SAFETY HARBOR – Largo attorney David Robert Ellis received the Clearwater Bar’s highest award at the May 16 Law Day Luncheon and annual meeting at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa.
The Ralph Richards Award recognizes a member of the Clearwater Bar who demonstrates an extraordinary sense of care, dedication, concern and service to both the legal profession and the community, in the manner of the late Ralph Richards.
Ellis graduated from FSU in 1987 and from Mercer University in law in 1992. In 1998, he founded his own law firm and practices in the areas of injury and wrongful death, insurance disputes, family law, and estates and probate.
According to a Clearwater Bar press release, Ellis has been active in both the bar and the community. He is a current member of our association’s board of directors; past president of the Clearwater Bar Foundation; member of the foundation’s board of trustees; chair of the law day poster contest for the past 10 years; and chair of the Lawyer Referral Service Committee.
Other awards presented included the Allen Moore Gold Badge Award, Pinellas County sheriff’s Capt. Glenn Luben; John U. Bird Judicial Excellence Award, Circuit Court Judge Raymond O. Gross and Circuit Court Judge William R. Webb; the Liberty Bell Award, Circuit Court Public Information Officer Ron Stuart; and the George W. Greer Judicial Independence Award, Pinellas County Judge Patrick Caddell.
2014-2015 Board of Directors inducted
Clearwater attorney Joshua T. Chilson of Kwall Showers Barack, P.A., was inducted as president of the 84-year-old organization, which has more than 900 members.
Other officers and directors inducted by 6th Circuit Chief Judge J. Thomas McGrady include the following north Pinellas County attorneys: president-elect Daniel C. Parri; secretary Stephanie Libbey; treasurer Michael J. Faehner; immediate past president Myriam Irizarry, and directors Brandon D. Bellew, Staci K. Chisholm, David Robert Ellis, Walter Grantham Jr., Steven E. Hitchcock, Kim L. Kaszuba, Christina Green Rankin, Kristine M. Reighard, Young Lawyers Division President Nicholas J. Grimaudo and Young Lawyers Division President-elect Shelly Beach.
The winning team of this year’s Great Debate walked away with the Harry Fogel Traveling Trophy and cash prizes. The competition was coordinated by the Clearwater Bar’s Young Lawyers Division and was held at the Pinellas County Justice Center.
The groups argued the pros and cons of “Resolved: Conviction of possession of marijuana should not preclude a student from receiving federal student financial aid.” First place went to St. Petersburg High School, represented by Aaron Torop and Saagar Gupta and coached by Leila Davis. Runners up were Saharah Turner and Angela Pope of Pinellas Park High School, coached by Cynthia Freed.
Clearwater Bar member recognition
Outgoing president Myriam Irizarry honored four members, Patrice Moore, F. Wallace Pope Jr., Steven M. Fishman, Joshua T. Chilson, and the entire 75th Annual Oyster Roast Committee with president’s awards for their extraordinary contributions to the Bar during the past year. Irizarry also recognized attorneys Steven M. Fishman, Bridget A. Heptner and Rachael Wood for their service to the Bar as they retire from the board of directors.