Kelly Overstreet Johnson named president-elect

first_img January 1, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Kelly Overstreet Johnson named president-elect Kelly Overstreet Johnson named president-elect Senior EditorTallahassee attorney and Board of Governors member Kelly Overstreet Johnson has become president-elect designate of The Florida Bar.Johnson was the only candidate to file for Bar president in the upcoming 2003 elections. Filing ended 5 p.m. December 16. She will be sworn in as president-elect at the June Annual Meeting, when President-elect Miles McGrane takes the oath as president, and will become president in June 2004.“Wonderful, it’s a relief,” Johnson said of her unopposed run for the Bar’s top position. “I prepared as if I was going to get opposition, and I was committed to going forward with a contested election if necessary.”With no election to run, Johnson said she will focus on the issues that prompted her candidacy.“I want to continue the efforts of Bar President Tod Aronovitz and earlier presidents to improve the image of lawyers and let the public know the many positive things lawyers do on a daily basis,” she said. “I want to work with President-elect Miles McGrane and the Supreme Court on Article V funding issues.”Noting recent legislative changes that gave the governor all the appointments to judicial nominating commissions (the Bar does recommend slates of candidates for four of the nine seats), Johnson said she hopes to review the new process and work toward getting the most qualified candidates out of the JNCs.“The JNC process is vitally important and must function correctly to ensure the public benefits from the process by having judges who are fair and well-qualified sitting on the bench,” she said.And Johnson will seek to take another look at Bar advertising rules. Many lawyers still dislike or oppose lawyer advertising, believing it’s the largest cause of public discontent with the profession. But the U.S. Supreme Court has said advertising cannot be banned, and she wants to make sure the Bar’s rules are as consistent and simple as possible — and enforced.“We just need to get a handle on the advertising rules,” Johnson said, noting the Board of Governors has spent hours debating appeals on advertising cases. “It seems we spend an inordinate amount of time interpreting the rules, and there are consistency problems.”She plans to talk with McGrane about appointing a special committee to study the issue beginning during his presidential year, adding. “I think it’s going to take more than a year to take a comprehensive look at the advertising rules, and I would like to conclude the review during my term as president.”Seeking the Bar presidency seemed like a logical step for Johnson, who has an extensive resume of local, state, and national bar participation.“I have been involved in Bar work for most of my career and I’ve always enjoyed it,” she said. “I have loved my work on the Board of Governors and the Bar Executive Committee. After serving with other presidents, I realized I also had a desire to serve and thought I could do a good job.”Johnson graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Business in 1979, and three years later got her law degree, with honors, from FSU.She became a civil litigator with the Attorney General’s Office, then went to work for Ervin, Varn, Jacobs, Odom & Kitchen. She opened her own law office and then joined Broad and Cassel’s Tallahassee office in 1990, where she now is a partner.Johnson, an AV-rated lawyer, practices complex commercial litigation, including class actions suits, and employment and labor law.Johnson has served in various bar offices, including president of the Tallahassee Bar Association (where she was the first woman elected president) and the Tallahassee Women Lawyers. She served four years on The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, and two years in the ABA House of Delegates and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.She served four years each on the Second Circuit and the First District Court of Appeal judicial nominating commissions.Johnson was elected to the Bar Board of Governors in 1997. She has chaired the Communications and Disciplinary Review committees, is chair-elect of the Legislation Committee, and has served four years on the Executive Committee.She has also served on the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics, the Certification Plan Appeals Committee, the Budget Committee, and the Program Evaluation Committee.last_img read more