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October 5, 2015

Happy Fall ya'll in text form. Picture of leaves in fall colors.

    Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee sets sail on busy year

    Photo of Sarah Cortvriend

    Sarah Cortvriend, Chair
    Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee

    Members of The Florida Bar Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee met on Sept. 17 in Tampa in conjunction with The Florida Bar Fall Meeting. Committee members heard various reports and took action on a variety of agenda items including:

    • Ashley Hardee is the chair of the 2016 Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference. The Committee selected July 14-16 and the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, for the 2016 Conference.
    • The fee for 2016 Conference will be $185. The reduced rate will attract more participation and be more inclusive for smaller and more diverse non-staffed bars. Lunch on Friday will be offered as an add-on option.
    • The Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee will seek additional funding to help offset 2016 conference costs. Sarah Cortvriend, chair will draft a memo to The Florida Bar budget committee chair requesting the additional funding to satisfy the conference budget needs.
    • Sponsorship levels and related benefits for the 2016 Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference will remain unchanged.
    • Ashley asked the Committee to send her ideas for themes and breakout session topics/presenters for the 2016 Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference. Nora Riva Bergman will be the keynote speaker for the conference.
    • Chair Cortvriend reported that she had received a number of thoughtful responses from Committee members on Vision 2016, particularly on the issue of reciprocity. Based on the comments, a motion was made and approved that the Committee offer no position on Vision 2016.
    • Chair Cortvriend reported that a transmittal memo and report of the Lawyer Feedback subcommittee had been prepared and forwarded to President Ramón Abadin who had requested the subcommittee to gather feedback from voluntary bars on what they believe the Bar can do to help its members.
    • The next Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee meeting will be in conjunction with The Florida Bar Winter Meeting, Jan. 20-23, 2016, at the Hilton, Lake Buena Vista in Orlando

    2016 Voluntary Bar Diversity Leadership Grant deadline is October 15

    The Florida Bar Inclusion logo

    The 2016 Voluntary Bar Diversity Leadership Grant application posted on the Diversity web page. Due date is Oct. 15.

    The voluntary bar association grant program supports initiatives and programs that encourage diversity, diversity training and dialogue among lawyers in Florida through financial support of conferences, seminars, summits and symposia planned and hosted by local and specialty bar associations.
Download Application for Diversity Leadership Grant

    Voluntary Bar Input Sought on
    Redesign of The Florida Bar Lawyer
    Referral System

Black and white art work of five people standing and sitting.
    A plan to redesign The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral System to provide improved access to legal services is underway. Gordon Glover, president, Young Lawyers Division, The Florida Bar; and John Stewart and Renee Thompson, Board of Governors, The Florida Bar introduced the concept to the Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee at the Fall meeting in Tampa.

    The team is seeking input and engagement from the Voluntary Bar community to determine what is working well in the local referral programs and what ideas should be included in the statewide system. As envisioned, the statewide plan would not ask local Voluntary Bar Associations to give up existing referral programs. Some VBAs have programs and some don’t, so this redesign would put everyone on the same page. The goal of joining together and providing a robust statewide program is to increase access to legal services and to generate more clients for participating local attorneys. The new system would bring together all forms of lawyer referral assistance programs under one online portal with The Florida Bar brand.

    Constant communication is the key to developing the new Lawyer Referral platform. The Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee is inviting the Lawyer Referral redesign team to a workshop with VBA executive directors who currently operate a Lawyer Referral Service program. The workshop will be held in conjunction with the Winter Meeting in January, 2016.
    The Florida Justice Technology Center is off the ground and running

    Photo of officers of Justice Technology Center being sworn in.
    The Florida Justice Technology Center, a new statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice through innovative use of technology, was launched recently with $725,000 in funding from The Florida Bar Foundation. The center is modeled after Illinois Legal Aid Online, the only other statewide non-profit access to justice technology entity in the United States.

    The center will work with legal aid and pro bono programs and with the judiciary and court system, clerks of court, lawyers, law schools, corporations, community partners, and others to develop technology products and services that will expand access to justice for those confronting civil legal issues such as divorce, child custody, foreclosure, landlord-tenant disputes, home ownership, veterans benefits, and elder affairs. The center will work to collaborate and coordinate with legal technology efforts going on throughout the state, such as online systems for creating and assembling court forms and legal documents, as well as client intake.

    The center’s board includes lawyers and business leaders with deep and wide-ranging experience related to legal services and technology. Kathleen McLeroy, serves as chairman. Greg Coleman, immediate past president of The Florida Bar is vice-chairman. Other members include, Tom Oldt, secretary/treasurer; Adriana Linares and James Haggard.

    The Board plans to convene a stakeholder meeting before the end of the year to gather information about the current technology landscape in Florida. Its next board meetings are scheduled for Oct. and Nov.

    Martin County lawyers fill food boxes for children
    Martin County Kids Box
    On Saturday, Sept. 26, the Martin County Bar Association volunteered to pack pallets of food for children in need. The United Way of Martin County and Martin Volunteers supported the effort to pack healthy weekend meals for children. It was a great time for a great cause!
    St. Pete Bar members enjoy Rowdies game

    Photo of three people in green and gold scarves and tee shirts.
    All decked out in team regalia, St. Petersburg Bar Association members had a great time at the Rowdies game Saturday, Sept. 19th.

    The E. Robert Williams Inn of Court is recognized as Platinum Inn

    Photo of woman speaking at podium with three men behind her.
    The E. Robert Williams Inn of Court, Florida’s first all workers’ compensation Inn, held it’s first meeting of 2015 at the Epping Forest Yacht Club in Jacksonville, FL. Special guests included Judge Scott Makar of the 1st DCA and keynote speaker Randy Porcher, head of the 1st DCA Workers’ Compensation Division who presented “How to Never Lose an Appeal”. Also present was Pam Wittman, Southeast Regional Director of the American Inns of Court to recognize the Inn’s achievement of platinum status. The meeting was presided over by President Michael Rudolph. (L-R) President Elect Judge Ralph J. Humphries, American Inns of Court S.E. Regional Director Pam Wittman, Past President Judge William "Ray" Holley, President Michael D. Rudolph.
    Collier County Bar Association hosts' roast for 40-year member

    Photo of Mike McDonnel holding a head bust with ogher speaker to the left.
    The Collier County Bar Association hosted a Roast for Mike McDonnell recently. Mike is founding partner of McDonnell Trial Law and a trial lawyer with more than 40 years of experience who famously defended Steven Benson in his highly-televised 1985 murder trial.  

    Fellow colleagues, attorneys and lifelong friends including Gary Greene, Charles Murray, John P. Cardillo and Jerry Berry, roasted him. Andy Solis, Director of Cohen & Grisby, was the master of ceremony.  

    "The roast to which I was subjected was a great and hilarious time for all. It is such an honor to have friends and colleagues such as these," said Mike McDonnell
    Coral Gables Bar Association Raises $3,000
    for Make-A-Wish Foundation
    Four adults standing with large check
    The Coral Gables Bar Association presented a $3,000 check to the Make-A -Wish Foundation on Sept. 16 during its monthly luncheon at Seasons 52 on Miracle Mile. Members raised the $3,000 during their August Networking Happy Hour. More than 100 people attended and contributed.
    Haitian Lawyers Association enjoy
    Tete-a-Tete dinner
    Ten adults standing in front of colorful wall mural.
    Hillsborough lawyers aboard
    civic refueling expedition
    Two people standing in airplane
    Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee Vice Chair Bob Nader and other Hillsborough County Bar Association members Ben Hill IV, George Howell, Steve Mitchell and Amy Farrior joined other local civic leaders and personnel from MacDill Air Force Base on a recent KC-135 refueling flight from Tampa to Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina and then on to Tyndall AFB in Panama City. The overnight experience included the viewing of the boom operator refueling a C-17 cargo plane, a hands-on tour of the bases, an inspection of the naval brig in Charleston, a visit on the flight line to see F-22 fighter jets at Tyndall, and a sightseeing walk-through of the historic 200-year-old William Aiken House in downtown Charleston.
    Women lawyers in Sarasota applaud
    Anne Stinnett

    Two people standing at podium
    The FAWL Sarasota chapter installation event celebrated trailblazers such as 50-year lawyer and board member Anne Stinnett.
    Martin County Bar Association members and judges share Constitution with students

    Martin County Bar Association

    Martin County Bar Association members continued their efforts to ensure that children in the community know, appreciate and understand the U.S. Constitution. Pictured here are Christine Moreno with students at Seawind Elementary School. Judges and lawyers in Martin County shared the Constitution with almost every public school in the county!
    A Night of fun in Jacksonville
    Jacksonville Women Lawyers Assoc.
    The Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association gathered at Fionn MacCool's for the group's for annual Opening Reception to kick off another year of educational luncheons, networking socials, charitable events, fund-raisers and more!  The members enjoyed fellowship over drinks and light appetizers for a night of fun on Sept. 10 at the Landing in Jacksonville.
    Palm Beach County Bar hosts Town Hall Meeting with Bar President

    Photo of three men standing
    A sellout crowd gathered at Palm Beach County Bar Association event on Sept. 22 to dialogue with Florida Bar President Ramón Abadin, and immediate past president Greg Coleman. The pair answered questions from members about reciprocity, technology and other important issues facing the legal profession. More than 150 members attended. Pictured with Abadin and Coleman is PBCBA President Grier Pressly.
    Business leaders join lawyers for Hillsborough County Bar luncheon
    The Hillsborough County Bar Association welcomed special guests from the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce 
    The Hillsborough County Bar Association welcomed special guests from the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce to its first Membership Luncheon of the Bar year at Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. The guests in the sold out crowd of 500-plus heard fro Florida Bar President Ramón Abadin about the changing legal landscape.
    Puerto Rican Bar Association hosts Comedy Fundraiser

    Photo of comedian Elizardi Castro with logo of Law and Disorder

    Constitution Day was never as comical as it was on Sept. 17 in Miami, where judges, attorneys and law students gathered for a comedy show by lawyer-comedian Elizardi Castro. The event supported the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida's Scholarship Fund.  Guests enjoyed a reception and time to network. Elizardi, a Latino attorney, followed with stories about the trials and tribulations of a Puerto Rican prosecutor turned defense attorney.

    Diversity is top-of-mind with the Tallahassee Bar

    Photo of two women at Diversity Symposium
    The Tallahassee Bar Association's Young Lawyer Section held its Inaugural Diversity Networking Symposium on Sept. 24 at the FSU College of Law Advocacy Center. The event was designed to expose law students with Tallahassee-area attorneys from a variety of backgrounds and practice areas.

    Miranda is more than words logo
    In 2016, the nation marks the 50th anniversary of perhaps the nation’s best-known U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda Warning is ingrained in law enforcement and permeates popular consciousness through countless recitations in films and TV shows. Yet Miranda is only part of the story when it comes to the procedures for ensuring justice. The 2016 Law Day theme — Miranda: More than Words — will explore the procedural protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution, how these rights are safeguarded by the courts, and why the preservation of these principles is essential to our liberty.

    Click here to sign up for updates and announcements as we gear up for the 2016 Law Day theme. Be the first to know when Law Day planning guides, teaching resources, products and other useful items become available.

    Law Day products from past themes are still available in the ABA Webstore. Sign up for updates or check back to this website to find out when the 2016 theme products are available.

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[Revised: 10-06-2015]