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.
March 20, 2013
--The Florida Bar--
LEGAL MILESTONE: 15 JAX ATTORNEYS MAINTAIN BOARD CERTIFICATION FOR 30 YEARS -- Jacksonville Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, March 20, 2013.
More than a dozen local lawyers have been recognized by The Florida Bar for reaching a significant accomplishment: maintaining board certification for 30 continuous years. In Florida, only board certified lawyers may use the terms “specialist,” “expert” or “board certified specialist” when referring to their legal credentials. The article lists Jacksonville lawyers who this year are celebrating 30 years of Florida Bar board certification in civil trial or tax law.
LIKE OTHER SCHOOLS, UF LAW SCHOOL WORKING TO EXPAND FELLOWSHIPS -- Independent Florida Alligator, http://www.alligator.org, March 20, 2013.
Colleges around the country are taking steps to ensure real-world experience for their law graduates, and UF is trying a multifaceted approach to keep pace. For the past two years, UF’s law school has had a postgraduate fellowship program that allows students to partner with entities to help under-served populations and tries to make students more aware of non-traditional legal professions. Rob Birrenkott, the interim assistant dean in career development at the Levin College of Law, said the school is also exploring a legal residency approach for partnering with private firms.
2 DCF LAWYERS LAUNCH PROM-DRESS DRIVE FOR FOSTER KIDS -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, March 20, 2013.
Stacy McDuffie and her cohort, Kathleen Loftus, two attorneys for the state Department of Children & Families who represent abused children in Lake County, are on a mission to make sure that teenage foster children in the care of the state get a chance to do something normal this spring — go to their senior prom. McDuffie and Loftus have dozens of foster teens over the five-county circuit who are eligible to attend their school's event this spring but won't be able to go unless they get help. They'll be taking donations until May 1.
ATTORNEYS ACROSS NORTH FLORIDA JOIN FORCES AGAINST FORECLOSURE -- Suwannee Valley Times, http://www.suwanneevalleytimes.com, March 20, 2013.
Due to a temporary increase in funding, many previously ineligible Florida residents facing foreclosure may now take advantage of free legal services as the state’s most experienced housing attorneys are banding together to address rising foreclosure rates. “Three Rivers Legal Services is happy to have an opportunity to extend our services at this time to a greater number of homeowners in dire straits,” said Allison Thompson, executive director of Three Rivers Legal Services. Lawyers and advocates at Three Rivers Legal Services are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. to address a wide range of issues including short sales, bankruptcy, and how to lower mortgage payments.
LAWSUIT ABUSE BURDENS BUSINESSES -- Lakeland Ledger, Column, http://www.theledger.com, March 20, 2013.
Opinion column by Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Wilson writes, "Sadly, Florida is one of the worst states in the country for lawsuits . . . Job creators know this, and the reality is our current legal climate is an obstacle to growing our economy and creating jobs. National studies show that Florida families and businesses are paying a "lawsuit-abuse tax" that totals a staggering $2.8 billion . . . Florida should pass a Fair Settlement Act that forces insurance companies and trial lawyers to play by one clear set of rules in injury cases."
--Criminal Justice Issues--
FORMER SECRETARY ACCUSED OF STEALING NEARLY $57,000 FROM LAUDERHILL LAW FIRM -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, March 20, 2013.
A former secretary at a Lauderhill law firm is accused of fraudulently writing 88 checks totaling nearly $57,000 from the company account to herself, authorities say. Cathy Cecilia Perez, 36, of Sunrise, has been charged with one count of grand theft and 88 counts of fraud for uttering a false instrument, according to a police report. Perez worked as a secretary for Charles Simon, a landlord/tenant attorney. When questioned by detectives, Perez admitted to "signing and cashing" the checks, the report said: "The defendant admitted to using the money to pay her bills and other every day living expenses."
GOODMAN'S ATTORNEYS AGAIN CALL FOR NEW TRIAL, JUDGE -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, March 20, 2013.
Now it's up to the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach to consider polo executive John Goodman's bid for a new trial and the state's attempt to uphold a DUI/manslaughter conviction and 16-year prison sentence. Goodman's defense team has two simultaneous plays: His main appeal for a new trial before a different judge, filed in September and added to last week; and a separate motion from February asking the appellate court to freeze that appeal. The request to stay the appellate proceedings is so the Palm Beach County Circuit Court first may hear new prosecutorial misconduct allegations as a basis to vacate the conviction.
GULF BREEZE REP. CLAY FORD DIES AT 74 -- Pensacola News Journal, http://www.pnj.com, March 20, 2013. [Also: PANHANDLE STATE REP. CLAY FORD DIES -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, March 20, 2013.]
Clay Ford, an attorney who won election to two state legislatures and a city council, died Monday [March 18] evening following a battle with cancer. Ford was serving in the Florida House of Representatives as a Republican representing Gulf Breeze and Pensacola in District 2. Ford was chairman of the Energy & Utilities Subcommittee. He was also a member of the judiciary, regulatory affairs, and rules and calendar committees.