eugene_pettis_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — Fort Lauderdale attorney Eugene K. Pettis is the Florida Bar's president-elect designate. No other candidates came forward to challenge Pettis, who will be the first African-American president in Florida Bar history.

Pettis will be sworn in as president-elect at the bar’s annual convention in June, when Tampa attorney Gwynne Alice Young will be sworn in as president. He will become president of the more than 93,000-member bar in 2013.

Pettis, a founding partner of Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, is a trial attorney who has been practicing law since 1985, and a member of Identify, Connect, Activate the Black Accomplished (ICABA). A 1982 graduate of the University of Florida with a B.A, he went on to earn his law degree at UF.

In 2005, he was elected to the Florida Bar's governing board from the 17th Judicial Circuit. He currently serves on the executive committee of the Board of Governors and co-chairs the Commission on Review of the Discipline System for the bar.

Pettis also co-chaired the Board of Governors' committee to promote diversity and inclusion in the practice of law. “The Florida Bar has made diversity and inclusion an objective in its strategic plan,” he said. “I truly believe the strength of the bar rests in the whole; together, there is benefit for us all.”

Pettis has extensive trial experience in the areas of medical malpractice, personal injury, employment law, professional liability and commercial litigation. He also represents clients in administrative hearings and other alternative dispute resolution forums. He holds Martindale-Hubbell's highest AV rating and has been selected by his peers in The Best Lawyers in America.

In 2009, he was honored and admitted by The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, an academy recognizing lawyers who are regarded by their peers as leaders in the community who have contributed significantly to the legal profession.

Photo: Eugene Pettis