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.
Jan. 2, 2014
LINKEDIN TO CHANGE SETTING IN RESPONSE TO FLORIDA BAR CONCERNS -- Daily Business Review, subscription required, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com , Jan. 1, 2014.
LinkedIn, the popular online business networking site, has reportedly agreed to change a setting that automatically lists a person’s professional “specialties” in response to concerns from The Florida Bar and other state bar regulatory organizations. LinkedIn is in the process of changing its default setting so that attorney users of LinkedIn can voluntarily change their existing accounts to remove mention of professional specialties. The company is also working on changing the section in which outsiders can endorse individuals.
LAWYER GOES EXTRA MILE TO PROVIDE WORK-LIFE BALANCE FOR WOMEN -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com , Jan. 2, 2014.
When young lawyers go to work for Mayanne Downs, they're in for a shock. Downs, a former Florida Bar president, has established four guidelines for her staff at GrayRobinson in Orlando. First, they are free to work the schedule that suits their home life. Second, they may leave the office whenever necessary for a family commitment. Third, before taking a case, they must meet with Downs to decide how much responsibility they're comfortable accepting. And last, if there's some errand cluttering their to-do list — think "pick up dry cleaning" — they're encouraged to ask the office concierge, Downs' college-age daughter, to handle the job. The policies are part of Downs' attempt to help her staff members — the women in particular — strike a balance between their work and home lives. The effort reflects a growing sense that, historically, most companies have done little to acknowledge that many women work two full-time jobs: one in the office and one at home.
PRO BONO HONORS -- St. Augustine Record, http://www.staugustine.com , Jan. 1, 2014.
Megan Wall of St. Johns County Legal Aid along with local judges recently presented the 2013 Pro Bono Awards. Each recipient did upwards of 100 hours of pro bono service, with some donating as many as 300 hours.
--Legal Ethics/Lawyer Discipline--
NINE SOUTH FLORIDA ATTORNEYS DISCIPLINED -- Daily Business Review, subscription required, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com , Jan. 1, 2014.
The Florida Supreme Court has disciplined nine South Florida attorneys , including Russell Adler, a former law firm partner of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. Adler was suspended for 91 days.
KELLY MATHIS SUSPENDED BY SUPREME COURT -- First Coast News, http://www.firstcoastnews.com , Jan. 1, 2014.
The Florida Bar announced Tuesday [Dec. 31] the suspension of Kelly Bernard Mathis effective Dec. 18. A jury found Mathis guilty of 103 of 104 counts Oct. 11. The one count he was found not guilty of was conspiracy. Mathis was the first of 57 defendants to go on trial in the Allied Veterans of the World case "Operation Reveal the Deal," which led to the resignation of Florida's lieutenant governor and a ban on all Internet cafes in the state earlier this year.
BAR SUSPENDS VOLUSIA COUNTY SCHOOLS ATTORNEY -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com , Jan. 1, 2014.
Volusia County's School Board attorney, Theodore "Ted" Doran, has been suspended from the practice of law for 60 days for two sexual indiscretions and for using evidence he should never have obtained. Doran, 57, is one of 21 attorneys recently disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Bar announced the actions Tuesday [Dec. 31]. Doran is managing partner of Doran Sims Wolfe & Kundid in Daytona Beach, which represents the Volusia County School Board.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SUSPENDS TWO ESCAMBIA COUNTY ATTORNEYS -- North Escambia.com, http://www.northescambia.com , Jan. 2, 2014.
The Florida Supreme Court has suspended two Escambia county attorneys, according to information released by The Florida Bar. Will Rogers Helton Jr., Pensacola, was suspended for 180 days. During a seven-month period, Helton’s non-lawyer assistants handled most of the closings that took place in the law office, without the presence or supervision of a licensed attorney. Eugene Keith Polk, Pensacola, was suspended for 90 days, followed by three year’s probation. After being retained, Polk failed to communicate with a client for nearly two years and failed to return documents despite numerous requests, the court said. Polk failed to respond to Bar inquiries.
LOCAL ATTORNEY SUSPENDED OVER REFERRAL FEES -- Ocala Star Banner, http://www.ocala.com , Jan. 1, 2014.
Ocala attorney Pamela Bounds Olsen has been suspended from practicing law for 30 days by the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar announced Tuesday [Dec. 31]. “In five separate cases over a one-year period, Olsen received referral fees to which her law firm claimed entitlement and did not share them with the law firm,” The Florida Bar wrote in a press release. Olsen has been suspended since Nov. 27. Upon her reinstatement, she will be placed on probation for one year.
FLORIDA DRUG-TESTING LAW STRUCK DOWN -- The Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com , Jan. 1, 2014.
A federal judge in Orlando struck down a Florida law on Tuesday [Dec. 31] that required welfare recipients to undergo mandatory drug testing. Judge Mary S. Scriven of U.S. District Court wrote in her decision that the state's testing requirement was unconstitutional. "The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied," she wrote. The ruling made permanent an earlier, temporary ban by the judge. The requirement had been a signature legislation of Gov. Rick Scott, who argued that the drug testing was necessary to help protect taxpayers and families. Scott said Tuesday [Dec. 31] that the state would appeal the ruling.