F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association


  Judge W. Matthew Stevenson, Senior Judge, State of Florida

DEGREES: Florida State University, B.A., Criminology, 1975; Florida State University College of Law, J.D., 1978. 

Judge W. Matthew Stevenson served with distinction on the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal from 1994 - 2016.  He was the first African-American judge to serve in that position.  In May of 2016, Judge Stevenson took senior status and now serves as a Senior Judge in the State of Florida, eligible to sit by assignment in any District Court of Appeal, Circuit or County Court in the State of Florida.  Prior to his elevation to the court of appeals, he served as a Circuit Court Judge in Palm Beach County from 1989 to 1994.  His legal career prior to the bench included a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Justice Joseph Hatchett on the Supreme Court of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; service a commissioned officer in the United States Navy JAG Corps; and service as a certified circuit court mediator with Mediation, Inc.

While on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Judge Stevenson frequently invited youth groups to the court to hear actual cases and visit with the panel of judges afterwards.  He was the first judge of the court to organize an outreach program where the panel of judges visited Palm Beach Lakes Community High School and held an actual appellate court session there with real cases and real lawyers. He also tirelessly advocated for increased minority hiring at the court of appeal, and during his tenure, the first black deputy marshal was hired as well as several black deputy clerks in the Clerk’s office. 

Off the bench, Judge Stevenson serves on the Board of Trustees at Palm Beach Atlantic University where he is a member and former chair of the Student Development Committee.  In his position on the board, Judge Stevenson has also advocated for increased diversity in student enrollment and student financial aid distribution.

In his spare time, Judge Stevenson devotes countless hours to the youth boxing programs sponsored by USA Boxing.  For his efforts with youth boxing Judge Stevenson has received local and national awards and recognition.

Judge Stevenson is member of various Prince Hall affiliated masonic groups in West Palm Beach including the Pride of Palm Beach Lodge # 447, Samuel T. Brady Consistory # 312 and Masud Temple # 69.  Judge Stevenson attends Tabernacle Church in West Palm Beach.  He is a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

Honorable Catherine Brunson, 15th Judicial Circuit, Circuit Court Judge

Judge Brunson graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in December of 1974, where she was the first black female student to graduate from the law school. She was admitted to practice law in Florida on May 22, 1975.  After starting her career as an Assistant Public Defender and attorney for the State Retirement Commission, Judge Brunson moved to Palm Beach County in June of 1976 and began working at the Law Offices of Thomas Montgomery.

In 1977, she became the first black attorney hired by the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office. Thereafter, in February of 1984, she became the first black female attorney to open a private practice in Palm Beach County.  On August 10, 1994, she became the first black female to be appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in Palm Beach County.

  David C. Prather, Esq. 

 

A Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney at the West Palm Beach-based law firm of Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Keen & Littky-Rubin, David C. Prather has been litigating cases statewide since 1990. Throughout the years, he has taken an active role in the legal and business communities, volunteering his time to advancing the practice of law in Florida and mentoring and developing the next generation of professional and civic leaders.

Prather has been a member of The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors for the past seven years, as well as serving on several Florida Bar committees, including: Board of Governors (BOG): 2007-2014, Executive Committee (BOG): 2008-2014, Budget Committee (BOG): 2013-2014 Chair, Program Evaluation Committee (PEC): 2014-2015 Chair, PEC Committee (BOG): 2013-2014 Chair Elect, PEC Lomas Sub-Committee (BOG): 2014 Chair, Judicial Nominating Screening Committee (JNC): 2013-2014, Vision 2016 – Bar Admissions Subcommittee, Strategic Planning Committee: 2008-2015.

Over the years, Prather has served on and chaired a number of organizations in addition to The Florida Bar including: Fellow – The Florida Bar Foundation, Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) appointed in 2012 and 2014 by U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Palm Beach County Bar Association: Board of Directors; Ex-Officio Member, Palm Beach County Justice Association: Past President, Florida Justice Association (FJA): Eagle member, National Bar Association (NBA): Virgil Hawkins Chapter, F. Malcolm Cunningham Bar Association: Board Advisor, WPBT2 Television: Board of Directors, Trustee - Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, Federal Magistrate Selection Committee in the Southern District of Florida.

Prather – an AV® Preeminent™ Rated Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell®, which signifies the highest rating for legal knowledge and ethics, has earned significant awards and distinctions for his excellence in the practice of law.

Specializing in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death and auto negligence litigation, Prather has successfully argued and achieved several of the largest auto and medical negligence verdicts and the largest non-surgical verdicts in the firm’s history. Prather began his career as an Assistant Public Defender in West Palm Beach, Fla., for three years and subsequently served as Assistant State Attorney also for three years. Both jobs resulted in Prather gaining tremendous trial experience. He graduated with Honors from Hunter College – City University of New York before earning his law degree from Rutgers University School of Law. He is admitted to practice in all state courts and the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts, as well as the United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit.

Prather has three children, Ashley, Taylor and Christopher and resides in Palm Beach County.

 

 

Copyright © 2015 F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association

                           P.O. Box 153, West Palm Beach, FL 33402 

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