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Rosalyn Sia Baker-Barnes

Shareholder

Rosalyn “Sia” Baker-Barnes is a Shareholder at Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., and the Chairperson of the firm’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Ms. Baker-Barnes is Board-Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar, and is recognized by US News & World Report as one of the “Best Lawyers in America,” by Lawdragon as one of America’s “500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers,” by Florida Super Lawyers magazine as a top lawyer in the state, by Florida Trend magazine as a “Legal Elite,” and by the Daily Business Review as one of South Florida’s Inaugural “Top 20 Women in Law.”

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 compensatory and punitive damages verdict against tobacco giant RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company that was affirmed by the Florida Supreme Court and reached the United States Supreme Court.

Committed to professionalism, civility and service, Ms. Baker-Barnes is the President-Elect of The Florida Bar, the first African-American female to serve in this role in The Florida Bar’s history, dating back to 1889. The Florida Bar is the organization of all lawyers licensed by the Florida Supreme Court to practice law in the State, comprising over 112,000 members. Ms. Baker-Barnes will begin her term as President in 2025. In her five years of service on The Florida Bar Board of Governors, she served as Chairperson of the board’s Legislation Committee, Program Evaluation Committee and Co-Chair of the COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force. She serves on the board’s Executive and Strategic Planning Committees. For the past three years, she has received the Florida Bar President’s Award of Merit for exemplary service on the board. Ms. Baker-Barnes is also active in The Florida Bar’s Trial Lawyers Section, where she served for many years as a member of its Executive Council. In 2023, the Florida Bar Young Lawyer’s Division awarded her the Woman Lawyer of Achievement Award for outstanding service to the profession. She is also the 2022 recipient of one of the Florida Bar’s highest honors, the Henry T. Latimer Diversity Award, for her long-time commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. 

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 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. 

She is the Co-Founder and Inaugural President of the Palm Beach County Sheree Davis Cunningham Black Women Lawyers Association, founded in 2021 to provide mentorship, support and guidance to black women lawyers and the unique challenges they face in the legal profession. In just two years, the organization has grown to nearly 200 members. In 2023, Ms. Baker-Barnes led a delegation of its members to the United States Supreme Court to be sworn in as members of the Court and had the great honor of presenting the Motion for Admission before the Chief Justice and the entire Court.

An accomplished trial lawyer, Ms. Baker-Barnes is a member of the invitation only International Society of Barristers and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). She is also active in 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 its Board of Governors Liaison and on the Minority Caucus, and regularly lectures for the FJA’s continuing legal education seminars. In 2023, the FJA Minority Caucus awarded her its Beyond Excellence Award for years of service to the organization.

Ms. Baker-Barnes is a proud long-time member of the F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association, where she served as chapter advisor, and a former board member of 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. She is the 2024 recipient of South Palm Beach County FAWL’s Woman Lawyer of the Year award.

A life member of the National Bar Association (NBA), she is a past recipient of both 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. Baker-Barnes is also a life member of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the NBA.

In addition to her legal involvement, Ms. Baker-Barnes is dedicated to improving the community at-large. She is a past 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 fellow of The Links, Inc.’s international Scott-Hawkins Leadership Institute. She is proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Zeta Tau Omega Chapter), the Palm Beach Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and International Women’s Forum. In recognition of her leadership in 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, a full scholarship for academic achievement. At the College of Law, she earned membership on 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 lectures at the law school and mentors current and prospective law students. She is the proud patron of the Florida State University College of Law Sia Baker Barnes Breaking the Glass Ceiling Scholarship, awarded to female law students pursuing careers as civil trial lawyers.

Ms. Baker-Barnes earned her undergraduate degree in Communication from The Florida State University, where she achieved Dean’s List recognition. She interned for Governor Lawton Chiles in his Executive Office of Communication and 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 serve as Parent Ambassadors and patrons at their children’s school, The King’s Academy. They also volunteer as scout parents and patrons of the Boy Scouts of America Pack 116, Troop 116 and Troop 4116 and are active members and patrons of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.

To learn more about Rosalyn Sia Baker-Barnes, see:

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Winning In Jury Selection,” Miami-Dade Inns of Court Bench Bar Conference, Miami, FL, March 1, 2019
  • Speaker, “Impact of the Me Too Movement on Jury Trials,” Law 360 Advocacy Go Big or Go Home Conference, Las Vegas, NV, March 2019
  • Speaker, “A Strong Opening Drive- Starting Strong with a Powerful Opening Statement,” National Trial Lawyers Summit, February 7, 2017, Miami, FL
  • Speaker, “Preparing Your Client and Witnesses for Deposition in Medical  Malpractice Cases,” Florida Justice Association Annual Convention, June 22,  2016, The Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach, FL
  • Panelist, “Panel Discussion on Leadership, Rainmaking, Professional Fulfillment and Diversity,” South Palm Beach County Bar Association, May 25, 2016, Boca Raton, FL
  • Speaker, “The 12 Commandments of Handling Your First Trial,” Florida Justice Association Workhorse Seminar, March 29, 2016, Orlando, FL
  • Speaker, “Trial Tips from the Experts- Best Practices and Techniques for Trial,” F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association, August 2015
  • Speaker, “Rainmaking,” The Florida Justice Association Annual Convention, Orlando, FL, June, 2015

Awards

  • 2021 Judge Edward Rodgers Diversity Award Recipient
  • 2021 Anti-Defimation League Florida Jurisprudence Award Recipient
  • US News & World Report – Best Lawyers in America, 2012- present
  • Lawdragon  – One of the Country’s 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers, 2020
  • Florida Super Lawyer, 2013-present
  • Legacy Magazine – One of South Florida’s 50 Most Influential and Powerful Black Professionals, 2020
  • Legacy Magazine – One of South Florida’s Most Prominent and Influential Black Women in Business and Industry, 2019
  • Recipient of the Justice Barbara Pariente Award by the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Palm Beach County Chapter, 2018
  • Palm Beach Illustrated Magazine – “Top Lawyer,” 2018-present
  • Best Lawyers – “Woman in the Law” in Personal Injury Litigation, Spring 2017
  • Black Enterprise Magazine.com – National “Top Ten Black Female Attorney”, October, 2016
  • F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association’s “Famous Female First,” as the First African-American Female President-Elect of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, 2016
  • Daily Business Review, South Florida Edition – One of the Inaugural “Top 20 Women In Law”, 2014

Prior Cases

  • CONFIDENTIAL (2019) MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $12,000,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2017) MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $5,400,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2016) MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $12,500,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2016) MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $2,750,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2015) PHARMACEUTICAL NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $12,750,000
  • ODOM V. RJ REYNOLDS (2014) PRODUCT LIABILITY VERDICT – $20,000,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2013) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SETTLEMENT – $20,000,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2013) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SETTLEMENT – $1,400,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2012) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SETTLEMENT – $2,500,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2012) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SETTLEMENT – $8,250,000
  • COLETTE VS. SCHOOL BOARD (2011) WRONGFUL DEATH SETTLEMENT – $825,000
  • PIENDLE VS. RJ REYNOLDS (2010) WRONGFUL DEATH VERDICT – $2,470,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2010) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SETTLEMENT – $2,250,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2010) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SETTLEMENT – $2,500,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2008) NEGLIGENT SECURITY SETTLEMENT – $1,350,000
  • HILL V. MULHAUSER (2007) AUTO NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $1,020,000
  • AGUDELO V. MULLER (2006) AUTO NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $1,390,000
  • HEMRAJ V. KOSKI (2006) AUTO NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $1,050,000
  • KNOWLES V. CASTILLO (2006) TRUCKING NEGLIGENCE VERDICT – $740,000
  • CARTER V. SANZ, MD (2005) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE VERDICT – $3,400,000
  • OAKS V. NEWCOMER DAIRY (2003) AUTO NEGLIGENCE SETTLEMENT – $2,475,000
  • CONFIDENTIAL (2002) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SETTLEMENT – $6,000,000
  • CALVES V. LENNAR HOMES (2002) WRONGFUL DEATH VERDICT – $3,060,000
  • BASS V. DECARLO (2001) COMMERCIAL LITIGATION VERDICT – $1,000,000

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