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January 7, 2015

Help mold Florida's court system of tomorrow

    What lawyers think about Florida courts matters! So much so, the Florida Supreme Court’s Long Range Strategic Planning Workgroup is updating the strategic plan for the state courts system and is asking lawyers to tell them how they are doing, what is working well and what may need to be improved.

    “The strategic plan is intended to assist the Supreme Court and the current and future chief justices in leading the judicial branch over the six-year period of 2016 to 2022,” said Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Jonathan Gerber, who chairs the workgroup.

    “The strategic plan strives to identify the major issues facing the judicial branch over that six-year period and outline goals and strategies to address those issues. We’re still trying to develop the actions and strategies to support the overall vision of the branch to provide accessible, fair, effective, responsive, and accountable justice for all.”

    Got 10 minutes? That’s about all the time it will take to complete the survey online! All responses are anonymous; they will be compiled and analyzed as a group. No one’s answers will be singled out or reported in any way that would allow identification of survey participants.

    After the survey results are tallied, the work group will prepare a draft report in the summer of 2015, and then submit it to the Judicial Management Council in September 2015, with final review by the Florida Supreme Court in December 2015. The deadline for attorneys to participate in the survey is Jan. 30.

Citizens also urged to voice opinions at upcoming public meetings

    Understanding local conditions throughout Florida and being responsive
    to those conditions is critical in creating an effective strategic plan for
    Florida courts. The judicial branch invites citizens to provide public
    comments at public meetings being held around the state.

    “The opinions and perspectives of all Floridians are important to us and will affect the plans and choices that we make, said Fourth District Court of
    Appeal Judge Jonathan Gerber. The revised plan will continue to support
    the overall vision of the judicial branch: accessible, fair, effective,
    responsive and accountable justice for all.”

    Public meetings are scheduled on the following dates:

    Each meeting will begin at 3 p.m. and conclude at 7 p.m. Public officials
    are invited to speak from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and citizens are invited to
    speak from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. All citizens and public officials with an
    interest in state courts are invited to speak or submit written comments.
    Speakers are asked to address to the following questions:

    · What are your thoughts about the state court system?

    · What do you believe are the most important issues currently facing
    Florida courts?

    The current Long-Range Strategic Plan for the Florida Judicial Branch is available at this website.

    Written comments will be accepted through March 16, and may be sent to the address below or submitted electronically through the online public comment forum at
Learn the latest on
Lawyer Referral
Information Services

    The Lawyer Referral Information Services (LRIS) Workshop is set for Friday, Jan. 23 from 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. following the Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee meeting at the Hilton at Lake Buena Vista in Orlando. All Voluntary Bar Associations (VBAs) who are currently participating in a Lawyer Referral Service program and those who are considering one are encouraged to attend or send a representative from your respective organization.

    Many involved in LRIS have seen a reduction in the volume of calls and revenue. The competitors are well funded and aggressive marketers. LRIS on-line services are growing and cutting into VBA revenue streams. The purpose of this workshop is to talk about best practices and what can be done to keep this program going.

    Back by popular demand will be Jane Nosbisch, the director of the Lawyer Referral Service at the American Bar Association. She is an authority on what is taking place in lawyer referral nationally. We can all learn from her experience of what’s working and not working in other states.

    In addition to hearing about marketing strategies from Nosbisch, the conference will also discuss methods to assure collections from attorney members, useful technology and other thoughts and solutions brought forward by the workshop participants.


Free seminars at Winter Meeting to learn about Benchmarks
and LinkedIn

    Seminars to help attorneys learn how to use the social network LinkedIn and how to make Benchmarks presentations to adult civic and community groups, will be held at The Florida Bar Winter Meeting in Orlando at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista.

    > The Benchmarks seminar will be on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. Register by emailing or calling Susannah Lyle at or (850) 561-5669. One and half general CLE credits are available.

    > The LinkedIn seminars will be held Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, from 9 to 11 a.m. and again from 2 to 4 p.m. Register by emailing or calling Danny Aller at or (850) 561-5739.
Coming in March!
    Just as a rope has different strands that come together to create greater strength, so too is the Florida Bar. Through our VBA’s we unite locally and form a common core mission to educate the public of the virtues of a fair, impartial and independent judiciary and the importance of the rule of law in our democracy. Beginning in February, Voluntary Bar Associations will be asked to help corral more outstanding lawyers throughout the state to sign up as speakers to help spread this message throughout their community.

    A special weblink will be provided for attorneys to sign-up as new speakers and designate which local bar association recruited them. A nominal incentive will be paid to the VBA that is the designated recruiter. The campaign will run from March 1-31 or until 1500 new speakers are recruited state-wide.

    There is also a $500 reward offered for the first VBA that signs up the largest percentage of their members.

    Stay tuned for more information on how you can be involved!
Public member sought for
Board of Governors

    The Florida Bar is searching for a new nonlawyer member of the public to serve on its Board of Governors. The opening comes as Orlando's Winston "Bud" Gardner, a former state legislator, finishes his second two-year term. The Florida Bar is one of only 13 state bars to include members of the public on its governing board. Public members of the board bring "a different perspective than a lawyer would have," Florida Bar President Greg Coleman said. Public members have been a part of the Bar's board since 1987. They take up two seats on the 52-member board and serve two-year terms. Applications for Gardner's seat are available on the Bar's website and by phone. The deadline to apply is Jan. 30.


Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association Young Lawyers Division hosts Breakfast with Santa for local foster families

    For the second consecutive year, the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ESRBA YLD) helped sponsor the local Breakfast with Santa event that ensures local foster families have a wonderful holiday season. The Young Lawyers Division partnered with FamiliesFirst Network, the Junior League of Pensacola and Tate High School to provide breakfast, gifts and entertainment to foster parents and children. This year’s Breakfast with Santa event served 50 local foster families, made up of 150 children and 83 adults.

    The event itself took place at a local activity center that was transformed into a holiday wonderland complete with Santa and his elves. Upon arrival, families received breakfast and the children had their picture taken with Santa and received a gift from him. After eating breakfast, the children played games to earn “Santa bucks.” Once they had a sufficient amount of Santa bucks, they shopped for gifts for their foster parents. Once the children picked out gifts they were assisted with wrapping them. After wrapping them, they were reunited with their foster parents, wrapped gift in hand, ready to be placed under the tree when the children got home.

    As in the past, the ESRBA YLD received overwhelming support from the members of the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association. In addition to funding, the ESRBA YLD also volunteers its members' time. This year, members volunteered to help shop for gifts, help set up and take down the event, act as personal shoppers, and assist with running the games for the children.

Palm Beach County Chapter of FAWL hosts holiday party for PACE

    It was a season of giving for Palm Beach County Chapter of FAWL! Volunteers hosted a holiday party on Dec. 16 in honor of the girls of PACE Center. Each student received a $20 Target gift card and they were very excited and thankful!

    PACE values all girls and young women, believing each one deserves an opportunity to find her voice, achieve her potential and celebrate a life defined by responsibility, dignity, serenity and grace. PACE provides girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy.
Record-setting year for Miami-Dade FAWL's Scholarships

    This was a boom year for Miami-Dade FAWL's Scholarship Awards. Thanks to the generosity of scholarship sponsors and the hard work of Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Katie Phang and Courtney Engelke, Miami-Dade FAWL provided 11 scholarships to deserving law students in schools all across Florida. That was the most scholarships the organization has ever awarded and the first time the scholarships were awarded to recipients throughout the state.

    Congratulations to the scholarship recipients including: Tara Irani at University of Miami School of Law; Dawn Boulding at Florida A&M University College of Law; Nancy Shalhub at University of Miami School of Law; Samantha Sobel at Stetson University College of Law; Katie Brochu at Florida Coastal School of Law; Jihane Elizee at Florida International University School of Law; Nejla Clavo at University of Miami School of Law; Janelle Vega at St. Thomas University School of Law; Jacqueline Hagans at St. Thomas University School of Law; Nicole Fundora at Florida International College of Law; and Ileana Garcia at St. Thomas University School of Law.
Toast & Roast Reception honors retiring Chief Judge Manuel Menendez Jr.

    The Hillsborough County Bar Association and Hillsborough County Bar Foundation hosted a Toast & Roast Reception on Dec. 4 to honor retiring Chief Judge Manuel Menendez Jr. The evening featured former U.S. Attorney Bobby O’Neill as the master of ceremonies, along with special tributes and presentations by HCBA President Benjamin Hill IV, HCBF President Bill Schifino, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew, Sheriff David Gee, County Commissioner Sandy Murman, Terry Smiljanich, Ron Cacciatore, Richard Martin and Christine Menendez. The HCBA and HCBF appreciate the support Judge Menendez has shown the Bar during his years of service and wish him a very happy retirement!
William H. Stafford Inn of Court gives back to the Big Bend

    In lieu of a Holiday Party for 2014, the William H. Stafford Inn of Court scheduled an event aimed at giving back to the community during the holiday season. On Saturday December 6, 2014, Inn members met at America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend food bank in Tallahassee for a day of service to that organization. The Second Harvest food bank distributes more than seven million pounds of food every year, equaling almost six million meals, for those in need. In addition to assisting in the organization’s food distribution process, Inn members also contributed donations of food as well as made monetary donations. The family-friendly event also included a tour of the organization’s facilities and a briefing of the organization’s mission.

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[Revised: 01-07-2015]