Mission Statement and Scholarship Selection Criteria for Fellows Program
The RPPTL Section of the Florida Bar encourages involvement of attorneys from diverse backgrounds, including geographic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, that are traditionally underrepresented in the law and the Section. The mission of the RPPTL Fellows program is to recruit attorneys who have a demonstrated interested in practicing in the area of wills, trusts, estates, and/or real estate, and who are interested in greater involvement in the RPPTL Section and its committees, but who would not otherwise be able to participate due to financial constraints or needs. Our goal is to provide opportunities for deserving attorneys to achieve their career goals through leadership training and working closely with leading attorneys in their field, while at the same time fostering diversity within the Section. The Fellowship Program is open to all lawyers who are members of the RPPTL Section and who have been admitted to the Bar for fewer than 12 years.
Scholarships will be considered for applicants who best meet the following criteria:
- Demonstrated interest in wills, trusts, estates, and/or real estate as a part of the applicant’s practice;
- Demonstrated interest in the activities of the RPPTL Section, and is likely to be dedicated and excel in such activities;
- Diversity, including a geographic, racial or ethnic background that is traditionally underrepresented in the RPPTL Executive Council and Section;
- Demonstrated need for financial assistance in order to attend Section meetings;
- Service to the profession or community.
The mission of the Fellowship Program is to attract and retain young lawyers to the Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar (RPPTL). One method of achieving this goal is by providing subsidized Fellowships to qualified individuals interested in becoming active in the substantive work of the Section. The Fellowship Program allows these individuals to become involved in the Section’s work, receive leadership training and work closely with leading attorneys in their field. The Section believes that through this Program we will cultivate and develop future leaders to continue the strong presence of RPPTL as a leader in The Florida Bar. Our Fellowship Program is also designed to supplement and support the efforts of the Membership and Inclusion Committee of the RPPTL Section.
The Fellowship Program is open to all lawyers who are members of the RPPTL Section and have been admitted to the bar for fewer than 12 years. This Program will award a maximum of four Fellowships per year. Applicants should be able to demonstrate that a substantial portion of their practice is focused in the area of Real Property, Probate or Trust law.
Fellowships are provided for a two-year term. The second year fellowship requires successful satisfactory completion of the first year. The RPPTL Section has over 50 active committees and an Executive Council with more than 225 active members. The Executive Council and the Section committees meet on a quarterly basis, beginning in June each year, at locations throughout the state of Florida. The quarterly meetings usually run from Thursday through Saturday and include substantive work and social events for networking. Each Fellow will receive a stipend of up to $2,500 annually (not to exceed actual out-of-pocket expenses) to help defray the expense of attending in-state RPPTL Section meetings. Additionally, each Fellow will be assigned a social mentor, who is a member of the Executive Council, to assist the Fellow in maximizing his or her experience as a Fellow and attending RPPTL social events. Each Fellow will be assigned a committee mentor to assist the Fellow’s active involvement in the committee that most closely fits the Fellow’s practice area with the goal of maximizing his or her professional development through the Program. Additionally, every Fellow will be paired with a second year Fellow who will help guide the new Fellow during the first year.
In return for the RPPTL Section commitments, a Fellow is required to attend a minimum of three Executive Council meetings per year, serve as an active member of Membership and Inclusion Committee and be an active member of at least one substantive committee. As an active committee member, the Fellow will be required to complete one substantive work project on behalf of the committee on an annual basis. This project may include writing an article in his or her area of expertise for ActionLine (the Section’s publication), chairing a subcommittee, or drafting proposed legislation on behalf of the committee. To assure these requirements are fulfilled, each Fellow must submit a work plan to the Fellowship committee by October of each year, which outlines the substantive work project they have chosen, and a report at the end of each year. Fellows will also be expected to participate in Fellow meetings and gatherings at the Section meetings.
At the end of the Fellowship term, we are confident all Fellows will find the Program helped enhance their development, both personally and professionally. We also sincerely hope that all Fellows continue to be actively involved in the RPPTL Section committees and work towards becoming a member of the Executive Council.
Applications for the Fellowship Program will be accepted from February 1st. Information regarding the application process will be posted with the application on the Section’s website. Information can also be obtained by mail from RPPTL Fellowship Program c/o Mary Ann Obos, The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, FL, 32399-2300. The chair of the committee is Christopher A. Sajdera.
Completed applications should be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I have gained some very valuable resources that I would not have but for participating in the inaugural class of the RPPTL Section’s Fellowship Program. Before being accepted into the program, I was unaware of the latent value of participation in the Section’s activities. In addition to the vast amount of practice area knowledge one obtains by actively participating in the various substantive committees of the Section, I have the opportunity to work with some of the smartest lawyers in the state who practice in the areas of real estate, probate and trust law, and have built some extremely valuable relationships which has helped enhance my practice. The fact that the Section leaders understood that the value of participation in Section activities is not always obvious and decided to offer this program to encourage participation of younger lawyers was very insightful, as once I completed the Fellowship Program, I, like most of the other former fellows, have continued to remain active because the benefits are truly rewarding, both personally and professionally. In fact, I feel confident in saying that without having participated in the RPPTL Fellowship Program, I would not have attained board certification in real estate. My Section peers have mentored and encouraged me to advance in the Section and their mentorship has had a direct impact on the trajectory of my legal career.” – Brenda Ezell
“The RPPTL Fellowship program provides opportunity for less seasoned attorneys to immediately become involved in the Section. As a Fellow, it is expected you will take on active roles in substantive committees and write case summaries and articles for Actionline. These activities not only further the Fellow’s expertise, but leads to unlimited exposure throughout the Section. I encourage all of those interested to apply.” – Sean M. Lebowitz