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This electronic digest of voluntary bar news is dedicated to the interaction of local, special interest and substantive bar associations. It will serve as a forum to share information and highlight the many activities of the voluntary bar associations of The Florida Bar and will be published at least once a month or as needed. You can view past and current issues by going to the bar's website, Submit articles, pictures or general comments to Jeff Doran, the Bar-to-Bar E-news editor and your voluntary bar liaison, or 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-2300. Photos sent by e-mail should come in jpg and gif format.

March 2014 Issue
2014 Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference - Save the date! This year's conference will be held on July 11-12 in Bonita Springs. Follow the event on Facebook! Like us on Facebook


12th Judicial Circuit Bench Bar Conference - This year's conference will be held April 11 at the Hyatt Sarasota, from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. The conference will begin with a "Leadership Perspective" on professionalism and civility, featuring Linda Calvert Hanson, Director of the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism and David C. Prather, Florida Bar Board of Governors. For more information, call (941)861-8180.

The Clearwater Bar Association - The 75th Annual Oyster Roast will take place on Saturday, March 29, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Palm Harbor. For more information, visit

F. Malcolm Cunningham Sr., Bar Association (West Palm Beach) - The F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association (FMCBA) celebrated Black History Month with a well attended luncheon at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. The Bar Association’s theme this year was “Continuing the Legacy through Educational Empowerment” and the luncheon's purpose spoke to the theme with the involvement of local high school students, awards to African American law students, and dynamic guest speaker Charlie Crist, Esq. With its signature event, FMCBA awarded Florida Bar examination course preparation scholarships to six well-deserving third year African American law students who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence. The scholarship luncheon is named after the first African-American attorney in Palm Beach County and civil rights pioneer, William H. Holland. The guest speaker, Charlie Crist, former Governor of Florida and former Florida Education Commissioner, congratulated the scholarship recipients and encouraged the audience to continue to support our future generations. Tania Rogers, anchor and reporter for WPTV in West Palm Beach served as Mistress of Ceremonies. For more information regarding the F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association, visit

Hillsborough County Bar Association - Their Diversity Committee had a busy month in February, with two big events less than a week apart. On February 22, the committee hosted the Diversity Networking Social, which brought together law students from across Florida with law firms and other legal organizations in the Tampa Bay area. The event, which drew about 200 people, gave students a chance to explore the diversity of the local legal community and all it has to offer. Then on February 25, the Diversity Committee welcomed Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King for a special CLE/CJE luncheon. King walked the audience through his book “Devil in the Grove,” which details the heart-wrenching case of four young black men who were falsely accused of raping a young white woman in Lake County, Florida, in the late 1940s. After the presentation, HCBA President Susan Johnson-Velez led a panel discussion featuring King; Stetson College of Law Professor Bruce Jacob; local civil rights leader Clarence Fort; immigration attorney Susan Pai; Diversity Committee member Kim Byrd, who focuses on family and LGBT law; and Dr. Joyce Hamilton Henry, regional director of the American Civil Liberties Union. The panelists discussed the evolving standards of justice and the civil rights issues the nation still struggles with today. The HCBA’s Diversity Committee has been led this year by co-chairs Amanda Buffinton and Ronnell Robinzine, both of Bush Ross.

A special documentary produced by the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee and YLD has been accepted into the Gasparilla International Film Festival. The film, “Before the Law Was Equal: The Desegregation of the Hillsborough County Legal Community,” documents the observations of veteran local attorneys and serves as a reminder of the ever-evolving standards of justice. It is being screened at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 21, at Muvico Centro Ybor. Click here to watch the trailer.

Jacksonville Bar Association - Eugene Pettis, President of The Florida Bar, spoke at this month's Jacksonville Bar Association (JBA) meeting on Monday, March 3. Mr. Pettis’ topic was "Lawyers: Architects of Our Own Futures." For more information, visit the website:

The Tampa Hispanic Bar Association - Partnered with the George Edgecomb Bar Association; the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers and the Hillsborough Bar Association and offered a free CLE on Human Trafficking on March 7. There were many distinguished panelists assisting with this project. For more information, please visit to view the program.


Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year Nominations Sought - When consumers face pocketbook issues, they turn to attorneys practicing consumer law. These are the attorneys who help them fight a foreclosure or steer them through bankruptcy or help restore their credit. The Consumer Protection Law Committee is accepting nominations for the Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year award, which lauds a Florida practitioner for outstanding efforts that benefit the practice of consumer law. First presented in 2011, the award recognizes excellence, character and commitment to the practice of consumer protection law. The nomination form is available on the committee’s Florida Bar webpage. Nominations, which are due Friday, April 11, should: Explain how the nominee promotes the ideals and values of consumer protection and advocacy; describe the nominee’s participation in notable projects or activities advancing consumer protection (e.g., consumer protection casework, projects, extraordinary mentoring, extensive service on consumer advocacy groups or boards.); and provide other examples that demonstrate the lawyer’s exemplary professionalism, excellence, character and commitment to consumer protection. Deadline for nominations for the 2014 Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year Award is Friday, April 11. Questions: Please call or email Susannah Lyle at or (850) 561-5669.
Pictured: 2013 Winner

Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project -- The Florida Bar is pleased to announce its partnership with the Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project of the National Association of Women Judges. The project focuses on increasing the knowledge of citizens regarding the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary. Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente serves as state coordinating committee chairperson for the initiative. The Florida Bar is assisting Justice Barbara Pariente with promotions for the Informed Voters Project, sponsored by the National Association of Women Judges. The project has released its first radio PSA and is also looking for outlets to run its 5-minute video. If you are aware of attorneys in your area who host television or radio shows, will you please let me know and provide the attorney's name, the name of the show and the station

Vote for Florida Bar Board of Governors & YLD Board of Governors - Ballots for contested elections in the 4th circuit for Board of Governors, and in the 2nd, 12th and 18th circuits for the Young Lawyers Board of Governors have been emailed or mailed to those eligible to vote. Bar members may vote online or by paper ballot. Instructions for electronic voting were included with the e-ballots and paper ballots. Votes must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EDT) Mar. 21. Review the Fourth Circuit Board and YLD Board candidates' platform statements.

The Florida Bar Government Lawyer Section cordially invites you to attend the presentation of its Lifetime Achievement Award to United States Senator Bob Graham (ret.) during the Florida Bar Annual Convention, June 27.


Law Day 2014 -
American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters calls on every American to reflect on the importance of a citizen’s right to vote and the challenges we still face in ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to participate in our democracy. Please email if your bar is hosting any Law Day events this year.

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Jeff Doran
Voluntary Bar Liaison
The Florida Bar

[Revised: 04-25-2014]