Michelle was recently featured in an article by the South Florida Business Journal:
The Florida Bar has a new president and her legal roots are in South Florida.
Michelle Suskauer, a partner at the Miami-based Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein PA, was sworn into her position at the association’s annual convention in Orlando on June 15.
Suskauer is the sixth woman to serve as Bar president and the first since Gwynne Alice Young in 2012. She will also be the first former public defender to lead the 68-year-old organization that oversees 106,000 lawyers.
“It was overwhelming, emotional and exciting, but there was a lot of love in the room,” Suskauer said of the swearing in ceremony.
Her year-long term will focus on criminal justice reform, inclusiveness, health and wellness and an outreach program for small and solo firms
In October, she will spearhead the first statewide Criminal Justice Summit. The meeting of lawyers and elected officials will tackle the state’s high incarceration rates with the goal of proposing legislation.
Suskauer said the Bar will implement new recommendations put forward by their Gender Bias Special Committee and create blue-ribbon designations to promote female employment and retention in law.
“The Florida Bar has an obligation to take care of all of our members,” she said.
The New York-native was designated president-elect in March 2017 after a 14-month campaign in which she crisscrossed the state and learned about the challenges facing the legal community particularly smaller firms.
“They felt disconnected with the Bar and it is my opportunity to open the door,” Suskauer said.
Because nearly 75 percent of attorneys in the state work for a small or one-personlaw firm, the Bar will roll out LegalFuel, a new free resource initiative for smaller firms. A speaker series will also be established, Suskauer said.
She began her legal career in 1991 through the West Palm Beach public defender’s office before joining a local personal injury firm and then her husband’s law firm, Suskauer Law Firm, PA in 1997.
She launched a solo practice three years ago when her husband, Scott Suskauer, was appointed judge in Florida’s 15th Judicial Circuit. In January, she became the head of Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein’s criminal law division at its West Palm Beach office.
Suskauer has also served as president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the Palm Beach County chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers.
“I understand what it is like to deal with technology and balancing a family and keeping the lights on,” Suskauer said. “My goal is to help out our lawyers.”