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By Paul Jess, FJA Executive Director

A full display of the Florida Justice Association’s horsepower is on tap at the 32nd annual John Romano Workhorse Seminar. In this issue of the Florida Justice Association’s Journal, you will learn more about the seminar. But first, I want to share with you how the event came about.

It all started with John Romano.


In December 2017, the Florida Justice Association’s Board of Directors named the seminar after John, its founder and former Florida Justice Association president. This is a well-deserved honor for an outstanding advocate for clients and a true friend.

John is an accomplished lawyer who is up for any challenge you throw at him. He has tried just about every kind of case, both civil and criminal. This includes cases involving failure to diagnose cancer, product defects, drug and vaccine defects, libel and slander, vehicular collisions, personal injury, murder, armed robbery, and wrongful denial of health insurance benefits.

John created the Florida Justice Association’s Workhorse Seminar to provide our members with the best legal education available to enhance the work they do every day in civil litigation cases. The goal is to provide the Florida Justice Association’s members with a competitive edge in the courtroom.

The seminar came to life because John felt that most seminars had too much “fluff” and lacked true substance for attendees. He aimed to create a high-energy, hard-charging CLE program packed with substance from open to close.

John insisted it had to be a one-day seminar — and that that day would be a long, hard, tough day with a great reward for attendees. The vision brought to mind what John’s days in the U.S. Marine Corps must have been like. The seminar would start before dawn and go into the night — no distractions and very few breaks. Every hour would be packed with cutting-edge legal education from America’s best trial lawyers. It would be one year’s worth of CLE packed into one day.

He came up with a name that reflected what the seminar was all about: Workhorse.

John’s idea for one day of intensive immersion in legal education was a hit. Throughout the years, this must-attend event has grown to four days and attracted nationally recognized leaders who have shared their insights on the latest legal strategies and tactics.

John’s vision for Workhorse filled a hole law schools left in their preparation of students to succeed as advocates for clients. Workhorse provides a rare opportunity for attorneys to learn at the feet of the greats in our field.

While he played football in college for the Florida State Seminoles, it was the U.S. Marine Corps that shaped John’s love for the law and passion for tackling huge challenges in the pursuit of justice for his clients.*

As lawyers, we can always get better and do better. It takes a life-long commitment to evolving in the profession. That means you must be open and willing to learning something new.

That’s why this year’s Workhorse agenda is so exciting. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the business of lawyering, get practical tips on challenging expert witnesses, participate in the Florida Justice Association’s annual medical school for lawyers, and attend other valuable sessions. We’ve also got Dr. Bennet Omalu — the first doctor to diagnose chronic brain damage in NFL players — to provide a keynote address. You may remember his story portrayed by actor Will Smith in the 2015 film, Concussion. It’s clear, this year’s John Romano Workhorse Seminar has something for everyone.

More importantly, this year’s seminar is squarely about helping you improve your practices.

John often reminds us of the “Three Agendas” at play in every case.

1. The agenda of the client.
2. The agenda of the client.
3. The agenda of the client.

To be better attorneys, we should follow John’s lead and embrace our practices, stay laser-focused on the clients’ objectives, and steadfastly defend the civil justice system.

We do that by continually learning how to be better advocates for our clients. That mission continues this year in Orlando at the John Romano Workhorse Seminar. I hope to see you there.

* Executive Director’s personal note: As former U.S. Marine Corps and U.S Navy veterans, respectively, John and I used to meet each other at 0600 before Academy of Florida Trial Lawyer meetings and go jogging together. I’m guessing we will NOT be doing that at this year’s Workhorse Seminar. 😉

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