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In Memoriam: W. McKinley Smiley, Jr.

UPDATE 12/21/16:

Click here to read Professor Smiley’s obituary written in the Tampa Bay Times.

A private family service was held in West Palm Beach this weekend and a Celebration of his Life will follow in the New Year. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in memory of W. McKinley “Mickey” Smiley, Jr. to Hospice of the Chesapeake Foundation, John and Cathy Belcher Campus, 90 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena, MD 21122 or at

Today the Florida Justice Association family mourns the passing of Professor W. McKinley Smiley, Jr., our dear friend and a stalwart supporter of the civil justice system, legal education and the Florida Justice Association. He is affectionately known to all of us as “Mickey,” joining the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (AFTL) in 1963, shortly after admission to The Florida Bar. Mickey has been a regularly honored guest and speaker at the FJA’s Workhorse Seminar and Annual Conventions. These events will not be the same without his joyful and sparkling presence.

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FJA Titans: Paul Jess

Honoring the life and legacy of one of the titans of the personal injury profession. This article features a distinguished attorney who has been nominated by the FJA Young Lawyers Section Board. The YLS Board Members submit specific questions for each Titan to answer.

Enjoy this Q&A with FJA Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel, Paul Jess.


Q. What is the most important thing you focus on in your cases?

A. My “cases” are legislative issues. The most important thing to focus on is political reality. If we are trying to pass legislation, is there a path with the leadership of the House and Senate to realistically think it can be done? What amendments might we have to accept to get a bill passed and would it be worth passing it with those amendments? If we are trying to defeat legislation, where are the choke points where it might be killed? Focus on lobbying the legislators who control those choke points. If it looks like bad legislation will pass, can we get it amended to eliminate or, at least, mitigate the damage? Finally, once the above analysis is complete, work the legislators who can make it happen – and keep working them until sine die.

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