ABOTA Fort Lauderdale

 The American Board of Trial Advocates

Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial

11/19/21- Chief Judge Jack Tutor is awarded the new Broward County Courthouse Courtroom, named in his honor. The Courtroom is the largest in the downtown Judicial Complex and is on the 17th Floor. The Judge also received a proclamation from the Broward County Commission recognizing November 19, 2021 as Chief Judge Jack Tutor Day for his past and continued distinguished service in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit and to the legal profession. ABOTA Fort Lauderdale congratulates the Chief Judge for all he has done to support the administration of Justice and his motivating and insightful leadership. 


ABOTA Fort Lauderdale Presents:

The Anatomy of a Covid Jury Trial

This program is not available for archive viewing. 


A Free Webinar for Trial Lawyers & Their Teams 

Friday, September 17, 2021 @ Noon ET

Opening remarks by Chief Judge Jack Tuter on the State of the 17th Judicial Circuit. 


Join The Honorable Sandra Perlman, Joseph Kashi Esq., Dan Harwin, Esq., Adele Blackmore, Esq., and Jeffrey Adelman, Esq., for an in-depth exploration of practical lessons learned from recent Jury Trials in Circuit Civil Divisions.


UPDATE: 2.5 Advanced CLE Credits Approved by Florida Bar. 

All participants must pre-register at this link.

Questions? Email us here.

Questions/Topics for Jury Trial in the Covid-Era

This purpose of this webinar is to educate members of the public as to the experiences trying cases in this climate, providing a view from the bench and from lawyers who have been through it.


This is an opportunity to obtain valuable insight as to their experiences and be better prepared for what to expect as we all navigate through this together.


General questions/topic for discussion:


  1. Thoughts on juror enthusiasm and attentiveness.

  2. What are the positives attorneys can expect from trial at this time? Return of some sense of normalcy?  Appreciation for being there?

  3. What was jury selection like in general?

  4. What is the threshold for excusing jurors who express any concerns about sitting through a trial? More lenient on hardships?  Attorneys more lenient on hardship?

  5. Have there been difficulties calling witnesses via Zoom? Does either side feel like anything is lost or had the testimony been well-received?

  6. How are attorneys deciding who to call live v. Zoom?

  7. Is Zoom testimony more effective than videotaped testimony?

  8. Are sidebars allowed?  If not, how has this been handled?

  9. What is the most amount of jurors parties can expect to get?  Is there a timeframe on when we can expect to get more jurors for lengthier or multi-cases?

  10. What has it been like connecting/reading jurors when they wear a mask?

  11. What was the speed of the trial compared to pre-Covid? Did certain aspects move slower?

  12. What are some of the unique issues the bench/lawyers have faced that they did not anticipate before the trial began?

  13. Are lawyers relying more upon visual aids than they previously were? Has that helped them communicate certain issues better to the jury?

  14. Has there been better cooperation between opposing counsel? If so, why? Are attorneys forced perhaps to cooperate more rather than bickering over what some might perceive as inconsequential issues?

  15. Have the attorneys kept more distance from the jurors than they otherwise would? Did they feel like it had an impact?

  16. Limits of team members being in the courtroom?


Jay Cohen, Esq., named Trial Lawyer of the Year for 2021 at the Annual FLABOTA Convention in St. Petersburg 

Jay Cohen FLABOTA TLOY 2021.jpg

Jeff Adelman, Esq., (left) presented the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award to Jay Cohen, Esq., with  Immediate Past FLABOTA President Judge Nelly Khouzam, of the Second District Court of Appeal on July 31, 2021. For more information about Mr. Cohen, please click here. The Trial Lawyer of the Year is the most prestigious honor presented by FLABOTA. Mr. Cohen, a long-time member of the ABOTA Fort Lauderdale Chapter is a nationally recogized leader as an advocate and supporter of the American Civil Justice system.


Jeff Adelman, immediate Past President of ABOTA Fort Lauderdale, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of FLABOTA, which is the state-wide regional chapter. As a Board member, Mr. Adelman will serve as Treasurer for 2021-2022. 

2021 FLABOTA JA.jpg

Florida Supreme Court Justice John Daniel Couriel swears in new FLABOTA officers (from left to right) President Joseph J. Kalback, Jr., Pedro Rual Alvarez, Jr., Jeffrey Adelman. On the right is Immediate Past President Judge Nelly Khouzam, of the Second District Court of Appeal. The event took place on July 31 at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.

For more information about FLABOTA and upcoming events, please click here.


The Seventeenth Judicial Circuit has a continually updated COVID-19 Advisory Page. This important resource provides incident reports by location, what Courthouse stakeholders have been affected, exposure dates, disinfecting efforts, and other information. 

Image by Michael Dziedzic

ABOTA Fort Lauderdale thanks Orlando Garcia and Craig Burger for their exceptional contributions to the development of remote proceedings and Courthouse operations in the 17th Judicial Circuit


In March 2020, when the future of judicial operations in the Broward County Courthouses seemed very uncertain, one incredible talent, Orlando Garcia, stepped up to electronically link the way toward thousands upon thousands of virtual events. He, along with his team members, provided the technical proficiency, long hours and creative insights to allow Zoom hearings, calendar calls, non- jury trials, virtual jury selection and prototype remote jury trials. 

Orlando Garcia, who served until June 18, 2021 in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit's Judicial Information Systems office, was the creative link that made digital transformation in the earliest and threatening days of COVID-19 a reality, and a complete success. 


Working with his colleagues, Chief Judge Tuter and all the other jurists in the Circuit, Mr. Garcia served as a cohesive conduit between ABOTA Chapter members and others in the Bar to make what once seemed improbable into the new and accepted. He embraced the daunting task of developing audio and video communications strategies to forge through the the darkest days of the pandemic. 


He was our technical teacher and designer and worked to create innovative Courtrooms for the civil and criminal jury and non-jury trials of 2021 and beyond. 

Orlando Garcia showed us the way toward virtual advocacy and was the "glue" that kept our Courthouse moving forward. His contributions are a significant reason the administration of justice did not stop in the Circuit because of the worst pandemic in 102 years. 

ABOTA Fort Lauderdale sends a heartfelt thanks Mr. Garcia for his meaningful contributions to the legal system, his leadership, and for his friendship.

A colleague of Mr. Garcia should also be mentioned for his important contributions to the 17th Judicial Circuit.


Craig Burger, who also worked in the Judicial Information Systems office alongside Orlando, served the justice system with creativity and energy. We appreciate Craig for his commitment to professional excellence.  


Thank you Orlando and Craig...We wish you both all the very best in your future endeavors. Keep innovating gentlemen. 

-- Mitch Chester 6.17.21. Image by Michael Driedzic on Unsplash. 

Image by Siora Photography

New Case Management Directives:


Chief Judge Tuter, Judge Phillips and Judge Lee discuss the 17th Judicial Circuit's new Case Management Procedures in the Civil Division. These updated requirements implement the Florida Supreme Court's Administrative Order 20-23 (Amendments 10-12).

ABOTA Members can see the video on a secure page by clicking here.

(Password required. Prior to viewing, please send a request for the password by clicking here).














The new Case Management Procedures

will directly affect your Civil Division Cases, your office and your Clients.

The webinar is free for Broward County Bar and ABOTA members. It took pace on May 3, 2021.

Sponsored by the Broward County Bar Association and the American Board of Trial Advocates Fort Lauderdale Chapter.


Bold Title

On Demand Video: The New World of Florida's 2021 Summary Judgment Rule


2 Hours of Florida General CLE Credit Approved

U.S. District Court Judge Raag Singhal, Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson, Trial Attorney Joseph Kashi and Appeals Counsel Andrew Andrew Harris spotlight an insightful panel moderated by ABOTA Fort Lauderdale President Brent Reitman. This event took place on April 30, 2021, one day after the Florida Supreme Court released revisions to Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.510. 

Image by Conor Sexton


3.9.21- From case classifications to deadlines, all trial lawyers will want to read the latest COVID-19 Emergency Measure, which appears below. 

Florida Supreme Court Issues AO Impacting Civil Matters

On 3.9.21,the Florida Supreme Court issued Administrative Order AOSC20-23 (Amendment 10) which further describes and updates COVID-19 emergency measures.  The AO will have a significant impact on civil trials and practitioners. All trial lawyres are urged to read the new requirements. As ABOTA Fort Lauderdale receives more information about how the Courts will implement the provisions of the Order, we will post them on this site. Questions? Write ABOTA Fort Lauderdale here.


Chief Judge Tuter Re-Elected for the Two Year Term Beginning July 1, 2021. 

ABOTA Fort Lauderdale congratulates Judge Tuter and looks forward to working with him as the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit transitions out of the pandemic. 


In this January 8, 2021 video address to the legal community, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tuter urges acceptance of Civil Jury Trials by Zoom. For additional resources on Virtual Jury Trials, click here.

Video courtesy Seventeenth Judicial Circuit

It was a fabulous virtual evening on January 15, 2021. New President Brent Reitman was installed along with a new executive board, Florida Supreme Court Justice John Couriel spoke to the membership, the awards for Trial Lawyer of the Year and Judge of the Year were given to Mitchell Chester and Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips. An evening that was filled with all that is good about the law, even during this Covid-19 Pandemic. Outgoing President Jeff Adelman's remarks are not included due to technical difficulties, but can be heard by clicking here: https://youtu.be/Y4Hkcl9URl0 For more information about ABOTA Fort Lauderdale, go to www.abotaftl.org or email us abotaftl@gmail.com

In Justice Couriel's remarks to the Chapter, he specifically mentioned Federalist No. 83, which Alexander Hamilton wrote to stress the importance of the civil jury trial and its place in society. You can hear an audio version of that remarkable text here. Text courtesy Library of Congress; Federalist Papers: Primary Documents in American History

FEDERALIST NO. 83. The Distribution of the Judicial AuthorityAlexander Hamilton
00:00 / 28:19

Questions for Lawyers: Trying a civil jury trial in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit

with COVID-19 measures

2.19.21-Jeff Adelman, Esq. welcomes trial partners Nelson Baez, Esq. & Jason McIntosh, Esq., of Lytal Reiter to discuss their recent Plaintiff's personal injury verdict in Palm Beach. Nelson and Jason discuss what it was like trying one of the first personal injury cases in the Fiftheenth Judicial Circuit during the pandemic. The discussion includes juror sentiments about serving during the Covid-19 era. A must listen for any trial lawyer.

Making Courtroom Air Currents Visible: Federal Courts video demonstrates smoke tests for COVID-19 ventilation issues. 

Video courtesy U.S. Courts (3.4.21).



Social Science of Litigation

November 17, 2020

Explore the social science of a litigation focus group, with real jurors. The webinar was moderated by ABOTA Fort Lauderdale Board Member Daniel Harwin. He served as Plaintiff's Counsel, while ABOTA Miami President Norman Waas appeared as Defense Counsel.


Jury Consultant Joyce Dwyer of trialdoctor.com, also moderated the live-juror proceedings.  Chief Judge Jack Tuter (Seventeenth Judicial Circuit), Judge Rowe (Fifteenth Judicial Circuit) and Judge Butchko (Eleventh Judicial Circuit) addressed the legal community prior to the presentation. The Virtual Trial Director was Jeff Abrams of swampcityproductions.com. 


We thank Miami ABOTA and Palm Beach ABOTA for their participation in this program. 




Virtual Jury Selection in Civil Cases...

A Precursor for Florida?

Broward Courts Transition to Phase 2

Civil Jury Trials continue to be suspended until further Order

Exciting New Video Technology Introduced in the 17th Judicial Circuit

ABOTA Fort Lauderdale's Eric Rosen provides tips and techniques to make your litigation presentations stand out in the this new legal era where all of us have suddenly become television directors.  Here is just a portion of what will be discussed: 

Tips and Strategies for Zoom Jury Litigation – Discovery  to Closing Arguments

  1. Optimizing Image Quality for Zoom

  2. Using Virtual Backgrounds

  3. Managing Jury Selection Remotely

  4. Opening and Closing Arguments – PowerPoint Tips

  5. Sharing Exhibits on Zoom

    1. Do it yourself

    2. Bring in the experts

Juror Feedback on Zoom Jury Trials in the Age of COVID-19

July 16, 2020 Article by Chief Judge Jack Tuter on the Virtual Jury Trial Initiative
00:00 / 07:33

 Your Chance to Make History with a Virtual Jury Trial in the 17th Judicial Circuit

ABOTA Fort Lauderdale President Jeff Adelman and Mitch Chester discuss the amazing progress achieved in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit to battle COVID-19 with remote jury trials. Recorded 7.20.20.

"We are not standing in place."

A 7.5.20 report from the 17th Judicial Circuit.

ABOTA Fort Lauderdale teams up with the Pantry of Broward to help those who suddenly lost their paychecks due to COVID-19


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ABOTA Fort Lauderdale thanks Upchurch Watson White & Max

for their annual sponsorship and generosity. 

Become a sponsor of ABOTA Fort Lauderdale. Please see our opportunities information page.