The Florida Bar

Daily News Summary

An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

Links to online newspapers

June 12, 2013


Article by the McClatchy Company, Washington Bureau. A comprehensive yearlong study by the American Constitution Society, a liberal advocacy group, concluded that state supreme court justices are favoring the corporate interests that finance their election campaigns. The study found the relationship between business contributions and judicial voting in the states with partisan and nonpartisan elections, but not in states with retention elections, citing the concerted but unsuccessful campaign last year by outside groups to unseat three Florida Supreme Court justices.

--Legal Profession--

GLS BOARD PRESIDENT: UNDERSTANDING LEGAL-AID AGENCY -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Guest Column,, June 12, 2013.
James W. Fox Jr., president of the board of directors of Gulfcoast Legal Services, writes on behalf of the GLS Board of Directors to address some concerns expressed in recent articles in the Herald-Tribune. Issues discussed include the question of how GLS selects its clients and why it must turn down some vulnerable individuals, the role and treatment of volunteer attorneys at GLS and about the appropriateness of the GLS executive director not being a member of The Florida Bar.

70-YEAR-OLD GRADUATES LAW SCHOOL -- Panama City News Herald,, June 12, 2013. [Also: FLA. PANHANDLE GRANDMA GRADUATES LAW SCHOOL -- Tampa Bay Times,, June 12, 2013.]
Sandra Wilson, a 70-year-old grandmother from Panama City, graduated from Florida State University in 2009 after, years ago, leaving college and raising a family. She entered law school at Faulkner University in Alabama in 2010 and graduated in May. Wilson said she wants to help others and specialize in children’s law, possibly as a child advocate. Wilson hopes to take the bar exam this summer, and upon passing, get a job. Her husband, Steve Wilson, said he has stood behind his wife all the way in her pursuit of a law degree.


BARRY FINKEL: WORK TO REFORM FLORIDA ALIMONY LAWS NEEDS TO BE JOINT EFFORT -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Opinion Column,, June 12, 2013. [Also: LETTERS: THOSE SEEKING ALIMONY REFORM SHOULD WORK WITH THE FLORIDA BAR -- Palm Beach Post, Letter to the Editor,, June 12, 2013; COLLABORATE FOR BETTER ALIMONY LAWS -- Miami Herald, Letter to the Editor,, June 12, 2013.]
By Barry Finkel, attorney and former chair of Family Law Section of the Broward County Bar Association in Fort Lauderdale. Finkel discusses Gov. Rick Scott's veto of the bill to reform Florida's alimony laws. He agrees "there need to be some revisions made to the current alimony laws in our state, just not to the extent that the group now known as "Family Law Reform" is proposing," suggesting that they should utilize the expertise of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar as they work on a revised version of the bill. He concludes that working collaboratively "is the key to implementation of a reasonable and workable bill that protects both payers and payees."

--Civil Justice Issues--

JEREMY ALTERS SETTLES FEE FIGHT WITH ARGENTINE FIRM FOR $1M -- South Florida Business Journal (requires subscription),, June 12, 2013.
Miami attorney Jeremy Alters has agreed to pay $1M to settle a 2011 lawsuit in which Raponi & Hunter Abogados, an Argentine law firm, alleged that Alters stole an idea that they had originally conceived to sue banks over overdraft fees. Alters had acknowledged the role of the Raponi firm in developing the idea, but Alters claimed Raponi failed to meet certain requirements to be involved more heavily in the case. The bank litigation eventually became a large, lucrative, nationwide class action case generating millions in fees for firms involved, including the Miami-based Alters Law Firm.


ROBERT NIEHAUS -- Florida Times-Union,, June 12, 2013.
Robert Westover Niehaus Sr. of Fernandina Beach passed away on June 7. He attended the University of Florida and graduated in 1958. He then moved to Atlanta where he graduated from Emory Law School in 1960. Niehaus was a member of The Florida Bar for more than 50 years and also a member of the State Bar of Georgia for more than 30 years. Over those years, Niehaus practiced law for the Prudential Insurance Co. and the Minnesota Title Insurance Co.

DISTRICT COURT JUDGE JACK R. SCHOONOVER -- Ft. Myers News-Press,, June 12, 2013.
District Court Judge Jack R. Schoonover, 78, of Ft. Myers, passed away at his home on Monday, June 10. A complete obituary will follow.

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[Revised: 06-13-2013]