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. 9, 2013
NEW ASSOCIATES 2013: LAWYER HIRING NO LONGER BLEAK -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Sept. 9, 2013.
For the last few years, law graduates have faced gloomy predictions about their chances of landing good law firm jobs in a shrinking, post-recession legal market. Law school enrollment has dropped as would-be young lawyers opted for careers in other fields to avoid paying crushing law school loans with diminishing job prospects. But a glimmer of hope has emerged for the class of 2013 in South Florida, where the legal market and economy are slowly rebounding. With national and international law firms opening offices in Miami, real estate and corporate markets rebounding and the South Florida economy improving in general, lawyer hiring is no longer bleak. Law firms are starting to hire more first-year associates, graduates are feeling more optimistic, and legal recruiters are finding more demand for newly minted lawyers.
WITH NEW CHAIRMAN, PANEL SET TO SCREEN CANDIDATES FOR BROWARD COUNTY JUDGE -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Sept. 6, 2013.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will screen candidates to fill the spot vacated by County Judge Stacy Ross, who was appointed a circuit judge by Gov. Rick Scott. Judicial vacancies are filled by appointees. A nine-member, officially nonpartisan commission of lawyers and non-lawyers evaluates applicants and then sends three to six names to the governor, who picks a judge from the list. Fred Karlinsky, whose practice focuses on complex insurance transactions, was elected the new chairman last month. The commission’s vice chairman is former Broward Republican Chairman Kevin Tynan.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
ATTORNEY PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN SCOTT ROTHSTEIN CASE -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Sept. 7, 2013.
Christina Kitterman, an attorney who had worked at Scott Rothstein's law firm, pleaded not guilty Friday [Sept. 6] to conspiring to help keep her boss' massive Ponzi scheme afloat by impersonating a Florida Bar official. Last week's arrests of Kitterman and another attorney, Douglas L. Bates, mark a new and long-expected phase of the sprawling criminal investigation resulting from the disintegration of Rothstein's financial empire in October 2009. Kitterman is accused of pretending to be the head of The Florida Bar's Fort Lauderdale office in a conference call with some of Rothstein's investors. The call was part of a ruse by Rothstein to convince those investors that payments had been held up because of a Florida Bar investigation. She faces a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A conviction could carry up to a 20-year prison sentence.
FLORIDA BAR SUSPENDS MIAMI LAWYER'S LICENSE -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 8, 2013.
Attorney Stephen Cody, a children’s book author and redistricting consultant, settled a case with The Florida Bar in June by agreeing to a one-year suspension of his law license. The Bar argued Cody bounced a check in one case, and in another instance failed to keep a client informed. In that case, a judge ruled that a Miami Beach client of Cody’s was on the hook for about $12,000. The client did not pay, and Cody was ordered to pay the money himself for failing to keep his client informed about the case. Cody said he plans on spending the next year writing more children’s books.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
APPELLATE COURT QUESTIONS LONG JUVENILE PRISON TERMS -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Sept. 7, 2013.
An opinion filed last week by the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach questions whether Ramon Rosario's prison sentence of 270 years for violent crimes committed when he was 17 violates the law. He was a leading member of a group of youths who invaded homes in Palm Beach County, kidnapped residents and robbed them. The appellate court affirmed Rosario's sentence for the crime spree but also repeated its earlier concerns about the constitutionality of such lengthy prison terms for juvenile defendants on non-murder charges. The judges want the Florida Supreme Court to explore the issue as a matter "of great public importance." Sentencing young criminals to life without a chance for parole, for crimes other than murder, is cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2010.
FLORIDA WON'T APPEAL RULING AGAINST LAW BANNING PUBLIC HIRING OF FIRMS TIED TO CUBA -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 6, 2013.
The Florida Department of Transportation has conceded it will not enforce a law ruled unconstitutional by federal courts that tried to prohibit the state and local governments from hiring companies with business ties to Cuba. It paves the way for Odebrecht USA, the Coral Gables-based firm that challenged the law, to proceed with significant projects in the works. A preliminary injunction had been in place since U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore found in June 2012 that the legislation interfered with the federal government's authority to set foreign policy. An affiliate of Odebrecht USA's giant Brazilian parent company is performing a major expansion at the Cuban Port of Mariel.