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.
Oct. 14, 2013
AFTER THE RECESSION: LEGAL PROFESSION UNDERGOES SWEEPING CHANGES -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Oct. 14, 2013.
The Great Recession of 2008 reduced the number of new lawyers, both locally and nationally. A constricting economy over the past four years has led to a reduction in enrollment at local law schools and a sluggish hiring trend in South Florida. The legal market is in an unprecedented state of flux, says Robert H. Jerry II, dean of the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida. Unless they adapt, many traditional firms will fail. On the other hand, the caliber of attorneys is up and the downturn has helped some local firms, particularly the small- to mid-sized firms, deepen their bench. Also, the recession has led to a revolution within law schools and law firms for more reliance upon technology. These changes are a direct response to advancements in technology and overall changes in corporate culture, says Richard A. Rosenbaum, chief executive officer of Greenberg Traurig.
SIEGEL FINDS WORK WITH NONPROFIT LAW FIRM REWARDING -- Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com, Oct. 14, 2013.
Business profile features Jodi Siegel, who has been an attorney at the Southern Legal Counsel since graduating from the University of Florida College of Law in 1985 and has served as its executive director since 2004. With four attorneys, the SLC has litigated and negotiated for the civil rights of the disabled, homeless, mentally ill, children in the juvenile justice system and the poor against government bureaucracies. Siegel said she has always wanted to help people and give back to society. The Southern Legal Counsel's recent work has included serving as co-counsel representing the Gainesville plaintiffs in a case against the Obama administration, which led to over-the-counter access to the morning-after pill with no age restrictions. The SLC is currently in the midst of one of its biggest cases — suing the state of Florida to fulfill its state constitutional requirement to provide an adequate public education. Its clients include the Gainesville-based Citizens for Strong Schools.
--Unlicensed Practice of Law--
FLORIDA BAR CLEARS GULFCOAST LEGAL SERVICES DIRECTOR -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Oct. 11, 2013. [Also: FLORIDA BAR CLEARS GULFCOAST LEGAL SERVICES CHIEF OF PRACTICING LAW WITHOUT A LICENSE -- Bradenton Herald, http://www.bradenton.com, Oct. 11, 2013; GULFCOAST LEGAL SERVICES FUNDING IN JEOPARDY -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Oct. 11, 2013; UPROAR OVER GULFCOAST LEGAL SERVICES DEBATED IN MANATEE, SARASOTA -- Bradenton Herald, http://www.bradenton.com, Oct. 11, 2013.]
The Florida Bar has concluded that Gulfcoast Legal Services executive director Kathleen Mullin did not practice law without a license. Mullin, who has never been admitted to The Florida Bar, had been the subject of two “unlicensed practice of law,” or UPL, investigations. The Bar itself filed the first UPL complaint against Mullin after the Herald-Tribune published allegations made by the former manager of the nonprofit's Sarasota office, Elizabeth Boyle, whom Mullin fired. Mullin's firing of Boyle, and dozens of volunteer lawyers who worked with her, has drawn criticism from Southwest Florida's legal community, county officials and the public. The Sarasota County Commission cut off funding to the nonprofit four months ago, and the Manatee County Commission will vote on whether to stop their funds at their next meeting. In a letter to the Bar, sent in response to the UPL allegations, James Fox, president of Gulfcoast's board of directors, explained that Mullin does not practice law, even though she heads a legal aid firm.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
VERDICT'S IN: KELLY MATHIS GUILTY 103 COUNTS IN ALLIED SCANDAL -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription), http://www.jacksonville.com, Oct. 12, 2013. [Also: ATTORNEY CONVICTED OF 103 COUNTS IN ALLIED VETERANS CHARITY SCHEME -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journal.com, Oct. 12, 2013; JURY CONVICTS JACKSONVILLE LAWYER IN INTERNET GAMBLING CASE -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Oct. 12, 2013; MATHIS CONVICTED OF 103 COUNTS -- St. Augustine Record, http://staugustine.com, Oct. 12, 2013.]
Friday [Oct. 11], Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis was convicted of 103 counts in the Allied Veterans of the World scandal. Prosecutors said Mathis was the mastermind behind a $300 million gambling ring set up to look like a veterans charity. Jurors deliberated 15 hours over two days in finding him guilty of racketeering, helping run a lottery and possession of an illegal slot machine or device. He was acquitted of one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. Mathis could face more than 100 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester. Mathis is one of 57 people to be arrested in the Allied case but the first to go on trial. Lawyers for Mathis argued that he has solid grounds for appeal because Lester had limited the number of defense witnesses who could be called.
ATTORNEY CHARGED IN SCOTT ROTHSTEIN FRAUD WANTS JUDGE TO LIFT BAN ON PRACTICING LAW -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Oct. 11, 2013.
Plantation lawyer Douglas L. Bates — accused of helping Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein carry out his $1.4 billion fraud — wants to continue working as an attorney while the criminal charges are pending against him. Bates has been free on $250,000 bond since he was arrested in August on three counts of wire fraud and one count of wire fraud conspiracy. Bates pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday [Oct. 11] in federal court in West Palm Beach. As a condition of Bates' pre-trial release from federal detention, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hopkins decided earlier this year that Bates cannot work as an attorney until the criminal case is over, due to his alleged involvement in $60 million of Rothstein's fraud. The Florida Bar has opened a file and is monitoring the case. Bates' defense attorney Leonard Sands has asked the trial judge who will handle the case to overrule the magistrate judge.
REGINALD ELLIOT DUNN JR. -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Oct. 14, 2013.
Reginald Elliott Dunn Jr., 73, of Dade City, passed away on Monday, Sept. 30. Dunn graduated from Emory University and the University of Georgia Law School. He practiced law in Gainesville and later in Tampa and Dade City. In Tampa, he joined the law firm Dixon, Brown and later served in the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office, where he was the acting county attorney. In Dade City, he was a partner at the McClain, Alfonso, Meeker and Dunn law firm.
THOMAS J. GALLAGHER -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Oct. 13, 2013.
Thomas J. Gallagher passed away on Oct. 4. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and University of Florida Law School. Upon graduation, Gallagher chose Sarasota as his permanent home, where he practiced law for more than 40 years, as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. He was an avid college football fan, and was especially passionate about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team.