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.
Dec. 16, 2013
--The Florida Bar--
FORMER BAR PRESIDENT TO CHAIR GRAYROBINSON LITIGATION DEPARTMENT -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Dec. 13, 2013.
GrayRobinson has appointed former Florida Bar president Mayanne Downs as chair of the firm's litigation department. Downs, who is based in GrayRobinson's Orlando headquarters, will lead more than 150 practice members around the state. Downs joined GrayRobinson from King, Blackwell, Downs & Zehnder in 2012. She serves as the part-time city attorney to the city of Orlando and is one of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's closest advisers. GrayRobinson has nearly 300 attorneys in 11 offices from Tallahassee to Key West.
COOLEY LAW SCHOOL OFFERS DEBT RELIEF CLINIC TO TAMPA BAY COMMUNITY -- Bloomingdale Patch, http://bloomingdale.patch.com, Dec. 13, 2013.
Thomas M. Cooley’s Tampa Bay Campus will open in January a pro-bono Debt Relief Clinic for underserved individuals in Hillsborough County facing debt-related legal issues. This free clinic will be staffed by Cooley students under the supervision of Professor Robert Savage, who also serves as the clinic’s director. The clinic will provide Cooley students with an opportunity to gain legal knowledge and develop skills by representing clients in transactional matters, alternative dispute resolution, and pre-litigation resolution, all under the supervision of practicing attorneys. Established in response to the expressed needs of the community, the clinic will offer legal assistance on issues arising from past due medical and hospital bills, loans, predatory lending, unfair and abusive collections practices and more.
MARTIN DYCKMAN: ARTHUR J. ENGLAND LEFT GREAT LEGACY ON FLORIDA COURT -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Column, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Dec. 15, 2013.
"With a new law practice to nourish, four daughters to educate, and major medical bills to pay, the last thing that Arthur J. England Jr. needed in 1974 was to run for the Florida Supreme Court. But the court needed him. With three justices under investigation for tawdry ethics and the court's reputation in ruins, an impending retirement called for a candidate committed to reform . . . As it was recalled during his memorial service at the court last week, England's was an improbable candidacy. He had to "reinvent himself," as his friend Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte said, and it took courage for him to run . . . Returning to Tallahassee as a justice, he pioneered the nation's first program to use the interest banks pay on lawyer trust accounts to finance legal services for the poor. During his two years as chief justice, he opened Florida's courtrooms to camera coverage, setting another national example . . . England left the court in 1981 to begin a flourishing new career as an appellate specialist. The legacy he left at the court is in great danger now because recent legislatures and governors have injected highly partisan politics into the process for nominating and appointing judges. There will be no issue more important in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign."
JUSTICES EMBRACING THEIR RACES -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription), http://www.pbpost.com, Dec. 15, 2013.
Three Florida Supreme Court justices raised an unprecedented amount of cash last year in beating back a bid to unseat them by tea party supporters and the state Republican Party. This week, the Supreme Court has proposed changing a judicial canon, or regulation, so that candidates on the same court who face opposition in a merit retention election could campaign together. Critics warn the change will inject even more politics into the judiciary, making it easier for justices to raise money and harness support for future campaigns. It’s designed to avoid issues the three justices faced last year, when they would try to avoid appearing together when even at the same event or fund-raiser. The proposed change would affect justices, next up for merit retention in 2016, and district court of appeals judges across the state on the ballot as early as next year.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
EDITORIAL: IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY SANCTIONED FOR ABUSING FREEDOMS -- Naples Daily News, Editorial, http://www.naplesnews.com, Dec. 16, 2013.
"A federal court based in Fort Myers has sanctioned a Naples immigration attorney for helping clients by breaking the law. Karen Caco accepted a plea deal for three years probation and barring her from working on cases before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Department of Labor . . . The case against Caco, including charges of fraud and misuse of visa permits, included evidence that she placed phony ads in the Daily News for nonexistent jobs for clients at a Naples hotel. She also compiled paperwork to show foreign nationals maintained permanent offices here. While others from outside our country long for opportunities to come here and be productive, law-abiding citizens, the case against Caco stands out. It is good to see such documented contempt punished as a deterrent to others."
--Civil Justice Issues--
PROJECT OFFERS FREE LEGAL HELP FOR BACKLOGGED VETERANS CLAIMS -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Dec. 14, 2013.
South Florida veterans whose disability claims have been lingering for at least four months will be getting free legal assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The regional VA office in St. Petersburg is one of two claims centers in the nation to be tapped for a pilot project slated to start early next year. The Veterans Claims Assistance Network will provide lawyers at no cost to vets with disability claims backlogged at least 125 days. The project – a joint effort between the VA, the American Bar Association and the Legal Services Corporation – will cover only disability claims, not ones for pensions such as Aid and Attendance or other benefits. The network is the latest VA initiative aimed at reducing the huge claims backlog that has drawn Congressional fire over the past year.
WILLIAM LEWIS THOMPSON JR. -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Dec. 16, 2013.
William Lewis Thompson Jr., 62, passed away on December 14. Following high school, Thompson attended Duke University, where he was a starting running back for the Blue Devils, and then earned his law degree from Duke University School of Law. After law school, he returned to Jacksonville, where he practiced law for over 33 years. He served as law clerk to the Hon. Gerald B. Tjoflat of the U.S. Court Appeal for the Fifth Circuit and as president of The Florida Bar Foundation.