ROSALYN “SIA" BAKER-BARNES is a Shareholder at Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A. and serves on its executive committee. In her 20-year career, she has successfully pursued justice for victims in personal injury, medical negligence, and product liability cases, achieving numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, including her landmark $20 million verdict against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which was affirmed by the Florida Supreme Court. She is included in the US News Best Lawyers in America, is recognized as one of the top lawyers in the state by Florida Super Lawyers magazine, has been included in 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 over 106,000 members of The Florida Bar. She was recently appointed to the board’s executive committee, and serves on the strategic planning, legislative, program evaluation and communications committees. She is also 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, an organization comprising nearly 3,000 lawyers. As the 95th president, she was the first African American female to serve in this role, and her theme for the 2017-18 year was “You’ve Been Served, Lawyers Answering the Summons to Community Service.” The program was designed to emphasize the importance of community service and to recognize the positive impact lawyers make in our communities and beyond. She is also an active member of the F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association, serving as the organization’s chapter advisor, and the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (PBC FAWL). In 2018, PBC FAWL awarded Ms. Baker-Barnes its highest honor, the Justice Barbara J. Pariente Award. This prestigious award is presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to promoting women in the legal community through their efforts, innovation, and leadership. The award is named in honor of retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, who exemplifies the qualities and attributes associated with the honor.
Ms. Baker-Barnes is an active member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Palm Beach County Justice Association, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Justice Association, where she served as chair of the Young Lawyers Section in 2008. She frequently lectures throughout the state and nationally on catastrophic personal injury cases.
Nationally, Ms. Baker-Barnes is an active member of the National Bar Association (NBA) and is a past recipient of the organization’s Presidential Award. The NBA also honored her as one of the Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40, recognizing talented individuals in the legal community who have achieved prominence and distinction and demonstrated a strong commitment to empowering, uplifting, and advocating within the legal community.
In addition to her legal involvement, Ms. Baker-Barnes is committed to improving her community. She is a board member of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches. She is a 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. She is a past fellow of The Links, Inc.’s prestigious Scott-Hawkins Leadership Institute, designed to enhance leadership skills at every level. She is also a member of the West Palm Beach Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Executive Women of the Palm Beaches.
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 Final Four Moot Court Team and 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, and she continues to mentor current and prospective law students.
Ms. Baker-Barnes also earned her undergraduate degree in communication from Florida State University. As an undergraduate, she interned for former Governor Lawton Chiles in the Executive Office of Communication. She resides in West Palm Beach with her husband and three children.