I don’t believe we’ve ever been properly introduced.
My name is Bill Gelin.
I am a husband and a father, and I play a bit of electric guitar for fun. I have the tinnitus to prove it.
Professionally, I am a lawyer, a journalist, and a whistleblower.
I have been the principal author on JAABLOG for years now. Other contributors fell by the wayside for various reasons, and new authors have been hard to attract, most certainly because of the way I’ve been treated by the Bar, seemingly for helping to expose corruption, racism, unprofessional behavior, and hypocrisy in the justice system, and for being associated with a blog that doesn’t moderate comments.
Up until now I have written as “we”, and never wanted to become “I”. That’s because the blog has always been foremost about the issues presented, and because anything that has been accomplished or exposed here has always been a group effort. The truth is no one ever wants the public credit they’re due, for the same reason other authors have been so hard to find. I look good because of all of you, and I hope one day attorneys, judges, law enforcement and others won’t have to be afraid to stand out and tell the truth on a public forum such as JAABLOG, and will be able to receive the praise and thanks they’ve earned for making their community a better place.
So why the change in pronouns?
Because I have decided to run for president-elect of the Florida Bar, a hidebound organization that I believe is gravely in need of reform, and I would like any attorney reading here to help me get my name on the ballot.
Further articles will greatly detail my positions and specific ideas, but in general terms, I will now state five general areas of interest:
- I am interested in utilizing the president’s spokesperson-ship to raise awareness of long-standing traditions of institutional racism within the legal system, and to direct the legislative advocacy function of the Bar to deter and compromise same.
- I am interested in reforming the judicial appointment process to ensure merit-based elevations and diversity on the bench commensurate with the general population. I also want to work with the judiciary as a whole to improve professionalism and performance on the bench, not only to improve the system for everyone, but to preclude judicial problems before they become public embarrassments.
- I am interested in ending the Bar’s war on free political speech and efforts to chill criticism of public officials by those who work with and know them best, to ensure fairness, efficiency, an informed electorate, and public confidence in the legal system.
- I am interested in reforming the attorney discipline system to make it effective and due process oriented, instead of the current system which I believe disproportionately targets sole practitioners and goes easy on politically active or powerful lawyers, or those that can hire same, and ironically serves in most cases to simply distract a lawyer mentally and time-wise from his or her sacred and time-consuming duties owed to clients.
- I am interested in having a Bar that all lawyers can be proud of, and not, as is often the case, one they resent, and one which can rehabilitate the reputation of the legal profession in the eyes of the general public.
I am not asking for your vote at this time, but I am asking for your signature. Bar rules state any member in good standing may be nominated if one percent of the membership signs a petition. I will pledge to sign any other hopeful nominee’s petition in addition to my own, as I believe the importance of the sought after position deserves as much open debate, diversity of ideas and candidates, and discourse as is possible. I also pledge if elected to not capitalize on the position to transform or grow my practice, or to sell my services down the road as an expert witness in fee disputes or other marketable areas open to past-presidents. If fortunate enough to serve, I will remain a committed criminal defense sole practitioner.
Finally, I must address the elephant in the room, Brenda v. Blog.
There have been recent bizarre developments that mainstream media will hopefully be reporting on shortly. However, in advance of any news coverage, I want to stress that Brenda v. Blog is not the driving force in my seeking Bar office, while it is the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I want it to be known at the outset that current frustrations aside, I have always been keenly aware and disappointed that whatever accomplishments JAABLOG can claim regarding the overarching goals of tempering racism and injustice in the legal system are clearly more like bandages on symptoms than cures. Any trip to a felony courtroom in Broward or throughout most of Florida unfortunately drives that point home with a vengeance. The daily lessons of life in a courthouse are the driving force as to why I am now stepping up to the plate and seeking your preliminary support, just as they were the impetus to start blogging all those years ago. This fact needs to be made clear, and I hope everyone will weigh all the issues before deciding whether or not to sign my petition.
(Disclaimer/Unsolicited Mass Communications – anyone subscribed to JAABLOG not wishing to receive blogs regarding my candidacy for president-elect of the Florida Bar should immediately UNSUBSCRIBE to JAABLOG. Furthermore, the traditional “we” shall continue to be used for JAABLOG reportage not dealing with the petition drive or my candidacy)