North Central Florida Chapter

President’s Fall 2016 Report

The North Central Florida (NCF) Chapter of the Federal Bar Association fall 2016 programs start with the Chapter’s Annual Meeting and Reception, to be held this year at The Hippodrome Theater from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. The Chapter has met here before; it’s a great venue for talking a little business and socializing. The meeting and reception is open to Chapter members and anyone interested in becoming a member of the Chapter. Students and faculty are welcome, as always. The event is free and RSVPs aren’t required, but they help us with planning. See RSVP info below.

On the Annual Meeting business agenda are a “state of the Chapter” update; future programs; Chapter member involvement; and elections of board members and officers for 2016-2017.

Officer candidates are:

  • Gil Schaffnit, President (January to September 2017)
  • Jennifer Lester, President-Elect (2017-2018)
  • Elizabeth Turner, Secretary
  • Peg O’Connor, Treasurer
  • Stephanie Marchman, Programs Chair
  • Ron Kozlowski, Membership Chair

Board candidates are:

  • Magistrate Judge Gary Jones
  • Magistrate Judge Phil Lammens

Rob Birrenkott remains our UF Law School Liaison. We will introduce current and new College of Law student Board representatives.

There will be at least one elected Board position available for the upcoming year. We will discuss expanding the number of elected Board positions at the meeting. If you are interested in applying for a Board position, please contact me at or at 352/375-4460.

If you are otherwise interested in participating in Chapter activities, we have a number of projects that you might be interested in. These offer excellent "networking" opportunities with the federal bench and bar locally to nationally. We’ll review some of those in our business meeting at the Hipp and then move into our reception.

On October 7, following the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association’s monthly luncheon at The Wooly, we will co-host a CLE program entitled “Civility Matters” with the North Central Florida ABOTA Chapter from 1 to 5 pm. This popular ABOTA program addresses practical issues of professionalism and civility. Jennifer Lester will moderate a panel discussion with Senior U.S. District Judge Wm. Terrell Hodges (Middle District of Florida); Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Karen Specie (Northern District of Florida); U.S. federal Magistrate Judges Gary Jones (Northern District) and Philip Lammens (Middle District); and trial lawyers Bill Schifino (President of the Florida Bar), Mark Avera (ABOTA rep) and Robert Griscti (FBA rep). Mr. Schifino also will address the 8-Bar lunch audience; we recommend you attend the luncheon also by registering with the 8-Bar. There will be a social reception following the program. Admission is $45 for members of FBA and ABOTA, $90 for non-members, and $25 for young lawyers (members of the Bar for 5 years or less). 2 hours of CLE credit (1 hour each for ethics and professionalism) have been applied for this program. Please RSVP per directions below and send your registration check, made out to "North Central Florida Chapter FBA," to Peg O'Connor at Turner, O'Connor and Kozlowski, 102 NW 2nd Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601, or bring payment to the event.

We’ll end the fall season with a reception for Senior U.S. District Judge Wm. Terrell Hodges, who will celebrate his 45th year of active service on the federal bench this December. This event will be held from 6 to 9 pm on December 10, 2016, and will be co-hosted by the Chapter and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. The reception will be at the “F Club” Room at Ben Hill Griffin Football Stadium at the University of Florida. Please visit for more information on the forum. Space and invitations are limited to Chapter members, members of the federal judiciary (including former clerks of Judge Hodges and members of his Court staff), and sponsors. This will be an evening you won’t want to miss.

RSVPs and information for each of these events can be made/obtained from Elliott Welker, my assistant, at, (352) 416-0754 direct.

We hope to see you in the upcoming months!

Rob Griscti
North Central Florida Chapter President (2016)