Our Story

The Florida Justice Institute, Inc. (FJI) was founded in 1978 by Roderick “Rod” N. Petrey who was and remains a leading figure in securing funding for public interest law programs across the country. Upon leaving the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation in New York to enter the private practice of law in Miami, Rod was given a start-up grant to establish FJI.

Initial Mission

The mission established by Rod was to:

Rod and FJI set out to accomplish these goals by working with existing organizations to identify major, unmet needs in the community and address them through advocacy and litigation.

After incorporating the organization, establishing the Board, and obtaining section 501(c)(3) charitable status, FJI hired Randall C. “Randy” Berg, Jr. in 1978 to be its Executive Director, a position Randy held until his retirement at the end of 2018.  Randy sadly passed away in April of 2019.

Founding Board of Directors

Roderick N. Petrey

Founder of Florida Justice Institute

Leroy Collins

Former Governor and Undersecretary of Commerce

Chesterfield Smith

Former President of The Florida Bar and American Bar Association and managing partner at Holland & Knight

John Edward Smith

Partner at Steel Hector & Davis

Hugh McMillan, Jr.

Former Legislative Counsel for Governor Askew and in private practice

Eleanor Mitchell Hunter

Assistant General Counsel to the Governor and eventual Executive Director of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners

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