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I am heartbroken to write this post.
Last Wednesday, May 23rd, Federal Prosecutor Beranton Whisenant Jr. passed away in Hollywood Beach in Florida. Beranton had just recently left Foley & Mansfield to become a federal prosecutor.
Beranton was only 37.
He spoke at every one of our litigation programs since 2013, no matter how many we had each year. When someone speaks at your programs that often, you get to know them a little and you get to respect them a lot. Beranton was one of those attorneys that was completely dedicated to creating a great presentation and handouts to go along with it. He probably didn’t have the time to do it, as a partner at a major law firm, but he did it anyway.
And just as important, he was incredibly nice, super smart, and always happy when you saw him, no matter how busy.
The attorneys who attendee our programs loved him – always writing wonderful things about him when they let us know what they thought of our course. The other speakers with whom he would share the dias also spoke very highly of him and in fact it was one of those speakers who let me know last Thursday about Beranton’s death.
I very much enjoyed working with Beranton and having him speak at our seminars.
Any time I would shoot an email around to past speakers inviting them to speak at planned, or potential, seminars, Beranton was one of the first to reply with a “sign me up… for all of them” email. And any time I asked speakers for their recommendations for other speakers I should invite – Beranton would send over a list of four to ten possible attorneys or judges for me to invite – in South Florida, Orlando, even Jacksonville – or he’d just invite them himself and introduce us. Many of the attorneys and most of the judges who have spoken at our programs over the past few years were recommended by Beranton.
In fact, he sent over so many recommendations, and introduced me to so many people, I finally just created a special folder for the names Beranton shared with me.
Beranton even co-wrote a chapter on Opening Statements in my public speaking for attorneys book.
And he was so involved in various legal committees and groups it seemed like he knew everyone. I was looking forward to him becoming a judge one day and speaking in that capacity as well. He would have made an amazing judge.
We’ve had more than 1500 attorneys and judges speak at our programs over the past 13 years, and some of them make such a positive impression that everyone they meet has great things to say about them – – my audio recording guy, my on-site East Coast representative, the person who puts together my speaker lists and emails, and all of the speakers who interact with them, not to mention those who attended our programs as I mentioned above.
All of my staff, and most of the outside folks I use to make a seminar happen, know of and remember Beranton and all were shocked and saddened to hear about his death. Our hearts go out to his family.
An obituary can be found at this link. He is survived by his wife, Ebony, and three young children.
I don’t even know how to end this post, only to say goodbye Beranton.
You were too young to die and you were well loved by everyone in my office. I will miss you.