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. 29, 2013
--The Florida Bar--
GOV. RICK SCOTT OFTEN REJECTS FLORIDA BAR'S LIST OF LAWYERS TO NOMINATE JUDGES -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Oct. 28, 2013.
Gov. Rick Scott has repeatedly rejected lists recommended to him by The Florida Bar of lawyers seeking to serve on judicial nominating commissions, created decades ago to professionalize the bench. The Bar said Scott's two predecessors, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush, never rejected any of its nominees. The governor has rejected the lists 16 times and has never publicly given a reason and is not required to do so. Lawyers who are registered Democrats, are aligned with left-leaning groups or who promote themselves as trial lawyers appear to have little hope of gaining the governor's favor. Scott's chief counsel, Pete Antonacci, said he did not know what The Florida Bar's agenda was in choosing which lawyers to send to Scott, and defended the practice of rejecting Bar names. Antonacci said the pace of rejections is likely to quicken, because terms of 78 JNC members are scheduled to expire by June. All 78 were appointed by Scott's predecessor and likely 2014 opponent, Charlie Crist.
HOLLAND AND KNIGHT EXPANDS MATERNITY, ADOPTION LEAVE -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Oct. 29, 2013.
Aiming to attract and retain women lawyers, Holland & Knight has extended its paid maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks and its paid leave for adoptive parents from six to 10 weeks. Additionally, those taking six or more consecutive weeks of leave will receive ramp-down and ramp-up periods, giving them a grace period to return to a normal work level. Holland & Knight believes its new policy is the most generous in Florida for law firms, where the standard maternity policy is 12 weeks of paid leave. Brittany Maxey, president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, applauded Holland & Knight's move. It's unclear whether other law firms will follow Holland's lead.
LAWYERS IN LIBRARIES PROGRAM ALL ACROSS NORTHEAST FLORIDA -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Oct. 29, 2013.
Attorneys are joining with librarians in Northeast Florida through the Lawyers in Libraries program, designed to inform library staff, members and patrons of the many free online resources for researching and resolving legal matters and to make them available in an understandable and usable format. The attorneys are meeting and speaking with citizens in one-hour presentations. During the presentation, attorneys describe on-line resources for legal information, electronic filing and monitoring of cases, where to locate pro se forms, and how to find an attorney. Florida Legal Services has prepared presentation materials, legal resources lists and program brochures for use during the presentations and for future use and reference with patrons.
ELECTRONIC DEVICE POLICY REVISED AT FEDERAL COURTHOUSE -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Oct. 29, 2013.
Letter from U.S. District Judges Marcia Morales Howard and Timothy J. Corrigan to members of the Northeast Florida legal community, announcing that the cell phone and electronic device policy for courthouses in the Middle District of Florida has been substantially revised. "The policy now allows lawyers with business in the courthouse to bring in their electronic devices upon presentation of proof of membership in The Florida Bar . . . After security screening, the lawyer will be permitted to carry their cell phone or other electronic device throughout the courthouse, including into the courtroom, with certain important restrictions . . . This new policy has the support of the U.S. Marshal, and attempts to balance the need for security and good order with the legitimate requirements of the lawyers who practice in federal court."
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
JUDGE: 'FORECLOSURE KING' SHOULD LOSE LAW LICENSE -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription), http://www.pbpost.com, Oct. 29, 2013. [Also: DISBARMENT RECOMMENDED FOR DAVID J. STERN -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Oct. 29, 2013.]
Robosigning king David J. Stern should be stripped of his license to practice law, a judge said Monday [Oct. 28]. Stern was accused of running a foreclosure mill that used flawed and fraudulent documents to push mortgage defaults through Florida courts during the Great Recession. The Florida Bar asked Stern to give up his license. During a five-day hearing in Fort Lauderdale this month, Stern argued that his firm simply made a few mistakes in a tiny percentage of the 277,000 foreclosure cases it handled. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Nancy Perez, appointed referee in the case by the Florida Supreme Court, rejected Stern’s arguments in a strongly worded 35-page report released Monday. Perez ordered Stern to pay The Florida Bar’s legal costs of $49,767.62. Stern has 60 days to request a Supreme Court review of Perez’s recommendation that he lose his law license.
COMMUNITY LEADER JULIAN BENNETT DEAD AT 84 -- Panama City News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com, Oct. 29, 2013.
Julian Bennett, prominent Bay County lawyer, businessman and former state legislator who has been called "one of the founders of the beach," died Sunday [Oct. 27]. He was 84. Bennett served as the Bay District School Board's attorney for about 20 years and owned several businesses in the area. Earlier this year, the Bay County Chamber of Commerce awarded Julian Bennett its top honor, the Lauren Merriam Memorial Award. Area lawmakers praised the work of Julian Bennett, who served as a state representative in the 1960s.