PBCBA BAR BULLETINS pbcba_bulletin_Sept. 2019 - Page 15

JUDICIAL PROFILE CORNER Judge Meenu Sasser: An Extraordinary Judge, Mentor and Person ADAM T. RABIN On July 6, 2019, our legal community was devastated to learn that we lost Judge Meenu Sasser to esophageal cancer at 48 years of age. Since her appointment by Governor Charlie Crist in 2009, Judge Sasser was a beacon of judicial talent, professionalism and compassion for all who entered her courtroom. As a new judge, Judge Sasser worked incredibly hard to be excellent at her job. Her first assignment was the foreclosure division at the height of the foreclosure crisis with 80 motions to read daily for the next day's motion calendar. Within months of taking the bench, because of the speed in which she processed thousands of cases and digested volumes of information, some of her colleagues nicknamed her “the Rocket.” Judge Sasser later transferred to the civil division, her wheelhouse, where she trailblazed and changed the trajectory of civil judging. Nobody had the combination of her intelligence, quick study, diligence, preparation, organizational skills, efficiency, and professional demeanor and respect towards lawyers, parties, staff, and jurors. Jurors would send her notes thanking her for respecting their time and giving them a new appreciation for their role and the judicial system. Notwithstanding her extraordinary judicial acumen, Judge Sasser’s impact outside of the courtroom was equally exceptional. She proactively offered mentorship to new judges and lawyers alike. She was also a “professor” of the law and judicial practice, rising to Associate Dean of the Florida Judicial College and becoming a prolific author and nationally-recognized speaker on law, technology and innovation. Judge Sasser was passionate about mentoring women and minority lawyers and encouraging them to improve their legal experience, qualify for board certification, and apply for judgeships and other esteemed positions. She was, likewise, tireless in supporting young and less experienced lawyers to develop their skills, judgment, and professionalism through a variety of innovative programs, including the Young Lawyers Section’s “Side Bar Series.” Rest in peace, Judge Sasser. We will miss you. Adam Rabin joined the PBCBA Board of Directors when Judge Sasser began her term as President in 2007. They served together on the Board until 2009, continued to work together on various bar programs, and remained good friends. In Memoriam Judge Sasser was creative, focused, and relentless all at the same time. She was always trying to improve herself and encourage others. She had a particular gift for making those around her feel important and valued. For me personally, she was an incredible, supportive, and loyal friend, whom I will miss dearly. Most importantly, Judge Sasser was a present and committed wife, mother, sister and daughter. She loved above all else her husband, attorney Thomas Sasser, her children Andrew, Caroline, and William, and her family. On the eve of Judge Sasser’s service, there were hundreds upon hundreds of people waiting in line at the funeral home, out the door, and the down the sidewalk, to pay their respects to Judge Sasser’s family. It was like nothing I have ever seen. It is also exceptional for a Governor to order that the American and state flags be flown at half-staff in honor of a judge. Governor Ron DeSantis did just that in memory of Judge Sasser. I cannot think of any person more deserving of such a tremendous honor. PBCBA BAR BULLETIN 15 Honorable Judge Meenu T. Sasser 1970 - 2019