Friends and Neighbors

Local trial lawyer to lead national foundation


Special to The Miami Herald

Congratulations to attorney Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson on his appointment to the American Association for Justice Foundation, established this year to support the civil justice system. Eidson will serve as chairman of the new non-profit that is based in Washington, D.C.

The mission of the group is to “ensure wrongdoers are held accountable to those injured or killed as the result of negligent misconduct.” Eidson, a partner at the Coral Gables-based law firm Colson Hicks Eidson, has long been involved, and honored for his work, with the AAJ formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

“The foundation has been established to protect and preserve the civil-justice system for all people and I am proud to serve as its first chairman,” Eidson said in a release. “I look forward to working with the members of the board during the coming year.”

A nationally recognized trial attorney, Eidson was selected as the Foundation’s first chairman by AAJ President Burton Leblanc at its annual convention in San Francisco.

Eidson has served on almost every committee of the Foundation including a term as president from 2006-2007. In 2010, he was recognized with the David S. Shrager President’s Award for his lifelong commitment to the AAJ, the civil-justice system, and the protection of consumers. He also received the Stephen Sharpe Award for his work with consumer safety.

And to help students, the AAJ Women for Justice Education Fund established the Mike Eidson Scholarship in 2008. The awards are given annually to two women who demonstrate a desire to practice as trial lawyers. Eidson concentrates his practice on litigation, mainly in the fields of products liability, medical and legal malpractice, aviation, and class action and multi-district litigation.


Miami-Dade residents who go on to medical school have a way to help ease their costs. Members of the Rotary Club of Miami recently awarded $155,000 to 50 aspiring physicians through the Thomas Brown McClelland Scholarship Trust. Many are attending the top medical schools in the United States.

The latest recipients join the over 600 individuals who have received more than $6 million in scholarships from the trust since the first awards in 1983. The original $1 million gift from horticulturalist Thomas Brown McClelland in 1980 created the scholarship fund that has grown to $4.3 million. The awards vary in size from $2,000 to $5,000, or even more, are open to any student who graduates from a Miami-Dade County high school and enrolls in medical school.

McClelland was a horticulturist working in Puerto Rico and Miami with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was an active member of the Rotary Club of Miami and continued to be involved after his 1945 retirement. He was named the club’s Distinguished Rotarian in 1965. McClelland believed in the service that physicians provide but was concerned about the costs of a quality medical education. A scholarship fund, he believed, would help and would also encourage recipients to give back to their community.

Alumni who have received the scholarship work across the country in various medical specialties and disciplines and give back “through local health clinics, traveling on international medical missions, providing pro-bono medical care for the indigent, teaching or lecturing at local universities and volunteering in their community.”

Some are now Rotarians and in recent years they have donated almost $25,000 to the fund.

Students interested in the scholarships should visit and look under the link to TBM Scholarship Program. The application for 2014 scholarships will be available in November. Rotary Club of Miami President Scott Richey can be reached at

The Rotary Club of Miami is approaching its 100th anniversary. Members consider the gift of Thomas Brown McClelland, and the Scholarship Trust it created, to be one of its most meaningful endeavors.


All are invited to Ann’s Sixth English Tea Party 2-4 p.m., Aug. 21, at the Coco Plum Woman’s Club at 1375 Sunset Dr., Coral Gables. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs volunteer group will send proceeds from the event to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Prizes will be awarded at the event for the most elegant, funny and original hats. There will also be door prizes and other surprises. Admission is $20 by reservation. To hold your place at the Tea and to find out more about this very active women’s group call Nadine La Guette at 305-856-1816 or e-mail Ann Robson at no later than Aug. 16.

“This is a great club to get involved in,” La Guette said. “If you’re lonely or want to get involved and meet great new friends, call us. We’re always looking for new members and there’s so much good work that we do.”

The GFWC Coco Plum Woman’s Club began with eight members on Valentine’s Day 1912. They arrived by wagon, buggy, horseback, bicycle and foot. At that first gathering the women used empty dynamite boxes as chairs and called their group the Coco Plum Thimble Club.

They quickly got involved and those pioneer women left a legacy of contributions to cultural improvement and community service. Members of the present day group carefully and proudly preserve this history by continuing to do good while having fun. For more about getting involved visit

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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