Re-elected in 2013 as Treasurer is Ruth McDonald of Tallahassee. She has been a member of the Society for nearly 30 years and has previously served as Secretary. The wife of former Justice Parker Lee McDonald, she is a music education graduate of Florida State University who was the pianist at the president's suite for The Florida Bar sing-alongs. For 20 years, she volunteered with the AARP program that assists anyone needing help with their tax returns.
Benjamin H. Hill, III
Ben is one of the founding Shareholders of Hill Ward Henderson. As a member of the Litigation Group, his practice is primarily focused in the areas of complex litigation including professional liability, products liability, and general commercial matters.
Ben has represented many of the nation’s largest law firms and many public companies in litigation in Florida. He has tried numerous jury cases ranging from two days to over six months in trial. He has represented the Florida House of Representatives in a case involving the Florida Constitution and in an ethics case. He has represented the Florida Senate in a voting districting case and has served as special counsel to former Florida Governor, The Honorable Bob Graham.
Sylvia H. Walbolt
Sylvia Walbolt is a shareholder at Carlton Fields. She has extensive experience handling appeals in both federal and state courts, in all areas, including torts, products liability, business disputes, construction law, securities laws, constitutional, insurance, antitrust, and employment law. She is board-certified in Appellate Law by The Florida Bar, and is a former chair of its Appellate Practice Committee. She served as a member of the Florida Supreme Court's Committee on Standard Jury Instructions (civil), and chaired it as well. She is a former president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. She currently is chair of the College's Committee for Teaching Trial and Appellate Advocacy.
Henry M. Coxe, III
Hank Coxe received his undergraduate degree from The University of the South (Sewanee) and law degree from Washington & Lee University. At the State Attorney’s Office, he served as director of all felony divisions, the special prosecution division (complex crimes), and then managed his own law firm. He joined the Bedell Firm in 1996.
Rutledge R. Liles
Rutledge R. Liles is a Board Certified civil trial lawyer with more than forty-five years of experience. Mr. Liles has successfully represented national and local businesses and individuals in both state and federal courts throughout Florida. Mr. Liles possesses extensive expertise in business and commercial litigation, professional malpractice, insurance disputes, product liability, personal injury and wrongful death, and intellectual property litigation, state and federal appeals, medical malpractice, construction litigation, premises liability, and contract disputes. Mr. Liles' practice also includes representing professionals in administrative matters relating to licensure and discipline. Mr. Liles' considerable experience in matters relating to insurance disputes has made him one of the State's preeminent experts in bad faith litigation.
Kelly A. O’Keefe
Kelly A. O’Keefe of Tallahassee is a partner in Berger Singerman, LLP. She was the Society’s 2012-13 Secretary. She practices complex commercial and real estate litigation, as well as trust and estate litigation. O’Keefe is AV rated, and has been honored by Florida Trends Legal Elite and Florida Super Lawyers. The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Board of Governors named her the Most Productive Young Lawyer, and the Florida Association of Women Lawyers named her a Leader in Law. She has served on numerous Florida Bar Committees, including the Appellate Court Rules Committee, the Florida Bar Advertising Task Force, and the Florida Bar Special Committee on Website Advertising Rules. She is also Chair of the Second Judicial Circuit’s Grievance Committee, and Vice Chair of Judicial Administration and Evaluation Committee. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. O’Keefe clerked for Supreme Court Justices Charles Wells, Gerald Kogan and Parker Lee McDonald. She received her bachelor’s degree and J.D. from Florida State University. Ms. O’Keefe is very active in her local community as well, providing pro bono services to Guardian Ad Litem.
Past Society President
Alan Graham Greer
Alan Graham Greer, who concentrates in civil commercial litigation, is certified by The Florida Bar in both business litigation and in civil trial practice. He has been additionally certified in civil trial practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He joined the firm in 1969.
Edith G. Osman
Edith Osman practices in the areas of business litigation, matrimonial law, and mediation. She has significant experience representing clients in dissolution of marriage proceedings, post-divorce modifications and enforcement, child custody, property evaluation, equitable distribution of marital assets, pre & post nuptial agreements, and paternity actions.
Ms. Osman is a Florida Supreme Certified Civil Mediator and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator.
George E. “Buddy” Schulz, Jr.
Elected to Secretary in 2013, George E. "Buddy" Schulz, Jr., previously served as a Trustee..... He is a Florida Bar board-certified trial lawyer. His practice has involved him in litigation throughout the United States for nearly 40 years. He is the past chairman of Holland & Knight's litigation department. He is Chair of the Public and Charitable Service Department, which coordinates the Firm's renowned pro bono and community initiatives.
He is a Fellow with the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, American Board of Trial Advocacy and the American Bar Foundation. He is a member of the Chester Bedell American Inn of Court, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida, including the trial bar. He has served as a member of The Florida Bar’s Civil Rules and Evidence Code committees and as Chairman of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission. He is a recipient of the Florida Bar Pro Bono Service Award.
In the community, he has served in many roles. He is presently a volunteer to the Guardian Ad Litem program, a Trustee Emeritus of the University of Florida Levin College of Law and a member of Florida Blue Key. He earned his B.A. from Vanderbilt University and his J.D. from UF after service as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He has been honored in the Best Lawyers in America guide for "Bet-the-Company Litigation," 2008-2013.
Howard C. Coker
Howard Coker is President and a founding partner of our trial law firm, formed in 1976. Recognized by peers as a prominent Florida trial attorney, he is a passionate and active advocate for the cause of justice. He is focused on representing plaintiffs who have been seriously injured by accidents, product defects, premises liability and other forms of negligence. In the pursuit of justice, Mr. Coker has tried over 250 jury trials to conclusion and handled thousands of mediated settlements — a top record for results.
Justice Stephen H. Grimes
Stephen H. Grimes practices in the area of appellate litigation. He retired as a justice of the Supreme Court of Florida in November of 1997, having served as chief justice from 1994-96.
Mr. Grimes served in the U.S. Navy from 1951-1953. Upon graduation, he joined the law firm that ultimately became Holland & Knight in Bartow, Florida. His practice consisted primarily of civil trials and appellate litigation.