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October 1, 2012
South Florida bars unite to promote civility

In an effort to promote lawyer civility and a more uniform standard of professional courtesy across South Florida, 35 South Florida voluntary bar associations (“VBAs) have formed a joint resolution to promote the Florida Supreme Court’s Amended Oath of Attorney Admission. The Amended Oath adds a pledge of civility in all written and oral communications to opponents and the court.

Adam Rabin, President of the Palm Beach County Bar Association says, “It is important to remind new and experienced attorneys alike that they are professionals first, and are obligated to treat the court and opponents with respect at all times.” Deborah Poore Fitzgerald, Broward County Bar President, adds, “We hope that by promoting lawyer civility, we can continue to create an improved practice culture that promotes a more uniform standard of professional courtesy across South Florida.”

According to Dade County Bar President, Garrett Biondo, “The VBAs plan to jointly promote lawyer civility by reaching out to not only existing members of the VBAs, but also to non-members.” In this vein, Martin County Bar President, Greg Weiss, states, “We estimate that only half of South Florida’s lawyers are members of a voluntary bar association.” Based upon this statistic, Larry Corman, the President of the South Palm Beach County Bar Association, contributes that “We want to impart the civility message to lawyers who may not be reading bar bulletins or regularly attending professionalism seminars.”

Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz, President of the Cuban American Bar Association, says that “It is important that we have garnered the support of South Florida’s chief judges. Their approval gives the resolution more credibility and impact.” The chief judges who have approved the resolution are as follows: Chief Judge Federico Moreno, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida; Chief Judge Paul Hyman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida; Chief Judge Peter Blanc, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit; Chief Judge Joel Brown, Eleventh Judicial Circuit; Chief Judge Peter Weinstein, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit; and Chief Judge Steven Levin, Nineteenth Circuit.

In addition to the associations mentioned above, the following associations also have signed on in support of the resolution: Palm Beach County Hispanic Bar Association; F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association; Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Palm Beach County Chapter; Federal Bar Association, South Florida Chapter; Craig S. Barnard American Inn of Court, Palm Beach County Chapter; Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida; Florida Muslim Bar Association; Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association; American Board of Trial Advocates, Miami-Dade Chapter; the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida; Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida; Miami Lakes Bar Association; Caribbean Bar Association; Palm Beach County Justice Association; Florida Association for Women Lawyers, South Palm Beach Chapter; American Board of Trial Advocates, Palm Beach County Chapter; Christian Legal Society, Palm Beach County Chapter; Federal Bar Association, Broward County Chapter; South Asian Bar Association of Florida; Federal Bar Association, Palm Beach County Chapter; Broward County Christian Lawyers Association; Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Miami-Dade Chapter; Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Miami Chapter; Gwen S. Cherry Black Lawyers Association; Haitian Lawyers Association; and American Board of Trial Advocates, Fort Lauderdale Chapter; Florida Association for Women Lawyers; Indian River County Bar Association; and Stephen R. Booher American Inn of Court, Broward County Chapter.

[Revised: 04-09-2014]