Spotlight: Blane McCarthy
Family. Faith. Community. Blane McCarthy has built his career, and his life, in accordance with these values. As a mediator, he strives to bring peace to people involved in contentious matters.
Blane knew early in his legal career that he wanted to be involved in his local bar association and has spent the last 28 years giving back to the legal community. “I became a Jacksonville- area lawyer in 1995 and joined the local bar that same year,” says Blane. “Fairly early I got involved in leadership, including chairing the ADR practitioners’ section for ten years.” He has also served the Jax Bar as its inaugural litigation section chair, a ten-year member of its board of governors, and currently as its president.
“The Jacksonville Bar Association builds community so you can better enjoy being a lawyer,” says Blane. “That theme resonates with a need we have as a greater society. I feel like the Jax Bar has historically done ‘community’ well, but we took a hit with COVID. One of the best things that the local bar provides is a sense of belonging and a forum to gather and meet attorney peers. It’s not just about developing skill sets; it’s about getting to know your colleagues so you can have a better experience working with them, even if they are on the other side of the ‘v’.”
“Our local bar is known for being particularly collegial,” he continues. “We don’t feel the need to confirm everything in writing. Having relationships that go beyond the status of opposing counsel helps to develop our trust and familiarity with our colleagues because we hopefully know and like our colleagues.”
Blane has a few legal representation cases left to resolve but has otherwise transitioned to fulltime mediation. He mediates different types of cases, including personal injury, commercial, and probate; he also does settlement conferences. He has been a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Civil Trial Law since 2010, and a Certified Circuit Mediator since 2000.
In addition to volunteering with the bar association, Blane helped launch the local Christian Legal Society’s Pro Bono Project partnership with the City Rescue Mission and remains the unofficial director of the program. “I took that role in 2002 when I was president of the Jacksonville chapter of Christian Legal Society. The Pro Bono Project is entirely volunteer-driven and our team of two to six attorneys goes down to the mission five times a year to help address some of the legal barriers that are causing homelessness.”
A Family Man
When Blane isn’t mediating or volunteering, he’s spending time with his family. He’s been married to Jennifer for 29 years and they have three sons: Jonah, 20; Andrew, 17; and James, 14. Jonah will be a junior at Florida Southern College in Lakeland Florida, majoring in exercise science and business administration. The couple has home-schooled their children and Blane has been the science teacher at what his wife has aptly nicknamed The McCarthy Boarding School for Boys. “My free time is predominantly spent with the family — being the dad and husband that all of them need me to be,” he says. He is also active in San Jose Baptist Church, as an ordained deacon, an adult Bible study teacher, and its director of adult ministries (since 2004).
In Pursuit of Peace
His work as a mediator is more than a career — it aligns with his values as a Christian. Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
“Peacemaking is the essence of mediation,” says Blane. “It gives the parties a chance to convene and see if they can find a peaceable solution to whatever has brought them to that moment. I like to have a role in that process — it’s a more functional way to operate as a society and it’s in keeping with the Biblical principles that I try to live by daily.”
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