Welcome Judge Forte!

 It is a new era this week in Ft. Lauderdale. Judge Forte takes the bench, replacing Judge Pecko. We wish Judge Pecko the best in future and welcome Judge Forte. I had the opportunity this week to spend time with Judges Almeyda (MIA), Dietz (MEL) and Forte (FTL) at the New Judge’s College produced by the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary (NAWCJ) in conjunction with the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference in Nashville.

It was a great program, full of information and advice for new judges. It is amazing that they spend years teaching us to be lawyers, but in the past there was little education or instruction on how to be a judge. We have changed that in recent years. I am confident that the NAWCJ New Judge's College was a valuable opportunity for all of our new judges.

For those who do not know judge Forte, let me introduce you.

Judge Forte has been practicing workers’ compensation for many years.  She graduated from the University Of Miami School Of Law in 1990 and immediately began her career practicing workers' compensation law. Her first employer was the Law Offices of Almeyda and Hill. Yes, that would be Eduardo Almeyda and Charles Hill, both now Judges of Compensation Claims in the Miami District Office. To provide a bit of trivia, that firm also included Sylvia Medina-Shore, now the Administrative Judge in the Miami office. That these four would have been law partners and now each be serving as Judges of Compensation Claims is interesting.

In 1997 Judge Forte established the Law Offices of Iliana Forte, P.A. where she continued to represent employers and carriers throughout the State of Florida. Her practice also involved representing injured workers, real estate transaction and general litigation.

In 2007 she joined the City of Miami as an Assistant City Attorney where she represented the City in the defense of workers’ compensation, labor and employment and tort claims. She participated in arbitrations, hearings before the Public Employees Relations Commission and state and federal court proceedings.

During her career, Judge Forte has handled dozens of appeals and has argued before the First and Third District Courts of Appeals. She is a member of the United States District Court Southern District of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  

Judge Forte is well known in the Miami area. She has been involved in a variety of civic and legal activities and organizations.

I am proud to introduce Judge Forte (this week) and Judge Dietz (last week) to the Bar at large. I am sure that their exceptional experiences as workers’ compensation litigators will provide the foundation for them to become great judges. From the time I have spent with them in the appointment process and this week in Tennessee, I find them both intellectually interested in our field, eager to get started, and conscious of the great responsibility which they have accepted.

Welcome Judge Forte!

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