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Tradition won out over change last month when members of the Dade County Bar Association elected vice president Tom Pennekamp Jr. as their president-elect. Pennekamp defeated Black Lawyers Association of Dade County President Jason Murray, who ran an aggressive campaign focused on race and diversity. Pennekamp received 58.5 percent of the 850 votes cast by the association’s active members. Murray took 41.4 percent. The votes were counted on May 25. Overall, only 21 percent of the association’s 4,000 members took part in the election. Pennekamp will be installed on June 15. “I’m very pleased; this is very nice,” Pennekamp said. “I don’t know what made the difference, other than my experience and involvement with the bar.” Murray did not return a call for comment. The two men ran very different campaigns over the last few weeks. Murray bucked tradition by running for the top spot before having served as one of the association’s officers, something no one has succeeded at since 1984. He also spent thousands of dollars out of his own pocket on advertising and met with attorneys at major law firms in an effort to garner votes. Pennekamp ran almost no advertising and did little canvassing, preferring to talk one-on-one with members and run on his record as vice president of the association. He touted his success in warding off state legislation that the association considered threatening to the independence of the Florida Bar and the state judiciary. While Murray decried what he sees as lack of diversity in the Dade County Bar, Pennekamp maintained that the association has done much to improve diversity. None of the other officer positions were contested. President-elect and Miami sole practitioner William Aaron will become president. Secretary John H. “Jack” Hickey, a Miami solo, will become vice president. Board member John W. Thornton Jr., a partner at the Miami firm Thornton & Rothman, will become treasurer. Robert J. Fiore, the treasurer and a Miami solo, will become secretary.

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