Rosalyn “Sia" Baker-Barnes is a Shareholder at Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., serving on its Executive Committee and chairing its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. In her over 20-year career, she has successfully pursued justice for victims in personal injury, medical negligence and product liability cases and frequently lectures throughout the United States on catastrophic injury cases. She has achieved numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, including a landmark $20 million verdict against tobacco giant RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company that was affirmed by the Florida Supreme Court and reached the United States Supreme Court.
Ms. Baker-Barnes is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who is recognized by US News & World Report as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” and by Lawdragon as one of “500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers.” She is recognized as a top lawyer in the state by Florida Super Lawyers magazine, named one of Florida Trend magazine’s “Legal Elite,” and was selected by the Daily Business Review as one of South Florida’s inaugural “Top 20 Women in Law.”
Committed to professionalism, civility and service, Ms. Baker-Barnes serves on The Florida Bar Board of Governors, representing the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. The board is responsible for formulating policies that govern the more than 108,000 members of The Florida Bar. She is the Co-Chair of the board’s COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force as well as Chair-Elect of the Program Evaluation Committee. She also serves on the board’s Executive, Strategic Planning, and Legislative Committees, and is active in The Florida Bar’s Trial Lawyers Section, where she serves as a member of its Executive Council.
Ms. Baker-Barnes is a past president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association (PBCBA), an organization comprising nearly 3,000 lawyers. As the 95th President, she was the first African American female to serve in this role. Her signature program for the 2017-18 year was “You’ve Been Served: Lawyers Answering the Summons to Community Service,” designed to emphasize the importance of community service and recognize the positive impact lawyers make in their communities and beyond. She is a recipient of the PBCBA’s Judge Edward Rodgers Diversity Award, given to an individual who exhibits visionary and insightful leadership to resolve inequities in the legal community and the community at large.
Ms. Baker-Barnes is an active member of the International Society of Barristers, the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), the Palm Beach County Justice Association, and the Florida Justice Association (FJA). She served as Chair of the FJA Young Lawyers Section in 2008 and is a past member of its Board of Directors. She currently serves as the Board of Governors Liaison to the FJA and is active in its Minority Caucus.
Other legal organizations in which Ms. Baker-Barnes is active include the F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association, which she serves as chapter advisor, and the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (PBC FAWL). She is a recipient of PBC FAWL’s highest honor, the prestigious Justice Barbara J. Pariente Award, which is presented to an individual or organization demonstrating a strong commitment to promoting women in the legal community. This award is named in honor of retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, who exemplifies the qualities and attributes associated with the honor.
Nationally, Ms. Baker-Barnes is an active member of the National Bar Association (NBA), currently serving as an Assistant General Counsel. She is a past recipient of the organization’s Presidential Award, and of the NBA’s “Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40” award, which recognizes talented individuals who have achieved prominence and distinction and demonstrated their commitment to empowering, uplifting, and advocating within the legal community.
In addition to her legal involvement, Ms. Baker-Barnes is dedicated to improving her community. She is a board member of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, past chair of the Board of Directors of the Inlet Grove Community High School, Inc.; a past president of the West Palm Beach Chapter of The Links, Incorporated; and a past chairperson of the Southern Area Links Ethics & Standards Committee. Ms. Baker-Barnes is a past fellow of The Links, Inc.’s prestigious Scott-Hawkins Leadership Institute, which is designed to enhance leadership skills at every level. She also is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Zeta Tau Omega Chapter), and Executive Women of the Palm Beaches. In recognition of her leadership in both the legal community and the community at large, she was awarded the Florida Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Jurisprudence Award.
Ms. Baker-Barnes earned her law degree from the Florida State University College of Law, where she was awarded the prestigious Virgil Hawkins Fellowship for academic achievement. At the College of Law, she was a member of the Moot Court Team. Selected as one of the “Final Four,” as a first-year law student she argued before the justices of the Florida Supreme Court. In recognition of her excellence in advocacy, she was inducted into the Order of the Barristers. Following her graduation, she served on the board of directors of the Florida State University College of Law Alumni Association. She currently serves as a charter board member of the FSU College of Law’s Black Alumni Network (BAN), where she chairs its Racial Justice Advocacy Committee and is the Florida Bar Board of Governors Liaison. She regularly mentors current and prospective law students.
Ms. Baker-Barnes earned her undergraduate degree in Communication from Florida State University, where she was on the Dean’s List. She interned with former Governor Lawton Chiles in his Executive Office of Communication. She also completed an undergraduate cooperative program in Journalism at Florida A&M University. She resides in West Palm Beach with her husband, Attorney Edrick E. Barnes, and their three children, Selia, Emri and Edan Barnes. They are frequent volunteers at their children’s school, The King’s Academy, and active members of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.