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.

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April 15, 2014


CLARIFY LAW TO AVOID CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS -- Daytona Beach News Journal, Editorial,, April 15, 2014.
Three of the seven Florida Supreme Court justices — Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince — are nearing the mandatory retirement age of 70 during their current six-year terms. They will have to step down on Jan. 8, 2019, the same day the next governor is sworn in. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, has sponsored a constitutional amendment that would be placed on the November ballot this year that would clarify who has the authority to fill the court vacancies. The editorial states, "The state is facing a potential constitutional crisis with regard to its Supreme Court justices, one that requires a legitimate fix via the amending process. Unfortunately, only the Senate so far is addressing it — and doing so in the wrong direction . . . Lee’s rationale for the amendment is sound. He fears that without clarification in the law, the outgoing governor and incoming governor in 2019 will clash on who should appoint the justices’ successors, leading to a nasty legal battle. However, Lee’s preferred solution is the political sticking point: He wants the outgoing governor to make the appointments . . . At some point before 2019 the law on appointments will have to be clarified. When it is, it should be in favor of the incoming governor.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

ETHICS CHARGES FILED AGAINST ATTORNEY ELENA MARIA PEREZ -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, April 14, 2014. [Also: LAWYER INVOLVED IN MIAMI-NCAA CASE CHARGED BY BAR -- Miami Herald,, April 14, 2014.]
The Florida Bar filed formal ethics charges Monday [April 14] against Coral Gables attorney Maria Elena Perez, who represented con man Nevin Shapiro and cooperated with the NCAA's investigation of improper booster donations to athletes at the University of Miami. The complaint outlined 14 violations of Bar rules against Perez for helping the NCAA get information by attending depositions related to the bankruptcy of Shapiro's former company. She also faces four ethics violations involving a drug defendant she represented in 2010 when she was chastised by a federal judge. Perez could face probation, a public reprimand, suspension or even disbarment. The complaint only asks Florida's Supreme Court that she be "appropriately sanctioned."

--Legal Profession--

NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY NAMES GARON LAW SCHOOL DEAN -- South Florida Business Journal,, April 14, 2014.
Nova Southeastern University has found a new dean for its Shepard Broad Law Center. The non-profit university named Jon Garon as its law school dean effective July 1. He's currently a professor of law and the founding director of the Chase Law + Informatics Institute at Northern Kentucky University. Garon replaces Athornia Steele, who stepped down in September but will return to teaching at NSU. Elena Langan is the interim law dean.

NOVA'S LAW SCHOOL OFFERING PROFESSORS VOLUNTARY BUYOUTS -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, April 14, 2014.
Dozens of tenured law professors are being offered buyouts by Nova Southeastern University, and the school is also offering “voluntary separation packages” to professors at its Fischler School of Education and its Huizenga Business School. The buyouts are an effort by the Davie-based school to save money; bring new, younger faculty into the mix; and, in the case of the law school, respond to a changing marketplace that has seen enrollment drop nationally. It is the first time Nova has offered buyouts to its faculty, said Robert Pietrykowski, vice president of human resources at Nova. To become eligible, professors must achieve a “point” rating of 60, which combines age and years of service. The faculty has until May 25 to decide whether to take the buyouts, which have been capped at 20 percent of the faculty. Nova’s law faculty is delighted with the plan, particularly because it includes three years of health insurance.


BURTON STRUBHAR (1944-2014) -- Pensacola News Journal,, April 14, 2014.
Burton E. Strubhar, age 69, passed away on Thursday, April 10. Strubhar began his career as an attorney in Pensacola with the office of the public defender, before working in private practice for almost 40 years. For the last four years of his career he once again worked for the public defender.

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[Revised: 04-16-2014]