate who worked as an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell, and now resides in Jerusalem. 
Due to popular demand, I may be organizing another Israel trip in the Summer of 2020 for those who were unable to attend the Retreat. Please let me know if you are interested.
There’s certainly a lot more going on and a lot more to accomplish. I can’t thank you enough for the privilege to have served as this year’s Chair. I am forever indebted to my immediate entourage, Jay Brown, Chair Elect, Leyza Blanco, Treasurer, Kacy Donlon, Secretary, and of course our indefatigable new Program Administrator, Stefanie Svisco. I’m now looking forward with great anticipation to my next role -- Immediate Past Chair. Thank you again and I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting.
Michael Chesal, Chair