The Administrative Law Section started the year with a bang sponsoring the annual Practicing Before the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) CLE Seminar. The full-day event hosted at DOAH was preceded by an Administrative Law Section meeting and reception the day before, which was held in the new home of the First District Court of Appeal. The CLE program was standing room only and provided a unique and informative program for administrative practitioners. This program was followed with a December CLE program titled, “New Directions for Energy, Telecommunications and Administrative Practice.”
The section newsletter continues to provide members with informative articles, legal updates, and agency snapshots. In addition, the section continues to provide the Steering Committee for the newly revised and updated Florida Administrative Practice Manual published by The Florida Bar and currently available in the ninth edition, incorporating changes in statute up to 2011. Several very experienced and outstanding speakers were provided by the section in February for the Young Lawyers Division’s CLE presentation on Basic Administrative Practice for 2012.
At the same time, the section, with the able assistance of retired Administrative Law Judge Linda Rigot, carefully and actively monitored legislative proposals aimed at doing everything from tweaking subtle aspects to significantly revising various aspects of the Administrative Procedures Act (F.S. Ch. 120). Although at the time of writing this annual report, we are still waiting for the dust to settle, it does not appear that there were any major changes legislated with regard to the fundamental purpose and principles of F.S. Ch. 120 during the 2012 session.
During the legislative session, in addition to making legislators aware of the section’s availability to address the likely impact of proposed legislative changes, the section also initiated a new Administrative Law Section e-news reporter published by the section’s Membership Committee for the purpose of providing timely updates to section members with regard to activities of The Florida Bar, the Administrative Law Section, CLE programming, and other matters of interest to administrative law practitioners.
As the year began to wind to an end, the section held a Long Range Planning Retreat at Wakulla Springs for the purpose of addressing on-going programs, such as next year’s biennial Pat Dore Administrative Law Conference, and setting the course for new directions for the section.
Along those lines, in preparation for the annual meeting of the section at The Florida Bar Annual Convention, the section’s Nominating Committee announced the slate of officers for election to Chair-elect Scott Boyd’s Executive Council for 2012-13. They are chair-elect, Amy Schrader; secretary, Daniel Nordby; and treasurer, Richard Shoop. The nominating committee has also recommended the election of Gar Chisenhall, Stephen Emmanuel, Fred Dudley, Brian Newman, and Patricia Nelson, to fill upcoming member-at-large vacancies on the section’s Executive Council. I want to express my appreciation to our section administrator, Jackie Werndli, for yet another great year for the Administrative Law Section and wish the best of luck to the incoming officers of the section. Special thanks go to former chair, Cathy Sellers, and to Deborah Kearney, James Peterson III, Wellington Meffert, and Shaw Stiller, whose terms on the section’s Executive Council are concluding this year.
Finally, I encourage everyone with an interest or a practice in administrative law to join the section and contribute to the efforts to keep members abreast of new developments and armed with the resources necessary to assist a successful practice. Thanks to all for a great year and a bright future.
Allen R. Grossman, Chair
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section was approved in July 2010 and officially launched in August 2010. The ADR Section’s second year has been an interesting and exciting one. Approaching its two-year anniversary, the section is more than 800 members strong. The section’s newsletter, ADR News & Tips, has published two informative issues full of interesting articles and important links. Each issue of ADR News & Tips can be read on the ADR Section’s page on The Florida Bar’s website.
The ADR Section’s Executive Council meets frequently to keep abreast of relevant activities. The section was not formally involved in the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Program issues and order of the Florida Supreme Court, nor the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure change regarding authority at mediations. Both of these proposals and involvement were either done before the section was created or considered outside the section’s purview. The section’s legislative subcommittee, led by Manny Farach, had a very active year reviewing proposed new arbitration legislation.
The ADR Section hosted a seminar during The Florida Bar’s 2011 midyear meeting titled, “ADR and the Bar: Introduction to Grievance Mediation and Fee Arbitration.” This informative CLE seminar, which provides 4.5 CLE credits, including 3.5 ethics credits, is available for purchase on the Bar’s website. The ADR Section is looking forward to coordinating with other sections in the upcoming year to offer more CLE programs.
The section works closely with the Supreme Court’s Committee on ADR Rules and Policy. In fact, several of the ADR Section’s Executive Council members serve on the Supreme Court’s committee. The ADR Section is gaining interest among its current and new members and welcomes any suggestions and/or collaborations.
Jake Schickel, Chair
The Appellate Practice Section remains an active section of The Florida Bar. Our Executive Council met at the 2011 annual Bar convention as well as at the September Bar meetings. In January 2012, the Executive Council met by video conference. Through their respective judicial representatives on the Executive Council, all five of Florida’s district courts of appeal volunteered to host the meeting and to provide the conferencing facilities. Executive Council members from Tallahassee (1st DCA), Tampa (2d DCA), Miami (3d DCA), West Palm Beach (4th DCA), and Daytona Beach (5th DCA) attended the meeting. We thank the district courts, especially the marshals and section representatives, for coordinating this effort.
At the 2011 annual Bar convention, the section continued its tradition of hosting a discussion with the justices of the Florida Supreme Court. Under a format revised a few years ago, the discussion takes place immediately after the Robert Orseck Moot Court Competition concludes, but before the winners are announced. This format provides law students with greater incentives to attend and participate in the discussion. The section also hosted its ever-popular dessert reception on Thursday night at the annual convention, at which Harvey Sepler received the section’s James Adkins Award for appellate excellence and Wendy Loquasto received the section’s Pro Bono Award for her selfless dedication to pro bono services.
This past fall, the section embarked on an exciting new venture. For the first time, the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges — an annual conference of all appellate judges in the state — allowed the section to attend and participate in the conference’s 2011 program. It took place in September at Amelia Island. The section hosted a reception, sponsored a speaker from Tulane Law School who gave a presentation on comparative appellate law, and participated in a mock argument session. Over 40 section members attended, and the program’s educational portion earned attendees 11.5 hours of appellate certification CLE credit, as well as one hour of ethics credit. Section attendees found the opportunity to interact with the judges to be extremely valuable. The section thanks the conference and looks forward to further participation in the future.
One lesson learned from the 2011 DCA judges conference was that it came too close in time to the Bar’s midyear meeting, when the section’s Executive Council traditionally meets. In the future, when the section is invited to participate in the conference, the section intends to move its Executive Council meeting for that time period to the conference’s location. Doing so will cut down on the costs associated with attending both meetings.
One of the section’s signature projects is the publication of our flagship newsletter, The Record, and the regular publication of articles in editions of The Florida Bar Journal. Once again, the section’s Publications Committee has had a busy and productive year. The section has submitted a column for each edition of The Florida Bar Journal published this year, each covering a large variety of topics related to appellate practice and of general interest to the Bar.
The section’s CLE Committee has also remained busy. The section has sponsored numerous live seminars, including an appellate certification review course, a seminar focused on practice before the First District Court of Appeal, and a multi-day workshop on appellate practice hosted in conjunction with Stetson Law School. The section has also continued its monthly teleconference CLE series, which consists of 10 lunchtime teleconference seminars — one each month except June and December. Most months, the seminar qualifies not only for CLE credit, but appellate certification credit, and the informal program inevitably focuses on some interesting aspect of appellate practice and typically features highly regarded speakers, including appellate practitioners, clerks, and judges. The section remains sincerely appreciative to the many persons who generously give their time to make these presentations possible.
This past year, the section recreated and revamped a committee focused on legislative matters, naming it the Legislation and Public Education Committee. Under the leadership of committee chair (and former section chair) Dorothy Easley, the committee formed to create a statewide network of appellate practitioners who can track and respond to legislative and other public events from the perspective of appellate practitioners.
Finally, the section is proud to report that its financial outlook has now fully moved from the somewhat bleak picture that existed several years ago to a very robust situation today. Leaders past and present have contributed to this turnaround, which consisted of many related efforts to improve section income through dues, CLE offerings, and sponsorships, as well as delicate adjustments to section expenses. The section thanks the many persons who are too numerous to name here for their exceptional work in making the section financially sound.
Matthew J. Conigliaro, Chair
The Florida Bar Business Law Section had another exceptional year. Our section prides itself on the quality of our projects (both legislative and substantive), our CLE programs, our committee work, our friendships, and our ability to thoroughly, and yet collegially, discuss and come to resolution on many diverse matters within our areas of specialization. With nearly 5,000 members and interests spanning the full spectrum of business law from transactions (cradle) to litigation and ultimately to bankruptcy (grave or rebirth, depending on your point of view), the Business Law Section works through the following substantive law committees:
Anti-Trust Franchise & Trade Regulation (Manuel Juan Dominguez, chair), Bankruptcy/UCC (Douglas Bates, chair), Bankruptcy/Judicial Liaison (Judge Paul Hyman and Leyza Blanco, co-chairs), Business Litigation (Judge Edward LaRose and Mark Nichols, co-chairs), Federal and State Judicial Liaison (Judge Gill Freeman, Judge Mary Scriven, and Ryon McCabe, co-chairs), Intellectual Property (Robert Thornberg, chair), Computer Law (Kevin Levy, chair), Corporations, Securities and Financial Institutions (Robert C. Brighton, chair).
The section also has very active committees for CLE (Jason Burnett, chair), Communications (Peter Valori, chair), Diversity (Judge Mary Scriven, Judge John Olson, and Jason Murray, co-chairs), FICPA Liaison (Domenick Lioce, chair), Legislation (Gary Teblum, chair), Membership (Alan Aronson, chair), Retreat and Sponsorships (Lori Vaughan, chair).
The work of our committees is exceptional, but certain efforts are worthy of mention in this annual report.
• Legislative Efforts — Perhaps the most important service the section provides to the Florida business community is our various legislative efforts. The section’s priorities in the 2012 legislative session were 1) adequate funding of Florida’s judicial system and civil legal assistance; 2) enacting revisions to Uniform Commercial Code, art. 9, which passed as H.B. 483; 3) supporting legislation to clarify and provide viable procedures in F.S. §213.758, with respect to transferee tax liability, which passed as H.B. 103; 4) opposing legislation providing for commercial nonjudicial foreclosure; 5) supporting enactment of a Revised Uniform Arbitration Act; 6) monitoring/amending legislative proposals related to credit/debt counseling to provide clear definitions and language to exclude licensed Florida attorneys who are regulated by The Florida Bar; 7) opposing legislation prohibiting enforcement of contractual governing foreign law provisions; and 8) supporting a one-stop business registration portal, which passed as H.B. 5501 and H.B. 5503.
• Pro Bono — This year, our Pro Bono Committee continued its important work directing our section’s commitment to 100 percent participation in pro bono service by our members and attorneys in their firms. The section sponsored its first pro bono clinic for nonprofits working with Florida Legal Services in October 2011, with others following in April and May 2012. The committee also organized presentations to high school and middle school students on financial literacy, developed a best practices guide for law firms that wish to encourage pro bono efforts by its lawyers, and encouraged all Florida judges to remind Florida lawyers about the One Campaign by delivering framed posters to the judges’ chambers.
• Opinion Standards — The section has produced a new opinion standards report, which will effectively rewrite the legal opinion standards for Florida lawyers delivering third-party opinions. This has been a multi-year project with the RPPTL Section. The report is available on the section’s website. Kudos to Philip Schwartz, J.C. Ferrer, and Robert Barron for their leadership on this task force.
• Ch. 608 LLC Drafting Task Force — The section has been undertaking a thorough and painstaking analysis and revision of the Florida Limited Liability Company (LLC) Act, by comparing our current LLC statute (Ch. 608) to the Revised Uniform LLC Statute, the ABA Model LLC Act, the Delaware LLC Act, and selected LLC acts from other states. Led by Louis Conti, the task force includes representatives from three sections of The Florida Bar: Business Law, Tax Law, and RPPTL. This task force expects to have a revised LLC act ready for the 2013 legislative session.
• Diversity — Expanding the diversity in our section continues to be a top priority. This year, the Diversity Committee encouraged committee chairs to identify, recruit, and mentor a minority candidate for leadership within their committees as part of implementing the section’s diversity strategic plan; coordinated the section’s sponsorship and participation in diversity picnics; directed presentations at numerous minority bar associations to discuss and publicize the Business Law Section’s diversity initiative; and continued our efforts to achieve a more diverse membership through the “Each One Reach One” Campaign.
Mindy A. Mora, Chair
City, County and Local Government
The members of the City, County and Local Government Law Section are lawyers who practice local government law in private practice, both representing local governments and representing clients dealing with local governments, and as in-house counsel to municipalities, counties, and other local government agencies. The section is focused on providing excellent continuing legal education, opportunities for information sharing and networking, and the promotion of civility in government and in the practice of local government law.
• Education and Seminars — The section, understanding the budget restraints and concerns of many of its members, has worked diligently to ensure its excellent CLE programming continues to be available to as many of its members as possible. The section’s annual meeting each year in May now combines three seminars in one, bolstering the networking opportunities while limiting the cost in treasure and time to its members. In May 2011, the section’s City, County and Local Government Law Certification Review course was held concurrently with its “Public Finance in Florida” seminar in St. Pete Beach, which was followed the next day by the 34th annual “Local Government Law in Florida” seminar. Program Chairs Herb Thiele, Sandy MacLennan, and Ken Tinkler worked to ensure the seminars were a great success. In May 2012, the section continued the tradition of providing a series of relevant and interesting seminars by hosting its certification review course, Land Use 2012 seminar, and the 35th annual Local Government Law in Florida seminar over three days in St. Augustine. Thank you to Herb (again), Michelle Lieberman, Nancy Stuparich, and our chair-elect, Jewel White, for all of their efforts in planning these programs. Special thanks to the leader of our Sponsorship Committee, Sandy MacLennan, for her efforts and to our Marsicano Award Committee: Sandy, Chip Rice, and Susan Churuti.
Our annual Public Employment and Labor Relations Forum, sponsored jointly with the Labor and Employment Law Section, was held during the midyear meeting of The Florida Bar in September 2011. Combining this event with The Florida Bar midyear meeting reduced our attendees’ costs and bolstered attendance. Many thanks to Michael Grogan for his many years of work on making this program a success. The section co-sponsored the fifth annual ethics seminar hosted by the Palm Beach County Planning Congress and the University of Florida’s 11th annual Richard Nelson Symposium, “Digging Up Some Dirt Law: How Recent Developments in Real Property Affect Land Owners and Local Governments.”
Finally, the section hosted its “Sunshine Law, Public Records and Ethics” seminar in Tallahassee on February 18, 2012. This year’s seminar was webcast to local government officials and section members throughout the state (the second highest webcast audience for The Florida Bar) and also enjoyed increased attendance in Tallahassee thanks to the hard work of Rob Teitler. Thank you to Ginger Delegal for assisting with promoting the seminar to the Florida Association of Counties.
• Professionalism and Ethics — The section continued its work in promoting civility in local government, and cities and counties throughout the state of Florida adopted a sample proclamation drafted for them by the section about the need for greater civility. The section would also like to thank past Chair Marion Radson for all his work on professionalism and ethics issues and congratulate him on his upcoming retirement. The section has also been involved with the Council of Sections this year in promoting the interests of those who practice local government law and looks forward to continuing the discussion in the future. Thank you to Ed Scales for his service as our board liaison.
• Law Schools and Young Lawyers — With the success of its CLE programming, the section was able to restore and bolster its awards and internship programming this year. Section members continue to mentor at Florida law schools and recognize the work of law students studying local government law issues. Thanks to Nancy Stuparich for her work on the student awards this year. The section’s intern program has also been expanded and will allow local governments to bring student interns on board this summer, thanks to the work of Jeannine Williams.
The section’s new Young Lawyers Committee debuted and hosted its first networking event and social gathering in conjunction with the February 2012 Sunshine Law and Public Records seminar in Tallahassee. Thank you to Maggie Mooney-Portale, Cissy Proctor, and Alan Fowler for all of their work on this committee.
• Outreach & Publications — The section’s listserv has grown throughout the year and allows section members to discuss cases, legislation, and other issues of importance to local government law practitioners. The Executive Council greatly appreciates the contributions of many members of the section in helping the listserv grow and the work of Mark CS Moriarty in managing the list. The section provides financial and liaison support to Stetson Law Review for its annual Local Government Law Symposium issue, which is sent to section members free of charge.
Our Florida Bar Journal Committee submits articles to The Florida Bar Journal for publication throughout the year. The section also publishes The Agenda, a quarterly publication now emailed to all members. Thank you to Judge Pam Dubov, Jewel White, Glenn Thomas, and David Miller for their work on these publications.
• Membership and Finances — Section membership has held fairly steady despite our economic challenges, and the finances of the section are strong. Thank you to our secretary/treasurer, Hans Ottinot, for his work in making sure we stay on track, to Paul Bangel for his bylaws acumen, and to Dana Crosby-Collier for her initiative and willingness to tackle any matter. The wisdom of immediate past Chair Vivien Monaco has also been key to our success.
Overall, the City, County and Local Government Law Section has had a very productive year, thanks to the efforts of its members and its Executive Council. We all would like to thank our outstanding program administrator, Ricky Libbert, for all she does in ensuring our efforts are successful (and in compliance with all appropriate Bar rules). We look forward to continued success in 2012-13, and invite those with a practice or interest in local government law to join the City, County and Local Government Law Section.
Kenneth Anthony Tinkler, Chair
The Criminal Law Section (CLS) was organized in 1976 and currently has approximately 2,200 members consisting of prosecutors, public defenders, private defense attorneys, government attorneys, professors, and judges. The CLS is dedicated to fostering high standards of ethical conduct in the administration of criminal justice and to the improvement of individual trial skills. Every year the CLS sponsors a variety of quality educational programs for criminal practitioners at large and also provides special assistance to its members in order to further the goals of the CLS.
• Amendments to Bylaws — The bylaws of the CLS had not been substantively reviewed and amended since the creation of the CLS in 1976. This became especially problematic during last year’s legislative session, when the CLS was called upon to take positions regarding proposed legislation within a short time frame. Our bylaws required 30 days notice to all Executive Council members of special meetings. A Bylaws Revision Committee undertook a significant review and revision. At our September 23, 2011, meeting in Orlando, the Executive Council of the CLS approved the amendment to our bylaws, which contains a provision for affiliate membership in the CLS. An affiliate member includes law students and law professors with an interest in criminal law and attorneys who practice in federal court, but are not members of The Florida Bar who are engaged in the practice of criminal law.
• St. Thomas Law Review Project — The CLS was approached earlier this past year about renewing our prior relationship with the St. Thomas Law Review. The goal of this endeavor is to publish on an annual basis a special edition, joint law review pamphlet featuring articles concerning criminal law topics.
• Website Redesign — The CLS contracted with a new website design firm and completely updated our website. The goal of the new website design will be to provide information on upcoming CLE, case law updates, and news about the activities of the CLS. The webmaster has the capability to e-blast all of the CLS membership to keep them informed of current and upcoming events.
• Selig I. Goldin Award — Every year the CLS presents its most prestigious award to one member of The Florida Bar who has displayed the talents and compassion possessed by the late Selig I. Goldin, a lawyer who was dedicated to justice, was a zealous advocate for his clients, and sadly died from cancer when he was just 40 years old. At the 2011 Florida Bar Annual Convention, the award was presented to former Florida Bar President Henry “Hank” Coxe. Henry M. Coxe III served as president of The Florida Bar and president of The Jacksonville Bar Association. It was our pleasure as the CLS for The Florida Bar to award Mr. Coxe with this well-deserved honor for a career of distinguished service to the legal profession. The 2012 Selig I. Goldin Award will be presented to Robert Josefsberg at the CLS luncheon on June 22.
• CLE Report — The Gerald T. Bennett Prosecutor/Public Defender Trial Training Program was held at the University of Florida College of Law from August 7 through August 12, 2011. On January 13, 2012, the Criminal Law Section held “Advanced Federal Practice” in Miami. On February 16, 2012, the CLS sponsored the “Masters of DUI” seminar in Tampa. On March 2, 2012, the section co-sponsored with the Trial Lawyers Section and the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee “Topics in Evidence” in Tampa. On May 17, 2012, the CLS held the “Criminal Law Update” in Tampa.
The CLS requested the CLE Committee review the policy of providing fee waivers for judges and legal aid attorneys while providing no such waiver or discount to prosecutors and public defenders. The CLE Committee has created a subcommittee to research this request. It is the hope of the CLS that a waiver, a limited waiver, or a reduction in fees will increase the attendance of these public sector lawyers in Florida Bar CLE and also perhaps increase their involvement in The Florida Bar.
• Gerald T. Bennett Prosecutor/Public Defender Trial Training Program — The program (PPD) is the flagship CLE program sponsored by the CLS and supported by The Florida Bar Foundation. PPD was first created by the late Professor Gerald T. Bennett in 1977 as a joint trial training program for both prosecutors and public defenders. In this nearly week-long program, young lawyers receive advocacy instruction in two separate criminal cases they take to “trial” from start to finish.
PPD is one of the only programs in the United States that trains both prosecutors and defense attorneys in the same program. The program has from its inception invited junior barristers from the United Kingdom as students and Queens Counsel as guest faculty. The program is a NITA-style program that entails classroom review followed by video review. The program is held each year in August at the University of Florida College of Law. The CLS is grateful for the time and effort given to PPD by Program Directors Jennifer Zedalis and Paul Zacks.
I wish to thank the many members of the Executive Council of the CLS for their time and dedication devoted to our section. Special gratitude is owed to our section administrator, Paige Graham, for tolerating all of us and keeping us on track with our goals and objectives.
Lisa Porter, Chair
The Elder Law Section had another lively and successful year, thanks to the hard work and dedication of section members and the Executive Council: Enrique Zamora, chair; Twyla Sketchley, chair-elect; Jana McConnaughhay, administrative chair; John S. Clardy III, substantive chair; David Hook, treasurer; Ellen S. Morris, secretary. The section continues to tackle new challenges and accomplished the following:
• Annual Retreat — The section hosted its annual retreat at the Breakers in Palm Beach. Meetings, luncheons, and a CLE course on VA benefits, chaired by Jack S. Rosenkranz, were well attended, and sponsors were generous in their contributions.
• Annual Review — The Elder Law Annual Review, co-chaired by Twyla Sketchley and Brandon Arkin, was held at the beautiful Reunion Resort and Spa in Orlando. Our distinguished speakers covered the areas of pre-mortem planning, healthcare advance directives, Social Security benefits, residents’ rights, age/disability discrimination, and VA benefits, among others. The section had a record number of attendees.
• Elder Concert — The Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys partnered with the section along with other organizations to host the 11th annual Elder Law Concert, which took place on May 4, 2012, in Tampa and again on May 11, 2012, in Ft. Lauderdale. Lawyers, guardians, accountants, facility administrators, social workers, and care managers were encouraged to attend to learn and network with other professionals.
• Mentoring — The Elder Law Section’s Mentoring Special Committee, chaired by Jason A. Waddell, is devoted to providing a strong base for newer attorneys and has hosted a series of teleconferences titled “Tricks of the Trade” covering different aspects of elder law. We encourage members to join, as they are free. The section is committed to developing and enhancing the practice of elder law.
• Joint Public Policy Task Force — The task force is comprised of members from both the Elder Law Section and Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys. Some of this year’s efforts include a successful delay in the prospective implementation of the five-year look back period in Florida until January 2015, protection of retirement accounts, extension of long-term care partnership policy protections to long-term care waiver programs, defeat of spousal refusal and personal service contract proposed legislation, utility allowance increase for community spouse income allowance, and change in policy recognizing that a Deficit Reduction Act-compliant promissory note should be treated as income and not a resource.
• Weapons and Adjudication — The Guardianship Committee, chaired by Carolyn Landon and Melissa Lader Barnhardt, made significant advancements on proposed legislation regarding restricting the access of wards to weapons and a white paper on the matter was approved and is moving toward proposed legislation.
• Florida Bar SNT Brochure — Stephen Taylor, as chair of the Special Needs Trust Committee, led his committee to the preparation of a draft of a special needs trust brochure, which will be submitted to The Florida Bar for approval as a Florida Bar pamphlet.
• New Name — After much debate and deliberation, the section will be changing its name to the Elder and Disability Law Section. We welcome disability attorneys throughout Florida to join and actively participate in the section.
• Continued Education — Collett P. Small, as CLE chair, was responsible for coordinating our CLE programs, including the retreat and annual review. She has been very active in planning future CLE seminars on disability.
• Medicaid Updates — John Clardy and Emma Hemness, co-chairs of the Medicaid Committee, have worked diligently to provide technical assistance on matters under review by the Joint Public Policy Task Force. Members continue to assist with advocacy efforts by engaging in a second letter writing campaign to draw attention to the pending federal law waivers that mandate that all seniors receiving Medicaid be enrolled and have their care controlled by a managed care organization. This advocacy attempted to focus the attention of the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to enhance the current waiver programs by expanding safeguards within them.
• Elder Law Student Reception — On Friday, November 4th, 2011, the Elder Law Section and St. Thomas University School of Law hosted a student reception: “Life After Law School: Expectations of New Elder Law Attorneys.” The evening was headed by the chair of the Elder Law Section, Enrique Zamora, and moderated by Collett Small, who coordinated the event. In addition to the many South Florida elder law attorneys, St. Thomas law deans and professors, and students of South Florida law schools who were in attendance, Judge Maria M. Korvick, Judge Arthur Rothenberg, and General Magistrate Lewis Kimler also attended and shared their warm words of wisdom and advice. A panel of distinguished speakers discussed many topics targeted specifically for current law students and newly admitted attorneys interested in elder law. This event was a great success, and the Elder Law Section, along with St. Thomas University School of Law, looks forward to making this an annual event.
• Targeting the Unlicensed Practice of Law — The UPL Special Committee, chaired by John R. Frazier, has continued to explore the possibility of a Florida Supreme Court advisory opinion to address the conduct of nonattorney Medicaid planners. The Ohio Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion in 2011. The UPL Committee will be forwarding the advisory opinion to The Florida Bar Standing Committee for UPL for its review and consideration.
• 2012-13 Executive Council — The Nominating Committee, chaired by Leonard E. Mondschein, past chair, voted on a new roster of officers with approval of the current Executive Council: Twyla Sketchley, chair; John Clardy, chair-elect; Jana McConnaughhay, administrative chair; David Hook, substantive chair; Ellen Morris, treasurer; Randy C. Bryan, secretary.
• Elder Law Student Membership — Brandon Arkin, our law school liaison, has promoted student membership among the law schools in Florida. As part of the effort to recruit student members, Enrique Zamora mailed a letter and a copy of the section’s publication, The Elder Law Advocate, to all the law school deans in Florida.
• Legislation — Scott A. Selis was outstanding as chair of the Legislative Committee. The committee held weekly meetings to review all proposed legislation, and he kept the Joint Public Policy Task Force abreast of the committee’s concerns on a weekly basis.
• RPPTL Liaisons — Marjorie E. Wolasky, Charles F. Robinson, John S. Clardy III, Steve Quinell, and Sam W. Boone, Jr., continued to represent our interest and continued to work with the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section.
• Membership — Membership of the section totals approximately 1,600, in addition to 80 student members. The section celebrates having close to 90 board certified elder law attorneys and new additions in May.
The leadership of the Elder Law Section appreciates the support and dedication of its committees and professional staff, including, but not limited to, Ken Plante, Tom Bachelor, John Gilroy, and Al Rothstein. The section will continue to engage and educate its members to be the finest proponents and leaders of elder and disability law and all that it encompasses.
• Elder Law Advocate — For the first time ever, our co-editors, Patricia “Tish” Taylor and Stephanie Villavicencio, have received more articles than we could publish in each of the past two issues. The Editorial Board was created to improve the quality of our publication with the leadership of Leonard E. Mondschein as chair. We are determined to continue increasing readership and providing our members with quality insight on elder law and disability law.
Enrique Zamora, Chair
Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law
The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section (EASL) appreciates the assistance of those who have contributed to its busy and productive year. We combined continuing educational programs in various areas and various pro bono publico and volunteer efforts and events. Steve Carlisle and others put together a great program at the retreat at the Omphoy Ocean Resort in Palm Beach over the 2011 Memorial Day weekend. Participants and topics were: Louis Tertocha and Steve Carlisle (approval of minor’s contracts); Steve Eisenberg and Richard J. Ovelman (right of publicity); Emily Patricia Graham (Florida’s film, TV, and digital media tax incentives); Cassandra Willard and Ivan J. Parron (Florida’s talent agent statute), and Charlie Brusco (keynote speaker on “Managing the Superstar Artist: Styx, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Beyonce”). As part of our pro bono educational efforts, EASL assisted Steve Eisenberg, who organized the Arts and Business Council/Dade Legal Aid/Put Something Back’s “Intellectual Property and the Arts Panel” at the New Theatre in Coral Gables on August 10, 2011. EASL co-sponsored the event. Panelists were Steve Eisenberg, Jaime Rich Vining, and Keith Liscomb. At The Florida Bar’s September 21, 2011, meeting at the Hilton Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, EASL sponsored a great program with great speakers on “Intellectual Property and Resource Protection: Analysis of Protective Actions, Audits, Employment Covenants and Related Litigation” (co-hosted by the Labor and Employment Law Section). Speakers included Ava Doppelt, Stephen M. Gaftican, and Richard Kurtz.
The sixth annual Independent Film and the Law seminar, chaired by Carolyn Herman at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens on Friday, October 14, 2011, in Jacksonville was a continuing success. Carolyn’s hard work over the years and her efforts to enable EASL to provide opportunities was most appreciated. Speakers and topics were: Carolyn Herman (welcome); Moderator Lucille Ponte and D. Porpoise Evans, Cassandra Willard, and Melissa Ross (“Super 8: Providing Those Elusive and Potentially Expensive Deliverables”); Moderator Carolyn Herman and Kim Swartz, Darryl Cohen, and Kent Lindsey (“The Hangover Part II: Avoiding Talent Headaches”); Moderator Kim Swartz and Jeffrey McFarland, William Whiteacre, Thomas Kastetz, and Lawrence Haber (“Source Code: Securing that Initial Financing and/or Distribution Agreement”).
We also participated in John Kozyak’s Minority Mentoring picnic on November 12, 2011. We had an EASL booth at this wonderful event for minority and female students (and many others interested in advice as to career paths and opportunities). Hundreds of students came by our booth. Special thanks go to Rochelle Kerner for providing information relating to her practice, her recent production, and the great advice she provided to the students.
On Tuesday, November 29, 2011, thanks to the efforts of Dan Samson, chair of EASL’s Sports Committee, a seminar was held at the new Marlins Baseball Sales Headquarters. An outstanding lecture by Derek Jackson, the Florida Marlins vice president and general counsel, on the Eighth Circuit’s decision in the NFL Labor Dispute, provided an analysis of complex issues relating to labor law and antitrust law involved in the ruling in Brady et al. v. NFL. The Marlins graciously hosted a reception.
In connection with our Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Pro Bono projects, on December 9, we hosted the “Jump on Board for the Arts” seminar. As noted, we thank Steven Eisenberg for setting up some wonderful programs, which EASL was able to cosponsor, including “Put Something Back,” which resulted in EASL receiving a Pro Bono Service Award.
Jean Perwin and EASL sponsored “The Height of Fashion: Recent Developments in Fashion Law.” Barbara Kolson, executive vice president and general counsel of Stuart Weitzman and co-author and editor of Fashion Law, provided an informational lecture on January 8, 2012. Additional lectures had been arranged for the remainder of this 2012 year to enable local efforts to increase EASL participation. Seminars include a seminar on intellectual property, which has been organized by Dan Devine, chair of the intellectual property group; a seminar on OSHA and the application of federal safety law in the entertainment, arts, and sports workplace; a program on negotiating TV deals; and a program on “Expanding Your Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Practice” by David Lorenzo, who has assisted a number of entertainment attorneys in building their practices. The EASL program on social networking law was designated as a “president’s showcase” seminar by The Florida Bar for its June annual convention. EASL’s annual retreat was held on May 25-27, 2012 (Memorial Day weekend), at One Ocean Resort in Atlantic Beach, which featured a wonderful program by Cassi Willard.
I omitted, due to space limitations, invaluable contributions — including officers, committee chairs, and members. Special thanks to the following people for outstanding work and invaluable contributions: Steve Eisenberg for his continued work chairing the Pro Bono Publico Committee and setting up great events, and his assistance in connection with the operation of the EASL listserv, an invaluable opportunity for EASL members to obtain and provide information and exchange ideas and current commentaries; Kim Kolback, CLE chair, who has been active in coordinating events so that EASL members participated in a variety of programs for not only CLE courses, but also universities; Emily Graham for her dedication to the Legislative Committee and for not only chairing that committee but monitoring and suggesting legislative provisions that will benefit those involved in the entertainment, arts, and sports law practice — she also singlehandedly set up a fashion law writing contest so that students in Florida schools would have the opportunity to compete by writing an article on fashion law and also to receive recognition in what we hope will be the first of many such programs; Elliot Zimmerman, who was the first chair of the committee that evolved into EASL — we appreciate his contributions in setting up the website (as well as the initial listserv and many other projects) and his many years of invaluable service; and Ivan Parron and Serona Elton, who volunteered to work on and established our new website with a variety of social networking options in response to information and suggestions by EASL members.
EASL established corporate and individual sponsorships and continues to work on the establishment of such sponsorships. To date, the corporate sponsors are Greenberg Traurig, and the individual sponsors include Steve Eisenberg, Ivan Parron, and Elliot Zimmerman, and there are
Environmental and Land Use Law
The diversity of the Environmental and Land Use Law Section (ELULS) is its strength. We are close to 2,000 members strong, with approximately 100 nonlawyer affiliate members (consultants, planners, or students), who range in practice areas from private firms to government lawyers and public interest groups. Our top priority is to serve this diverse membership while continuing to grow the section. To serve the diversity of our section, we have continued with our four substantive committees (Land Use; Pollution Assessment, Remediation, Management and Prevention; Water, Wetlands, Wildlife and Beaches; and Young Lawyers), while also adding a new one on Energy.
Our webinars have proven to be very successful, and we will continue to grow these progrmany others that we hope to recognize and be able to thank for additional sponsorships. Please communicate with Angela Froelich (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in EASL members and projects.
Joseph Z. Fleming, Chairams, many at no cost to our members. Our section Reporter and the Environmental and Land Use Law Treatise provide current information to our members on case law, regulatory, and legislative topics. The Reporter is provided quarterly, and both the Reporter and the Treatise can be found on our website, www.eluls.org. The section has also started a monthly electronic newsletter to keep members informed of upcoming CLEs and other opportunities.
In 2011, section leadership held their annual retreat in Melbourne Beach. We had our largest participation in years and got a great start in planning for the upcoming year. On April 13-15, 2012, section leadership held the annual retreat in New Orleans, LA. To plan for that long-range planning retreat, a survey went out to the leadership of the section to help determine the ELULS priorities over the next five years. It has proven very helpful for our long-range planning retreat.
Currently the ELULS is focusing on updating our website and on making our CLEs a success. On March 23, our section held the CLE, “South Florida Environmental and Land Use Law: Recent Developments in Ft. Lauderdale,” and the CLE, “Environmental and Land Use Considerations for Real Estate Transactions 2012,” on April 20 in Tampa. Both had great attendance. We are also currently putting together our annual update for August 9-11 at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra.
The ELULS is very proud to offer financial and member support to several law school-related seminars, including the annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, sponsored each February by the University of Florida College of Law, the Nelson Symposium at the University of Florida, the Environmental Justice Summit at Barry School of Law, and the Environmental Summit at Coastal School of Law. We also provide financial support to students through the Hopping Memorial Scholarship and the Maloney Writing Contest. Hopping Green & Sams, P.A., and the ELULS sponsor an annual scholarship in the amount of $5,000 for eligible Florida law students who have demonstrated an affinity and commitment to environmental or land use law. The winner will be announced at the section’s annual update. The Maloney Writing Contest invites students to submit papers on a subject in the area of environmental, land use, or zoning law that relates in some way to Florida. The first place winner is awarded $500, free admittance to the section’s annual update, a $500 expense reimbursement, and is recognized at the update. Second and third place winners are also awarded free admittance to the update and are recognized at the update.
Our section also provides three fellowship programs each worth $5,000. The ELULS works with the ABA’s Environment, Energy, and Resources Section to provide two fellowships designed to encourage students from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds to study and pursue careers in environmental and/or land use law. Finally, the section provides the Florida Environmental Public Interest Fellowship, designed to encourage qualified law students to study and pursue careers in public interest, environmental, and land use law. The ELULS is proud to provide these financial assistance programs with an eye on strengthening their future membership.
The ELUL Section is a very diverse and strong section providing invaluable services to its membership. It has been a great pleasure to work with such wonderful and dedicated people. For more information on the ELULS and on opportunities to become more involved, please visit our website at www.eluls.org.
Martha Collins, Chair
The Florida Bar Family Law Section is having another exceptional year, thanks to its officers, Executive Council, committee chairs, and members of the section’s various committees. It’s a great time to get involved in the Family Law Section, whether to gain further substantive knowledge in your area of practice or to build your network of attorneys around the state to share ideas and business.
It has been an extremely busy year. The section conducts a trial advocacy program in alternate years to encourage section members to improve their trial skills. This year’s trial advocacy program was held from August 11-14, 2011, at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa in Ft. Lauderdale, and was extremely well attended. We thank the outstanding stewardship and leadership of Allyson Hughes, Deborah O. Day, Douglas Greenbaum, and Julia Wyda in organizing the program.
An important project addressed by the section this year relates to our bylaws. G.M. Norberto Katz was appointed as chair of a committee to address and resolve grammatical, organizational, structural, and substantive issues in our bylaws. Chaired by Norberto’s outstanding leadership, the committee consisted of G.M. Diane Kirigin, Jeffrey Weissman, Charles Fox Miller, Maria Gonzalez, Kathryn M. Beamer, Carin Porras, Elisha Roy, and Nicole Goetz. The bylaws are now in committee at the Board of Governors. The section’s out-of-state fall retreat was held at the beautiful Taj Hotel in Boston from October 19-22, 2011. The retreat was extremely well attended. We give special thanks to Laura Davis Smith and Douglas Greenbaum, retreat chairs. They planned and executed a wonderful agenda.
The Marital and Family Law Review Course was held at the Loews Royal Pacific Hotel and Universal Orlando from January 27-28, 2012, and was sold out, with approximately 1,300 attendees. Great thanks go to Carin Porras, who once again served as section event chair; our hard-working vice chairs, Ingrid Keller, Patricia Alexander, and Belinda Lazzara, for selecting speakers and issues; and to the speakers for providing great lectures and outstanding written materials. During the seminar it was our great honor to present G.M. Barbara Beilly with the chair’s Visionary Award in recognition of all her extraordinary contributions both past and present to the section.
At our January Executive Council meeting, the council approved a gift of $75,000 on behalf of the Family Law Section to The Florida Bar Foundation’s Children’s Legal Services Grant Program. According to the Bar Foundation, without additional resources such as these charitable gifts by the Family Law Section and the Trial Lawyers Section, the jobs of 10 or more of those attorneys are at risk in the next three years due to the recent sharp decline in revenue from Florida’s IOTA program, the chief funding source for The Florida Bar Foundation. IOTA revenue has fallen 88 percent since 2008 due to low bank interest rates and the downturn in the economy.
Spearheaded by Thomas Duggar, Tom Sasser, and Elisha Roy, the section engaged in hundreds of hours of efforts in attempting to craft a mutually agreeable compromised alimony bill that would satisfy the section and the proponents of the bill. We were able to defeat the bill, which would have financially imperiled thousands of Floridians entitled to reasonable and just alimony awards. We give great thanks to Nelson Diaz, who did an extraordinary job in representing the section’s interests in Tallahassee and in defending the alimony statute. Of note, the section also was involved in and weighed in on adoption and foreign law bills. We thank Christopher Rumbold and Abigail Beebe for their hard work on those issues.
With nearly 4,000 members and interests spanning the full spectrum of family law, we offer the following substantive committees:
Legislation (Thomas Dugger and Maria Gonzalez, co-chairs); Rules and Forms (Matt Capstraw and Bob Boyd, co-chairs); Equitable Distribution (John Foster, chair); Publications (Laura Davis Smith, chair of the Commentator, the section’s quarterly print magazine; Luis E. Insignares, editor of FAMSEG, the section’s electronic newsletter; and Sarah Sullivan and Amy Hamlin, editors of the section’s Florida Bar Journal submissions); CLE (Deborah Welch and Julia Wyda, co-chairs); Children’s Issues (Caryn Green and Abigail Beebe, co-chairs); Domestic Violence (Robin Scher and Amy Cosentino, co-chairs); Support Issues (David Hirschberg and Barbara Goiran, co-chairs); Magistrates (Doug Greenbaum and Randi Glick Boven, co-chairs); Litigation Support (David Riggs and Kathryn Beamer, co-chairs); Amicus (Cynthia Greene, chair); Mediation (Bob Merlin and Steve Berzner, co-chairs); and Membership (Ron Bornstein and Sheena Benjamin-Wise, co-chairs).
We especially acknowledge Vicki Simmons, our new section administrator. Though a veteran of the Bar in years past, Vicki was faced with great challenges in taking over for Summer Hall, the long-time administrator of our section. Though we greatly miss Summer, Vicki has really stepped up in a remarkably short amount of time. She has done an exemplary job in helping keep me on track in administering the day-to-day activities of the section. I thank Vicki greatly for all her help during my year as chair.
We enjoyed our Spring Retreat in St. Petersburg at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club May 17-19, 2012. G.M. Diane Kirigin did a fabulous job in organizing a great retreat. Dr. Mimi Hull, who specializes in human resource training and development, assisted in analyzing the behavioral styles of attorneys and clients and preparing for mediation, settlement, and court. We had the privilege of a private cocktail party and exclusive tour of the Salvador Dali Museum and enjoyed a sunset cocktail party. We had a great retreat.
Concluding, I could not have done it without my Executive Committee members. Chair-elect Carin Porras has been extraordinary. I have no idea how Carin found the time to be as intimately involved with section issues to the extent she did and manage to practice law. Somehow she did it while acting as chair of the Board Certification Review Course seminar at the same time. Carin’s attention to detail and work ethic is extraordinary. Treasurer Elisha Roy is a fount of legislative knowledge and institutional history regarding the entire legislative process. She was available whenever I asked for her help, and volunteered for every job that came up. It is no surprise that at her relatively tender years she is soon to be the chair of the section. Secretary Norberto Katz was a tremendous asset to the section this year in his position as secretary. He gave his heartfelt commitment, candor, and passion to every issue. Magistrate Diane Kirigin probably committed and devoted more work to the section than any immediate past chair that I can remember. Diane cares greatly about the section. I greatly value the friendship I have with all the Executive Committee members and their devotion to the Family Law Section.
I want to express my great gratitude for having the opportunity to serve the Family Law Section as chair, and the opportunity to attempt to achieve the accomplishments we formulated at the first of the year. I think we have achieved those goals. I am proud of the work we did this year in spite of great challenges. I have great faith that the section will continue to grow and thrive in the upcoming years under the exemplary leadership of our Executive Committee.
David Lawrence Manz, Chair
General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section
The 2011-12 Bar year has been an exciting and fulfilling one for the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section. We are 40 years old and growing stronger.
In June 2011, members of the section were invited to attend the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference at Lake of the Ozarks. The Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Section has the best attended conference in the whole United States. Our delegation came back with numerous ideas on how to make our GPSSF Solo and Small Firm Conference better for Florida lawyers. Our day and one-half Solo and Small Firm Conference is set for the midyear meeting of The Florida Bar at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa on September 21-22, 2012.
The GPSSF’s seven credit, “Florida Law Update CLE,” presented at the June 2011 Bar convention was the best attended seminar. We also presented the L. Michael Roffino Pro Bono Award to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and awarded the Tradition of Excellence to our very own past chair, Margaret Rose “Peggy” Hoyt.
In September, members of the Executive Council traveled to Tallahassee and were guests of the staff at The Florida Bar headquarters. We met many of the personnel who help so much in keeping the section programs and publications running smoothly. After the tour of the Bar, we held our quarterly meeting.
The GPSSF section is dedicated to keeping our members and all solo and small firm lawyers attuned to developments in technology. Peggy Hoyt, with an excellent faculty, presented the 6.5 hours of credit “Technology for the Extraordinary Lawyer” CLE at the midyear meeting of the Bar at the Hilton Walt Disney World Resort; it was a big hit with all attendees.
October saw our ever popular Annual Ethics Update CLE, which included five hours of ethics credit, provided at the Tampa Airport with Eugene Shuey as the CLE program chair. It is a great help to our members to keep up with all the changes from the Supreme Court and the Board of Governors.
The fall quarterly Executive Council meeting was held in St. Augustine on November 4. Also in November, University of Florida Professor Michael Olexa, the chair of our Agriculture Law Committee, presented the five credit “Florida Agriculture Law Update” CLE in Gainesville at the Florida Farm Bureau.
The winter meeting of the Executive Council was held at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa on January 27, 2012. We had a busy agenda, but were able to make the time to thank last year’s chair, Kirk Kirkconnell, for his service to our section. We do appreciate all the work Kirk has done for the GPSSF and the whole Florida Bar.
The long-range planning meeting was held in Atlanta. Chair-elect Linda Calvert Hanson conducted the meeting on March 16 and 17. We discussed implementation of a number of good ideas on how we can continue to serve our members, and make the section a real resource for the general practice, solo, and small firm lawyers.
On May 19, 2012, we began our 9.5 credit CLE “Joint Comparative Law: The London Symposium,” co-hosted by other sections of The Florida Bar, the Bar Council (barristers) and the Law Society (solicitors). We had a day and a half of meetings and lunches at the esteemed Middle Temple, tours of London’s historic lawyer’s quarters as well as courts, including the Old Bailey and the Royal Courts of Justice, and two joint receptions with our English counterparts. This was an outstanding event.
Also, we must give a very special thanks to Ricky Libbert, section program administrator, for all the hard work she does for our section.
Frank E. Maloney, Jr., Chair
It has been (and continues to be) my privilege to serve as chair of the Government Lawyer Section this year. Our section strives to address the unique issues facing attorneys in the public sector, and it is indeed humbling to serve as chair of the section that represents all government lawyers — a group consisting of approximately 15 percent of The Florida Bar’s membership — regardless of the level of government, branch of government, or subject matter.
The section’s Executive Council is reflective of that diversity of practice, with representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies and legislative bodies, court systems, state attorney and public defender offices, water management districts, local schools, and the state university system.
In approaching our actions as an Executive Council, we are guided by the mission statement of the section:
The Government Lawyer Section is dedicated to promoting the professionalism and competence of its members; improving the delivery of legal services to all governmental entities; improving the administration of the legal system; and enhancing The Florida Bar’s and the public’s understanding of the unique needs of the government attorney.
The legal profession has faced a broad range of issues in recent years, placing enormous pressures on practitioners in both the public and private sectors. For government attorneys, the pressures have been especially acute, with public servants facing a dual threat of declining budgets and personal attacks against the sacrifices that many have made in their careers. The effects have been broadly experienced and deeply felt by government attorneys, with many facing direct and significant hits.
Evidence of these pressures can be found in the report on the Bar’s biennial membership survey, Results of the 2011 Membership Opinion Survey (Jan. 2012), which shows that, among all categories of Florida Bar members surveyed, local, state, and federal government attorneys experienced the greatest percentage decreases in median income between 2005 and 2011.
In the face of these challenges, the recent leadership of our section has provided a steady hand, offering tireless and dedicated service in furtherance of the section’s mission. I have been honored to follow in the footsteps of recent section chairs Mary Ellen Clark and Keith Rizzardi, not to mention the many others who preceded them.
The challenges of recent years have revealed both the need for, and the effectiveness of, a concerted effort to enhance The Florida Bar’s and the public’s understanding of the unique needs of the government attorney, as prescribed by the section’s mission. Consequently, the section has actively worked, to the greatest extent possible, to communicate and collaborate with individuals both within and outside of the Bar.
The Government Lawyer Section has appreciated the ongoing dialogue with the Bar’s Board of Governors and, in particular, the leadership of President Scott Hawkins, President-elect Gwynne Young, and President-elect Designate Eugene Pettis. The section looks forward to continuing that dialogue in the future.
Additionally, while the 2012 regular legislative session did not present as many issues as the 2011 session, the section has continued to tender whatever assistance it can in support of the Bar’s efforts and in support of the needs of government lawyers. The section’s Legislative Committee is led by immediate past Chair Mary Ellen Clark and by Bobby Downie, who both have offered considerable service in legislative matters over the past few years. The section’s Executive Council is thankful for the efforts of the Bar’s staff during the annual appropriations process to afford state agencies the ability to pay the Bar dues and CLE fees of agency attorneys. The section stands at the ready to provide assistance as legislative issues arise in future sessions.
In addition to the foregoing, the section has built upon its programming successes of recent years. With respect to CLEs, for instance, the section offered, for the first time since 2007, its most recent edition of “Practicing Before the Legislature,” which took place at the Capitol in Tallahassee. This exceptional program, which was received very positively by the participants, was chaired by Booter Imhof and is available for purchase for the first time ever on audio CD. The section planned a new edition of “Practicing Before the Supreme Court,” at the Florida Supreme Court on June 7, 2012, as well as public records and government in the sunshine, which is tentatively scheduled for the early fall in Tallahassee. The section has benefitted greatly from the work of Joe Mellichamp, who continues to serve diligently as chair of the section’s CLE Committee.
The section also has continued its support of the State & Federal Government and Administrative Practice Certification Program. In furtherance of the SFGAP certification program, the section has co-sponsored a certification review course this year, chaired by the section’s Technology Committee chair, Warren Pearson, focusing on issues from the federal component of the certification exam. The section has valued the ongoing service of its Certification Committee chair, Francine Ffolkes.
The section has the honor of managing the Bar’s Claude Pepper Outstanding Government Lawyer Award, which is conferred annually at the Bar’s annual convention. The 2011 Claude Pepper Award recipient was Stephanie A. Daniel, special counsel in the general civil litigation section of the Office of the Attorney General. Nominations are pending for the 2012 award, which will be conferred during a special ceremony at the upcoming annual convention on June 22, 2012. The section appreciates the continued work of Morgan Rood, chair of the Claude Pepper Award Committee.
In sum, the Government Lawyer Section has enjoyed a successful year on many fronts, building upon the successes of recent years and looking forward to continued achievement in future years. The section will be well-served by its chair-elect, Diana Bock, as it embarks on the 2012-13 Bar year.
Ward P. Griffin, Chair
The Health Law Section continued its emphasis on electronic communications with its members in 2011-12. An updated strategic plan produced by the section after its September retreat maintained the section’s focus on keeping members current regarding changes in Florida’s health laws through the section website, a listserv for section members, a new electronic monthly member update, the section newsletter, continuing legal education, and a social media presence through Facebook. Attendance at section CLEs included a growing number of webinar participants.
To the relief of Executive Council members Bill Dillon and Rodney Johnson, the overworked volunteers who kept the new website current, and Ashlea Wiley, the section administrator, the section hired a consultant to keep its recently upgraded website up to date as the content continued to grow. The website remains a valuable resource for current information about the section, especially during the legislative session when the website is updated weekly with new bills and amendments of interest to Health Law Section members. Steve Grigas, the chair of the Legislative Committee, did a stellar job of identifying bills to post on the website. The website consultant and James “Chet” Barclay, the editor-in-chief of the section’s Health Law Journal, assisted the council in transitioning the journal to a viewer-friendly electronic format accessible on the website.
Further, the Health Law Section listserv went live this year with the assistance of member Ann Bittinger, who helped the section achieve its longstanding goal of electronically communicating with other members. Members who want to seek feedback from colleagues on Florida health law topics may communicate with any of the section members who elect to participate. This promises to be a valuable tool to increase member interaction.
Member Malinda Lugo tackled the implementation of electronic updates to members regarding changes in substantive Florida health law with the help of several volunteers who agreed to monitor discrete practice areas and prepare monthly summaries of recent developments. The team of practice area reporters, led by Ms. Lugo, submitted a series of monthly compilations, copies of which are available on the section website to keep members abreast of the latest changes in their practice areas.
Additionally, the Health Law Section, with the guidance of Erin Smith Aebel, established a social media presence on Facebook. Through the posting of pictures and updates of section activities, the section has found new friends.
The section’s primary focus on member education remains a driving force of its activities. This mission has been fulfilled through the section’s publications, including its newsletter and its CLE programs. The section is very pleased that its monthly “Eat and Educate” CLE webinars have been successful and are now available for after-market sales. The webinars allow members to obtain CLE credits over a lunch hour lecture at a much lower cost than attending live programs. The section appreciates the efforts of Grant Dearborn and his co-chair, Katherine Van Tassel to head this effort. The section also applauds the efforts of Lester Perling, its immediate past chair, who coordinated another successful “Representing the Physician” program with the Tax Section, and James “Chet” Barclay, who organized the third annual “Fundamentals of Florida Health Care Law,” and Jodi Laurence, who organized the annual advanced health law topics and certification review course.
Finally, I want to thank the members of the Executive Council, Ashlea Wiley, the section administrator, and the section’s entire membership for their hard work during the past year in continuing the section’s endeavor to provide a useful and valuable service to its membership.
Cynthia A. Mikos, 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 10th annual International Litigation and Arbitration Conference, held on February 23 and 24 at the J.W. Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami, brought 2012 off to an exciting start. The conference, which is the section’s showcase, featured speakers from around the globe — including the coordinator for legal affairs to the executive office of the Dominican Republic and the secretary of legislative and judicial affairs for the Dominican Republic — on the future of investor-state arbitration and recent Alien Tort Claim Act cases, among other cutting edge topics. This year’s conference was organized by Program Chair Carlos F. Osorio, Co-vice Chairs Nicolás Apfelbaum and Jorge Mestre, and the Conference Steering Committee members.
The section was also busy last fall with the International Income, Estate and Gift Tax Conference, the midyear meeting, and the fifth annual International Business Transactions Conference. The International Income, Estate and Gift Tax Conference, held on October 27, 2011, at the Conrad Hilton in Miami, offered a full day of hot button tax issues geared to attorneys engaged in cross border transactions, including those with slight or no prior tax background. The topics included offshore bank account disclosure initiatives and “quiet disclosures;” forthcoming foreign financial assets disclosures; U.S. and foreign “transfer pricing” guidelines applicable to positioning intangibles; and updates on expatriation requirements, among others. The section also held its midyear meeting the next day, October 28, 2011, at the offices of Hogan Lovells in Miami. And on November 29, 2011, the section continued its annual International Business Transaction Conference by holding the event in São Paulo in conjunction with the International Centre for Dispute Resolution and the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo. The event was a great success with almost 160 attendees, speakers on transactional and dispute resolution topics, and a special lunchtime presentation by Justice Noronha from the Brazilian Superior Tribunal of Justice. The section thanks Quinn Smith, who coordinated the ILS’ role.
In addition to the 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. This year’s topics included “What to Do When the Export Laws of the United States May Have Been Violated;” “Managing U.S. Discovery ‘Assistance’ in International Arbitration;” “Five Ways Corporations Can Limit their International Liability Exposure;” “Managing Criminal Exposure Under the FCPA and Other Laws Impacting International Trade;” and “Ethics Considerations in International Dispute Resolution.” If you missed any of these 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 online publication, the International Law Quarterly, continued to provide section members and readers a variety of articles on cutting edge international legal topics by authors from all over the world. This year, the ILQ featured special issues on Brazil and international intellectual property. The section is grateful to Alvin F. Lindsay, who served as the 2011-12 editor-in-chief, and the rest of the ILQ editorial staff.
The section also continued its efforts to mentor the next generation of international practitioners with the seventh annual Florida Bar International Law Section Vis Pre-Moot Competition, which was held on February 24 and 25 at the University of Miami School of Law. The Vis Pre-Moot prepares law students for the annual Vis Moot Arbitration Competition in Vienna, Austria, and Hong Kong. The section awarded scholarships to the Florida law schools, while special prizes were donated by the Miami International Arbitration Society and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Section members also volunteered their time to the pre-moot, during which 50 attorneys served as arbitrators and heard arguments from teams fielded by six Florida law schools and Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans. The future arbitrators from the University of Florida and Nova Southeastern University tied for first place at the pre-moot, and the teams from the University of Miami and Stetson University took second and third place, respectively. Omar Ibrahem chaired the section’s Vis Steering Committee, with help from Sharie Hudson, Mariela Malfeld, Andrew Riccio, Clarissa Rodriguez, and Amy Shenstone. The steering committee and all section members can take great pride in knowing that the teams from Nova and Stetson advanced beyond the general rounds in Vienna!
Finally, the section’s year will draw to a close on June 21 and 22 at The Florida Bar’s annual convention at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee. The section will sponsor a seminar on June 22 on “Current Trends in Arbitration” (1367R).
Anyone interested in joining the International Law Section can contact Membership Co-chair Clarissa Rodriguez at email@example.com and visit our website at www.internationallawsection.org for all of the latest information on upcoming events.
Nicolas Swerdloff, Chair
Labor and Employment
The Labor and Employment Section had another active and successful year, thanks to the hard work of many section members and the section’s Executive Council.
We are proud to report that the Labor and Employment Law Section now has a Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame provides an opportunity to honor deceased section members who have made a lasting impact on the field of labor and employment law. The Hall of Fame is also designed to promote the achievements of those individuals through the awarding of scholarships in the name of the deceased section member to deserving students attending Florida law schools. Special thanks goes to past section Chair Deborah Brown for her efforts to bring this to fruition.
Our section continues to offer education through CLE programs, webinars, and publications. In September 2011, the Labor and Employment Section hosted the 37th annual Public Employment Relations Forum at the Hilton Walt Disney Resort in Orlando. The conference was a great success due to the diligent efforts of Steve Meck and Michael Grogan, co-chairs of the seminar. Attendance was strong, and participants reported having a fun and informative experience. Also in fall 2011, the section sponsored the ever-popular “Litigating Employment Law Claims” seminar at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood. Special thanks to Co-chairs Robyn Hawkins and Robert Kilbride for organizing a comprehensive and thorough program.
The section held its 12th annual Labor and Employment Law Certification Review Course in February at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando. Co-chairs Mary Houston and David Spalter arranged an impressive lineup of speakers and topics, continuing the section’s commitment to addressing timely and cutting edge issues in the field of labor and employment law. The section has begun to focus on what it can do to work with the Board of Legal Specialization and Education in order to increase interest in Labor and employment law certification.
We held a special advanced labor topics conference this year, which took place at the beautiful El San Juan Resort and Casino in Puerto Rico on April 13-14. The conference was chaired by Jim Craig and Tony Cabassa, both of whom worked diligently to ensure that the event was as fun as it was educational. Finally, our section’s webinar series continues to enjoy great success, with more interesting programs scheduled for the 2012-13 bar year.
Judge Stephanie Ray and Brian Lerner, co-chairs of our Website Subcommittee, have done an excellent job upgrading our website, which now contains all CLE materials and courses, as well as a current list of the various committees and members. Our website now contains a section news blog page, which allows section members to submit photographs, articles, or news relevant to the practice of labor and employment law. Moreover, after years of debate, we finally adopted a policy on advertising for the website, as well as for our publications. The website is so good that it has garnered the attention of other state bar labor and employment law sections who want to borrow our design. Check it out at www.laboremploymentlaw.org.
Our Checkoff/Bar Journal Subcommittee continues to publish informative articles that address emerging issues concerning the practice of labor and employment law. Frank Brown, Lynn Brady, Scott Fisher, Matthew Evans, Angela Froelich, and Mimi Hobbs deserve special thanks for their heroic efforts to keep the section’s publications at the forefront of contemporary legal discourse and scholarship. One of the most frequent comments I receive as chair is how well written and thorough the quarterly editions of The Checkoff have been. We all should be very proud of it.
I am particularly grateful to our section administrator, Angela Froelich, for her tireless efforts for the section, as well as to all of our committee chairs and co-chairs, including Eric Holshouser, Cathleen Scott, Cary Singletary, Robert Kilbride, Marlene Quintana, David Adams, Bill Cassidy, Jim Craig, Jonathan Oliff, Debbie Brown, Zascha Blanco Abbott, John Hoffman, Leslie Langbein, Patrick Martin, Scott Atwood, Scott Silverman, Nick Karatinos, Marguerite Longoria, Alan Gerlach, Leslie Reicin Stein, Robyn Rusignuolo, Scott Fisher, Frank Brown, Judge Stephanie W. Ray, and Brian Lerner. Finally, I am grateful for the advice and support of immediate past Chair Jill Schwartz. Without all of these individual’s dedication and commitment, this year would not have been nearly the success that it was.
It has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience to serve as your chair for 2011-12. I am excited about 2012-13, and I look forward to working with our new chair, Sherril Colombo, to continue to make the Labor and Employment Section of The Florida Bar the best in the country.
Gregory A. Hearing, Chair
Out of State Division
The Out of State Division is proud to represent the members of our Bar who live and/or practice outside of Florida, a group consisting of over 14,000 attorneys spread throughout all 50 states as well as many who reside and/or practice abroad. The diverse interests and practice areas of the division’s membership afford an opportunity to address a dynamic range of issues.
In what has become a common refrain from divisions and sections of the Bar, the recent economic difficulties facing our profession appear to have made an impact on the Out of State Division’s membership numbers. Indeed, over the past three years, the division has seen its dues-paying membership fall by approximately 8 percent. In recognition of the lean economic times — and by extension, its own lean budgetary situation — the division is continuing to work to improve its revenue streams while minimizing its expenses wherever possible. Moreover, the Executive Council has remained dedicated to implementing initiatives that provide value to its existing membership while also seeking to grow its membership numbers in this and future years.
In seeking to provide value to its membership, the division has redoubled its focus on its CLE program. Over the past several years, the division has provided, as a benefit to its members, free ethics CLE courses that are now distributed online through the division’s website. The division has found the free ethics CLE program to be a great tool in member retention, and the latest free course was distributed to division members in fall 2011.
In past years, the division regularly hosted CLE programs with a focus on the practice of the out-of-state Bar member in cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. However, as the prevalence of electronically distributed CLE courses increased, the division watched attendance at the live courses decrease. Given the relatively high costs of hosting programs in such cities, the division was forced to discontinue the courses.
Notwithstanding that issue, the growth of electronically distributed courses has been a development that is tailor-made for out-of-state members, given their wide geographic dispersion. This year, the division has begun to host a series of electronic CLE programs that ultimately will cover a broad range of topics of particular interest to out-of-state Bar members. The first such program, “Privileges, Work Product Protection and Constitutional Issues Arising in Civil & Criminal Litigation,” is taught by Ian M. Comisky, who represents out-of-state members on The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors, and Bruce A. Zimet. That course should be available for online purchase by the publication date of this report. Following that course, the division will offer “Law Practice, Ethics, and Technology: Are They Compatible?,” taught by Executive Council member Timothy Chinaris. The division plans to follow those courses with additional electronically distributed CLEs. Our ultimate goal is to establish a comprehensive library of CLE courses that will provide relevant, cost-effective CLE opportunities for our members, while also providing additional revenues for the division.
Further, the division seeks ways to bring together out-of-state Bar members through networking opportunities. The division hosted a networking event in conjunction with the out-of-state meeting of the Bar’s Board of Governors, which took place in Charleston, South Carolina, on October 20, 2011. The division planned additional networking receptions in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., held this spring.
Looking ahead, the division has commenced initial preparations for events surrounding the next out-of-state meeting of the Board of Governors, which will take place in Atlanta during the first week of October 2012. In conjunction with the meeting, the division will co-host with the board a networking reception to which all Bar members will be invited. Additionally, the division will sponsor a CLE that will take place concurrently with the board meeting. The division has appreciated the leadership of President-elect Gwynne Young in proposing the events and looks forward to bringing these plans to fruition.
In recent years, the division also has discussed the need to connect with law students, particularly those considering the practice of law outside of Florida. The division believes that students considering out-of-state practice should also consider the benefit of seeking admission to The Florida Bar. To reach out to those law students, the division has launched a new initiative: the Student Member Program. The division is working with the Young Lawyers Division’s Law Student Division to spread the word on this initiative.
Moving forward, the division continues to work diligently to represent and promote the interests of out-of-state members of the Bar. In that effort, the division is aided considerably by the steadfast service and continued support of Brian Burgoon, Ian Comisky, Eric Meeks, and Richard Tanner, who represent out-of-state Bar members on the Bar’s Board of Governors, as well as the dedicated members of the division’s Executive Council.
To summarize, the division has made great strides this year, but the leadership recognizes that there is much work to be done. The division looks forward to another successful year in 2012-13, under the leadership of President-elect Donald Workman.
Ward P. Griffin, 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, civil rights, disability law, consumer protection, and homelessness.
Over the past few years, funding for legal services for low-income individuals in our state has reached a crisis point. During a time when the number of clients requiring assistance for free or low-cost legal services is increasing, the resources available to help these clients are drastically being reduced. Career public interest lawyers have lost their jobs due to funding cuts, many of whom are members of our section.
During these tough times, the Public Interest Law Section is grateful for the tremendous efforts by The Florida Bar to advocate for a system of justice that does not depend on the amount of money a person has. The Florida Bar advocated for funding from the legislature through the Florida Access to Civil Legal Assistance Act, resulting in a $2 million appropriation in the 2012-13 budget. Florida Bar President Scott Hawkins and Florida Bar Foundation President Michele Kane Cummings made a joint pitch to all lawyers in Florida to donate to The Florida Bar Foundation to help ameliorate the 88 percent decline in revenues from the IOTA program over the past three years. They asked Florida Bar members to make donations to be part of the immediate solution to this funding crisis to help avoid the severe, long-term consequences to the civil legal aid system in Florida. In addition, the Trial Lawyer’s Section and the Family Law Section each made generous donations of $75,000 to The Florida Bar Foundation to help fill the gaps in legal aid funding.
To address the issue of ensuring adequate legal representation for indigent criminal defendants, the Public Interest Law Section signed on to an amicus brief this year in support of the Miami Public Defender’s Office in the case Public Defender, Eleventh Judicial Circuit v. State on appeal from the Third District Court of Appeal. Due to excessive caseloads, attorneys at the 11th Circuit Public Defender’s Office are being forced to choose representation of one client over another, in effect depriving their clients effective assistance of counsel, a right guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The section was also engaged in legislative advocacy this year on a variety of issues including supporting legislation to restore judicial authority to determine the appropriateness of whether a juvenile should be prosecuted in adult court, and supporting legislation to implement an array of sentencing options for juveniles. The Consumer Law Committee worked to support legislation that protects consumers’ interest in dealing with debt relief agencies, as well as opposing legislation that reduces consumers’ rights in the residential foreclosure process.
The Public Interest Law Section is also working to increase the quality of legal representation for children in the state of Florida through its joint proposal with the Standing Committee on the Legal Needs of Children for a board certification in children’s law.
To enhance professional development opportunities for our members, our section offered three telephonic CLEs during spring 2012 on the following topics: “Baker Acts: The Civil Practitioner’s Guide,” “Analyzing Standing in Mortgage Foreclosures,” and “LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care and Delinquency Systems.”
I am proud to announce that we reinstated our section newsletter this year 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, and faculty supervisor and editor Jennifer Portwood, The Public Interest Journal was launched in fall 2011. The Public Interest Journal will be published quarterly, and past issues are available on The Florida Bar’s website.
The Public Interest Law Section presented the Jane Shaeffer Outstanding Homeless Advocate Award at an awards breakfast at The Florida Bar convention in June 2012. The Jane Shaeffer Award recognizes achievement in advocacy for homeless persons by an individual who has meaningfully improved conditions or treatment of homeless persons through litigation, policy advocacy, or direct service, either in a specific locale or throughout Florida. The award was established in honor of the late attorney Jane Shaeffer, the founder and former chair of the Public Interest Law Section’s Committee on Homelessness and a long-time advocate for homeless persons.
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.
Kirsten Clanton, Chair
Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
The RPPTL Section continues its long history of providing excellent service to its approximately 10,000 members, as well as to members of The Florida Bar and Florida residents. That service is the result of the extensive and exemplary efforts consistently being made by so many of the section’s members, especially those of its approximately 250-member Executive Council. The recent achievements of the section’s membership serve as great representations of the standards and ideals of The Florida Bar.
The section continues to develop and present excellent CLE programs that are timely and informative for all lawyers practicing real property, construction, or probate and trust law in Florida. The section will be sponsoring at least 16 CLE programs this year, including the following annual programs: Construction Law Institute; Legislative and Case Law Update; Attorney and Trust Officers Liaison Conference; Real Property Law Certification Review; Construction Law Certification Review; and Probate and Trust Law Certification Review. To view a complete listing of the section’s CLE programs that are either upcoming or available via recordings, please visit the section’s website at www.rpptl.org.
The heart and soul of the section, where the vast majority of the section work is accomplished, continues to be its various committees (16 real property division committees, 15 probate and trust law division committees, and 20 standing committees). For example, the Legal Opinions Committee of the section’s Real Property Division has just completed working with the Business Law Section on a multiyear project to completely revise and update the joint RPPTL Section and Business Law Section report on legal opinion standards. A copy of the final report is available on the section’s website. Also, several committees of the section’s Probate and Trust Law Division currently are working on a complete review and update of Florida’s Uniform Principal and Income Act. In addition, the section’s Probate and Trust Law Division is developing a program in conjunction with the section’s Pro Bono Committee for the provision of certain estate planning services to low-income individuals
The section was very active during the past legislative session. One of the highest profile and most time consuming legislative efforts of the section this past session was its work in opposing all nonjudicial foreclosure legislative initiatives and providing technical assistance with regard to a legislative initiative by Rep. Passidomo to improve the judicial foreclosure process in Florida.
A significant structural change to the section occurred this past year. The section’s revised bylaws did away with the old circuit representative category for Executive Council membership and created a new category of at-large members (ALMS). The change was made to better focus that group on their two primary responsibilities within the section: communication and projects. With regard to section communications, the ALMS members continue to be a significant conduit for communication between the section and all of its members around the state. ALMS members are a great resource for working on section projects, such as state-wide surveys. Recently, the ALMS members completed a project of collecting all foreclosure administrative orders for each circuit. The results of that project have been posted to the section’s website. In addition, the ALMS members are developing a web-based seminar program for updating the judiciary on legislative and rulemaking changes in the Florida real property, construction, and probate and trust law areas.
As can be seen from the sampling above, the section continues its leadership role within The Florida Bar in all matters relating to real property, construction, and probate and trust law.
George J. Meyer, Chair
It is my honor to report that the Tax Section has completed another highly successful year and will end the year with a strong and improved financial foundation. The Tax Section sponsored several advanced CLE programs to all members of the Bar and providing members with opportunities to attend free CLEs via telephone, at each of our major meetings, and through local educational and networking opportunities to benefit all tax lawyers. The section also joined with other organizations to provide some of the highest caliber CLE programs found in the nation, such as the 2012 International Tax Conference held in Miami in January, co-sponsored with the FICPA; and the National Multistate Tax Symposium, co-sponsored with Deloitte and held in Orlando. The section again sponsored a National Tax Moot Court competition.
The section continued the tradition of arranging for and participating in liaison meetings with the IRS and Florida Department of Revenue to foster direct communication and expound on issues of mutual concern. Members of our section were active in writing a record number of comments and working on legislative initiatives throughout the year, ranging from Florida tax issues on business successor liability and updating Florida’s LLC statutes, to federal tax issues relating to practice before the IRS and foreign information reporting issues. Several more are in process as of this writing. We continue to provide our members and the Bar with periodic updates on the section and current developments in tax law through our Tax Section Bulletin, published three times annually, and by monthly articles published in The Florida Bar Journal. We have added a Tax Section e-newsletter published monthly for our members. We also dramatically updated our website.
Our organizational meeting was again held at the Amelia Island Plantation in conjunction with the July 4th Independence Day Holiday. Traditionally, a meeting for members and their families, the weekend offerings included receptions; a family dinner; a firework display; adult and family hospitality suites (thanks to Mike Jorgensen and Ian White); golf (sponsored by Management Planning, Inc.); and beach and spa facilities. Sam Ullman led a CLE given by many of our new tax lawyers in our annual CLE, “The Ullman Tax Year in Review.” Additional hours of CLE were offered in our Federal Tax Division meeting and in conjunction with our strategic partner, the American Association of Attorney-CPAs (AAA-CPA).
At the organizational meeting, the section was pleased to present Vivian Rodriguez, Department of the Treasury Office of Chief Counsel of the IRS, with the Marvin C. Gutter Outstanding Public Service Award for 2011-12. Unlike many of our past award winners, Vivian worked diligently on Tax Section projects in addition to having an outstanding public service record. The Public Service Award was redesignated in August 2010 in honor of Marvin C. Gutter, a past chair and recipient of the Gerald T. Hart Outstanding Tax Attorney of the Year Award, in recognition of Marvin’s many years of extraordinary public service on behalf of the government, the Bar, and charities for the severely disabled. This award is given annually to a government employee whose commitment to the public in promoting the fair administration of the tax laws meets the standards of excellence established by the section.
The fall meeting was held in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms in conjunction with the regional meeting of the American Association of Attorneys-CPAs. The meeting kicked off on Thursday with a directors’ meeting followed by a dinner with the directors and our seminar speakers. Friday we had an outstanding CLE with some nationally renowned speakers on partnership tax issues organized by Joel Maser titled, “Live Long and Prosper, But Just in Case — Business Disposition and Succession Tax Strategies.” Saturday was back to business with complimentary CLE programs in both our Federal and State Tax divisions. In addition, the Tax Section and the AAA-CPA co-sponsored an excellent CLE program in the afternoon.
The annual meeting, May 3-6, was held at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. We kicked things off Thursday evening with a sponsors’ and directors’ meeting and dinner. On Friday, the section hosted “Transfer Tax Idols: Season Four,” starring nationally recognized speakers Jonathan Blattmachr, Lauren Detzel, David Pratt, Joshua Rubenstein, Ronald Aucutt, Elaine Bucher, Samuel Donaldson, and Donald Tescher, which was followed by the chair’s welcome reception and dinner. On Saturday, we had our business meetings with several hours of complimentary CLE. The highlight of our weekend was the Gerald T. Hart Outstanding Tax Attorney of the Year award dinner. Each year, the Tax Section selects an individual who has made major contributions to the advancement of the practice of Tax Law and who exemplifies the highest standards of competence and integrity. This year’s honoree, Lou Conti, is one of those rare individuals who stands out among his peers in service to his profession, his clients, and his community.
Thank you to all the members that said “yes” to every request on behalf of the section. Although unnamed, you are the most appreciated, generous, and attentive tax attorneys in the nation. It has been my honor to serve as chair, and I am confident that the good work of the section will continue and flourish under the leadership of my able and hard-working successor, Michael A Lampert.
Domenick R. Lioce, Chair
This year I have enjoyed the privilege and the honor of serving as chair of the Trial Lawyers Section. With a little more than 6,500 members representing plaintiffs, defendants, and commercial litigators, our year has been eventful, successful, and productive. While our highlights and our accomplishments this past year are too numerous to detail, I’ll name a few.
We began the year by hosting a Champions of Justice reception — the brainchild of our immediate past chair, Cliff Higby — for 17 of our outstanding state senators and representatives on October 5, 2011, at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee. This year, Higby was ably assisted by our section’s outstanding lobbyist, Bob Harris. Our section’s legislative platform supports efforts that promote first, universal access to our courts for all; second, supports the maintenance of an independent judiciary whose decisions are based solely on the individual facts and applicable law — unfettered by contemporary influences or politics; and third, supports adequate funding of our state’s court system to insure that the rights of all Floridians are heard in a system that is fair, impartial, unbiased, and yet expedient.
We convened the reception to acknowledge these legislators’ unwavering belief in maintaining these democratic ideas during the 2011 legislative session; by their unqualified adherence to them as exemplified by their overt expressions of their allegiance to these core principles — grounded in our constitution, in the separation of powers, and in the maintenance of a balance of power. Putting principle above politics, these “champions of justice” were honored for opposing efforts to divide the Supreme Court into two divisions, and to remove the members of The Florida Bar from participating in the judicial nominating process. A successful and novel event, it was our attempt to publically commend those that stood-in-the-gap in our state’s legislature, in order to prevent the erosion of our collective equality and the evisceration of our judiciary’s power.
Continuing the idea spawned by our 2009 section chair, the late Glenn Burton, and in an attempt to duplicate the exemplary event organized by immediate-past Chair Higby, our section held its second annual Trial Lawyer’s Summit in Orlando on January 25-28, 2012, with the theme “Advocates for Clients — Committed to Civility and Competence.” Providing a forum where trial lawyers can be further educated, hone their trial skills, and socialize in a relaxed atmosphere, this four-day undertaking, admirably chaired by Robert Palmer offered something for everyone.
For example, the summit began with our annual Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition. This is a competition in which all 11 of Florida’s law schools participate, and the finals, which were presided over by Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., featured teams from Florida State’s and Stetson’s law schools. In the closest scoring in the history of this outstanding annual contest, Stetson prevailed.
Also convening at the summit was our annual trial certification review seminar. A perennial sell-out, capably chaired by Ed Cheffy, this course is designed not only for those who wish to sit for the certification exam, but also as Cheffy remarked, for those who seek “a concise, dynamic, and thorough review” of civil trial practice.
Our Thursday luncheon speaker was immediate-past chair of the ABA and a past president of The Florida Bar, Steve Zack, who offered a riveting perspective on the erosion of judicial independence nationally and internationally. Our luncheon’s surprise offering was our proud presentation of a check for $75,000 to The Florida Bar Foundation to be used for Children’s Legal Services. Our initiative thankfully resulted in further dividends the Family Law Section subsequently matched our gift to the Foundation. We also saw the birth of the Bar’s “Now” program, a program where all Bar members are encouraged to support the Foundation, whose funding has been seriously depleted.
An evening reception for the mock trial participants, the certification seminar, and other summit attendees, were graced by keynote speaker, attorney Fred Gray of Tuskegee, Alabama. Still practicing at age 81, he spoke unassumingly of his unparalleled work in this nation’s civil rights movement. Having been retained not only by the late Rosa Parks and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a little more than a year after his admission to the Alabama bar, he further outlined some of his efforts to eradicate segregation in our nation’s transportation systems, educational institutions, public accommodations, in voting precincts, and in may other areas of life in America. After his address, the evening was capped off by a social affair, as we danced to the strains of a Sarasota-based band “Goodbyeddie,” led by section treasurer, Ted Eastmoore.
On Saturday morning we offered three exceptional CLEs titled, “Effective Use of Technology Before and During a Trial;” “The 10 Best Ways to Commit Malpractice with Your Lack of Technology;” and “Medicare’s Secondary Payer Act Compliance: Protect Your Firm and Protect Your Client by Protecting Medicare’s Interest.” With the many positive responses to this summit offered by the various participants, with a welcomed increase in sponsorships to help our financial outlook, and with a surprising increase in the number of attendees, Chair-elect Wayne Helsby is already formulating plans to make our January 2013 summit, to be held in Orlando, even better.
Our section’s other annual programs continue to thrive: The advanced trial advocacy seminar was held in May at the University of Florida School of Law, where 56 participants were thoroughly inculcated in the skills of trial advocacy, immersed in the attributes of professionalism in and out of the courtroom, and critiqued by many of the states’ renowned attorneys and jurists. Similarly, at our Chester Bedell luncheon, which is annually convened at the Bar’s annual convention and is jointly sponsored with the Criminal Law Section, we will again enjoy Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., as our luncheon speaker.
Finally, our newly designed website, www.flatls.org, holds our now downloadable, stellar publications: The Discovery Handbook continues to be distributed to all county and circuit judges throughout Florida and contains recently updated chapters on electronic discovery and attorney-client privilege; our Guidelines to Professionalism; and our quarterly newsletter, The Advocate, all of which continue to be expertly edited, consistently well-received, and universally enjoyed. We are proud of each, as we are of the second edition of our Medical Malpractice Handbook, published in 2010.
As I write this, I realize that I will soon surrender the reins as chair to Wayne Helsby, who I know will continue to do a tremendous job for the section. He, like the rest of us on the Executive Council, will rededicate all of us to continue to fight the ineluctable struggle to maintain that precarious balance of power in our state’s three branches of government. As advocates, we are duty-bound to do so.
Craig Gibbs, Chair
The Workers’ Compensation Section has had an active and successful year. There are currently 1,260 members of the section and 207 board certified workers’ compensation lawyers. The members of the Workers’ Compensation Section and the section’s Executive Council are committed to continually improve the practice of workers’ compensation law. The section’s primary goals are education, professionalism, and independence of the workers’ compensation adjudicatory process.
The section offers numerous educational opportunities throughout the year. Chair-elect Dawn Traverso performed an outstanding job organizing the annual ski seminar and monthly lunch time webinars. The webinars are a convenient and inexpensive opportunity for attorneys to stay current on a wide range of workers’ compensation issues. The Workers’ Compensation Forum (the workers’ compensation board certification review course) is the section’s premier seminar. The forum provides an excellent comprehensive review and detailed analysis of Florida’s workers’ compensation law essential for all workers’ compensation attorneys, legal assistants, and claims professionals. The steering committee, led by program Chair Allison Hauser, and the faculty ensure the written course book remains current and serves as an excellent workers’ compensation reference guide. The faculty is composed of leading attorneys in the field of workers’ compensation law and judges of compensation claims. The section’s quarterly publication, the News and 440 Report, is an excellent source of information and legal analysis for section members. Each publication contains well-written articles addressing legal issues confronting workers’ compensation attorneys and case law updates. The section is grateful to Mike Winer’s service and dedication as editor of the News and 440 Report.
The section appreciates the efforts of Deputy Chief Judge David Langham and the judges of compensation claims. Judge Langham has worked to improve the quality of the Office of Judge of Compensations Claims’ website and the survey for judges, mediators, and staff. Judge Langham and many judges have contributed their time to write articles for News and 440 Report and speak at seminars. The section is grateful to the judges for their involvement.
The section, in conjunction with the Conference of Judges of Compensation Claims, is in the process of updating the Guidelines for Professional Conduct last published in 1997. The Guidelines for Professional Conduct is intended to promote and ensure a tradition of professionalism in the practice of workers’ compensation. The section anticipates publication of the revised guidelines shortly.
The Executive Council voted unanimously to award Herbert Langston the Frierson-Colling Professionalism Award for demonstrating outstanding leadership and professionalism. The section presents the Frierson-Colling Professionalism Award annually to an attorney who demonstrates outstanding leadership and professionalism in the field of workers’ compensation. The award is named after Albert Frierson, a defense attorney, and the late Stewart Colling, an attorney who represented injured workers. Herb has served our section well for many years in different roles, including as a member of the Executive Council and the Workers’ Compensation Certification Committee. The section presented the award to Herb on April 12, 2012, during the forum. We congratulate Herb and thank him for his years of outstanding leadership and professionalism.
During the legislative session, the House amended H.B. 971 to abolish the statewide nominating commission for judges of compensation claims established by F.S. §440.45. The statewide nominating commission for judges of compensation claims is composed of 15 members. The governor selects five members, one of each who resides in each of the territorial jurisdictions of the district courts of appeal, and the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar selects five members, one of each who resides in each of the territorial jurisdictions of the district courts of appeal. Those 10 members elect the remaining five members, one of each who resides in each of the territorial jurisdictions of the district courts of appeal. If passed into law, the judicial nominating commission for the First District Court of Appeal would nominate judges of compensation claims. The section’s legislative positions support any changes in the current workers’ compensation law that would ensure the independence of the judges of compensation claim’s ability to discharge the duties of their office in the adjudicatory process, including a reappointment process that promotes and ensures the independence of the judiciary. The Florida Bar required a specific legislative position for the section to oppose the amendment to H.B. 971. The section, with approval from The Florida Bar, adopted a new legislative position stating that “the Workers’ Compensation Section opposes any legislation that abolishes the statewide nominating commission for judges of compensation claims.” The Senate did not accept the amendment, and the legislature did not pass the bill.
I thank the officers of our section and the members of the Executive Council for their service and support. Rick Thompson, immediate past chair, is a consummate professional and the voice of sound reason. Past Chair Richard Chait is an invaluable asset. Treasurer Alan Kalinoski has kept the section fiscally sound. Secretary Jacqueline Blanton Steele has maintained excellent records and minutes. Arlee Colman does a great job as section administrator. Chair-elect Dawn Traverso consistently demonstrates the utmost dedication to the section and will serve the section well as chair. It is an honor to serve with such dedicated professionals.
Jeffrey I. Jacobs, Chair
Young Lawyers Division
The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) is the largest section or division of The Florida Bar, serving over 23,000 members, all of whom are either under the age of 36 or in practice under five years. With the ever-increasing number of law schools and graduating law students taking the bar exam, the YLD has a very important role in representing and serving this fast-growing, fast-paced, and diverse section of The Florida Bar. I am proud to say that the YLD has had an exceptional 2011-12, where we created and implemented many new innovative and exciting initiatives.
Perhaps the most important responsibility of the YLD is putting on the Practicing with Professionalism CLE (which must be taken live) and the Basic Skills Course Requirement CLE for all new lawyers, formerly known collectively as “Bridging the Gap.” This year we saw extraordinary change in our Practicing with Professionalism program. Under the outstanding leadership of PWP Chair Kim Law, we began by implementing a new “young lawyer” panel during the morning segment of the program, where a representative of The Florida Bar’s Center for Professionalism moderates questions of successful young lawyers with between three and five years in the practice, about issues that they have faced and that the attendees will face immediately. We finished our PWP revamp by re-filming the clearly outdated video clips at the end of the program to be more in touch with the changes in technology that we have witnessed in the last five years, providing a renewed focus on the resources available through The Florida Bar to help young lawyers.
In keeping with our goal of providing meaningful assistance to young lawyers, this year the YLD also added a Basic Practice Development CLE focusing on time management, technology, money issues and trust accounting, setting up a practice, advertising rules, and professional development through social media.
In addition to serving our members with required and critical educational programs, the YLD also strives to connect and build relationships between young lawyers from around the state. This year the YLD once again held its annual Affiliate Outreach Conference (AOC) where we invited the leaders of young lawyer sections from all over Florida to attend the conference, network, and exchange their great ideas for programs that can make real differences in the practice of law and in improving their communities. Melanie Griffin, this year’s AOC chair, with the help of Co-chair Katherine Hurst Miller and their committee, put together one of the most remarkable conferences ever. This year’s conference was held in St. Augustine in January. Thanks to our partnership with The Florida Bar Foundation, over 30 young lawyer affiliates were represented, and the YLD was able to fund over $40,000 in grants. We were honored by the attendance of Florida Bar President Scott Hawkins, President-elect Gwynne Young, and President-elect Designate Eugene Pettis.
The YLD also saw incredible advances this year through its Law Student Division. The work of Zack Zuroweste was remarkable in that every time we turned around, he and his counterpart, Law Student Division President Lauren Ryan, and their committee had implemented a fantastic and visionary new program. This year, we witnessed the Law Student Division create a mentoring program that pairs a group of experienced and respected attorneys with a group of law students who then get mentored by the group and not just one individual. This raising of young lawyers in professionalism “by the village” has been very successful. Moreover, the Law Student Division partnered with The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism and the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism to put on a “Balancing Law and Life” program to offer guidance to law students struggling with the pressures of law school and beyond.
With all of these great things happening, it was very clear that the YLD needed to focus on sharpening our communications skills to make sure this and other important information made it to our members. Under the leadership team of Kim Gustafson, Drew Jenkins, and Gordon Glover, the YLD made unparalleled advances in communications this year. We watched as our website was completely redesigned to keep up with the times and to provide us with the ability to develop new ways of communicating through social media. In addition, we moved away from our previous format for our popular newsletter and instead created an e-newsletter that now reaches all of our members in an easy to process format that does not consume and overwhelm the reader.
I want to highlight one last thing that stands out and deserves attention. This year, the YLD had the honor to give out its annual Pro Bono Award at the Florida Supreme Court to Timothy Moran. Mr. Moran nailed it on the head when he quoted Stephen Grellet as follows: “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” As I reach the end of this remarkable journey as president of the YLD, I realize more and more how important it is to remember our blessings and also seek to do more now. I want to thank Mr. Moran for reminding me of that fact.
As I prepare to hand over the leadership of the division to President-elect Paige Greenlee and President-elect Designate Melanie Griffin, I want to thank each member of the YLD Board of Governors for their work and dedication this past year. Most importantly, I also want to thank our program administrator, Tom Miller, who exceeds all expectations in his work for the division. Simply put, the division could not run without him. It has been an honor to serve with each of these outstanding individuals over this past year.
Sean T. Desmond, President