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February 9, 2017

Book your hotel room at Boardwalk Inn/Walt Disney World Resort

      The Florida Bar Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference 2017 is set for Boardwalk Inn/Walt Disney World Resort on July 14-15. Rooms are expected to fill quickly as this is a peak time for Orlando area attractions. Resort reservations for the conference can be booked by calling the Disney Group Reservations Phone Team (407) 939-4686 or by using our group’s online booking website:

      All guest rooms are queen doubles and are available at $209 plus applicable sales and resort taxes, currently 12.5%. An additional person (18 years and older) can occupy the same room for $25/night. If requested, suites are offered at 20 percent off the prevailing rate in effect at the time of our meeting, based on availability.

      Subject to availability of resort and group rate rooms, run of house hotel rooms may be reserved at the group room rates starting July 9 up to the night of July 20 (checking out on July 21) for attendees wishing to extend their stays.

      The reservation cut-off date is Thursday, June 22.
Florida's largest gathering of voluntary bar leaders welcomes sponsors
    Local, state and national bar presidents and executive directors will be at Boardwalk Inn/Walt Disney World Resort July 14-15 for this year's Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference. Vendors and businesses that want to reach these leaders have an open invitation to do just that! We call it instant access to the stars!

    Sponsorship opportunities are available at five different levels to help fit any budget and help you get the desired result. Tap into the magic by clicking on this link.

    Thank you to the following sponsors for confirming your support:

    The Florida Bar Foundation
    Twelve Oaks Recovery Center
    The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization
    and Education

Law Day materials available from ABA

    The 2017 theme of Law Week provides the opportunity to explore the many ways that the Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society. Through its Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, this transformative amendment advanced the rights of all Americans. It also played a pivotal role in extending the reach of the Bill of Rights to the states.
    Download the Law Day 2017 Planning Guide for helpful resources such as:

    - Overview of the Fourteenth Amendment
    - Timeline of Key Cases and Legislation
    - Tips and Programming Ideas
    - Lesson Plans
    - Talking Points
    - Event Promotion Checklist

    Also available for download is the
    Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment.

    This Dialogue guide provides lawyers, judges, teachers and other civic leaders with the resources to have an engaging discussion with students or the public on the fundamentals of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Visit for more details on
    The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy

Bar Executive Director Harkness announces retirement

    “Tomorrow will be the first day of the last year I will be with the Bar.”

    With those quiet words at the end of the Bar Board of Governor’s January 20 meeting in Tallahassee, Executive Director John F. Harkness, Jr., announced he’s stepping aside after 37 years running The Florida Bar.

    “Times change; people change,” Harkness, 72, told the board. “I’ve been doing this for 37 years. It’s been wonderful and it’s been challenging, but I think it’s time to entrust the future of the Bar to somebody else.

    “I’ll stay though the transition or whatever time it takes so it will be without a hiccup.”

    Harkness also said he would like to remain involved with the Bar through the upcoming Constitution Revision Commission process, which could last up to the November 2018 general election.

    “Our Bar and this entire profession will miss Jack,” Bar President Bill Schifino told the board after the announcement. “We will begin the process for a search for a new executive director. Whomever comes in next is going to want and need Jack Harkness to stay with us through this transition. There’s no one who knows Tallahassee better.”

    The board and attending Bar staffers responded with a standing ovation and then mobbed Harkness to shake his hand and pose for pictures.

    At the time he was announcing his retirement at the board, Harkness arranged for an email to be sent to Bar staff (to whom he was known as “Mr. H”) in which he, typically, shared credit for Bar accomplishments.

    “The reputation and successes that The Florida Bar has earned over all these years are directly related to our staff.  I know it, the Board of Governors knows it, and I wanted you to know it,” he wrote. “When I started here in 1980 we had a small staff with limited programs and resources.  Today, we are thought of as one of the preeminent Bars in the country – and we could not have done it without dedicated staff such as you.

    “So, as all things eventually have to come to an end, I will be retiring this year.  It’s time for someone else to lead the Bar into new territories and all the new challenges ahead.”
Lawyers Advising Lawyers website launched

    Through its partnership with the Young Lawyers Division, The Florida Bar has launched a new website. Lawyers Advising Lawyers features a peer-to-peer program giving members across the state access to veteran attorneys who can help answer procedural and substantive legal questions across more than 50 practice areas.

    Lawyers Advising Lawyers gives experienced attorneys a platform to assist lawyers with issues they have previously dealt with during their careers. The program uses technology to provide immediate interaction by phone or email with other lawyers working in different parts of the state.

    To apply to become a volunteer advisor or for more information about Lawyers Advising Lawyers, please visit .


New video has powerful access tone

    The Florida Bar Foundation has produced a powerful four-minute video explaining the challenges ahead for access to justice and offers possible solutions. "A Time to Lead" video features Chief Justice Labarga, Florida Bar President Bill Schifino, incoming American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass and the Legal Services Corporation’s Jim Sandman. Watch the video and post to your VBA's sites and share on Facebook and other social media.
Lee County Bar Association launches kindness campaign

    The Lee County Bar Association introduced its new grassroots initiative, #KindLee, timed to begin in advance of Random Acts of Kindness Day on Feb. 17 and intended to spotlight and celebrate the kind acts performed in abundance throughout Southwest Florida. Residents are invited to post their stories with a photo on Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Facebook and include the hashtag #KindLee. The campaign will run through Dec. 31.

    A #KindLee post will be selected at the end of the year, and its author or featured kindly resident will receive a $500 donation presented by the LCBA Foundation for a charity of their choice in his or her name. For more information, visit

Palm Beach County bars hold successful Take Your Child to Work Day event

    Parents and children were able to experience a mock trial, learn the importance of following rules through different activities, watch Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office dog demonstrations, and meet area judges and attorneys at the 2nd Annual Take Your Child to Work Day event. The kids also toured the inside of the county TV station and the historic courthouse and met the mayor and vice mayor.

    "We are so thankful that so many people were able to give their time to help make this day so special for the kids. We are especially grateful to the judiciary and local government officials who showed our kids how positive government participation and service can be," Working Parents Chair of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Rina Clemens, one of the event organizers, said in a written statement.

    The event was sponsored by the Palm Beach County Bar Association, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Young Lawyers Division of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association, and the F. Malcolm Cunningham Bar Association.
AAML Foundation gives to those who give hope

    Lee’s Place, a non-profit grief, loss and trauma therapy center serving the greater Tallahassee area, got a nice gift during the holidays. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Florida Chapter Foundation presented a check for $10,000, to help fund several of the group's counseling programs. The trained, professional mental health counselors provide compassionate care during life-changing events, such as divorces and separations, trauma and domestic violence, long-term illness, and death of a loved one.
Immigration lawyers in South Florida offer assistance
    American Immigration Lawyers Association South Florida, is working together with other local groups to coordinate volunteers and respond to requests for assistance in response to the Executive Order on Immigration.

    Links to Google forms have been provided on the AILA South Florida website for people to fill out to volunteer and for people to request help if they are held at an airport or seaport under the Executive Order.

    Here is the link for volunteer lawyer sign up:

    Here is the link for people detained under the Executive Order:

    The organization is using the information to coordinate efforts, track cases and create databases that are easy to manage with as much relevant information as possible for a prompt and effective response.

    For additional information contact

Sweatworking in Broward

Fun-filled Friday night Havana style

    Salsa Havana Nights, hosted by the Broward County Bar Association Hispanic committee, celebrates Hispanic Cculture with  Salsa lessons, dancing, dominoes, Paella and Cuban Cocktails.
All a-glow golf in Central Florida

    Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers program chairs hosted a fantastic golf par-tee lesson. The twilight event was "lit" as the CFAWL women enjoyed golf in a whole new light!
Collier County lawyers help local band march in DC

    The Collier County Bar Foundation helped send a local high school band to march in the Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC. Through hard work, the band raised enough support to send all 265 students in the band chaperones and staff to the historic event. Their commitment and dedication to achieving their goal earned them the respect of the CCBA Foundation. The Marching Pride will be the beneficiary of the upcoming Foundation Barbecue to be held on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Business and legal community network in Coral Gables

    It was a "Grade A" night of prime networking at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Coral Gables on Jan. 4 when the Coral Gables Bar Association joined the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce for Wine Down Wednesday. As co-host of the monthly event, the Gables legal community works with the Chambers 20/30 group --- a dynamic platform for young professionals and emerging leaders - to develop their networking skills and business opportunities.
Lots of happy faces at CABA Gala

    Cuban American Bar Association hosted its 42nd Annual Gala and installation of officers on Jan. 28, at the Florida International University Arena. The Gala raises money for the Cuban American Bar Foundation’s Scholarship Fund.  Hundreds of judges, notable attorneys, business professionals and community leaders attended the event.
Fun for all things charity in Miami

    The Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section hosted "Miami Nights - A Commitment to Our Community," on Jan. 12 at Ball & Chain on the historic Calle Ocho. "Miami Nights" is the group's annual signature charity fundraising event to raise money for YLS committee programming that focuses on civic education, underprivileged youth, community service and charitable outreach. 
Winter Wonder Ride gifts bikes in Pensacola

    Esambia/Santa Rosa County Bar Association YLS members helped provide 162 new bikes to children in need during the holiday season. The young lawyers participated in the Winter Wonder Ride sponsored by OnBikes on Dec. 17, a six-mile slow ride through the streets of downtown Pensacola. The group reported a great time supporting the first annual event.
Vol Bar leaders attend BOG in capital city

Table talk in Tallahassee

    A table for 12 and a wonderful afternoon of good food and conversation with Tallahassee Women Lawyers.
Judge Altonaga speaks in Broward

    The Honorable Cecilia M. Altonaga, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida, was the guest speaker at the Federal Bar Association Broward County member luncheon on Jan. 20. More than 75 attendees enjoyed hearing how courts may assist the parties in streamlining litigation through effective and cooperative case management.

Poker benefits Jacksonville charity

    Chips 4 Change was started by the Jacksonville Bar Association YLS in 2015. In its third year, the charity poker tournament beneficiary was Yoga 4 Change, a local organization that seeks to heal and empower vulnerable youth, veterans, incarcerated individuals and those dealing with substance abuse through a purpose-driven yoga curriculum.

Law & Technology offered for criminal defense lawyers

    The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc. helped their members get the newly required technology CLE credits and an ethics CLE credit by hosting a Law & Technology seminar. The course was designed to relate to criminal defense practice. The event was held at Orlando Disney Springs on Jan. 27.

Constitution Revision Commission focus in Tallahassee

    An insightful discussion and CLE about the Constitution Revision Commission was hosted by Tallahassee Bar Association on Jan. 27. Panelists included Sandy D’Alemberte, Esq.; Dr. Carol Weissert; and Debbie Kearney.

    Moderator and Florida Justice Association Deputy General Counsel G.C. Murray, Jr.; TBA President Dick Collins; and FJA Interim Executive Director Paul Jess joined the distinguished panel for a photo after the well attended session.

Historical Society and Legal Aid benefit from 5k run in Palm Beach

    More than 100 members participated in the Palm Beach County Bar Association Young Lawyers 5K Run, which was held in Jan. along the beautiful bike trail in Palm Beach. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Historical Society and Legal Aid of Palm Beach County.

Minority bars gather in South Palm Beach

    Members of the F. Malcolm Cunningham Bar Association networked and promoted diversity within the judiciary and legal profession at the South Palm Beach County Bar Association Annual Cocktail Reception and Networking Event with Minority Bar Associations. Judge Carole Taylor of the Fourth DCA stressed the importance of diversifying the judiciary and encouraged everyone to recruit, hire and refer minority attorneys as our community is better served and enriched by judges and attorneys that reflect the demographics of the community.
High school students march with minority bar in Tampa

    Members of the George Edgecomb Bar Association, Tampa’s largest predominantly African-American Bar, report another successful MLK Day parade with the students they mentor at Franklin and Ferrell Middle School! One of the students has been marching with the group every year since he was in 6th grade. He comes back every year, even though he is now a junior in high school!

Haitian lawyers gather

    The Haitian Lawyers Association Tête-á-Tête dinner series continued on Jan. 31. The guest speaker was Hans Ottinot, the vice-chair of the 11th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission.
Hillsborough County recognizes diversity

    The Hillsborough County Bar Association held their annual Diversity Membership Luncheon on Jan. 11. The Honorable Bernice Donald, with the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, was the featured speaker and gave remarks on the importance of diversity in the legal profession. Also at the luncheon, Margaret Mathews, of Akerman LLP and a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors, was presented the Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award and four retiring local judges were recognized for their service.

Hot time in Tallahassee at Chili Cook Off

Vietnamese New Year celebrated with free legal advice

    Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association members hosted a Ask-A-Lawyer booth at the Vietamese New Year celebration. Tet, or Vietnamese New year, is the biggest celebration in Vietnamese culture.
Fun and entertainment in Martin County

    Martin County Bar Association used its annual Meet and Greet The Judges event on Jan. 20 to roll out the organization's theme for this year's "Bar Prom" in May.
Guild holds special mass for legal community

    The Guild of Catholic Lawyers in Palm Beach County hosted a Red Mass and brunch on Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens. The Red Mass is celebrated annually in the Catholic Church to honor judges, attorneys, law school professors, students and government officials. Its beginning dates back to the 13th century. The Mass requests guidance for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the responsibility of all in the legal profession.
New board takes the stand for justice in Palm Beach

    Palm Beach County Justice Association recognized their 2017 board members with a swearing in ceremony on Jan. 12. Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer performed the investitures.
Leaders take the oath in Pinellas

    Judge William H. Burgess, III, performed the swearing-in ceremony of the 2017 Executive Committee for Pinellas County Trial Lawyers Association on Jan. 19.

Fun night out in St. Pete

    St. Pete Bar Association members tried something creative and different to release stress and find their inner artist! The group held a relaxing networking event at Painting with a Twist! recently for a fun night out.

Bar leaders in Weston are sworn in

    Weston Bar Association held its 2017 Judicial Reception and Installation Dinner on Jan. 27. Outgoing president Mia Singh was recognized as the new officers took the oath to lead the group in the new year.

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[Revised: 02-16-2017]