Thanks to the energy and dedication of the members of the executive council, as well as other volunteers, the Administrative Law Section is having a very active and productive year.
The section has always concentrated on continuing legal education, and this year has been no exception. Judge Li Nelson spearheaded our biennial Pat Dore Administrative Law Conference “Nursery Rhymes Style” on November 7 and 8, with S. Curtis Kiser, one of the “founding fathers” of Florida’s APA, as keynote speaker. She put together a great group of seasoned private practitioners, agency counsel, and administrative law judges who expertly covered a host of current issues. Our CLE Committee Chair Bruce Lamb also organized a couple of excellent webinars, including “Deposing the Expert Witness” by Colin Roopnarine and Timothy Atkinson in December and “The Nuts and Bolts of Bid Protests” by Brian Newman and Robert Hosay in January, and the section has budgeted for an audio webcast series of three more programs next year. The Public Utilities Law Committee, under the direction of Cindy Miller, presented “Florida Energy, Cybersecurity, and Administrative Practice” in January to rave reviews. At the time of this writing, we are looking ahead to our biennial “Practice Before DOAH” seminar in the fall.
The section’s recommendations for changes to the Administration Commission’s Uniform Rules of Procedure have been largely accepted, and Judge Linda Rigot continues to monitor and assist in the commission’s ongoing efforts. The rulemaking chapter was repealed in December. Most of the other recommended changes were adopted on February 5, 2013, with a few held over for more consideration. We will continue to follow these efforts and provide expertise and assistance to the Administration Commission as requested.
The section’s goal to focus our Law School Liaison Committee’s efforts this year has been a great success. Chair Patty Nelson organized a program on administrative law research, complete with pizza and presentations by several eminent agency counsel and private practitioners, and presented it to a standing-room-only crowd at the Florida State University College of Law. Patty videotaped the presentation, and plans to contact other law schools around the state to offer it to them. In the past, we have had some difficulty marshalling members to maintain liaison with all of the schools. Now, with one or two local section members to present the video and answer questions, we should be able to offer each school a helpful program.
In conjunction with Chief Judge Cohen of the Division of Administrative Hearings and John Fenno of Legal Services of North Florida, the section is participating in a program to assist pro se litigants at DOAH. Beginning February 1, 2013, DOAH initial orders going out within the Second Judicial Circuit have advised that free consultation with an attorney at LSNF may be available to qualified pro se parties. Under the leadership of Richard Shoop, the section has provided LSNF with some extra hotline volunteers and detailed reference materials outlining DOAH procedures. Other section volunteers have agreed to act as consultants with the hotline attorneys on specific administrative law topics. While it is too soon to fully evaluate this pilot project, hopefully it can be expanded to all of the circuits across Florida in the near future.
The section also began a project to improve access to agency orders. Jowanna Oates is heading up a committee that has been gathering information on how each agency meets current indexing requirements. The section’s website will soon contain information on where each agency’s orders may be found, describe how they may be searched, and provide Internet links when available. With this groundwork complete, hopefully in future years, the committee can undertake a detailed examination of F.S. §§120.53 and 120.533 to see if the section can’t offer suggestions to create more efficient and effective access to all orders.
Our publications have been going strong. Our quarterly ALS Newsletter has a new co-editor, Jowanna Oates, who is helping Judge Elizabeth McArthur. In addition to all of our regular features, Gar Chisenhall has organized a group to report on all of the interesting DOAH cases as they come out. We are also adding a short column on upcoming events at the FSU law school that might be of interest to our many Tallahassee members. The steering committee for the Administrative Practice Manual has put things on the back burner for a bit, with the next edition planned for the spring 2014. Francine Ffolkes has faithfully published her new “ALS E-News” with all of the latest information between newsletters. Paul Amundsen has done a great job lining up and editing articles for The Florida Bar Journal. “Practice Pointers for Administrative Hearings: Use of Exhibits” by Judge Bram Canter, was published in August; “Practice Tips for Private Attorneys New to Administrative Law” by Garnett Chisenhall, appeared in October; “Advancing the Legal Profession with Typography” by Suzanne Suarez Hurley was published in November; and “The Importance and Proper Use of Administrative Declaratory Statements” by Fred Dudley came out in March.
At the time of this writing, Judge Linda Rigot is carefully monitoring any developments affecting the practice of administrative law at the legislature, and her committee stands ready to organize and present the section’s expert analysis to sponsors and legislative committees upon request. We are also looking forward to the section’s long range planning retreat under the capable direction of Amy Schrader, our chair-elect. At that annual reassessment, we will decide on winding down some of our completed projects, maintaining and expanding others, and accepting new challenges for the coming year. We will end the year at our meeting during the Annual Bar Convention in Boca Raton with the election of some new executive council members and our new leadership team.
F. Scott Boyd, Chair
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Section is completing its third year since officially launching in August 2010. As we come to the end of this third year, the ADR Section has more than 900 members. The section’s newsletter, “ADR News & Tips,” continues to be published with articles and links of interest to its members. “ADR News & Tips” can be read online at the ADR Section’s page of The Florida Bar’s website.
The executive council of the ADR Section worked tirelessly this year to make a recommendation to The Florida Bar Board of Governors for a change in the conflict rule that would allow a mediator to mediate after full disclosure of the conflict.
The ADR Section’s CLE committee is planning an excellent program to be held in conjunction with the Annual Convention of The Florida Bar during June 2013, titled A.I.M. Mediation: Advocacy, Impasse & Marketing. Please plan to join us!
The ADR Section will continue to grow and succeed under the exemplary leadership of incoming Chair Karen Evans and Chair-elect Michael Lax. For more information on the ADR Section and opportunities to become more involved, please visit the section’s page of The Florida Bar’s website.
Chester B. Chance, Chair
The section started its year by hosting a welcome reception at the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges Annual Education Program and held its first meeting immediately following the conference. This was the third time section members were offered the opportunity to attend the conference and interact with appellate judges from across the state while obtaining legal education credits. Participating in the conference was a terrific experience for practitioners, and the section has already committed to participating in the conference again next year.
The CLE committee, chaired by Jessie Harrell, organized and presented (or have upcoming) the following seminars: Practicing Before the Fifth District Court of Appeals, the Advanced Appellate Practice and Certification Review Course, which, for the first time was presented by webcast, the Eleventh Circuit Appellate Practice Institute Seminar, and Hot Topics in Appellate Practice. The section continued its monthly Telephonic Continuing Legal Education program, chaired by Duane Daiker. The telephonic seminars provided low cost and convenient legal education credit and encouraged informal dialogue regarding a broad range of topics.
The publications committee, chaired by Kristin Norse, with assistance from Florida Bar Journal Articles Editor Brandon Christian, “The Guide” Editor Rebecca Creed, and “The Record” Co-editors Anne Sullivan and Amy Miles, maintained a steady flow of appellate-related articles in The Florida Bar Journal and will publish at least two issues of “The Record” by the end of the year.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Appellate Practice Section, so the section decided to celebrate this milestone by planning a year-end dinner, organized by the section’s anniversary committee and its principal committee chair, Dorothy Easley. The dinner, which will be held on June 27 at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Boca Raton, will immediately precede the section’s annual dessert reception. The dessert reception is one of the section’s signature events, and will be organized by the programs committee and its chair, June Hoffman.
The section also made efforts to reinvigorate the outreach committee. Committee Co-chairs Siobhan Helene Shea and Robin Bresky were tasked with revising the Outreach Program and preparing a mission statement. The outreach committee will advance the long-term goals of the section by improving the visibility of the Appellate Practice Section and its members and expanding the diversity of the leadership base within the section.
The section’s pro bono committee, chaired by Sarah Lahlou-Amine, continued to handle appeals referred from legal aid organizations and the appellate courts, as well as direct requests from indigent pro se litigants. In late 2011, the committee developed a system for tracking appeals its members have handled. Since that time, the committee has tracked 18 appeals that the committee has handled on behalf of indigent litigants. Committee members have also increasingly been working with legal aid organizations to provide mentoring and guidance through the appellate process and explore a screening process to identify additional pro se litigants who need assistance.
The Public Advocacy and Legislation Committee, chaired by Nicholas Shannin, monitors issues that arise in Florida’s legislature and executive branch, and within The Florida Bar, pertaining to the appellate judiciary and appellate practice. During the past year, the committee worked with The Florida Bar to assist in two major outreach efforts. First, the public information campaign known as “The Vote’s In Your Court” promoted awareness regarding merit retention. Second, after The Florida Bar took an official position encouraging voters to reject proposed “Amendment 5” to the Florida Constitution, the Appellate Practice Section voted to take an identical position based upon the threat the amendment presented to an independent judiciary. Voters rejected the amendment during the general election of November 6, 2012.
Finally, Jonathan Streisfeld, the website committee chair, worked tirelessly to ensure that section blasts were disseminated rapidly and seamlessly.
A special thanks to the section’s judicial liaisons: Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince, First District Court of Appeal Judge Stephanie Ray, Second District Court of Appeal Judge Morris Silberman, Third District Court of Appeal Judge Richard Suarez, Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Spencer Levine, Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Charles Lawson, and 11th Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Rosemary Barkett. Also, thank you to the section’s Board of Governors representative, Juliet Roulhac, and the officers: Chair-elect Caryn Bellus, Vice chair Ceci Berman, Secretary-treasurer Chris Carlyle, and Immediate Past Chair Matthew Conigliaro. Additionally, the section would be unable to function without the daily assistance from its Florida Bar liaison and program administrator, Mary Ann Obos.
The section thanks each of the committee chairs and editors who devote time and energy to perpetuating the section’s role and function: Anniversary Committee Co-chairs Dorothy Easley and Celene Humphries; CLE committee Chair Jessie Harrell; Outreach Committee Co-chairs Siobhan Shea and Robyn Bresky; Public Advocacy and Legislation Committee Chair Nicholas Shannin; Pro Bono Committee Chair Sarah Lahlou-Amine; Self-Represented Litigant (Pro Se Handbook Committee) Chair Kimberly Jones; Programs Committee Chair June Hoffman; Publications Committee Chair Kristin Norse; and Website Committee Chair Jonathan Streisfeld.
Jack Reiter, Chair
As in years past, The Florida Bar Business Law Section has had an extraordinarily active year and continues to make its legislative initiatives, CLE programs, and work of the substantive law committees its overall focus. In a slight departure from past annual reports, the section recognizes and highlights certain special projects, initiatives, and achievements, as follows:
• Florida Revised LLC Act Drafting Committee — The Business Law Section, along with the Tax Section, after an almost five-year effort going back to 2008, has sponsored a proposed Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act (the “revised act”) in the 2013 Florida Legislature. The revised act was introduced in the House (H.B. 1079) by Representative Charles McBurney of Jacksonville, and in the Senate (S.B. 1300) by Senator David Simmons of Orlando. Section legislative advocates Bill Wiley, Aimee Diaz Lyon, and Greg Black have done an exceptional job squiring the revised act through the Florida Legislature, with technical assistance from Drafting Committee Chair Lou Conti.
The revised act is based in large part on the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (2006), as amended in 2011, promulgated by the Uniform Law Commission. The revised act retains a significant core from the current Florida LLC Act, but will be renumbered as new F.S. Ch. 605, rather than as an a amendment to existing F.S. Ch. 608. One thing that has not changed is the “Olmstead Patch” changing the charging order provision in existing §608.433, which was passed into law in 2011 as a result of efforts of the Tax, RPPTL, and Business Law sections, to address the controversial 2010 Florida Supreme Court decision in Olmstead.
The proposed effective date of the revised act is January 1, 2014, for all LLCs formed on or after that date, and there will be a transition period for all LLCs existing as of December 31, 2013, so that the revised act will not apply to the existing LLCs until January 1, 2015, unless they opt to be governed by the revised act in 2014.
A core group of Business Law Section lawyers have been instrumental in drafting the Florida Revised LLC Act, including Chair Lou Conti; Greg Marks, the reporter for the Drafting Committee; Steve Lear, the recording secretary for the drafting committee; past Business Law Section Chair Phil Schwartz; past Legislation Committee Chair Gary Teblum; Mark Nichols, who chaired a subcommittee of trial lawyers from the Business Litigation Committee; Academic Advisors Stu Cohn, of the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law and Manuel Utset, of the Florida State University College of Law; Jon Polenberg, past Business Litigation Committee chair; and Legislation Committee Chair Alan Howard, among many others who worked tirelessly on this project. A list of the Drafting Committee is included as part of the White Paper describing the Revised LLC Act prepared by the Drafting Committee and posted on the Business Law Section website.
• Maxine Long: Recipient of President’s Pro Bono Award — The entire section was thrilled to learn and will continue to celebrate President Gwynne Young’s decision to award our own former section chair, Maxine Long, with The Florida Bar’s Pro Bono Award for the 11th Judicial Circuit. With many of our members in attendance, Maxine was recognized along with 21 other outstanding lawyers for their work on behalf of poor and indigent clients at a January 31 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida. In 2011-12, Florida lawyers provided 1.67 million hours of pro bono services to those in need and $4.88 million to legal aid organizations. The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Awards were established in 1981. They are intended to encourage lawyers to volunteer free legal services to the poor by recognizing those who make public service commitments and to raise public awareness of the substantial volunteer services provided by Florida lawyers to those who cannot afford legal fees. Pro bono service continues to be a key mission of our section and Maxine continues to serve our section as a member of the section’s Pro Bono Committee.
• New Lawyer and Law Student Mentoring Initiative — In the last year, the section’s Membership Committee has greatly expanded its mentoring program with both increased financial support and a more direct approach to new lawyers and law students. In addition to increasing its sponsorship of mentoring picnics and programs throughout the state, the Membership Committee has embarked on a program seeking volunteers, who will be added to a list of potential mentors to help new lawyers and law students become acclimated as budding business lawyers. The section is particularly sensitive to the needs of new lawyers who find it necessary, given the current economic environment, to hang their own shingle, while lacking the requisite practical skills. The section is maintaining the list of potential mentors and sending its members information about potential mentees from time to time. Many of our members are giving more of their time and talent to assist. Mentoring includes being able to field practice questions from a mentee and establish a relationship to help a mentee through the challenges of law school and the early stage of practice. We hope this initiative will become a huge success and a standing program of the section and recognize the constant hard work and dedication of Membership Committee Chair Emeritus Alan Aronson.
• Publications, Journal, Social Media, and Website — The section has also engaged in what will be a multi-year effort to revamp and restructure how the section delivers content to its members, including the development of its social media platform, state-of-the-art website, and streamlined e-journal and case updates. Thanks to the help of the entire Communications Committee, which includes Lynn Sherman, Kacy Donlon, Sam Lewis, Peter Valori, as well as the leadership of the section, Chair-elect Steph Nagin and Secretary-treasurer Judge Bill Van Nortwick, the section expects response to RFPs by the time of the annual meeting.
Brian K. Gart, Chair
City, County & Local Government Law
The City, County & Local Government Law Section is comprised of a wide variety of skilled professionals representing local governments at all levels. Whether in-house counsel or private practitioners, our members represent cities, counties, special districts, and school boards, as well as persons appearing before these entities, throughout the state. The section has more than 1,500 members and is always looking for ways to engage new attorneys through its various programs, CLE offerings, and other benefits of membership.
A very successful member benefits program that has grown significantly over the past year, the section’s Listserv is as active now as it has ever been and allows members to tap into the expertise of other section members. Questions posted have run the gamut from public records or meetings issues to Bert Harris to sovereign immunity – and everything in between. This benefit harnesses what one member has referred to as the “intellectual horsepower” of our membership and provides a valuable resource to attorneys who may be struggling with an issue, looking for that elusive case, or simply in search of a sounding board. As the section continues to refine this tool, as well as other online resources, it will no doubt prove even more valuable. This resource has been made possible largely through the efforts of executive council member Mark CS Moriarty, who will assume the position of secretary-treasurer of the section at its annual meeting in May.
The CCLG Section has traditionally hosted quality seminars geared toward the unique issues that face government lawyers and also that support the CLE needs of the 224 lawyers who are board certified in the area of city, county, and local government law. This year was no exception. The year began with September’s public employment and labor relations seminar, which was hosted in conjunction with the Labor and Employment Law Section for the 38th year, making it the longest running seminar hosted jointly by two sections of The Florida Bar. Thanks to long-standing section member Mike Grogan for once again making this seminar a success. In February, the section offered our now annual Sunshine Law, Public Records and Ethics Seminar, a one-day seminar in Tallahassee, which was shown via webcast. This popular seminar, organized by executive council member Rob Teitler, not only featured many speakers from the Florida Commission on Ethics, including its executive director, but also Pat Gleason, Florida’s public records and Sunshine Law guru. Not only is this a great resource for our members, but also for those public officials with whom many of us work.
As I write this annual report, the CCLG Section is gearing up for its annual meeting in May, which will feature the Public Finance and Board Certification Review Course. The section is fortunate to have so many of its past chairs remain active, with Sandy MacLennan and Herb Thiele serving as the respective chairs for these seminars. Additionally, the 36th Annual Local Government Law Seminar will take place, focusing on the hot topics of the day. This year, the annual seminar will include a discussion of red light cameras, the benefits of same-sex policies, and the ever popular legislative update, among others. In keeping with past tradition, this year’s annual seminar was programmed by section Chair-elect Hans Ottinot, who will assume the position of chair at the annual meeting, which coincides with the seminar.
The CCLG Section renewed its commitment this year with Stetson University College of Law to continue partnering on the annual Local Government Law Symposium, published through Stetson’s Law Review. Many thanks to section member Amanda Coffey for assuming responsibility for the symposium from Pam Dubov, who led the section’s collaboration with Stetson for many years on this project. The section also sponsors a host of articles on relevant topics throughout the year in the Bar Journal, which provides a timely platform for articles of interest to section members. Thanks also to executive council member David Miller for taking over as chair of this committee for the section.
In addition to the quality seminars and publications offered throughout the year, the section focuses several programs on developing a new generation of local government lawyers and increasing membership. Law student awards are presented annually to students at each of Florida’s law schools who demonstrate a particular interest in local government law. Grants are annually made available to local governments around Florida to help make internships available to interested students at in-house local government offices. The section’s Young Lawyers Committee continues to assist the section’s efforts in increasing membership among the Bar’s newest group of lawyers.
At last year’s annual meeting, the section bestowed the inaugural H. Hamilton “Chip” Rice Award on Chip Rice himself, in recognition of his role as a mentor and friend to countless lawyers over the years. A past chair of the section and past recipient of just about every award the section has to offer, Chip is an inspiration to me personally and just about every other lawyer who has been fortunate enough to meet him. Manatee County declared January 29, 2013, to be Chip Rice Day in a proclamation issued by its county commission. In so doing, the county recognized his years of service to the county and its citizens, including service as the county attorney. Under Chip’s leadership, that office produced several future county attorneys and a host of other professionals who no doubt were positively impacted by him. Though this Kentucky gentleman may have retired from the practice of law, the section will be proud to annually commemorate his great career by bestowing the Chip Rice award on a worthy recipient.
As the year draws to a close, I would like to thank the executive council and our program administrator, Ricky Libbert, for all for the hard work they have each contributed to making the section a success. I am certain the section will be in good hands as our incoming Chair Hans Ottinot and Chair-elect Dana Crosby-Collier assume the reigns!
Jewel White, Chair
The Elder Law Section had an amazing year thanks to its dedicated executive committee, substantive and administrative committee chairs, liaisons, and section members.
• Section Strategic Planning — In June 2012, the section’s executive council held a day-long strategic planning meeting. This meeting resulted in a long-range plan for section development, increased diversity, legislative advocacy plan creation, and leadership development.
• Ten-hour Commitment Campaign — To increase member participation in all section activities, the section initiated its “Ten-hour Commitment” campaign encouraging members to dedicate just 10 hours a year to section activities. The campaign included a list of activities that only require 10 hours a year and the benefits derived from participation. This campaign has increased participation in section CLEs and our mentoring program.
• Mentoring and Tricks of the Trade — The section’s Mentoring Tricks of the Trade has always been its most successful program. The program is run by the mentoring committee, chaired by Jason Waddell, and consists of a free telephonic CLE every other month in which a section member expert speaks on a topic and members ask the expert questions anonymously about any issue in that topic. Mentoring is expanding to include electronic mentoring materials on the section’s mentoring website and rules to guide one-on-one mentoring relationships within the section. The section mentoring committee also compiled and posted links to all the free LOMAS practice management CLEs to the section’s resource page.
• Targeting the Unlicensed Practice of Law in Medicaid Planning — Since 2007, the section has worked to combat the damage done to elders by nonattorneys drafting legal documents, giving legal advice on the restructuring of assets, and giving legal advice on restructuring income, all to obtain eligibility for Medicaid’s long-term care programs. This year, the section’s UPL committee, chaired by John Frazier, successfully petitioned The Florida Bar Standing Committee on UPL for an advisory opinion on the practice of law in Medicaid planning. A draft of that opinion should be issued in late 2013. The section has also asked the Florida Department of Children and Families to work with the section to combat UPL in Medicaid planning.
• Legislative Advocacy — This year, the section has seen another year of legislative activity impacting Florida’s elders and their caregivers. The legislative committee, chaired by Scott Selis, with the assistance of various substantive committees, reviewed and recommended positions on more than 30 bills. With Representative Elaine Schwartz’s help, the section advocated against a bill discriminating against family member caregivers and spouses of individuals who need Medicaid long-term care benefits that the section believed harmed Florida’s most vulnerable citizens. The section also worked to support several bills that promote the health, welfare, and safety of Florida’s elderly and vulnerable citizens.
• Legislation to Increase Prosecution of Exploitation — This year, the section’s Abuse Neglect and Exploitation Committee, chaired by Carolyn Sawyer and Angela Warren, and the Legislative Committee joined forces to work with Representative Kathleen Passidomo to create legislation modernizing the language identifying vulnerable adults and creating consistent language to describe vulnerable adults in both the criminal and civil statutes. The legislation also increases the penalties for harming an elder or vulnerable adult. At the time of this report, that legislation was moving through the Florida Legislature with bipartisan support.
• Annual Update & Essentials of Elder Law — In January 2013, the section hosted its Annual Update & Review Course and Essentials of Elder Law program. This was the largest program in section history. The speakers were exceptional. The materials were the most comprehensive of any section program to date. And the program sold out prior to its opening day.
• Multi-disciplinary Training for Exploitation — The Abuse Neglect & Exploitation Committee has again partnered with the Florida Attorney General’s Office to educate private attorneys, state attorneys, abuse investigators, and law enforcement officers about abuse and exploitation of the elderly. This year, “Teaming Up Against Elder Financial Exploitation” was held April 17-19 in Altamonte Springs and recorded to be shared with those organizations that could not attend.
• Joint Public Policy Task Force for the Elderly and Disabled — The task force, an active component of advocacy for elder law attorneys across the state, is comprised of the leadership of the section and the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys. This year the task force monitored the Florida Medicaid long-term care waiver that forces all long-term care Medicaid recipients into managed care organizations; organized written and oral testimony for the February 22 public hearing on UPL in Medicaid planning; monitored development of new assisted living facilities rules; and advocated for the protection of Florida elderly and disabled citizens. The section’s substantive committees provided countless hours of substantive law research and drafting for the task force’s activities.
• Montana Elder Law Retreat — In August 2012, the section held its annual retreat in Glacier National Park. The retreat CLEs were a combination of pre-recorded programming and on-site daily presentations. The retreat also included family-friendly group activities, such as boat tours, hikes, a picnic, and campfire s’mores.
• Website — The section spent the year updating its website to make it a more valuable resource for section members. Each section committee now has a page that all section members can access. The committees post practice materials, agenda materials, and forms on these pages. Each month members receive a section update listing some of the new items that have been posted.
• Elder Law Section Student Membership — The section’s law school liaison, Brandon Arkin, worked diligently to increase law student interest and membership in the Elder Law Section. He organized law school receptions around the state and assisted in starting elder law student groups. This year, the section has more than 100 law student members. Law students join for free and have access to all member benefits, including the section’s free mentoring program. A section student member now indexes the Fair Hearing Reports available by subscription through the section website.
Twyla Sketchley, Chair
Entertainment, Art & Sports Law
The Entertainment, Art & Sports Law Section focused on sharing expertise and experience throughout the year to support education and diversity initiatives. Over Memorial Day weekend, EASL hosted “Practice Tips & Legal Updates in Entertainment Law” at the One Ocean Resort in Atlantic Beach. The program consisted of three panels: Nancy Stuparich of Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company presented tips to avoid malpractice due to lack of technology; Chrissie Scelsi, Antonio G. Tapia, Lawrence Kolin, and Peter Boyd discussed useful technology tips and other recommendations to succeed in small and solo practice; and Ivan Parron, Brittany Rawlings, Jayne S. Allen, and Tom Player covered legislative and case law updates within our field.
In June, the section provided a unique opportunity for learning through CityRights, The Play, The Production, The Law. This program provided a focus on various topics including subsidiary rights, producing and self-producing, collaborations, and other playwright concerns. This program featured the expertise of David Faux, Susan Schulman, Polly Carl, Samuel French Reps, Andrew Peretz, Roland Tec, Rachel Routh, Christian Parker, Joan Stein, Steven Eisenberg, Leslie Ayvazian, and Christopher Durang.
The section is honored to present in the President’s Showcase at the 2012 Annual Florida Bar Convention in Orlando. The program, “Social Networking and the Law,” reviews the importance of responsible use of social media by attorneys and clients. Joseph Z. Fleming, Judge Chris McAliley, Judge Anthony Porcelli, Elizabeth Clark Tarbert, Ivan Parron, Ian Ballon, Cassandra Willard, Gregory A. Hearing, and Adam Landa will share recommendations on various aspects of social media responsibility. From professional ethics to the impact of social media on education, intellectual property, discovery, the workplace, and the law, attendees will gain a new perspective on the impact that social networking has in the legal field.
Joseph Z. Fleming, Donald M. Papy, and Steven M. Weinger presented a panel in conjunction with David Mamet’s play Race. This program provided a unique learning opportunity as it combined a performance with a continuing education program focused on ethics.
During October, EASL promoted various CLE opportunities. In conjunction with the Arts & Business Council of Miami and Dade Legal Aid Put Something Back, the Arts Mean Business Forum presented “Legal Issues in the Arts: New Media, New Technologies, New Audiences” with Ethan Wall, Louis Tertocha, Michael Frisco, and Steve Eisenberg. In addition, Charlotte Towne spoke on professional responsibility at the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries’ Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. The University of Miami School of Law provided a great learning opportunity when it hosted David Nimmer for a lecture on “Online Copyright Infringement: Grappling with Responsibility.”
In November, various executive council members spoke at the 24th Annual North American Entertainment, Sports & Intellectual Property Conference in Cancun. On the same weekend, the 9th Annual Kozyak Minority Mentoring Picnic was held at Amelia Earhart Park. Greenberg Traurig, Jean Shapiro Perwin, and D. Porpoise Evans provided valuable support with this great networking opportunity. The section was able to meet and network with future members of the legal community and share information regarding upcoming programs. By participating in this event, we helped facilitate mentoring opportunities within the section as well as demystify the practice of entertainment, art, and sports law. A special thanks to John Kozyak for his dedication to this amazing event.
Nova Southeastern University, Florida A&M University, Full Sail University, and the University of Miami hosted conferences on different aspects of the sports and entertainment industry this spring. Nova Southeastern University’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society hosted its 6th Annual Sports & Entertainment Law Symposium in late February. The program’s topics included music royalties, collective bargaining agreements, gaming law and bankruptcy, and estate planning issues. The keynote speaker was Pete D’Alessandro, a Nova Southeastern graduate, who serves as vice president of basketball operations with the Denver Nuggets. EASL Executive Council members Marc Stollman, Ivan Parron, and Charlotte Towne shared their expertise during this program. Florida A & M University’s conference on “Current Ethical Issues in Sports” explored ethical topics relating to substance abuse and performance enhancing drugs as well as the distinctions between the roles of a sports attorney and a sports agent. Full Sail University hosted its first Florida Bar program this spring. The conference covered topics related to licensing and music placement as well as the legalities of touring. The university was happy to host a number of EASL Executive Council members on the panels, including Serona Elton, Julee Milham, Marc Stollman, Louis Tertocha as well as past EASL chairs, Steven Eisenberg and Stephen Carlisle. The University of Miami’s 16th Annual Entertainment & Sports Law Symposium was held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Topics included updates on music law, media coverage of trials, safety in sports, and NCAA compliance. Ivan Parron, Serona Elton, Marc Stollman, and Louis Tertocha were among the speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise during this program.
The ABA’s Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries’ Fourth Annual International Legal Symposium on the World of Music, Film, Television and Sports, hosted at The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach. The symposium featured a number of EASL members speaking on a range of topics. A special thanks to the EASL members who served as co-chairs as well as on the planning committee.
Over Memorial Day weekend, the section held its annual retreat at Marriott’s Key Largo Bay Resort. The retreat featured “Hot Topics in Entertainment Law” with case updates on music, film, and ethics. This program, chaired by Ivan Parron, offered a great survey of legal updates for our membership.
I thank everyone within EASL for the contributions made throughout this past year. Our members have provided legal expertise via our Listserv as well as various media sources. Thank you to Ivan Parron, Christina Scelsi, Serona Elton, Joseph Fleming, Kimberly Kolback, and Angie Froelich for your amazing support throughout the past year. In addition, a special thank you to my executive council members and committee chairs for your continued commitment to the section. The fashion and legislative committees both have great agendas for the upcoming year.
I look forward to seeing additional growth as the section moves forward with a series of webinars exploring topics that impact the entertainment, art, and sports client. Thank you to all of our sponsors who helped support the section with technology, facilities, and additional support. Please communicate with Angela Froelich (email@example.com) if you are interested in EASL membership, and projects.
Cassandra Elizabeth-Marie Willard, Chair
Environmental and Land Use Law
The Environmental and Land Use Law Section is pleased to report on numerous activities over the last year and goals for the remainder of this year. Key areas of focus for the section are providing high quality services to its membership that are economically sustainable, succession planning with leadership, and growing the membership base to reflect the diversity of our practice areas.
As with all the sections, budgeting and financing activities continue to be a challenge, but this year the executive council worked very hard to reduce costs and increase opportunities for more funds through delivering activities in partnerships and retooling the sponsorship approach. These approaches will remain a cornerstone of how the section delivers its services.
The section this year also completed a survey of its membership to develop a five-year strategic plan. This provides a framework for operation of the committees and a way to measure progress toward achieving goals. By the end of this year, the section will also complete a survey designed for its affiliate members and this will provide input and data to revisit those sections of the strategic plan. The section has developed both substantive committees (such as Energy and Land Use) and committees that steer section activities such as CLE. In particular, the energy committee has been particularly active with delivering webinars and featured content in the section reporter.
The section continues to innovate with delivering substantive content to its membership with CLE courses and webinars, the section reporter, treatise, e-news distribution online, and our revamped website. One thing that the section has been able to accomplish is innovative partnerships with other organizations and Bar sections on programming, such as the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law, Florida Sea Grant, and others.
Our affiliate membership continues to provide important networking opportunities and this year is no exception with very popular mixers at various locations across the state. Members sponsor the mixers. Some have guest speakers and they are always well attended.
The annual update, scheduled for August 8-10, 2013, is the sections’ signature event. Topics are proposed through the committee structure and after calls for proposals are vetted. The event draws members statewide and features affiliate sponsors, networking, and timely content. This year proves no exception.
Our relationships with the state’s law schools are strong and new relationships have been built over the last year to help transition students into the practice of law. The section works with the law schools to provide benefits to potential new members as well as career advice and networking opportunities. The section this year is also continuing to offer the Florida Environmental Public Interest Summer Fellowship. The summer fellowship encourages qualified law students to study and pursue careers in public interest, environmental, and land use law. The fellowship is a section-funded 8-10 week full-time summer internship at a nonprofit public interest organization, private law firm, or solo practitioner working in the field of public interest, environmental, or land use law.
Finally, this year the section has made new strides by offering a new resource on “greening” your law firm to streamline efficiencies, reduce waste, and facilitate a commitment to sustainable practices. We offer resources through our website at http://eluls.org/green-law-firm. Our hope is that the section can provide leadership to all types of legal practitioners about ways they can green their operations and save money at the same time.
We are proud to report on our annual activities and look forward to a productive remainder of the year and maintaining and enhancing our services and activities for all of our members.
Erin L. Deady, Chair
Equal Opportunities Law
The EOLS sponsored a seminar, “How to Comply with Digital Accessibility Requirements of E-filed Court Documents: RJA2.526.” The program was presented during the 2012 Florida Bar Annual Convention and continues to be offered online.
Since the EOLS’ sponsorship of the Diversity Symposium was transferred to The Florida Bar, we have chosen to primarily offer our services and diversity information to other sections and local bar associations, to provide speakers and resources for diversity topics presented in their seminars. This has been consistent with the goal expressed by Bar presidents to widen the audience for discussions of these issues, rather than preach to the same choir. With The Florida Bar’s decision to cease holding the Diversity Symposium, work has resumed in the EOLS to recreate the symposium as it was formerly presented. We anticipate holding the next Diversity Symposium in the summer, with the possibility of presenting it at The Florida Bar’s annual convention.
The EOLS serves as a central resource for Florida Bar sections and local bar association diversity events, providing speakers, materials, and assistance in developing programs that promote diversity and opportunities for development of legal careers and bar participation by nontraditional attorneys. The EOLS has offered its services to assist local bar associations in developing grant applications for The Florida Bar’s Voluntary Bar Association Diversity Leadership Grants.
The annual Diversity Mentoring Picnic in Miami began as a project of the EOLS. Once it became self-sustaining, the EOLS became a mentor and advisor to similar mentoring picnics across Florida, with the first such effort in Tampa and the most recent new mentoring picnic being held at the Florida A & M University College of Law, through development and technical assistance by the EOLS and sponsorship by five local minority bar associations. A fourth diversity picnic is being developed for Jacksonville through the development and technical assistance provided by the EOLS.
In September, EOLS sponsored the Central Florida Diversity Mentoring Picnic at FAMU College of Law in Orlando. The picnic was well attended by law students of various Florida law schools, attorneys, and members of the judiciary.
Each year the EOLS is a co-sponsor and organizer of the Joint Luncheon with the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association held during The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention (June 2000 – present). In addition to bringing together leaders of bar diversity, the program recognizes significant achievement through awards to individuals and organizations. The luncheon is always attended to capacity and normally sells out prior to the event.
The EOLS also continues to promote and encourage lawyers and law firms to commit to its statement of principle which stands as the blueprint for promoting diversity and equal opportunities in the legal profession.
Lindsay N. Oyewale, Chair
The Bar year 2012-13 for the Family Law Section started out on June 20, 2012, in Orlando, where the year’s theme of better communication through mentoring and education was announced. The Family Law Section’s first event of the year was its biannual Leadership Retreat, which took place at the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island in July. The approximately 50 participants, including 10 children ranging in age from 2 to 14, enjoyed the gorgeous location and the fun events, which included playing bocce, kayaking, and a number of games involving the identification of numerous types of candies. The purpose of the retreat, held every other year, is to encourage people to become involved in leadership positions on the section’s numerous committees, as well as on our executive council and executive committee. At the retreat, we discussed the section’s various activities and also addressed the interplay between the section and The Florida Bar. Our lobbyists and Legislation Committee leadership provided insight into the mysterious workings of the Florida Legislature as well. The Family Law Section chose four deserving lawyers — Loreal Arscott, Sarah Kay, Robin Scher, and Victoria Cruz-Garcia — to receive scholarship monies to attend the retreat.
Our fall retreat at the beginning of September took place at the Jackson Lake Lodge in the awe-inspiring and majestic Grand Teton National Park. We had great weather, spectacular views, amazing wildlife sightings, and delicious food. Some went hiking and others whitewater rafting. We also toured the incomparable Yellowstone National Park with its geysers, hot spots, waterfalls, and mountains. We enjoyed a respite from the technological world, as there were no TVs in the rooms in the lodge and cell phone coverage was spotty. The CLE program addressed written and verbal communication, presented by Deborah Day and Laura Davis Smith, who did a fabulous job. One of the highlights of the retreat was a trip to a nearby ranch, where “horse whisperer” Grant Golliher demonstrated his method of developing the trust of a previously untouched horse through impressive communication skills. The presentation was outstanding and all present were amazed by the conclusion of the program.
We attended our fall meetings for the first time in St. Petersburg at the beautiful Renaissance Vinoy and loved this small city with its wonderful museums, shops, and restaurants. We returned to this location at the end of November for a special set executive council to address the issue of alimony reform.
Alimony reform has been a much-discussed issue in the section for the past several years. In 2010 and 2011, we promulgated significant changes in this area, changes which have proven to be positive. In 2012, a group who call themselves “FAR” (Florida Alimony Reform) was able to have a bill introduced which made far-reaching changes to alimony. While the section attempted to work with these folks, we were unable to achieve agreement and, fortunately, the bill did not pass. However, FAR filed a new bill in January, which has garnered much support from legislators. This bill contains provisions that will negatively affect alimony recipients. A subsequent amendment to the bill provides that equal timesharing is in the best interests of every child in a Ch. 61 proceeding. The Family Law Section strongly opposes this bill and has been working since the beginning of the Bar year to determine what, if any, alimony reform is appropriate. As this report is written, the proposed legislation is moving rapidly through the legislature and is expected to pass. Section leadership and Legislation Committee membership has spent an extraordinary amount of time on this issue, including the hiring of a public relations firm. I applaud our Legislation Committee co-chairs, Thomas Duggar and Heather Apicella, for their dedication and efforts to this matter. I do not know how Thomas, who lives in Tallahassee, gets any “real” work at all done during the legislative session!
In January, we, with our partner, the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, once again put on a well-attended and successful “Marital and Family Law Certification Review Course.” Universal Studio’s Royal Pacific Resort and Spa in Orlando served as the location for this seminar. Event Chairs Ingrid Keller and Patty Alexander, along with committee members Belinda Lazzara and Laura Davis Smith, did a wonderful job in choosing great speakers, great topics, and getting the speakers to produce great written materials! Brandon Arkin, Nexcy de la Rosa-Monroe, and Sarah Sullivan received scholarships to attend this outstanding seminar.
The section has ramped up its mentoring and membership efforts due to the hard work of Membership Chair Steve Berzner and Mentoring Committee Chair Robin Scher. Steve, Robin, and other section members have participated in two mentoring events this year – the first in November in Hialeah, and the second in February at Nova Southeastern University. Both Robin and Steve have successfully recruited a number of new members and found mentors for others!
The section put on several wonderful seminars and planned many others thanks to the guidance and efforts of hardworking chairs Debra Welch and Julia Wyda. Webcasts are now part of our arsenal of educational methods, which enable folks to learn from their offices while viewing materials on their computers.
In April, we traveled to the Gasparilla Inn & Club for our spring retreat in Boca Grande to sun, swim, sail, shell, and relax in a beautiful and elegant setting. Cruising and croquet were on the schedule for this retreat; Chair Kathy Beamer put together a great program.
Due to the space limitations imposed by The Florida Bar, I have mentioned only a few of the many hardworking section committees who contribute to the section’s activities in so many ways. They are all valuable and appreciated. The executive council members have been responsive to so many requests for work, support, and participation as well, for which I thank them profoundly. I also thank the executive committee for input and individual perspective and wish them and the Family Law Section a wonderful year ahead! It has been a busy and challenging year, and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the Family Law Section as its chair during the 2012-13 Bar year.
Carin M. Porras, Chair
General Practice, Solo and Small Firm
The General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section has enjoyed a rewarding and productive year beginning at annual convention with the recognition of several 2012 award recipients. Honored with the Tradition of Excellence Award was Edwin Browning Jr., former chief judge for the First District Court of Appeal, while the recipient of the Walter S. Crumbley Award was Lawrence J. Marraffino. Since its inception in 1990, the GPSSF’s L. Michael Roffino Pro Bono Award Program, chaired by Jerry Curington, has awarded nearly $110,000 to legal services programs. The first place cash prize went to the Hillsborough County Bar Association for its Wills for Heroes Program and the two co-finalists were Legal Aid Service of Broward County for Broward Lawyers Care, and Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., for its Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program.
Before the executive council meetings in August in Longboat Key and November in Amelia Island, the council offered its area members a free one-credit professionalism CLE program as well as a personal invitation to attend its receptions. The council also met in Singer Island in January for its quarterly meeting, before holding its long-range planning session in Stone Mountain, Ga., in April where Chair-elect Kevin Johnson outlined his plans for the coming year.
The GPSSF’s CLE offerings this year began with the well-attended Florida Law Update CLE at the June 2012 Bar convention. This was followed by the section’s signature event, the 6th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference, held at The Florida Bar midyear meeting in September in Orlando. Program Chair Peggy Hoyt arranged an interesting array of sessions on two concurrent tracks, technology and practice management, during the day and a half of programming. CLE Chair Teresa Morgan planned opportunities to interact and network while participants obtained time-saving practice tips for running a successful practice. Additionally, the conference added a well-received service activity to collect and donate t-shirts to an Orlando homeless shelter this year. Exhibitor-sponsor Chair Camille Iurillo coordinated record-making contributions and also provided an exhibit hall filled with resources and valuable information to all. Plans are already underway for the next event in January 2014 in Orlando by newly named conference chair Sean Desmond.
The always popular Annual Ethics Update: Ethics Technology and Trust Accounting was held in October in Tampa under program chair Gene Shuey’s lead. Next was the section’s traditional out-of-country CLE held over Memorial Day weekend where participants gained information on “Practicing the Island Way: St. Kitts,” while relaxing in paradise and developing new friendships.
A look at the work of the GPSSF committees shows that the new Membership and Benefits Committee, led by chair Pete Muschott, kicked off its efforts in July by emailing an electronic membership survey to section members. This tool provided needed information about the composition of the section members. Additionally, insight was gained about which section-provided resources are most valued along with recommendations about how to best connect with and serve member’s needs. Additionally, he spearheaded a local grassroots initiative to get the word out and we are pleased to report that the section has witnessed a modest increase in membership. The Technology Committee, under the leadership of chair-elect Kevin Johnson, recently launched a Listserv for all interested section members.
The Publications Committee, chaired by Dr. Monica Elliott, publishes the section’s electronic newsletter, “The Link,” and oversees the collection and submission of section articles to The Florida Bar Journal. “The Link” now includes an Affiliates Corner for paralegals and legal assistants and a Law Students and Newer Lawyers Corner as well. On behalf of the GPSSF’s Agricultural Law Committee, we are proud to report that Michael T. Olexa and others had their article, “A Grave Situation: Protecting the Deceased and Their Final Resting Places from Destruction,” published in The Florida Bar Journal in November.
Our newest committee, Law Students and Newer Lawyers, under the leadership of chair Jennifer Dietz, began the year by partnering with Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company and the Young Lawyers Division to cosponsor the 2013 Law Student Essay Contest. Law school outreach visits also resumed in the fall as members of the EC spoke to law students about exploring small firm practice. Frank Maloney and Erny Sellers visited the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law; Jennifer Dietz spoke at Stetson University College of Law; Craig Ferrante met law students at Ave Maria School of Law; Bob Wayne and Linda Calvert Hanson spoke at St. Thomas University School of Law and Florida International University College of Law; and Jerry Curington and Linda Calvert Hanson spoke at Florida State University College of Law.
Cynthia M. Clark, a Stetson University College of Law student, was one of a number of law students who attended the Solo & Small Firm Conference. Impressed by the wealth of information presented and by the willingness of the section to help law students and new lawyers, she recognized the need to make these resources available to other Stetson law students. So, in the spring, she launched a new student organization at Stetson under law school advisor Jennifer Dietz. Stetson’s Solo and Small Firm Society focuses on the business side of practicing law by providing law students with practical knowledge useful to them as future solo and small firm practitioners. The society also provides students with opportunities for networking with solo and small firm practitioners and learning opportunities through brown bag lunches, panel discussions, and an evening “meet and greet” for students and attorneys, and it now has a Facebook page. The GPSSF supports the society, which can serve as a model for other law schools, and it selected Clark to serve on the council as the GPSSF law student representative.
The GPSSF section is 41 years strong this year and we have a remarkable legacy to share. In our value-oriented profession, our goal is to always be mindful of how to best meet all of our members’ needs while continuing to grow and evolve. Finally, we gratefully acknowledge Ricky Libbert, section program administrator, for all of her efforts and cheerful support of our section.
Linda S. Calvert Hanson, Chair
This year marks the 22nd year of the Government Lawyer Section. Looking back, this section has much to be proud of in its representation of all government lawyers within the Bar. Two years ago we were able to assist in the process of restoring legislation to facilitate the payment of Bar annual fees and continuing legal education expenses for attorneys employed by government agencies. Last year the section accomplished one of its long-term goals of having a government lawyer representative appointed to The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors. Building on our past successes, we are now looking toward the future.
Government lawyers currently comprise approximately 17 percent of the Bar’s membership. During this past year, our section has experienced a modicum of growth in its membership, despite the continued downsizing and belt-tightening experienced by virtually all government agencies, both state and federal. We continue to provide exceptional and unique continuing legal education to our members in programs not offered by other sections of the Bar or in the private sector, such as our flagship programs “Practicing Before the Florida Supreme Court” and “Practicing Before the Florida Legislature.” Both of these programs are held in the state’s capitol and provide an exclusive inside look “behind the curtain” at these areas of legal practice up close and personal. As a fiscal measure we are also turning toward newer concepts in continuing legal education by working on a contained program series, to be viewed on-demand, offering subjects of specific interest to those in government practice. Other topics are also being chosen to expand the marketability of the CLE programs to garner a larger audience through electronic media. Although the section’s submission for a President’s Showcase Presentation at the annual meeting of the Bar was not chosen, that proposed programming is now being converted into smaller on-demand presentations with the hope of generating a broader interest to generate revenue for the section.
Although a small section, we have maintained and improved our website, including future expansion plans, in our continued efforts to better communicate with our current members and increase our membership base. As do many other sections, we face concerns for long-term financial stability. Although cognizant of the challenges, we look forward to the future with great anticipation. At the section’s long-range planning retreat in early February, the executive council was able to focus its efforts on programs and cost-saving measures that will enhance the effectiveness of the section’s service to its current members and aid in the recruitment of new members. In furtherance of those goals, the executive council voted to take the section’s newsletter digital and create more direct and targeted CLE programs that will allow government lawyers to have access to up-to-date and relevant training without the expense of travel by the use of on-demand webcast presentations, and to upgrade the sections’ website to ensure more accessibility and timely dissemination of important information affecting our members. While growth of the section remains a high priority, the section has not lost sight of the ever constant need to serve our current members; we believe the planned changes will serve both purposes.
Currently the section is preparing a survey of our members designed to explore ways in which we can better serve our current members and increase recruiting of new members. Subjects covered by the survey will include targeting areas of continuing legal education, legislative proposals, improving general dissemination of information, overall membership benefits, and unique practice concerns.
We continue to support current and future board certification programs, co-sponsoring CLE programs for certification review in state and federal government and administrative practice.
The unique challenges faced by government lawyers in Florida continue, including issues of financial inequities, cutbacks, and a general lack of respect accorded to those who have chosen public service. In the midst of this unrelenting “negative press,” the Government Lawyer Section has maintained its commitment to support, encourage, and recognize those individuals dedicated to serving the citizens of Florida through public service. This section continues to manage the Bar’s Claude Pepper Outstanding Government Lawyer Award, conferred annually at the Bar’s annual convention. The 2012 Claude Pepper Award was presented to Michael J. Alderman, deputy general counsel of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, by Past-president Scott Hawkins and President Gwynne Young at a special reception sponsored by the section at the Bar convention. Alderman’s acceptance speech resonated with the core beliefs and commitment of this section: “Government lawyers play a unique and vital role in our system of liberty under law. The government lawyer is not only a counselor, but a guardian and conscience as well. The government lawyer is the counselor who advises his agency so that the laws will be faithfully executed. The government lawyer is the guardian of the principle that in our country, it is law, and not man, that rules. Finally, and most importantly, the government lawyer is the conscience of his agency, urging that justice be done.”
It is with great appreciation and no small amount of pride that the section can announce this year’s Claude Pepper Outstanding Government Lawyer Award will be presented by President Gwynne Young and President-elect Eugene Pettis at the general assembly of the annual convention. At the time of this report, nominations were pending for the 2013 award and the members of the Claude Pepper Award Committee, under the chairmanship of Morgan Rood, were reviewing those applications to make a recommendation to the Bar for the 2013 recipient.
It is our understanding President-elect Eugene Pettis will continue the appointment, as initiated by Presidents Hawkins and Young, of a government lawyer to a designated nonvoting government lawyer seat on the Board of Governors. We have pledged our support for this individual and look forward to assisting President-elect Pettis’ appointment in any way possible for the on-going recognition, improvement of communications, and understanding of government lawyers within the Bar.
The section supported the creation of the Bar’s Leadership Academy proposed by President-elect Eugene Pettis, which has just closed its first application period. Two of our members have applied to the academy and are hopeful of obtaining some level of scholarship. In an effort to assure government lawyers are afforded opportunities to attain leadership roles in the Bar, a member of the section has donated monies to the section for the establishment of a section-directed sponsorship for a government lawyer to attend the academy. We are currently in the midst of a challenge to match this generosity and create a directed sponsorship that can augment partial scholarships from the academy or provide for a government lawyer to attend with some financial assistance even if no scholarship is awarded by the academy. We are hopeful that this program will afford more government lawyers the opportunity to receive training and experience in the inner workings of the Bar, establish relationships that can enhance the ability of government lawyers to serve in positions of leadership, and provide for the voice of government lawyers to be heard now and for years to come.
In summation, it has been, and will continue to be, my privilege to serve as chair of the Government Lawyer Section for the 2012-2013 term. It is my sincerest hope that the changes we have embraced and the plans we have laid down will reach far into the future to assist all government lawyers practicing in Florida. Continuing to build upon its successes and accomplishments, and with an eye toward the future, the section thanks the leadership of the Bar for its continued assistance and support.
Diana K. Bock, Chair
This year the section has continued its emphasis on its mission of providing a forum for the delivery of education in the field of health care law through its high quality CLE program and its publications. The section continued delivering its traditional core CLEs: FUNdamentals of Health Law, Representing the Physician, and the Health Law Certification Review Course. With the leadership of Jodi L. Laurence, James M. “Chet” Barclay, Lester Perling, Robert Nicholson, Grant Dearborn, and the many dedicated volunteers who speak at these CLEs, the section has continued to achieve record attendance and success.
With the assistance of Rodney Johnson and Grant Dearborn the section has delivered its monthly Eat and Educate CLE webinars held every second Tuesday of each month at lunch time for the convenience of its members. The webinars allow members to obtain CLE credits over a lunch hour lecture at a much lower cost than attending live programs. These are also now available for after-market sales. The section is grateful for the dedicated executive council members and nonmembers who volunteer their time to speak at these webinars and allow the section membership to obtain CLEs in such a convenient forum.
Due to its growth in importance and increased demand, the section, led by Myla Reizen, Lynn Barrett, and Grant Dearborn, has started to develop a new core CLE in the area of health care compliance. The goal is for the section to develop a presence in this area and to launch this CLE at a price that is much more affordable and below the costs of programs offered by other compliance groups.
On the publication front, Ann Bittinger took over as the new editor of the “Health Law Section Newsletter.” With her assistance the section has continued to publish and distribute its newsletter in electronic format. Malinda Lugo, with the help of several volunteers, continued providing our members with electronic monthly updates involving health law issues. This group monitors discrete practice areas and prepares monthly summaries of recent developments. The newsletter and monthly updates are available on the section’s website.
With the leadership of co-editors Lester Perling and Robert Nicholson, the section has continued its work on the publication of a “Health Law Handbook.” It is anticipated that the new handbook will be published in the 2013-2014 time frame.
The section continues to maintain a presence on the section’s website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and maintains a Listserv for section members. The Listserv is instrumental in helping section members who elect to participate to seek and provide feedback on questions or issues involving health law topics. Erin Smith Aebel, Ann Bittinger, Bill Dillon, and Grant Dearborn are instrumental in these section endeavors.
This year the Health Law Section with the assistance of the Young Lawyers Division formed the Health Law Section Young Lawyers Subcommittee. The subcommittee and its leadership will play a key role in shaping the activities of the section. We are excited to bring the infusion of younger talent to the executive council. The section thanks Bruce Lamb for heading this initiative on behalf of the Health Law Section and Jennifer L. Grosso, Florida Bar Board of Governors, Young Lawyers Division representative, for her support and collaboration.
The Health Law Section thanks Diana Polston, the former section administrator, for all her hard work and dedication to the section and welcomes its new section administrator, Willie Mae Shepherd. Finally, I want to thank the rest of the dedicated members of the executive council who work tireless and graciously volunteer their time and talent for the success of the section.
Bernabe Icaza, Chair
On behalf of the section’s executive council, I thank all those who worked so hard to make the past Bar year so successful. As always, we owe the section’s accomplishments to our committee leaders who have spent the year striving to create thought-provoking and entertaining programs and publications for section members.
The section has always been proud of its world-class conferences, and this year has been no exception. The International Law Section’s 11th Annual International Litigation and Arbitration Conference, held on March 1 at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, brought 2012 off to an exciting start. The conference, which is the section’s longest running program, featured leading speakers in the area of international litigation and arbitration. The conference had more than 120 attendees, including practitioners from around the state and the globe. This year’s conference was organized by Program Chair Quinn Smith, and Vice Chairs Carlos Osorio, Arnold Lacayo, and Rafael Ribeiro.
In February, the section reinitiated its International Business and Transactions Conference, which had not been held for several years. The IBTC was successfully chaired by Gustavo Lamelas and held at the Biltmore Hotel. The half-day conference had more than 80 attendees and provided a venue to discuss international business and transactional issues that are impacting Florida and our practices.
In addition to world-class conferences and seminars, the section hosted a number of educational online webinars — a great way to learn important international legal issues without leaving your office. If you missed any of our webinars, you can still purchase cds online, by fax or by mail. Please visit The Florida Bar’s website for complete order information.
The section’s print and online publication, the International Law Quarterly, continued to provide section members and readers in general a variety of articles on cutting-edge international legal topics by leading authors and international practitioners from all over the world. This year, the ILQ featured special issues on international litigation and arbitration, intellectual property, NAFTA, Russia, and the CIS. The section’s upcoming issue will celebrate 30 years of publication of the ILQ, an achievement that must be celebrated. The section is grateful to Alvin F. Lindsay, who served as the 2012-2013 editor-in-chief, and the rest of the ILQ editorial staff.
The section continued its efforts to mentor the next generation of international practitioners with the eighth annual Florida Bar International Law Section Vis Pre-Moot Competition, which was held on March 2 at JAMS’ Miami offices and dispute resolution center. The vis pre-moot prepares law students for the annual vis moot arbitration competition in Vienna, Austria. The section once again awarded scholarships to each of the Florida law schools that participated. Section members also volunteered their time to the pre-moot, during which 38 attorneys served as arbitrators and heard arguments from teams fielded by five Florida law schools, as well as Loyola School of Law and Comenuis University from Slovakia. The future arbitrators from the Stetson University College of Law took first place at the pre-moot, and the teams from Loyola and Florida International University College of law took second and third place, respectively. Clarissa Rodriguez chaired the section’s Vis Steering Committee with help from Mariela Malfeld, Sharie Hudson, Gina Peretti, and Amy Shenstone.
In addition to its programs, publications, and conferences, the section’s legislative agenda has been significant and focused on two important ongoing initiatives. These initiatives include the passage of a “glitch fix” bill, which passed last year but was vetoed by the governor, and opposing passage of the Sharia bill, which seeks to prohibit the use of foreign law in some court proceedings in Florida.
Finally, the section’s year will draw to a close at The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention. Anyone who is interested in joining the International Law Section can contact Membership Co-chair Clarissa Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website at www.internationallawsection.org for all of the latest information on upcoming events.
Richard C. Lorenzo, Chair
Labor and Employment Law
I am very proud to be the chair this year for the Labor and Employment Law Section. As I write this report, the section is preparing for the Advanced Labor Topics seminar, which was held April 5-6 at Hawks Cay Island Resort in the Florida Keys. This year’s agenda features National Labor Relations Board Chair Mark Gaston Pearce; Deputy Counsel Celeste Mattina; David Lopez, the EEOC’s general counsel; and Judge Gene E.K. Pratter, Eastern District of Pennsylvania District Court, among other very notable speakers. This program is possible due to the efforts of co-chairs Scott Silverman and Marguerite Longoria and our Legal Education chair, Frank Brown.
During this year, we had an extremely large turn-out for our 13th annual Labor & Employment Law Update and Certification Review held in Orlando at the Peabody Hotel. I thank the co-chairs, David Spalter and Mary Ruth Houston, for organizing this tremendous event. We decided to change the format and, rather than focusing on the board certification component of the course, we broadened the scope to include an annual update, which definitely seemed to boost attendance. I also mention our Litigating Employment Claims seminar held in November in Ft. Lauderdale at Pier 66, which was chaired by Robyn Hankins and Robert Kilbride. Again, we had a high turn-out for this very nuts-and-bolts seminar focusing on litigation strategies and practical approaches to employment cases. And to start my tenure, the section held its 38th Public Employment Labor Relations Forum in September at the Buena Vista Palace in Orlando. This timeless event is a section staple and with co-chairs Steve Meck and Michael Grogan at the helm, the program was also very successful.
Aside from our live seminars, Frank Brown has also overseen and organized a number of webinars throughout the year. The webinars provide in-depth legal discussions on hot topics and those that assist our members with their employment and labor practice. For example, we have provided webinars on such cutting-edge topics as social media and Obamacare and have two upcoming seminars on e-discovery and immigration discussions to occur in the near future. A very special thanks to Frank Brown for his work this year as the Legal Education chair in putting together our successful slate of seminars and webinars.
The section also, and for the first time, began to produce monthly e-alerts. The e-alerts have received wide applause from our members. They could not be possible without the help of Jay Lechner and Leslie Langbein, the section newsletter co-chairs. In addition to the e-alerts, Jay and Leslie are producing the “Check-Off,” which contains comprehensive legal articles and case summaries from the Florida state and federal courts. We have added past articles submitted by the section and published in The Florida Bar Journal to our website. The e-alerts and the “Check-Off” are also contained in our website, which is another benefit for our members.
Our section committees and subcommittees are also busy at work in creating outreach efforts with local bar organizations, the ABA, local law schools, the Wage and Hour Division, the EEOC, among others. Additionally, we continue to provide luncheon seminars for the judiciary on labor and employment topics. Other committees are also working on their goals for providing benefits to our members and furthering the goals of the section. One of the issues we hope to address this year is whether the qualifications for labor and employment board certification should be changed to reflect the evolving nature of the practice.
It has been a busy year and the goals and achievements accomplished would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the executive council and our committee and subcommittee chairs.
Sherril M. Colombo, Chair
Out of State Division
The Out of State Division represents the more than 14,000 Florida Bar members who reside outside of Florida, nearly one-fifth of The Florida Bar’s total membership. Recognizing the diverse interests and practice areas of out-of-state members, the division’s many purposes include assisting out-of-state lawyers in administrative, educational, and practice development issues; emphasizing diversity to provide opportunities for all lawyers; facilitating networking among out-of-state Bar members; encouraging pro bono activities by out-of-state members; providing a forum for the discussion of issues of common interest; and seeking to improve the administration and application of laws, rules, regulations, and our legal system. During the past year, the division worked diligently to carry out this mission through a variety of activities.
The division improved access for its members. The division held an executive council meeting and an open reception in conjunction with the Bar’s Board of Governors’ meeting in Atlanta. A sizeable number of Florida Bar members from the Atlanta area attended the reception and visited with board members and division officers. Due to the success of this event, the division held similar activities for Texas out-of-state Florida lawyers in conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors meeting in Austin in March. The OOS Executive Council meeting was hosted by Rebecca Moss at the Winstead law firm. The OOS and YLD hosted a joint reception following the executive council meeting. In May, the division sponsored a special event at the Ohio Supreme Court. The executive council meeting and reception were hosted by the division’s president-elect, Mindi Wells. All of these events were well attended and introduced new members to the division. The success of these events will further encourage us to enhance these member benefits. Stay tuned for CLEs and an executive council meeting and reception in Chicago in October!
The division helps its members maintain their awareness of professional responsibility issues by providing them with the opportunity to earn free CLE ethics credits. The OOS Information Committee has been working to update and improve the division’s website. You can access the State-to-State, CLEs, ethics programs, and a variety of information in our website at www.flabaroutofstaters.org. We continue to look for improvements.
The OOS publication, “State-to-State,” continues to provide great outreach and substantive articles. We send each edition electronically to all out-of-state lawyers. We have seen revenue grow with the addition of advertisers. We are grateful for the great support received from the Business Law Section and Judge Cathy McEwen by regular submissions of articles. As a result, the publication has continued to grow.
The division encourages pro bono activities and each year nominates an out-of-state Florida Bar member for The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award. Each year, The Florida Bar president recognizes one lawyer from each of the 20 judicial circuits in Florida and one out-of-state Florida Bar member to receive The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award. This year’s out-of-state award winner was Leon Skornicki of New York. The selection committee was impressed with his substantial contributions in a number of different practice areas, particularly given his extensive contributions at such an early state in his professional career. Well done, Leon!
Long-time service to the legal profession is also recognized by the division through the 50-year award that is bestowed on veteran Florida Bar members who have spent at least part of their careers practicing out of state. This award was presented to numerous lawyers during a special luncheon and ceremony at the Bar’s annual convention last June.
The division thanks its officers, members of the division’s executive council, the out-of-state representatives on the Bar’s Board of Governors, and all others who have helped through their tireless efforts to make this year successful for the division and all out-of-state members of The Florida Bar.
Finally, you’ll find on our website the contact information of the officers and executive council members. We are here to serve you. We want your thoughts on how we can seize opportunities to better serve out-of-state lawyers. We want to help your practice and help you with everything we can.
Donald A. Workman, President
Public Interest Law
The Public Interest Law Section is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who have a common interest in advocacy and enhancement of constitutional, statutory, or other rights that protect the dignity, security, justice, liberty, and freedom of the individual or public. Membership in the section is open to both members and nonmembers of The Florida Bar. Currently, our section’s committees address a variety of topics: legal needs of children, disability rights, consumer protection, and homelessness.
The section planned several CLE presentations this past year. In July, PILS co-sponsored the Florida ACLU Lawyers Conference and hosted a pre-conference session that was free to all section members. The pre-conference session featured presentations on the Ethics of Representing Clients with a Disability; Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons; Initiatives to Combat Human Trafficking; Updates on Judicial Bypass for Parental Notification of Termination of Pregnancy Law; and a Primer on the Law of Section 1983.
At the Florida Bar Annual Convention, the section will cosponsor with the Criminal Law Section a Presidential Showcase Presentation titled Gideon at 50, in honor of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision, Gideon v. Wainwright. The section is also cosponsoring a day-long CLE program at the annual convention with the Consumer Protection Law Committee designed for advocates new to the practice of consumer law.
The section was also engaged in legislative advocacy this year on a variety of issues, including advocating for The Florida Bar to take a legislative position calling for a comprehensive review of Florida’s death penalty process by all branches of government. This legislative position was adopted by The Florida Bar in February. The section has also been engaged in legislative advocacy on behalf of consumers to ensure that their rights are protected during foreclosures and garnishment proceedings and to oppose legislation that erodes consumer rights.
The section continues to publish our newsletter, “The Florida Public Interest Journal,” to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas leading to increased knowledge and understanding of the areas of public interest law. Thanks to generous assistance by law students from the Public Interest Law Student Association at St. Thomas University School of Law, “The Florida Public Interest Journal” is published quarterly. Past issues are available on The Florida Bar’s website.
Thanks to every member of our executive council for their dedication and hard work this past year. We invite all who have an interest in public interest law to join us and get involved.
Raine Johns, Chair
Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
The RPPTL section, which will celebrate its 60th birthday next year, continues its long tradition of providing service to its 10,300 members, as well as to members of The Florida Bar and the citizens of Florida. Our 244-member executive council includes the chairs and vice chairs of approximately 60 active committees (general standing, real property, and probate and trust), numerous liaisons to other groups, and our at-large members.
The principal activities and operations of the section essentially revolve around communication with its members; development of legislation in real property, probate, trust, and related fields of law; producing education programs and materials; and participation as an amicus curiae in select appellate cases involving significant issues within the section’s fields of law.
• Communications — The section communicates very effectively with its members in several ways, including through its very professional and polished publication, “ActionLine;” its website, which is embarking on a major upgrade; circuit-based communications from its at-large members; and through direct email messages from the section’s leadership and its program administrator.
• Legislation — One of the principal activities through which the RPPTL Section serves the public interest and advocates good public policy is its ambitious and well-recognized legislative program, which largely focuses on the development of legislation concerning real property, probate, and trust law. The section currently has more than 20 initiatives pending before the Florida Legislature in more than 10 bills, including mortgage foreclosure reform legislation.
• Education — With amazing support from the section’s productive committees, our CLE Seminar Coordination Committee is producing approximately 16 educational programs each year, including the Construction Law Institute; the Legislative and Case Law Update; the Attorney/Trust Officers Liaison Conference; and certification review courses for construction law, real estate, and wills, trusts, and estates. During the current year, the section is also producing eight webinars. It would be remiss not to mention the timely and exceptional education initiatives of our Electronic Filing and Service Committee through its co-chairs, Laird Lile and Rohan Kelley.
Many dedicated section members serve the Bar and the public by voluntarily authoring and updating the Uniform Title Standards, several practice manuals, and widely used probate and guardianship forms; by participating in the development and ongoing revision of the FAR/BAR residential real estate contract; and through extensive involvement and leadership in many other law-related organizations and groups, including The Florida Bar, The Florida Bar Foundation, Florida Lawyers Support Services, Inc., the Florida Legal Education Association , the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel , the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the Florida Realtor-Attorney Joint Committee, and the Florida Courts Technology Commission. A long-standing member of the section’s executive council is currently serving as president of The Florida Bar. Two former section chairs are serving on the Board of Governors, and one of them is chairing the Bar’s Legislation Committee. Historically, the section’s efforts to develop and implement good public policy have centered around protecting private property rights, preserving the certainty of land titles, preventing the erosion of fiduciary responsibilities, promoting the fair and efficient administration of trusts and estates, and protecting the right of due process, including the right to notice and the opportunity to be heard. Although the section enjoys excellent working relationships with certain industry groups and always strives to treat them fairly, the section does not function as a trade association for the promotion of their economic interests. Bylaw provisions specifically designed to protect the integrity of the section require full disclosure and prohibit participation by members in section matters when facts and circumstances exist that may reasonably raise a conflict of interest issue due to the member’s personal interests, employment, or client relationships.
The section, through the extraordinary efforts of its Membership, Diversity and Law School Liaison Committee and Fellows and Mentoring Committee, has made great strides in its initiatives to attract, train, and retain young, capable future section leaders. The section is currently sponsoring a group of four young attorney members who were selected as RPPTL Section fellows and attend committee meetings and executive council activities.
In addition, RPPTL, estate and trust, real estate, and greenlaw student organizations, with a combined membership of at least 150, have been formed at several Florida law schools. Section representatives work very closely with those student organizations to familiarize their members with the section, involve them in its activities, and organize receptions for the students and members of the section to network and socialize. In January, the section established a special dues level for affiliate section members who are students at an accredited Florida law school. Since that time, approximately 40 law students have become affiliate members of the section.
Being a REPTILE can keep you very busy!
Wm. Fletcher Belcher, Chair
This has been a busy year for the Tax Section as we continue in our efforts to be relevant to our section members, the Bar, and the greater community.
We began our year with our annual organizational meeting at the Amelia Island Plantation. This family-oriented meeting, often called the “Amelia” meeting, allows the section members and their families to get to know each other in a more casual setting, and helps newer section members to more comfortably get involved. A highlight of the meeting is our annual Ullman Year in Review, named after one of the deans of Florida tax law (and the program’s creator), Sam Ullman.
Our fall meeting in Orlando included the CLE program “S, K, C, and J - Making Cent$ Out of the Alphabet Soup: Advanced Themes in Entity Selection and Operations.” Special thanks to Co-education Division Director Mark Brown, for chairing this program.
For our winter director’s committee meeting, we tried something different. Open to the entire section, we went on a three-night Royal Caribbean cruise Super Bowl weekend. We not only had a productive business meeting, we also had an outstanding CLE program run by the many past section chairs in attendance.
Our annual meeting this year was held at the Gainesville Hilton and the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law. In conjunction with this meeting was the advanced level CLE program “What’s Hot and Exciting in Tax Law.” For each topic, this program paired a highly respected practitioner with a tax law professor. Thanks to past section chairs Richard Comiter and Lauren Detzel, as well as to U.F. Law Professor Mike Friel, for co-chairing this program. At the well-attended annual dinner that Saturday night, the Tax Section Tax Lawyer of the Year award was presented to University of Florida Professor Dennis Calfee. Calfee, beloved by his current and former students, has had and continues to have a tremendous impact on the practice of tax law. Not only has he taught a significant number of Florida tax lawyers, he has at least 50 former students who are now serving as law professors around the country.
The 31st Annual International Tax Conference had a record attendance of several hundred. This program, co-sponsored with the FICPA and chaired by Shawn Wolf, with the assistance of a very dedicated committee, has a national reputation.
In response to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, we held a teleconference CLE at no charge for our members. Under the leadership of Mike O’Leary and other division directors, we have held 16 one-hour lunch time phone seminars on a wide variety of federal and state tax issues, all in an effort to better serve our members.
Nationally we continue to comment on proposed tax regulations, as well as address Florida tax law issues. This past year, led by our comment czars, Micah Fogarty and Brian Malec, some of the Tax Section submissions included comments on Internal Revenue Code Section 1411 and its application to foreign estates, trusts, property dispositions, and other issues; Circular 230 regulations — rules governing practice before the Internal Revenue Service; and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number program requests. All of these comments have been picked up and published by major tax services and the head of the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility noted that our Circular 230 comments raised an issue that they had not thought of and that no other comments by tax groups had addressed.
The Tax Section hosted the national tax moot court competition in Clearwater, February 7-9, with 16 law schools participating this year. This program has become nationally renowned. This program is led by Chair Eric Hall, in his sixth year, with volunteer tax lawyers who write the problems and bench briefs, review the student briefs, and judge the early rounds. Special thanks to U.S. Tax Court Judges Carluzzo and Dean for judging the final rounds of the competition. It is truly an outstanding program. This year’s award winners were:
• Team Oral Argument Awards — Competition winner: Charleston School of Law; first runner-up: Louisiana State University Law Center; second runner-up: Suffolk University Law School.
• Team Brief Awards — Best overall brief: George Mason University School of Law; first runner-up: Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
• Individual Award — Best individual oralist: Lane Jefferies, Charleston School of Law.
We continue to strengthen our section website and our New Tax Lawyers Division continues to host lunch programs throughout the state.
The Tax Section is fortunate to have a very active cadre of past section chairs, whose assistance is invaluable. We also have a very active Directors Committee and an increasingly engaged executive council. Already our incoming chair, Joel Maser, and chair-elect, Cristin Conley, are working on the programming for their years. I would like to acknowledge and thank our section administrator, Arlee J. Colman, who stepped in at the last minute shortly before our July 4 meeting and truly helped facilitate it and our other programs. I would also be remiss if I did not thank our first ever section “chief” of Staff, Janette M. McCurley, whose overall assistance, organizational skills, and commitment have been invaluable to both me and to the section.
It has been my honor to serve as the Tax Section chair.
Michael A. Lampert, Chair
This year has been an exceptionally busy one for the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar. We began the year by welcoming a new section administrator, Eugene Sherman. Eugene has been a joy to work with. He has brought to the section incredible organization, plenty of enthusiasm, and occasional douses of much appreciated humor. We look forward to his continued leadership for our section in the coming years.
Last fall, the Florida Bar embarked on an educational endeavor entitled The Vote’s in Your Court. The Bar’s program was designed to educate Floridians on the concept of merit retention, so that informed decisions could be made during the November judicial merit retention elections. The section was proud to have assisted the Bar in this endeavor. The section donated funds to the Bar for printing brochures and helped spread the word about the significance of the merit retention process.
Our section held its third annual summit in January at the J.W. Marriott in Orlando. The summit was chaired by Pensacola attorney Bob Palmer. At the summit, the section gathered more than 80 middle and high school civics teachers from Orange, Osceola, Lake, Brevard, and Seminole counties, and treated them to a two-day program called the Teachers’ Law School. Presentations were made to these teachers on a variety of topics related to our American system of government and the significance of our judiciary system. An all-star lineup of prominent judges and attorneys spoke about the Constitution, the amendments, the importance of our jury system, the anatomy of a civil and a criminal trial, the branches of government, and the like. Courtney Grimm, a member of our executive council from Jacksonville, chaired the program. She was assisted by executive council members Mindy McLaughlin from Tampa and Katherine Hunter from Ft. Lauderdale. It is an understatement to say that the program was enormously successful. The teacher participants were incredibly enthusiastic and came away with a new appreciation for lawyers and our legal system. At the final critique session, one participant stood up to confide in the group that before she came to the program, she had seriously contemplated retirement because she had lost her enthusiasm for teaching. With a huge smile on her face, she thanked us for what she considered to be “an absolutely fantastic program,” and pledged to return to her classroom with a new found fervor for teaching her children about civics. The program was incredibly fulfilling for both the participants and the members of our executive council. We hope to continue this program in years to come.
Also at the summit, the section hosted our annual Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition. This year’s competition featured teams from each of Florida’s 11 law schools. We also added an additional round to the competition. Led by executive council members Kim Cook from Miami and Charlie Bartlett from Sarasota, the competition this year was nothing short of riveting. For the first time in years, two teams from the same school, Stetson, advanced to the finals. The final trial was presided over by Florida Supreme Court Justice Fred Lewis. The performance of students throughout this competition was simply spectacular.
The summit also featured our section’s annual trial certification review course. Attorney Ed Cheffy from Naples has been spearheading this program on behalf of our section for a number of years. The course was once again well-attended, and covered a broad range of presentations, including a lecture on evidence from the ever popular Charles Ehrhardt. The Summit attendees were also treated to a riveting lunch time presentation on the Fourth Amendment by attorney Barry Richard, and a night-time appearance and lecture by noted author Scott Turow.
This year, the executive council once again voted to donate to The Florida Bar Foundation a gift of $75,000. Like last year, the section’s gift will be used to fund legal positions to assist underprivileged children. As trial lawyers, we all appreciate the importance of obtaining legal representation in the course of our judicial process. So many Floridians are simply unable to afford that representation, especially the foster children of our state. Our gift will hopefully play at least a small part in assisting these children through the legal challenges in their lives. The executive council is also hopeful that our gift will spur other sections and individuals to likewise contribute to this most worthy cause.
This legislative session, the section has been closely monitoring various proposed pieces of legislation in conjunction with our section’s lobbyist, Bob Harris, and our executive council’s legislative chair, Tom Bishop from Jacksonville. Whenever legislation is proposed that has an impact on our section’s core values, maintaining access to the court system for all Floridians, preserving the integrity of the judicial branch of government, and ensuring adequate funding for the court system, the section becomes involved. We will continue to monitor legislation of significance and work hard to protect these interests.
In May, the section hosted its annual Trial Lawyers Advanced Advocacy Seminar in Gainesville. This seminar is a hands-on, learn-by-doing trial skills training program. It is intended for attorneys who have practiced a minimum of five years and are involved in a full-time litigation practice. Fifty-six attorneys are selected to participate based on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees learn primarily through participatory exercises and are critiqued by a group of experienced trial attorneys and judges. It is truly a unique and spectacular seminar. Each year, the seminar is delighted to have barristers from England participate in the program. This year, we are happy to also have a group of attorneys from the Barbados Bar Association.
The section has updated and will be distributing to all circuit and county court judges our ever-popular Discovery Handbook. This endeavor has been spearheaded by executive council member John Williams. This is a service that the section has long provided and is greatly appreciated by our judiciary.
The Florida Bar President-elect Eugene Pettis is in the process of establishing a Florida Bar Leadership Academy, and the Trial Lawyers Section is assisting him in this endeavor. The Leadership Academy is a multi-session program designed to assist a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers to become better leaders within our profession. Applications for the academy were submitted by attorneys from around the state. The section submitted seven names for consideration and will provide funding to help offset expenses of the program for those who are selected. Executive council member Vicki Sproat from Ft. Myers has spearheaded this effort.
My term as chair of the section is quickly coming to a conclusion. Your executive council members have all worked hard to make this year a very prosperous and rewarding one. I leave the section in the very capable hands of my good friend and colleague, Ted Eastmoore from Sarasota. I am confident he will continue the good work of the section in the year ahead. I very much appreciate the Trial Lawyers Section giving me the opportunity to serve as its chair.
Wayne L. Helsby, Chair
The Workers’ Compensation Section had a dynamic year. There are currently 1,182 members of the section and 195 board certified workers’ compensation lawyers. The members of the Workers’ Compensation Section and the section’s executive council have continued their commitment to the practice of workers’ compensation law. The section’s primary goals are education, professionalism, and independence of the workers’ compensation adjudicatory process.
As many of you know, during the recent legislative session, a House bill was proposed to eliminate the statewide commission for JNC appointments. In essence, this House measure would give the executive branch more power in selecting judges and would eliminate the commission members and the role of The Florida Bar in making recommendations for the judiciary. The Workers’ Compensation Section and The Florida Bar have taken a united stand in opposition to this JNC bill, in order to protect the fairness and independence of our workers’ compensation adjudicatory process and also protect our judges of compensation claims.
When the Technology Committee met in 2012, a good deal of time was spent revising the wants and needs of our lawyers for the Workers’ Compensation Section’s website. The committee felt that the WC Section’s website was dated, not attractive, and did not provide the user with quick access to information. The committee spent many hours reviewing websites to garner to improve our own site. Our website now has attractive storefront, up-to-date information regarding the various CLE programs, a page for blogs, and useful links for the workers’ compensation practitioner. I thank Martin Leibowitz, our technology specialist, for a job well done. Martin makes sure that all matters requiring attention to the website are completed in a timely and efficient manner. I encourage you to visit our newly revamped website at www.flabarwcs.org.
As always, the WC Section offers a diverse schedule of educational opportunities throughout the year. CLE Chair Chris Petruccelli does a very good job in organizing the monthly “Learn at Lunch” program seminars. The telephonic lunch seminars are a great opportunity for attorneys to stay current on a wide range of workers’ compensation issues, while also fitting nicely into the work schedule during the lunch hour.
The WC Section is conducting its annual Trial Advocacy Program on June 14-15 in Miami. The WC Section has sponsored the Trial Advocacy Program for more than 20 years and more than 400 attorneys have completed the program. Each year, six presiding judges of compensation claims, together with 12 distinguished practitioners, provide 24 student attorneys a comprehensive hands-on experience designed to enhance advocacy skills. Many thanks to Ramon Malca for continuing to preside as chair of this well-respected program.
The Workers’ Compensation Winter Retreat was recently held in Tahoe, Calif. The retreat is a gathering of attorneys and judges who enjoy a group discussion and vigorous debate on various CLE topics, rather than a typical classroom setting. The 2014 WC Winter Retreat will be held from February 23-27 in Vail, CO.
The Workers’ Compensation Claims Professional Association and the Workers’ Compensation Section of The Florida Bar partner each year to present the forum. This year, the forum was held in April at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. Each year, the forum provides an excellent comprehensive review and detailed analysis of Florida’s workers’ compensation law, essential for all workers’ compensation attorneys, legal assistants, Florida registered paralegals, claims professionals, and rehabilitation providers. The forum is indispensable regardless of the professional’s level of experience and it is a required course for all attorneys wishing to take The Florida Bar’s workers’ compensation board certification exam. The forum is the pre-eminent conference to attend in Florida in order to obtain the most comprehensive review of Florida’s workers’ compensation laws and case law developments. The steering committee lead by our program chair extraordinaire, Allison Hunnicutt, and the faculty, composed of leading attorneys in the field of workers’ compensation law and judges of compensation claims, ensure the written course book remains current and serves as an excellent workers’ compensation reference guide.
The section’s quarterly publication, the “News and 440 Report,” continues to be a first-rate source of information and legal analysis for WC section members. Each “News and 440 Report” contains intelligent articles addressing legal issues confronting workers’ compensation attorneys and case law updates. The WC section is grateful to Mike Winer and Jeff Appel for their service and dedication as the former and current editors of the “News and 440 Report.”
The Board Certification Committee met in August to start preparing for the 2013 test. The board certification test will be administered in May and the committee will meet on June 21 to grade the test. Additionally, the Board Certification Committee, along with all of the other board certification committees of The Florida Bar, have been engaging in an ongoing discussion with The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization to address testing procedures. In particular, certain changes that were mandated by The Florida Bar to include the elimination of true and false questions. Additionally, the WC executive council, after hearing input of council members and the Board Certification Committee, decided that the testing requirements for qualification to take the board certification test shall remain the same.
Thanks to all of the committees for volunteering their valuable time, efforts, and expertise. Specifically, I want to
thank the officers of our WC Section and the members of the executive council for their service and support. Jeff Jacobs, immediate past chair, is always available to provide clever advice and a wealth of information. Past Chair Rick Thompson is the voice of reason in the maelstrom of debate. Treasurer Alan Kalinoski has kept the WC Section fiscally sound in our shrinking economic times. Secretary Joanne Prescott has maintained excellent records and minutes. Diana Polston-Burnett has done an incredible job as our WC Section administrator. Chair -elect Chris Smith demonstrates the utmost commitment to the WC Section and will serve the WC Section well as chair. It is a privilege to serve with such dedicated professionals. The WC Section is looking forward to bigger and better things in 2013.
Dawn R. Traverso, Chair
Young Lawyers Division
The Young Lawyers Division is the largest section or division of The Florida Bar, serving nearly 25,000 members. As the YLD has done historically, this year we again worked to meet the ever-changing demands of our growing constituency. Of course, one of the biggest issues the youngest members of the YLD are facing is the challenge associated with obtaining employment, without work experience, in the current economy. For several years now, the YLD has implemented new programs and efforts aimed at addressing this issue, and this year was no exception.
At the suggestion of Board of Governors member Laird Lile, the YLD has worked to encourage practitioners to consider a program Lile developed — the Resident at Law Program. This concept, modeled after medical residencies, is designed to provide new law graduates with the opportunity to learn practical skills from seasoned practitioners. Lile developed this program after hearing about the number of law graduates who were sitting for the bar examination as he was considering hiring another administrative assistant. Instead of doing that, he decided to research whether anyone had developed a program that would allow him to utilize the services of a new Bar admittee, while providing the new lawyer with some experience in the process. After extensive nationwide research, having found nothing quite like what he had in mind, Lile developed his own model program, about which members of the YLD Board of Governors have worked to educate lawyers during this Bar year. The Resident at Law Program has received a lot of attention from attorneys, judges, bar associations, and law schools, both from Florida and nationwide. We have marketed this program to different groups within the American Bar Association, which initially ran an article on it in its nationwide monthly magazine in August. In addition, we have spoken to numerous bar associations across the state, and responded to inquiries from practitioners and law schools who read about the program in The Florida Bar News. In an effort to further increase awareness of, and interest in, the Resident at Law Program, the YLD Board of Governors is finalizing a webinar that will be broadcast live once and will be available for future viewing on the YLD website at no cost; any lawyer who takes the webinar will be eligible for one hour of ethics CLE credit.
The Affiliate Outreach Conference had the largest number of participants ever this year and, thanks to the efforts of co-chairs Katherine Hurst Miller and Matt Welch and their committee, we “Raced to Serve,” in Daytona. The AOC provides an opportunity for young lawyer affiliates to secure funding for their various member and public service projects, helping them to make a difference in their local communities. This year, the conference included a CLE entitled “Getting and Keeping a Big Corporate Client,” which featured a spectacular panel of in-house counsel from Sea World, the LPGA, the city of Ormond Beach, Brown & Brown, and the International Speedway Corporation.
The relationship between the YLD and its local affiliates has always been a priority for the division. Once again, thanks to the sponsorship of Lexis, our ongoing partnership with The Florida Bar Foundation, Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, and careful budgeting, the YLD awarded more than $40,000 in grants to its young lawyer affiliates around the state. We are extremely proud to be able to provide that much grant funding and only hope to see it grow in the years to come. We were honored to have President Gwynne Young attend AOC, together with President-elect designate Greg Coleman and local Board of Governors representative Sandra Upchurch. Finally, for the second year in a row, the chair of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division attended AOC; Chris Rogers joined us for the weekend, notwithstanding his very demanding travel schedule with his ABA position.
The Law Student Division’s Board of Governors also met at AOC. Each of the 12 Florida law schools sent their designated representatives to this meeting, with Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Florida’s newest law school, sending representatives for the first time. During their meeting, the division discussed the various projects each school had been working on, both on their campuses and in their respective communities, including the Raising the Bar project, which has become the marquee community service day for the division, held each February. The division is also sponsoring a law student essay contest with Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company and the Center for Professionalism.
The YLD is also continuing its efforts to increase education and involvement of law students through the annual Robert Orseck Moot Court competition, held every year in conjunction with the annual convention of The Florida Bar. Chair Zack Zuroweste, Vice Chair Lou Ursini, and their committee are working hard to once again make this event a huge success. We have received commitments from all 12 Florida law schools that they will host a team for the competition, in which the final round is judged by The Florida Supreme Court; what a fantastic opportunity for our law students!
This year, the YLD also had the privilege of working with, and getting to know, another of the largest divisions of young lawyers in the country, the Texas Young Lawyers Association. Led by my law school classmate, C.E. Rhodes, the TYLA and the YLD worked on a joint project, “From the Inside Out: In-House Counsel’s Advice for Young Lawyers.” Chaired on the Florida side by Quality of Life co-chairs Jason Comer and Stephanie Bolton, the two groups created a survey and submitted it to in-house counsel, seeking input as to what they like to see from their outside counsel, and what outside counsel could do better. The results were used as part of the panel CLE discussion at AOC, were compiled into a hard copy print summary for distribution, and are available on the YLD website. This was a fantastic opportunity to create a useful product while networking and making life-long friends.
While the YLD launched many new initiatives this past year, it also continued many traditionally successful programs, such our basic CLEs, under the direction of CLE Chair LaShawnda Jackson, and Practicing with Professionalism Chair Gordon Glover. Although we often take those projects for granted because we do them every year, the quality and quantity of our programming is ever-increasing and these chairs, together with our program administrator, Tom Miller, spend a great deal of time and energy making sure these programs are truly top-notch. The YLD continued its sponsorship of the South Florida Minority Mentoring Picnic, the Orlando Diversity Picnic, and the Tampa Diversity Picnic, as well as working on new diversity initiatives under the direction of Diversity Committee Chair Sue Ann Robison Caddy and Vice Chair Scott Westheimer. We are proud to be the current reigning champions of the South Florida Minority Mentoring Picnic Volleyball Tournament and intend to hold on to that title for years to come.
As my time with this division draws to a close, I am so grateful to the members of this Board of Governors for consistently working so hard to accomplish everything we have this year. I know I am leaving the division in excellent hands under the leadership of President-elect, Melanie S. Griffin and President-elect Designate Michael Fox Orr, who has more institutional knowledge of this board than just about any other member. Finally, no one in this division is more dedicated and hard-working than our program administrator, Tom Miller; frankly put, we would not be able to accomplish a fraction of what we do without him. I am honored to have had this opportunity to work with this group of leaders and appreciate all every one of them has done to help the division to continue to change and grow.
Paige A. Greenlee, President