Daily News Summary
An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.
Aug. 19, 2013
BUCKHORN NAMES INTERIM MANDELL AS NEW TAMPA ATTORNEY -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tampatrib.com, Aug. 16, 2013.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn Thursday [Aug. 15] named Julia Mandell as his new city attorney, replacing Jim Shimberg, who left earlier this year to take a job with the parent company of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mandell has served as interim city attorney since Shimberg left. If confirmed by the city council, she’ll be the second female city attorney in Tampa’s history, following Pam Akins. Buckhorn cited Mandell's experience as a factor in his decision.
FLORIDA COASTAL LAUNCHES TECHNOLOGY FOCUSED UNIT -- Jacksonville Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, Aug. 16, 2013.
Florida Coastal School of Law has created a unit focused on preparing students for a legal marketplace that demands knowledge and skills related to technology and innovation, according to a news release. The Center for Law Practice Technology will offer a certificate in legal technology and law practice management. The unit will prepare students to handling things such as electronic discovery, legal process outsourcing, law practice management software and automated document assembly.
PATH TO BAR BEGINS IN A BARN FOR AVE MARIA STUDENTS -- Fort Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, Aug. 19, 2013.
First-year students at Ave Maria School of Law culminated a week of orientation Saturday [Aug. 17] by volunteering at the Shelter for Abused Women & Children, St. Matthew's House and Naples Equestrian Challenge. The students belong to the school's most ethnically diverse class. The class size of 120 is about what the Naples school anticipated, larger than the fall 2012 first-year class of 113 although smaller than May's graduating class of 164. Nationally, the Law School Admission Council reported a 16 percent decline in applications for reasons such as concerns about finding employment after graduation and debt load. Saturday's service projects represent an integral part of the school, consistent with its Catholic values and mission.
LACK OF BLACK JUDGES ON 10TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT'S BENCH RAISES CONCERN -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Aug. 19, 2013.
A void was left after last December's retirement of Polk County Judge Timothy Coon. He was the last black judge among the 40 jurists in the three-county 10th Judicial Circuit. Minority action groups, the circuit's judicial nominating commission and 10th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge William Bruce Smith have taken notice. The circuit has only had two black jurists in its history, though census figures show about 14 percent of the circuit's population is black. Local legal groups are doing all they can to position black lawyers for the judiciary, but claim that Gov. Rick Scott is overlooking qualified black lawyers being nominated. The Governor's Office quoted Scott's position that he selects the most qualified candidate among the nominees.
LAWYER JOHN MORGAN: FLORIDA'S POT LAWS WOULD BE VERY STRICT -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Aug. 16, 2013. [Also: MEDICAL MARIJUANA TOPS 100,000 SIGNATURES -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Aug. 16, 2013.]
Well-known Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan is the sponsor of a drive to put the issue of medical marijuana on next year's general election ballot. Morgan said that the amendment in Florida would be far more restrictive and regulated than California's system. Morgan conceded that the amendment supporters will have to overcome the perception that the ballot initiative could lead to more widespread drug use. United For Care, a group led by Morgan to support the proposal to allow marijuana for medical purposes, has gathered 110,000 signatures, enough to get its ballot language reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court. The group needs 573,000 more signatures to get it on the ballot.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
PARALYZED MAN SUING PROMINENT ATTORNEY OVER WHAT HE SAYS ARE "CLEARLY EXCESSIVE" ATTORNEY'S FEES -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Aug. 16, 2013.
Emanuel Baker, a man paralyzed after a freak July 2012 accident, is suing Chris Chestnut, a prominent Gainesville attorney, for trying to charge inflated attorney’s fees, according to a complaint filed last week in Alachua County Court. Baker hired Chestnut’s firm and sued AT&T and Osmose Utilities Services for a faulty utility pole that caused his paralysis. After the case was moved to federal court, the two parties settled in June for an undisclosed amount. In a complaint filed Aug. 9, Baker says that Chestnut tried to charge him attorney’s fees that are “presumed to be illegal, prohibited and/or . . . clearly excessive,” under Florida Bar rules.