The Florida State University College of Law is situated at the center of government for one of our nation’s most important states. A key issue that interested citizens face is how to interact effectively with elected and appointed officials. Our Spring 2012 Environmental Forum, co-sponsored with the Public Interest Committee of the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of The Florida Bar, features distinguished panelists who have broad expertise in working in and with the government and representing different clients before it. The panelists will discuss challenges they face in “making their case” and strategies for being as effective as possible.

Christopher T. Byrd is a Senior Assistant General Counsel with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Public Lands Section. His practice focuses on civil litigation regarding a wide variety of sovereign submerged lands cases with a focus on coral reef and seagrass resources. Prior to joining the Public Lands Section, Mr. Byrd practiced in the department’s civil regulatory enforcement section, focusing on wetlands, mangroves, water facilities, and beaches and coastal cases. Mr. Byrd received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Florida in 2004 and a J.D. from Nova Southeastern University in 2008.
Janet E. Bowman (’87) is the Director of Legislative Policy & Strategies for the Florida Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, where she has worked since February 2007. She previously served as Legal Director of 1000 Friends of Florida, as an attorney for the Senate Community Affairs Committee and the Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, and as a Senior Attorney for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. She is a member of the Executive Council of the Environmental Law & Land Use Section of The Florida Bar. She received her J.D. from the Florida State University College of Law, and her B.A. from New College of Florida.

Charles Pattison is President of 1000 Friends of Florida, a non-profit organization that is a leader in promoting healthy urban and natural places by wise management of growth and change. A fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Mr. Pattison was the first executive director of the Monroe County Land Authority. He serves on the Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium Advisory Council and Apalachee Land Conservancy and has been a member of the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, the Florida Energy Commission’s Climate Change Subcommittee and the Governor’s Climate Action Team.

Mary Thomas (’05) is an Assistant General Counsel in the Executive Office of the Governor Rick Scott. Previously, Ms. Thomas served as an Assistant General Counsel in the Florida Department of Community Affairs. Additionally, Ms. Thomas has several years of experience practicing land use, environmental and administrative law in the private sector. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law and earned her LL.M. in Real Property Development in 2007 from the University of Miami School of Law.
Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008. Her district includes parts of Leon, Jefferson and Gadsden counties. She currently serves on the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and the Rulemaking & Regulaton Subcommittee, among others. Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda attended New College and graduated from the University of South Florida in 1982. She graduated from the University of Florida College of Law in 1985.

Call 850.644.7781 or e-mail to reserve a seat at the forum.