Annual Report for the Standing Committee on Professionalism
2011-12 Annual Report for the Standing Committee on Professionalism
The scope and function of the Standing Committee on Professionalism (“Standing Committee”) are to assist the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, The Florida Bar, and The Florida Bar’s Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism in implementing programs, events, and activities to promote professionalism throughout the state. This year, the Standing Committee was divided into six working groups and focused its efforts in the following key areas:
Random Acts of Professionalism
Pursuant to a request from The Florida Bar’s Program Evaluation Committee (“PEC”), the Random Acts of Professionalism working group, chaired by Denise D’Aprile, explored the feasibility of developing a new program for The Florida Bar modeled after an initiative of the Washington State Bar Association called “Random Acts of Professionalism.” The program is designed to recognize lawyers who demonstrate an exemplary level of professionalism to reinforce and encourage professionalism and civility in our profession by honoring positive role models. After extensive research and a number of in-person and teleconference meetings, the working group prepared a detailed proposal for the PEC’s consideration, which outlines program design, cost, and implementation.
Circuit Professionalism Committees
At the request of the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, this working group worked diligently to “develop a plan to have in place a Circuit Professionalism Committee in each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits while also developing a long term plan to regularly affirm, encourage, nurture, equip, support and coordinate those Committees such that they thrive and serve as engines to drive professionalism awareness and growth throughout all of the professional communities of practice in Florida.” Toward that end, the working group, chaired by George Knox, submitted an action plan to the Commission which included a proposed letter for chief judges of each judicial circuit to use to encourage the implementation and reporting of professionalism programs and initiatives, and a proposed administrative order relating to the circuit professionalism committees which addresses their (1) organizational structure; (2) purpose/mission; and (3) standardized reporting. The working group is also exploring how to support the Center for Professionalism in an ongoing effort to collect materials on professionalism programs and resources and maintain them for use by the circuit professionalism committees.
Led by Michael Cohen, this working group has been an integral part of the Aging Task Force, a joint project of the Standing Committee, The Florida Bar, the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism, and Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. The objective of the task force is to determine the extent of the issue (aging, dementia, and other age-related impairments) among Florida judges and lawyers, create CLE and education programs to inform bar members of the issues and resources available, and develop interventions, testing procedures, and monitoring programs for attorneys exhibiting signs and symptoms of age-related impairments. The committee’s work has been guided in large part by the 2007 joint report of the National Organization of Bar Counsel and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers. A copy of the report is available on the Florida Lawyers Assistance website at http://fla-lap.org/literature/aprl-nobc-report/.
William M. Hoeveler Judicial Award
The William M. Hoeveler Judicial Award working group, chaired by Irwin Gilbert, coordinated the recruitment and selection for the “Hoeveler Award,” an award presented annually to a judge who best exemplifies strength of character, service, and competence as a jurist, lawyer, and public servant. The Standing Committee approved the working group’s recommendation for the recipient of this year’s award, and the award will be presented to the recipient at the Judicial Luncheon at The Florida Bar Annual Meeting.
Ad Hoc Support of Commission on Professionalism
At the direction of the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, this working group assisted the Commission in its initiative to formalize a process for resolving professionalism complaints in Florida. At its October 2011 meeting, the working group presented research and survey materials to the Commission regarding professionalism enforcement models in other states. Throughout the year, the working group has met in person and by teleconference to prepare and revise proposals for this initiative to reflect the specific direction and goals articulated by the Commission.
Lawyers Helping Lawyers
The Lawyers Helping Lawyers program was developed by the Law Office Management Assistance Service (LOMAS) to provide extra help to lawyers who are out of work or who are in need of special services. This working group, chaired by Jeffrey Pearson, provides expertise and resources as needed to assist in making Lawyers Helping Lawyers a valued and useful resource.
Respectfully submitted by:
Judge Stephanie W. Ray, Chair