James C. Adkins Award
Thomas E. Warner
This year's Adkins Award winner is our dear late colleague and long-time friend of the Section, Thomas E. Warner. A true model of professionalism, Mr. Warner dedicated his career to excellence and helping others through service and mentorship. During his nearly two decades of practice at Carlton Fields, Mr. Warner represented clients in complex litigation and appeals. He was an accomplished appellate lawyer and board certified civil trial lawyer with extensive experience in real estate litigation, commercial disputes, hospital governance, and environmental matters. Before joining Carlton Fields, Mr. Warner served as Florida's first Solicitor General, representing the State of Florida before the Florida Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States in civil cases involving constitutional issues and other matters of great public importance. During that time, he taught appellate advocacy at Florida State University College of Law. From 1992 to 1999, Mr. Warner served as a member of the State Legislature, District 82, Florida House of Representatives, earning recognition during his term as one of the top six most influential members of the House of Representatives. He also served as Managing Partner of his law firm, Warner, Fox, Seeley & Dungey, and as City Attorney for the City of Stuart. Mr. Warner is dearly missed by his wife, Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Martha C. Warner, their three children and four grandchildren, and all of those who had the pleasure of knowing him. The Section is honored to recognize Mr. Warner and his great legacy with the 2019 Adkins Award.
The John R. Hamilton Pro Bono Award
Joseph H. Lang, Jr.
This year's John R. Hamilton Pro Bono Award winner is Joseph H. Lang, Jr. Mr. Lang has made pro bono service a central tenet of his career since he entered private practice in 1998. He has fought for important causes that are fundamental to our system of justice, defending and protecting the due process rights of multiple death row inmates in cases involving circumstances including mental illness and prosecutorial misconduct. As an appellate specialist sought after for his skills and creativity, Mr. Lang has given, and continues to give, his community a valuable gift through his pro bono service. Mr. Lang's service, however, does not end with his own direct representation of pro bono clients. He has assumed multiple leadership roles to instill his spirit of service in others. As Co-Chair of his firm's national pro bono committee, Mr. Lang encourages all lawyers in his firm to accept pro bono cases, and he regularly takes calls from organizations and individuals seeking pro bono representation. Mr. Lang also personally assists and mentors lawyers on pro bono appeals, including advising them on procedural and substantive appellate issues and serving as a mock judge for their oral argument preparation. It is the Section's honor to recognize Mr. Lang with the 2019 John R. Hamilton Pro Bono Award.
Law Student Award
This year, the Section created a new award to recognize a law student who has made an important contribution to the field of appellate practice. This year's inaugural award recipient is Caitlyn Waksler. Ms. Waksler, a recent graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, served domestic violence victims through her law school's Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Clinic. There, she witnessed firsthand the need for critical reforms in the accessibility of information and services to victims seeking injunctions for protection at both the trial and appellate levels. In addition to Ms. Waksler's work serving the program's clients, she went on to take a leadership role in addressing the problems she saw victims experience, particularly on appeal. She spoke out to raise awareness of these issues in an article soon to be published in the Florida Bar Journal. Ms. Waksler continues to work with Bar leaders to increase victims' access to justice. The Section is proud to recognize her for her dedication and leadership with its first-ever Law Student Award.