The Florida Bar
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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

Feb. 25, 2014

--The Florida Bar--

DECLINING JUDICIAL DIVERSITY WORRIES FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT -- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, Feb. 25, 2014.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Eugene Pettis, The Florida Bar’s first African American president, is focused on making sure there is a culture that invites minorities to the judicial selection process. He has met with Gov. Rick Scott, focused on judicial nominating commission applicants and urged Bar members to recruit minorities to seek judicial seats in an effort to address the issue of declining diversity on the bench. Pettis has extended until March 21 the deadline for recruitment of JNC applicants. His statistics show that out of 981 members of the Florida courts judiciary, only three are Asian American. Six African Americans and two Hispanics are among the 61 district court of appeal judges. Of the state’s 594 circuit court judges, 26 are African American and 58 are Hispanic. In Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial District, three of 62 judges are African American.

--Legal Profession--

E-FILING HELP DESK IS FULLY STAFFED -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, March 1, 2014.
The Service Desk for the Florida courts electronic filing system is fully staffed and operational and response time for most user calls has dropped from a few days to a few hours. The Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, which oversees the statewide portal through which e-filing is done, was updated at its Jan. 28 and Feb. 13 meetings on the Service Desk status, which the authority voted to greatly expand last year. Melvin Cox, director of information technology for the portal, reported that pursuant to previous authority actions, the Service Desk had been expanded from three to nine employees. The net effect, he said, is a dramatic drop in waiting times for Service Desk assistance. Cox attributed that to both the expansion of the staff and a dramatic drop in calls as lawyers become more familiar with the electronic filing system.

PUBLIC DEFENDER ADDS THREE ATTORNEYS TO OFFICE -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Feb. 24, 2014.
Public Defender Matt Shirk announced the appointment of three assistant public defenders to serve in the Duval County office. William Donley II joins the County Court unit, where he will handle misdemeanors. For the past four months, Donley has volunteered in a similar capacity. Jason Love joined the office's juvenile unit. He has served as a volunteer attorney since August. Christina Tatum, who has been a volunteer with the office for three years, has joined the County Court unit. Before that, she worked at Florida Coastal School of Law as a seasonal recruiter.

--Judiciary--

FSCHS HONORS BARKETT FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, March 1, 2014.
Former Chief Justice Rosemary Barkett received a lifetime achievement award at the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner. The Jan. 30 dinner packed a ballroom at the University Center Club in Tallahassee and felt like a celebration to match the upbeat verve of Barkett’s personality. Barkett was the first woman to serve on the Florida Supreme Court and the first female chief justice. She now serves as a U.S. member of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague. Prior to her new legal adventure, Barkett served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, an appointment she held since 1994. Instead of a speech, Barkett held a conversation with the audience, hosted Phil Donahue-style by former Bar President Hank Coxe.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

PROPERTY LAWYER'S OWN HOMES RAISE ISSUE -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Feb. 24, 2014.
Anne Weintraub, one of Southwest Florida's most prominent real estate lawyers, financed more than $1 million worth of personal real estate during the boom -- simultaneously claiming all three homes as her primary residence, which experts say violated her mortgage terms, according to a Herald-Tribune investigation. When the economy slumped into recession, Weintraub defaulted on those loans, costing a federally insured lender an estimated $500,000 in losses. Experts were shown the results of the investigation and said Weintraub provided false information to a regional bank when she refinanced loans on three separate properties -- all within a few months of when the original mortgages were obtained. Weintraub denies any wrongdoing, and neither local law enforcement nor The Florida Bar are investigating her over any complaints.

--Tech Tip Tuesday--

WONDERING WHERE THE OPEN AND PRINT BUTTONS ARE ON THE NEWER VERSIONS (2007-2013) OF WORD? -- The Florida Bar, http://www.floridabar.org, Feb. 25, 2014.
Word comes off the shelf with minimum shortcuts displayed. A new toolbar feature called the “Quick Access Toolbar” (QAT) allows you to add the shortcuts. For additional information on this tip and others, visit the Tech Tips page.

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[Revised: 02-26-2014]