Doyle named the Bar's new executive director.


After a national search, the new executive director of The Florida Bar was found across the street from the Tallahassee headquarters at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Special Agent Joshua Doyle, 37, will become the new executive director, succeeding John F. Harkness, Jr., who is retiring after 37 years at the helm of the 104,000-member Bar.

After wrapping up his FBI work, Doyle hopes to join the Bar by mid-July. Harkness plans to help with the transition for at least six months.

"I view this job as a continuation of my dedication to public service. My entire career has prepared me for this position, as I have long been committed to seeking and serving justice, fairness, and respect for the rule of law," said Doyle, who grew up in Tallahassee, and received both his undergraduate degree in public relations and his law degree from Florida State University.

"Leading a staff and organization that supports the advancement of these core principles would be the culmination of everything I have pursued in my career, as well as my personal and professional values," Doyle wrote in his application.

"I seek the opportunity to help lead The Florida Bar on a course that embraces the demands of the 21st century: an appreciation of and commitment to diversity and an understanding of the rapidly changing advances in technology and information services."

"We had wonderful candidates, very qualified candidates who put their names in, as you would expect," said Bar President Bill Schifino. "I sat through and watched interviews. At the end of that process, Josh Doyle was the No. 1 choice of the search committee."

Schifino said he personally contacted Doyle's references and received universally high recommendations, including from his FBI boss, Teresa Gustafson.

"What she had to say about him was what a consensus-builder he is, how he managed people, how he worked with people, and is a true listener," Schifino said. "When the Tallahassee branch had a need, they recruited Josh [who was working in Washington, D.C.], and he was one of the most highly regarded FBI agents in the country.

Bar President-elect Michael Higer said: "I am extremely pleased with the board's decision approving Josh Doyle as the Bar's next executive director. He greatly impressed me with his character, poise, and judgment--all qualities that will make him an excellent leader to guide the Bar for many years to come."

Doyle said he knows Harkness from the time he worked for the Bar's...

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