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.
Sept. 10, 2013
PROFESSIONALISM IN THE 4TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT -- Jacksonville Daily Record, Column, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Sept. 10, 2013.
Column by Braxton Gillam, president of The Jacksonville Bar Association. Gillam writes about a recent order issued by the Florida Supreme Court requiring every circuit to organize and administer a program to receive complaints and respond to circumstances of unprofessional or less than civil behavior on the part of members of the Bar. He notes that while the 4th Judicial Circuit has long maintained an informal process to address complaints of alleged improper conduct of Bar members, a new administrative order was issued by Chief Judge Donald Moran on Aug. 19. Gilliam outlines the procedures for how referrals are to be made to the panel.
THE 4TH CIRCUIT PREPARES TO CELEBRATE PRO BONO WEEK -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Sept. 10, 2013.
Each year, the American Bar Association designates a week to promote pro bono services across the country, and each year the 4th Judicial Circuit participates in grand style. This year's "Celebrate Pro Bono" week is Oct. 20-26. The Pro Bono Committee of the Jacksonville Bar Association, working with the 4th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, will coordinate and facilitate local efforts. Agencies and organizations that provide legal services to low-income clients are invited to participate. Many local efforts and events are already scheduled and more are in development.
ELDER MEDIATORS CAN KEEP FAMILIES OUT OF COURT -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Sept. 9, 2013.
Recently, a new breed of mediators who call themselves "elder mediators" have been specializing in small and large conflicts commonly faced by seniors. Most seniors have never have heard of mediation, or falsely believe they need to first go through an attorney, said Bonita Para, a mediator who specializes in elders and adults throughout South Florida. Para hopes to raise elder mediation's profile through a new program starting this month at the Joseph Meyerhoff Senior Center in Hollywood. This type of mediation is gaining recognition as the number of people struggling with elder care issues is growing. Becoming a state-certified mediator requires a 40-hour class and observing a certain number of mediations. The Florida Supreme Court maintains a list of those with their certificates, monitors them and takes complaints.
OPENING FOR CIRCUIT JUDGE IN HERNANDO DRAWS 22 APPLICANTS -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Sept. 10, 2013.
Twenty-two people submitted applications with hopes of being appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to fill the soon-to-be-vacant 5th Circuit's Group 15 seat, currently held by Marion County Circuit Judge Sandra Edwards-Stephens, who retires on Oct. 31. Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti is transferring from Hernando to Marion County, so the person selected for the empty seat will serve in Brooksville. The vacancy has drawn a crowded and diverse field, including assistant state attorneys, assistant public defenders, a host of private lawyers and a sitting Hernando County judge, Donald Scaglione. Interviews are slated for Sept. 26 in Brooksville. The circuit's Judicial Nominating Commission will forward between three and five names to Scott by Oct. 1. The appointee must win in the 2016 election to garner a full six-year term.
--Civil Justice Issues--
CALIFORNIA CASE ECHOES FLORIDA'S: IMMIGRANT SEEKS RIGHT TO PRACTICE LAW -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, Sept. 9, 2013.
California, like Florida, is wrestling with whether an undocumented immigrant should be admitted to the practice of law. The California Supreme Court this week conducted a hearing into whether Sergio C. Garcia, 36, who immigrated illegally from Mexico at an early age and has completed law school, should be issued a professional license as an attorney. In Florida, Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio is waiting to hear if he will be admitted to The Florida Bar. The Board of Bar Examiners in Florida asked the Florida Supreme Court for guidance on the issue of Godinez-Samperio's legal status, but the court has not yet ruled. In the California case, although the California State Bar and Attorney General Kamala D. Harris favor admitting Garcia, several justices on the high court suggested they were bound to follow a federal law that denies professional licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
MIAMI LAW FIRM AGREES TO PAY $5 MILLION TO NEVIN SHAPIRO'S INVESTMENT VICTIMS -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 10, 2013.
Shook, Hardy & Bacon, the Miami law firm that advised convicted Ponzi schemer and rogue UM booster Nevin Shapiro on his business dealings, has agreed to pay $5 million to his victims in a proposed civil settlement with the trustee of Shapiro's bankrupt investment company. Earlier this year, the bankruptcy trustee filed a lawsuit accusing the firm and one of its associates of aiding and abetting Shapiro's violations of federal securities laws during his $930 million investment scam. The settlement was described as a "compromise . . . to avoid the further expense, inconvenience and burden of protracted litigation." In particular, the firm expressly denied any liability or wrongdoing alleged in the lawsuit, according to the proposed settlement.