By Jan Pudlow
Once an associate dean of students at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Gail Sasnett views her new role as chair of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners as a natural flow in her career.
That experience for 13 years, she said, will help both sides — the law schools and the bar examiners — better understand each other’s roles and issues as they face the challenge of about 3,500 new attorneys who pass the bar exam each year.
Now assistant director for public programs at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at UF, Sasnett said: “With my background in legal education, I’ll be concerned with relationships with the law schools.”
One message Sasnett wants to send to students is to be sure to file for “certified legal intern status” in their first year of law school, so that there will be plenty of time for the completion of background checks. This is a requirement for any law student who wants to go into a law clinic or internship, usually at state attorneys’ or public defenders’ offices.
The issue was raised several years ago by Florida Supreme Court Justice Fred Lewis, who was outraged to learn some legal interns had felony records.
“And, of course, we are always wanting to improve the bar exam’s administration,” Sasnett said. “You never have a perfect system. It’s getting tweaked as more students do the bar exam by computer.”
More than 75 percent of applicants taking the bar exam use a laptop computer for the essay portion of the General Bar Examination, Sasnett said, explaining how special software turns the laptops into “nothing more than a word processor” that locks out the Internet and other files on the computers.
“As more and more students use laptops, and then technology just moves along, there are more ways to, dare I say, cheat. We are looking out for protecting everyone. The whole idea behind the examiners is protecting the public,” Sasnett said.
Her message to lawyers is this: “We sure need attorneys to help in proctoring the bar exam, especially attorneys around the Tampa Bay area,” she said. “We always need their help in evaluating applicants for the bar, so if they have knowledge of the applicants, we really would like them to contact us.”
There are also new subjects added to the test that students need to be prepared for: Articles 3 and 9 of the UCC, constitutional law in the criminal area, juvenile delinquency, dependency issues in family law, and professionalism.
“We want to be sure we are doing the bar exam in a fair, professional, and efficient environment,” Sasnett said.
With an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of West Florida, a master’s degree in counseling from Florida State University, and a law degree from Stetson, Sasnett also served as chair of Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc.
“I have a very strong interest in brain development. My daughter has a degree in neuroscience. The brain is the new frontier, and it’s so interesting to learn more. Did you know that the male brain doesn’t fully develop until age 25, but the female brain fully develops at 21?”
She worked at St. Petersburg College for more than 17 years before taking her position with UF in 1994. Admitted to The Florida Bar in 1989, Sasnett is an arbitrator for NASC, and a county court and dependency certified mediator. She is past president of the National Association for Women Lawyers, Kiwanis Club of Gainesville, and Keep Alachua County Beautiful.
Her term of office with the bar examiners began on November 1, 2008, and extends through October 31, 2013.
Lawrence P. Kuvin
Lawrence P. Kuvin, a mediator with Florida Mediation Group and a former partner with Kuvin & Stettin, P.A., of Ft. Lauderdale, was elected vice chair of the FBBE. Kuvin lives in Ft. Lauderdale, with his wife, Kristina.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, he received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law, and his undergraduate degree from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. Admitted to Bar in 1958, he served as chair of the Ad hoc Committee for Legal Malpractice Insurance.
He is a member of the Federation of Insurance Counsel and was a member of the Dade and Broward counties Trial Lawyers Association, as well as a member of the American Board of Trial Lawyers.
Kuvin will be elevated to chair on November 1, 2013. His term of office began November 1, 2009, and will extend through October 31, 2014.
The following have been appointed as new members of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners:
Mark R. Fried
Vice president of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management of Ft. Lauderdale, Fried succeeds retiring member Judy Doyle of Orlando. Fried lives in Ft. Lauderdale with his wife, Janet.
Born in New York City, Fried received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida Atlantic University, and is a certified financial planner. He serves as a board member of the Broward College Foundation, the Broward Sheriff’s Department Foundation, and the Pediatric Associates Foundation.
His term of office will extend through October 31, 2015.
Barbara J. Pittman
A sole practitioner in Tampa, Pittman will succeed retiring member Alan H. Aronson of Miami.
Born in Graceville, Pittman received both her undergraduate and law degrees from Florida State University. Admitted to The Florida Bar in 1986, Pittman is a member of the following bar associations: American Bar Association, National Bar Association, Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter NBA, Hillsborough County Bar Association, George Edgecomb Bar Association, Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers, and the Carrollwood Community Bar Association.
She lives in Lutz with her husband, Freddie L. Moore.
Her term of office will extend through October 31, 2017.
Scott N. Richardson
A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Richardson has served since 2006 as a volunteer lawyer to teach courses in Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus with the Center for International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Richardson received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida.
Admitted to The Florida Bar in 1978, Richardson’s term will extend through October 31, 2017. He succeeds retiring member David A. Rowland of Tampa.
Richardson lives in Wellington, with his wife, Leslie, and daughter, Lauren.