Mr. Chester created and operated, free to the Broward Conty community, Judicial Calendar.com an early on-line Court scheduling resource which was beta tested for approximately 11 months in 2000-2001. The private project proved that local Court schedules should be posted on the internet and helped lead the way toward early recognition that Circuit Civil hearing and trial dates should be publicly available to assist the legal community.
College and Law School Years
He attended the Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus, Ohio, from 1972 to 1976, and graduated with honors. Mr. Chester earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism at OSU. His studies also placed a special emphasis on national security studies at the famed Mershon Center.
The attorney served as a reporter for the Lantern, a daily large circulation newspaper produced by the OSU School of Journalism. He covered the Battelle Memorial Institute, and reported on scientific research and development activities.
A four year resident of the now closed Stadium Scholarship Dormitory, located in famous Ohio Stadium, he worked as public relations director and helped produce the West Side Story, a student publication.
He also served as Ombudsman for the dormitory residents.
Mr. Chester attended Nova University Center for the Study of Law (Now the Sheppard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University) from 1976 to 1979. He served as the first Editor of the Nova Perspective, a student newspaper focusing on contemporary legal topics. Articles on law related topics featured major newsmakers from the national, state and local arena.
While at Ohio State Mr. Chester worked as a News Reporter and announcer, Development Director and ultimately General Manager for student run carrier current radio station WOSR during the years 1972-1976. Also served as a member of the Board of Directors of that station.
At WOSR, Mr. Chester was talk show host for a program entitled "Rock and Talk" from 1973-74. Guests included Senator John Glenn, musicians, local personalities and other and regional news makers.
He also served as liaison to Ohio State University faculty for WOSR operations.
Mr. Chester has given seminars to Claims Representatives over the last 30 years on various litigation issues, including discovery, bad faith, Florida PIP law, declaratory judgments, the psychology of litigation and other legal items of interest.
In September, 2008, he worked with Attorney Alan Green in presenting a discussion about expert witness depositions to the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics (AOAO) at its convention in Boca Raton.
On September 16, 2008, Mr. Chester participated in the Florida Housing Coalition's 21st Statewide Annual Conference on "Housing, the New Environment" in Orlando, Florida. There he addressed legal issues impacting mobile home park preservation.
Prior Law Firm Affiliations
1983 to 1987-Law Office of Mitchell Chester, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Worked in automobile insurance law and commercial litigation.
1979-1983- Carey, Dwyer, Cole, Selwood and Bernard, P.A., Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As an associate the work included insurance defense and coverage matters, commercial litigation, real estate, probate. Worked in federal Section 1983 litigation with other attorneys. He conducted real estate closings, worked in subrogation, participated in jury and non-jury trials and focused on insurance coverage disputes.
1978-1979- Carey, Dwyer, Cole, Selwood and Bernard, P.A., Law Clerk. Admitted to practice law in Florida in December, 1979.
Mr. Chester produced and directed "Prototechnic Prisms," shown at film presentations as well as the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1971. He also produced a film for the Shaker Heights Board of Education entitled, "The Sights and Sounds of Shaker High" in 1970.
In 1980, Mr. Chester worked on three visits by President Jimmy Carter to Miami and Hollywood, Florida by organizing members of the community to assist the White House Advance Team in logistical operations.
1973- Summer Intern for WTVJ Television News, Miami, Florida.
1975- Summer media internship with U.S. Senator John Glenn, in Washington, D.C. Duties included work on radio "beeper" program for Senator Glenn's Press Secretary, supplying radio content to scores of Ohio Radio Stations.
Awards and Scholarships
Membership in honorary society "Sphinx."
William Faulkner Scholarship in Journalism.
Kappa Tau Alpha national journalism honor society.
Student Leadership Award.
Association of Broadcast Journalists.
Ohio State University's Representative to the 27th Annual Student Conference on United States Affairs at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Member of the Ohio State University School of Journalism Self-Study Committee for Accreditation by the American Council on Education in Journalism.
Miami Beach Bar Association Scholarship Recipient.
In December, 2008, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel published an op-ed forum written by Mr. Chester. Entitled, "Broward citizens deserve, demand a working courthouse," the piece followed over a week of closed doors at the county courthouse due to leaking pipes and called upon lawyers, business leaders, politicians and educators to help fund a new building to avoid delayed, and denied justice.
Progressive Insurance House Counsel Managing Attorney, 1987 - 2001
He started and managed the first House Counsel office for Progressive Insurance in the State of Florida in 1987. Based upon the success of that office, 4 other offices were created in Florida. The Fort Lauderdale office was the third of the Progressive House Counsel offices in 1987, and by 2000, there were approximately 18 offices across the United States. By early 2000, the Fort Lauderdale (Dania) office included 21 people, including attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and support personnel.
Handling full caseloads, including:
Third party personal and bodily injury litigation;
First party contract and personal injury litigation;
Declaratory actions in insurance coverage cases;
Bad Faith cases;
Medical Claims disputes;
Bills of discovery; and
Examinations under oath;
Cases were handled in Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and early in the House Counsel operation, Palm Beach county.
Law Office Management During Progressive Years
Mr. Chester managed a full staff of attorneys, paralegals and legal secretaries for nearly 13 years at Progressive House Counsel offices.
He developed objectives and career goals for all law office staff.
He was responsible for budget and fiscal tracking and was involved in hiring, recruiting and performance management.
The attorney assisted in planning, design and oversight of office space layouts. He managed all aspects of the law office, including file reviews and case management and was responsible for attorney development.
Special Projects at Progressive Insurance
He presented legal seminars on various topics, including, but not limited to: deposition strategies, civil procedure, PIP, alternative dispute resolution and litigation strategies.
He created and administered computer based legal reporting system on Lotus Notes 4.5 for use on the Progressive intranet system and administered legal database on Lotus Notes.
He created and published practice forms for lawsuit use by attorneys, paralegals and legal secretaries.
One of the highlights of the Nova Perspective was publishing Mr. Chester's interview with President Carter's White House Counsel, which took place in the West Wing of the White House.
Mr. Chester is Treasurer and Web Editor of the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).
ABOTA is a national organization of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial, a right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution.
ABOTA works to uphold the jury system by educating the American public about the history and value of the right to a jury trial.
Visit ABOTA Fort Lauderdale by clicking the image above.
Mr. Chester has attained an "AV" rating
The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™. The rating is described as "an objective indicator of a lawyer's high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada."
Mr. Chester was a co-coordinator of a citizen effort to stop the Florida Department of Transportation's (FDOT) imminent plans to "double deck" busy Interstate 595 in Central Broward County. He also served as Editor of 595Alert.org, which published and discussed various aspects of FDOT's plans for the elevated highway.
FDOT's plans to add the $200 million deck over the exisiting highway was opposed based upon saftey and environmental concerns. The "bridge over a bridge" idea was abandoned by FDOT.
Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Law Office sent printers and supplies to a heavily damaged school in Long Beach, Mississippi to help rebuild education efforts.
After Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Mr. Chester helped mobile home residents in the Town of Davie by providing roof tarps and supplies.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, he helped deliver supplies from the Clinton Presidential Campaign to devastated Florida City, in Southern Miami-Dade County. A week before, he worked to provide meals for first responders in a Miami-Dade emergency relief staging area and provided assistance to displaced residents at a Red Cross Shelter for hurricane victims in South Miami-Dade County.
Photo courtesy NOAA.
In 2012, Mr. Chester participated with other members of the American Board of Trial Advocates, in a video presentation focused on retaining three Florida Supreme Court Justices.
Law Office of Mitchell A. Chester, P.A.
150 S. Pine Island Road, Suite 300, Plantation, FL 33324
954.759.9960; Fax: 954.759.9930; Skype: Mitchell.Chester.1
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