Haggard Law Firm > Leadership

International Academy of Trial Lawyers

Haggard Law Firm Senior Partner Wm. Andrew Haggard has held high positions in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

The International Academy of Trial Lawyers was founded in 1954. In general, the purpose of the Academy is to cultivate the science of jurisprudence; promote reforms in the law; facilitate the administration of justice; elevate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession and cherish the spirit of brotherhood among members.

Active Academy membership is limited to only 500 fellows from the United States. In addition, the Academy includes international fellows from over 40 countries throughout the world. Membership is strictly by invitation only and limited to those members of the civil and criminal trial bar who have distinguished themselves as exceptional trial lawyers and fit all the other extensive criterion necessary to be considered for induction.

Members are admitted from both the plaintiff and defendant side of the counsel table in civil law and both prosecution and defense side of criminal law. Trial advocates are only admitted to fellowship in the Academy if their peers and the trial judges in their jurisdiction agree that they have outstanding skill and exceptional ability in trial and appellate practice, have always rendered the highest service and promoted the best interest of the legal profession and, of course, excellent character and absolute integrity.

The Academy is truly international in flavor. Virtually all of its programs are designed to promote and enhance the rule of law throughout the world. For many years we were extensively involved in working with the emerging nations of the former Eastern Bloc as they created a rule of law in their respective countries. About five years ago, we shifted our focus to Asia, and particularly to China. Each year we send a delegation of fellows to Beijing at the invitation of the Chinese government and lecture on American legislation, jurisprudence and the rule of law in the United States. In addition, each year we bring 10 Chinese attorneys (high ranking Chinese officials) to the United States to teach them about American law and to live with American families where they can experience US jurisprudence, the trial process and American family life first-hand. This organization is widely regarded as the most exclusive and prestigious trial lawyer groups in the world.

The Florida Justice Association

(formerly The Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers)

Every member of the firm is a member of the Florida Justice Association and some hold leadership positions within the organization.


In June 2009, partner Michael Haggard was sworn in as the 50th President of the FJA. Throughout his career with the organization Haggard has also served as Secretary and was elected to the Executive Committee of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (as the Florida Justice Association was then known). Along with his appointment, Michael Haggard has been honored for his continuous commitment to the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers by being presented with two prestigious awards for his hard work and dedication. Michael Haggard won the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers’ Legislative Leadership “Shoe Leather” Award in recognition for his dedication and effective contributions on behalf of the Academy’s legislative effort. He also was presented with the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers’ “Golden Eagle” Award for his efforts within the Academy to ensure that the battle to protect Florida’s families and the civil justice system continues. In 2015, he was awarded the Eagle Centurion Award for his contributions to the organization.


Wm. Andrew Haggard has served on the Board of Directors of the Academy.


Douglas McCarron served two terms on the organization’s Board of Directors.


Todd Michaels is currently a member of the Executive Committee.


In 1984, the organization’s leadership created EAGLE as its fundraising arm for the group and its political action committee, the Florida Lawyers Action Group (FLAG). FLAG’s aggressive fundraising efforts and its political program support lawmakers who insist on good public policy and champion the rights of the people they are elected to represent. Our EAGLE members work with FLAG to expand the pro-consumer, pro-safety base in the Florida Legislature and to pursue the Academy’s goal of protecting the rights and safety of all Floridians.


The History of The Florida Justice Association

A few years after the end of World War II, a group of lawyers from around the state of Florida who primarily represented injured accident victims formed a small organization called Negligence and Compensation Lawyers of Florida (NACLAF). The organization was spearheaded by Miami attorney Perry Nichols, who felt that attorneys needed closer communication, educational opportunities and support from one another.

On May 20, 1961, NACLAF reorganized into the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers and consisted of less than 50 members. Al J. Cone was the first elected President of the Academy, with Warren Goodrich as Vice-President and Victor Tipton as Secretary-Treasurer and Editor of the new Academy monthly publication – the Bulletin, renamed a year later to the Journal.

In 1970 the Academy rented a small office space in Tallahassee, Florida and hired its first executive director. Through the years, the Academy has grown to a membership of approximately 3,800 and a staff of over 30.

The original intent of NACLAF was to represent the interests of average injured citizens in the Florida Legislature and in the courtroom. In the 1950s Nichols recognized that the civil justice system favored business interests over the interests of the individual or injured persons. He and the founding fathers of the Academy set out to shift the focus of justice to protect Florida’s families. The leadership and Academy staff continue this mission today under their new name, The Florida Justice Association.

The Miami Dade Justice Association

(formerly The Dade County Trial Lawyers Association)


The Miami-Dade Justice Association is a local independent organization of lawyers engaged in the general practice of civil and criminal litigation. The Miami-Dade Justice Association and its members are dedicated to the pursuit of justice, individual rights, access to the Courts, education and trial advocacy. Their mission is to actively protect the rights, health and economic security of every citizen threatened by the malicious, careless or criminal behaviors of those who seek to escape the responsibility of their conduct.


Attorney Pedro P. Echarte, III is a current member to the Board of Directors.  Partner Todd Michaels  recently completed his term to the Board of Directors for his first term.


Partner Douglas McCarron is a past President of the MDJA, having previously served as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. In addition to serving in numerous leadership positions in the Miami Dade Justice Association, Managing Partner Michael Haggard, served as president of the organization in 2002 and as a member of its Board of Directors.

Attorney Leadership Roles

We at The Haggard Law Firm strongly believe in contributing to the community that has brought us success. Beyond our dedication to preserving high standards in the legal profession, the firm partners and associates devote considerable time making South Florida a better place to live and work. Firm members have held leadership positions within various legal associations and organizations. Below are just some of the leadership roles our attorneys have established and maintained within the legal community and the South Florida community. For a more detailed list of an attorney’s individual leadership role please visit the attorney biographical pages on this website.


Wm. Andrew Haggard

  • Florida Commission on Ethics, Commissioner
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA)
  • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, Director
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Fellow
  • Florida State University Board of Trustees (Appointed by Governor Jeb Bush)
  • Florida State University’s College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council, Chairman
  • National Seminole Boosters, Chairman of the Board
  • Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
  • Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce
  • Palmer High School, Board of Trustees


Michael A. Haggard

  • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, Executive Committee (Various positions)
  • ATLA Dade County Legislative Task Force, Chairperson
  • Dade County Trial Lawyers Association, Past President (Various positions)
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Community Partnership for the Homeless
  • Habitat for Humanity