Board of Directors

Roderick N. Petrey
New Equity Partners

Roderick N. Petrey (Rod) founded New Equity Partners after serving as President of the Collins Center for Public Policy, a Miami-based Think Tank, for twenty years. He is retired Senior Counsel to Holland & Knight LLP, a large international law firm, and serves as general counsel for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, Florida International University and various other public and private institutions. Mr. Petrey is Vice-President and legal counsel for the P.L. Dodge Foundation and a member of the Board and Secretary of BAC Florida Bank. He has served as Vice-President of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation in New York, President of The Donors’ Forum of South Florida, President of the Florida Bar Foundation, Chairman of the We Will Rebuild! Foundation, chairman of the Florida Justice Institute, Chairman of the Miami Museum of Science, senior adviser to the Council for Educational Change, and an active member of other civic and business organizations. He received the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida, given to one lawyer in Florida each year who exemplifies the public service spirit of the legal profession. Mr. Petrey has received the “Spirit of Excellence” award from the Miami Herald, the Cal Kovens Distinguished Community Service Award from Florida International University, the Juvenile Justice Award from the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges and other recognitions. He is a member of the America Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation. Mr. Petrey was born in Lakeland, Florida. He received his BA degree magna cum laude from Yale University and his law degree from Harvard University. He has served as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. He is a military combat veteran, serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces (“Green Berets”) in Vietnam and as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division.

William J. Sheppard 
Sheppard, White, Thomas & Kachergus, P.A.  

William J. Sheppard opened his firm, Sheppard & Fletcher, roughly forty years ago, and serves as a Director and Board Member of the Florida Justice Institute.  Mr. Sheppard has been widely recognized for his work on behalf of incarcerated individuals, including his receipt of the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, Florida’s highest pro bono award, presented by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court in 1985, and the Florida Bar Foundation’s Medal of Honor Award in 2004, for “a long and distinguished legal career working on behalf of the underprivileged and oppressed, ensuring that ‘equal justice for all’ is not a hollow phrase.”

Benjamine Reid
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt

One of the state’s most prominent trial lawyers, Benjamine Reid represents a diverse corporate clientele in litigation, and serves as a Director and Board Member of the Florida Justice Institute.  Mr. Reid has extensive appellate experience in both state and federal courts, and focuses his practice on products liability, toxic torts, antitrust, business, class action and pharmaceutical litigation.  Mr. Reid currently serves on the Board of Directors of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A., and also serves on the Executive Committee for the Governor’s Council for Sustainable Florida, as a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, and as Co-Chair of the Legal Services Training Committee of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association. Mr. Reid is a frequent lecturer and author in the fields of trial advocacy and class action litigation in both the United States and Great Britain. Examples of this activity include “The Trial Lawyer as Story Teller: Reviving a Lost Art” in Litigation Magazine as well as his design and presentation of a program in London entitled “Products Over the Pond! Has U.S. Style Litigation Invaded the U.K.?” Mr. Reid was also a faculty member at a trial advocacy program for U.S. attorneys and British Barristers at Wadham College at Oxford.  Mr. Reid has received a number of awards for his pro bono activity and has been recognized in significant publications including Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers as well as in six separate categories in The Best Lawyers in America.

Amelia Maguire
Florida International University College of Business Administration

Recently appointed as the Executive Director of Development Management at FIU’s College of Business Administration, Ms. Maguire serves as a Director and Board Member of the Florida Justice Institute.  Formerly the University of Miami School of Business Administration’s Associate Dean for External Affairs, Ms. Maguire has enjoyed more than 22 years of experience in government, professional service firms, entrepreneurial start-ups and pro bono service to academia.  Ms. Maguire previously served as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and Assistant Secretary of Commerce from 1984 to 1987, as a corporate partner at Holland & Knight, LLP and Steel, Hector & Davis, LLP, and on the Florida State University Foundation Board and the Women’s Leadership Board at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Otis Pitts, Jr. 
Peninsula Developers, Inc.    

Currently the President of Peninsula Developers, Inc., Otis Pitts, Jr. has over twenty-five years of experience in the areas of affordable housing and commercial development and serves as a Director and Board Member of the Florida Justice Institute.  Mr. Pitts, Jr. focuses specifically on the revitalization of distressed, low-income communities, and previously served as the first Deputy Assistant and Federal Coordinator of Long-Term Recovery for Hurricane Andrew.  Mr. Pitts, Jr. has also served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Florida Housing Finance Corporation, and the Florida Partnership of the Americas.


Past Directors

Chesterfield Smith
Founding Director and Board Member (1978-2003)

John Edward Smith
Founding Director and Board Member (1978-1998)

LeRoy Collins
Founding Director and Board Member (1978-1991)

Eleanor Mitchell Hunter
Director and Board Member (1983-1991)

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