Debra Henley Named Executive Director of the Florida Justice Association

On May 27, 2010, the Florida Justice Association's Board of Directors formally selected Debra Henley to be its new Executive Director.

The selection was made with the concurrence of the FJA's Executive Committee. After a nationwide search of over 50 applicants, an intensive screening and interview process Ms. Henley was recommended by the Executive Director Search Committee and FJA's Executive Committee.

"I am incredibly humbled by this selection," said Ms. Henley. "The Florida Justice Association is the most effective group in Tallahassee battling to protect the rights of those who seek redress in Florida's courts. We are often the only line of defense that Florida's citizens have in the battle to protect consumer safety. It is this dedication, passion, and commitment that truly makes me proud to lead the FJA into the future."

Ms. Henley has been serving as the association's Acting Executive Director since October of 2009. Prior to her appointment to this position, Ms. Henley served as FJA's Deputy Executive Director and Legislative Director for 19 years. Her extensive work history includes serving in staff positions within the Florida Legislature, as a practicing trial attorney, and as a Florida Ethics Commissioner.

In her service to the Florida Justice Association, Ms. Henley has spearheaded efforts to promote diversity within the FJA, developed new training programs and collaborated with FJA leadership to help direct the operations of the organization. She has built strong relationships as a lobbyist for the FJA and testified in countless legislative committee meetings on issues ranging from medical malpractice, products liability, nursing home, and insurance. Ms. Henley has worked closely with consumer and patient groups during her time at the Florida Jusitce Association, helping protect the rights of Florida's consumers and the safety of Florida's patients. She is also a frequent spokesperson on behalf of the FJA to various media outlets on issues that affect Floridians, most notably issues regarding medical malpractice.

"I am confident that Ms. Henley is the right person to lead the Florida Justice Association into a new era," said FJA President Michael Haggard. "Her vast experience with the core principles of our organization, her knowledge of the Florida Legislature and her passion for achieving justice will be great assets to the FJA. She will bring a fresh approach and better position our organization to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead."

Henley has served as the Florida Justice Association's Deputy Executive Director since 1991. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree and received her Juris Doctorate with high honors from the Florida State University College of Law.

"Leading the Florida Justice Association is an amazing opportunity that I will not take lightly. I will continue to uphold the same guiding principles that have made the FJA great for nearly fifty years and build upon our mission of protecting Florida's patients and consumers."