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Joel H. Brown

Joel H. Brown

Miami, Florida

Joel H. Brown was elected by his colleagues as Chief Judge in February, 2009 and served in that capacity until reentering private practice in April of 2013. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1971 and practiced as a civil trial attorney for 19 years prior to being appointed to the County Court in 1990 by former Governor Bob Martinez. Subsequently, he served as Associate Administrative Judge of the County Court, Criminal Traffic Division, and then served as Administrative Judge of the County Court, Criminal Division. In 1994, Governor Lawton Chiles appointed him to the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida where he served in various divisions with increasing levels of responsibility, ultimately being named Administrative Judge of the Family Division from 2001 to 2009 and Chair of the Chief Judges Judicial Administration Committee from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012.

During his tenure as Administrative Judge of the Family Division, Brown was responsible for the creation of the "Odyssey" program, which is the first circuit division's effort to go paperless. In county criminal court, he instituted the first paperless program, known as "Spirit." In addition to "Odyssey" and "Spirit," Brown led the movement to establish a "mobile court" that enabled members of the community to maintain access to the courts while the branch courthouse was closed temporarily for renovations.

Joel H. Brown, former Chief Judge, is a native Floridian. He was born, grew up and spent his formative years in Miami Beach. He attended the University of Florida, majored in accounting and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Florida School of Law. He was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve from 1969 to 1975.

Brown is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and was Peer-Review Rated AV, the highest rating, by Martindale-Hubbell. He is admitted to practice in Florida, Colorado, the United States District Court for the Southern District, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used under in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.


  • Court Relocation Committee,1999
  • Family Data Reporting Committee, Chairperson, Implemented Civil System Management Report and Post Judgment Report, February, 1997
  • Court Oriented Rehabilitative and Education Program, Implemented the first court operated DUI School in Dade County Child Restraint Offender Program, Organized the first court sponsored program to assist drivers to obtain approved infant car seats
  • Operation Drive Legal Program - Implemented the first court operated program to assist defendants with suspended driver's licenses to obtain valid licenses.

Areas of Practice

  • Family Law
  • Civil Trial Law
  • Auto Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury
  • Wrongful Death

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, Florida Bar
  • Certified Mediator, Florida Supreme Court

Bar Admissions

  • Florida, 1971
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1971
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1981
  • Supreme Court of Colorado, 1986
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1976


  • University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville, Florida
    • J.D. - 1970
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
    • B.S.B.A. - 1967


  • Faculty Lecturer, Florida Conference of County Court Judges
  • Lecturer, The Obstructive Litigator, Summer Conference of County Court Judges, 1991
  • Lecturer, Civil Procedure and Practice, St. Thomas School of Law, 1991
  • Lecturer, Use of Florida No Fault Law in Auto Negligence Claims and Criminal Restitution, County Court Judges, Winter Conference, 1992
  • Faculty Member, Florida No Fault law, College of Advanced Judicial Studies, 1993
  • Lecturer - "Depositions-Preparation and Procedures in Civil Cases", St. Thomas School of Law, 1994
  • Lecturer - "Advanced Legal Research and Writing". Subject-Preparation, St. Thomas School of Law
  • Dade Legal Aid 23rd Annual Recognition Luncheon, Awards Presentation, Dade County Bar Association, April 27, 2012
  • Faculty Lecturer, D.U.I. Programs, Florida Conference of County Court Judge, Supreme Court Select Committee
  • Keynote Speaker, Tenth Annual Judges and Lawyers Event, January 26, 2012
  • Keynote Speaker, "Diversity on the Bench", Spanish American League Against Discrimination ? S.A.L.A.D., August 25, 2011
  • Speaker, Preservation of our Court History, Cuban American Bar Association ? CABA, August 19, 2011
  • Speaker, Dade County Bar Association 95th Annual Installation Ceremony Speaker and Award Recipient, June 3, 2011
  • Speaker, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Centennial Gala, May 21, 2011
  • Faculty Lecturer, Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, 2010
  • Outline of Court Programs, Dade Community Foundation, November 4, 2009
  • Update to Policies and Procedures in the various divisions of the Circuit and County Courts, Coral Gables Bar Association, September 16, 2009
  • State of the Courts, Dade County Defense Bar Association, July 15, 2009
  • Miami Dade Chapter Induction of Officers, Florida Association for Women Lawyers, July 9, 2009
  • "Put Something Back" Program, View From The Bench
  • "Keynote Address and Effectiveness of Argument", County Attorney's Office Litigation Training Seminar, April 29, 2009
  • "Family Division Practice", DCBA Young Lawyers Courthouse 101, March 27, 2009
  • "Family Law Issues", Fifteenth Annual Nuts & Bolts of Divorce, December 8, 2006
  • Speaker, "Service Above Self", Miami Rotary Club of Miami, FL, January 15, 2004
  • "Put Something Back" Program View From the Bench Lecturer - Burden of Proof, 2004
  • "Put Something Back" Program View From the Bench, 2003
  • "Put Something Back" Program, 2002
  • FICPA Litigation and Valuation Services Conference, 2001
  • Family Court Self Help Project Orientation, January 21, 1977
  • Special Presenter, "Technology in Today's Courts", The National Judicial College, March 12, 1996
  • "Depositions-Preparation and Procedures in Civil Cases", University of Miami School of Law, October 16, 1995
  • "Depositions, Preparation and Procedures in Civil Cases", St. Thomas School of Law, 1994
  • "Use of Florida No Fault Law in Auto Negligence Claims and Criminal Restitution", Winter Conference of County Court Judges, 1992
  • "The Obstructive Litigator", Summer Conference of County Court Judges, 1991

Honors and Awards

  • Who's Who in American Law, 3rd Edition
  • Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, 1989
  • Martindale Hubbell Directory - AV rating
  • Award of Excellence, Dade County Bar Association, 2013
  • Person of the Year Award, South Florida Shomrim Society, 2012
  • Inductee, Miami Beach High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame, 2012
  • The Rodef Sholom Award (Pursuer of Peace), The Miami Jewish Legal Society, 2012
  • Paver Award, Cuban American Bar Association, 2012 - Present
  • Diversity in the Judiciary Award, Spanish American League Against Discrimination, 2011
  • Sabadell's Community Service Award, Sabadell United Bank, 2011
  • Judicial Leadership Award, The First Family American Inns of Court, 2008
  • Avvo rating of 10 – Superb!

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Dade County Bar Association
  • Florida Justice Association
  • Florida Bar, Member
  • Miami Dade Justice Association
  • Colorado Bar, Member
  • American Bar Association, Past Member
  • Dade County Trial Lawyers Association, Past Member
  • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, Past Member
  • American Arbitration Association, Past Member
  • Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, Past Member
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Past Member
  • Florida Bar, Criminal Law Ethics Committee, Past Member
  • Florida Bar, Member, Grievance Committee I, 11th Judicial Circuit, 1985 - 1988
  • Coconut Grove Bar Association, Member, Board of Directors, 1984
  • Florida Bar, Chairperson, Grievance Committee I, 1986 - 1988
  • Florida Bar, Past Member, Ethics Committee
  • Lakeridge Townhome Association, Member, Board of Directors, 1988 - 1990
  • Community Oriented Rehabilitation and Education Program, DUI School,, Dade County, Chairperson, Board of Directors, 1992 - 1994
  • Dade Traffic Oversight Committee, Chairperson, 1992 - 1994
  • Supreme Court Select Committee on the Study of D.U.I. Programs, Member, 1993
  • Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Member, Education Committee, Circuit and County Courts, 1991 - 1994
  • Unified Family Court Advisory Board, Chairperson, 2001 - 2002
  • Non-Custodial Parent Employment Program Advisory Board, Chairperson , 2000 - Present
  • Florida Bar, Family Court Rules Committee, Past member
  • Optical Imaging Executive Committee , Co-Chairperson, Past Member
  • Florida Conference of County Court Judges, Education Committee, Legislative Committee, and Traffic Court Rules Committee, Past Member
  • Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Circuit and County Courts, Education Committee Education, Past Member
  • College of Advanced Judicial Studies, Faculty Member, Past Member
  • Dade Traffic Oversight Committee, Chairperson, Past Member
  • Community Oriented Rehabilitation and Education Program DUI School - Dade County, Past Member
  • College of Advance Judicial Studies, No Fault Law, Faculty Member, 1993
  • Dade County Bar Association YLS, Super Lawyers Mock Trial, Presiding Judge, 2011
  • Dade County Bar Association YLS, Super Lawyers Mock Trial, Presiding Judge, 2010
  • Judge, University of Miami Moot Court, 1998
  • Elected Chief Judge, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, 2009 - March 31, 2013
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