“The 2019 Federal Bar Association Annual Meeting & Convention in Tampa, Florida, was terrific. I received tremendous feedback on all convention programming. We had outstanding federal judges and panelists speak on many aspects of federal law. The FBA staff was remarkable during this event. Our Chapter is very appreciative of their support,” raves Erin G. Jackson, vice-president, Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (TBCFBA).

From its historic charm to the spectacular art, food, and cultural scene, Tampa served as an ideal setting for the FBA’s 2019 Annual Meeting & Convention. This year’s event was hosted by the TBCFBA, and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor—who served 31 years with the Tampa Police Department and previously served as the first female chief of police—kicked off the festivities at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

“A special highlight of the convention was welcome remarks delivered by Mayor Jane Castor. She gave FBA members a hearty welcome and introduction to Tampa,” described Ms. Jackson, a member of the board of the TBCFBA since 2013.

The FBA welcomed approximately 300 attendees from 40 states at the convention, held from September 5–7 and featuring an offsite reception at the Tampa Bay Aquarium, awards luncheons honoring the great work of dedicated practitioners, the Foundation of the FBA and its Fellows, and FBA leaders.

The FBA was proud to celebrate the gift of giving back at the Public Service Luncheon, during which members and Chapters were recognized for their exceptional contributions in public service. The Younger Federal Lawyer Awards Luncheon recognized superb government and military attorneys who have attained high standards of personal achievement.

There was something to appeal to practitioners in all areas of federal practice at the convention, with topics such as bankruptcy basics for federal court litigators, marijuana legalization, FLSA, diversity in federal practice, intellectual property law, cybersecurity, class actions in appellate court, immigration law, congressional investigations, and ethics panels.

The reception at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay—which houses over 14,000 animals—gave attendees an authentic flavor for the area. “Tampa is very rich in Cuban history and culture, so we had flamenco dancers along with a Latin band plus cigar rollers, since Tampa is known as ‘The Cigar Capital of the World,’” recounted Ms. Jackson.

Convention attendees were likewise mesmerized as they listened to Keynote Speaker Shon Hopwood, a convicted felon who became a Georgetown Law Professor. Mr. Hopwood discussed his moving and inspiring story of second chances, success after failure, and his celebrated tome, Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption.

Equally riveting was Keynote Speaker Robert Mazur’s account of being an undercover drug agent. The presentation was based on Mr. Mazur’s best-selling autobiography, The Infiltrator, which explores the nuances of Mazur as the U.S. Customs Special Agent who used his undercover alias “Bob Musella” to infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s powerful underworld empire and penetrate the money-laundering operations of the Medellin Cartel. The book was also made into a film with the same name starring award-winning actor Bryan Cranston as Mazur.

“Our two keynote speakers were captivating, with fascinating, spirited life stories,” observed Ms. Jackson.

The convention concluded with the Presidential Installation Banquet, at which Christian K. Adams was sworn in as the next FBA president. The formal Saturday night induction of the FBA’s 2019–2020 president was preceded by a fun and festive National Council Meeting. FBA attendees got lei’d and danced their way to enjoyment thanks to a Polynesian-inspired presentation by Jonathan Hafen, national Membership Committee chair. (FBA National President Christian Adams is the founder and managing partner at Adams Krek LLP, headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii.)

The FBA is greatly appreciative of all the support from our sponsor community. We are grateful to our event sponsor, Wiand Guerra King, as well as Holland & Knight, who hosted an awe-inspiring “Cocktails with a View” Thursday evening reception. “The breathtaking sunset views from the nighttime reception at Holland & Knight was enjoyed by all attendees,” revealed Ms. Jackson.

The FBA aims to strengthen the federal legal system and administration of justice by serving the interests and the needs of the federal practitioner, both public and private; the federal judiciary; and the public they serve. With over 18,000 members—including 1,600 federal judges—its members run the gamut of federal practice, from small to large firms, corporations, and federal agencies.

The celebration continues! The FBA turns 100 on January 5, 2020. Visit fedbar.org/summit20 fedbar.org/Leadership/Leadership-Resources/FBA-Centennial- and mark your calendar to join us in Charleston, South Carolina, September 12–14, 2020, for the next FBA Annual Meeting & Convention!

About the Author

Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.

About the FBA

Founded in 1920, the Federal Bar Association is dedicated to the advancement of the science of jurisprudence and to promoting the welfare, interests, education, and professional development of all attorneys involved in federal law. Our more than 16,000 members run the gamut of federal practice: attorneys practicing in small to large legal firms, attorneys in corporations and federal agencies, and members of the judiciary. The FBA is the catalyst for communication between the bar and the bench, as well as the private and public sectors. Visit us at fedbar.org to learn more.