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The Florida Justice Institute, Inc. (FJI) was founded in 1978 by Roderick N. Petrey while serving as Executive Vice President of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation in New York City.

Rod was and still is a leading figure in securing funding for public interest law programs across the country. Upon leaving the Clark Foundation to enter the private practice of law in Miami, Rod was given a start-up grant to establish FJI.

Rod’s initial mission for FJI–a private, not-for-profit, public interest law organization–was to:

Founding Board of Directors

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

Meet FJI’s initial Board of Directors:

Roderick N. Petrey

Founder of Florida Justice Institute


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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