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November 4, 2015

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Remembering our Veterans
Honoring all who served!
Nov. 11, 2015

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2016 Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference
The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples
July 14-16
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    Comments sought from Bar members on Daubert standard -Deadline is Nov. 15
    To All Florida Bar Members:

    A matter of great importance to you and to the citizens of Florida is currently being considered by the Board of Governors that I want to inform you about and ask for your engagement and comments for review by the Board before our vote scheduled on Dec. 4. The Board is required to consider and vote on all procedural rule changes before those changes are submitted to the Florida Supreme Court.

    The matter involves Chapter 2013-107, Laws of Florida, which amended two evidentiary statutes regarding expert witness testimony. In 2013, the Florida Legislature enacted amendments to §§ 90.702 and 90.704,
    Florida Statutes, with the intent to adopt the Daubert standard. The Florida Supreme Court specifically follows the Frye standard. (See Bundy v. State, 471 So. 2d 9 (Fla. 1985); Hadden v. State, 690 So. 2d 573 (Fla. 1997).)

    At the Board’s most recent meeting, two Code and Rules of Evidence Committee members -- one in support of Daubert and one in support of Frye -- made presentations regarding the matter. The Committee’s recommendation, following a 16-14 vote, was in support of retaining the
    Frye standard and that the Florida Supreme Court not adopt into the evidence rules of procedure the law changing the standards for qualifying expert witnesses from Frye to the Daubert standard. The Committee presented this recommendation with two others it intends to include within its three-year cycle report due Feb. 1, 2016. The Board is required to consider and vote -- no later Dec. 15 -- on this procedural rule change before it is submitted to the Florida Supreme Court.

    The Board tabled the matter until its Dec. 4 meeting in order to have more time to receive members’ comments and to review the committee’s findings. A webpage has been set up at with background information on the matter and a link to a comment form for member input. I encourage you to become fully informed on this matter, submit comments and respond to this question: Should Florida Statutes §90.702 and §90.704, as amended by Chapter 2013-107, adopting the Daubert standard, be adopted as rules of evidentiary procedure, to the extent they are procedural?

    Please share your views with the Board of Governors using the comment form at by Nov. 15 at 11:59 p.m. in order for all comments to be compiled and disseminated to the members of the Board for review before the December 4 meeting.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance. We appreciate your engagement in this important issue.

    Ramón A. Abadin

    NOTE: Your comments are solely for review by The Florida Bar Board of Governors. They are not in response to an official notice and will not be forwarded to the Florida Supreme Court or to The Florida Bar’s Code and Rules of Evidence Committee. The Committee published the recommendation to seek comments from July 15 to August 15; that comment period is now closed and those comments have been reviewed by the Committee. The Supreme Court will publish an invitation to comment subsequent to the filing by the Committee with the Board of Governors' vote. However, your comments received by The Florida Bar Board of Governors will be maintained as public record pursuant to Florida Law and/or Rules of the Supreme Court of Florida.
    Public education effort underway

    Engaging Floridians in the 2017-2018
    Constitution Revision Commission
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    The LeRoy Collins Institute (LCI) has launched efforts to educate and engage Floridians in the 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission. The Constitution Revision Commission is a group of 37 people who are appointed to review and recommend changes to the Florida Constitution for voter consideration. This important event happens once every 20 years. The LCI has convened 18 groups across the state to form the Partnership for Revising Florida’s Constitution, which will lead a public education campaign on the significance of the upcoming Constitution Revision Commission and encourage citizens to get involved.

    The LeRoy Collins Institute, in collaboration with The Florida Bar and the Florida Law Related Education Association, has released the
    Citizens’ Guide to the Constitution Revision Commission. The Citizens’ Guide breaks down the essential elements of the Constitution Revision Commission in an easy-to-understand format. It will be distributed widely across the state and is also available electronically at

    Funding for the Partnership for Revising Florida’s Constitution has been generously provided by the Jesse Ball duPont Fund. The Partnership is led by the LeRoy Collins Institute and includes the Bob Graham Center at UF, Center for Governmental Responsibility at UF, the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Florida Association of Counties, The Florida Bar, The Florida Bar Foundation, Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida Justice Association Research and Education Foundation, Florida Law Related Education Association, Florida League of Cities, Florida Philanthropic Network, Florida Press Association, Florida TaxWatch, Justin Sayfie, Leadership Florida, League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida NAACP and the Virgil Hawkins Chapter of the National Bar Association.

    To learn more about the Partnership for Revising Florida’s Constitution, please visit, like it on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at @reviseFLcon.

    Voluntary bars are encouraged to join in these educational efforts. Visit for more information.

    Deadline Nears for
    Pro Bono Award Nominations

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    The deadline for nominations for the annual Pro Bono Service Awards is rapidly approaching. Nominations must be received by Nov. 12.
    Each year, the Supreme Court of Florida and The Florida Bar give special recognition to lawyers, groups and members of the judiciary who have freely given their time and expertise in making legal services available to the poor. The 2016 awards ceremony will be held at the Florida Supreme Court at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28.

    Nomination forms are available at Among the awards are: The Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, presented annually by the chief justice to a lawyer to recognize extraordinary contributions in ensuring the availability of legal services to the poor, and The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award, given to an outstanding attorney from each of the state's 20 judicial circuits and to an outstanding attorney among the out-of-state Florida Bar members.

    Others honors, presented by the chief justice, include: The Law Firm Commendation, The Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Service Award, The Distinguished Judicial Service Award, and the new Distinguished Federal Judicial Service Award.

    Voluntary Bars engage on
    redesign of The Florida Bar Lawyer
    Referral System

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    The Florida Bar Board of Governors Program Evaluation Committee is currently undergoing a review of The Florida Bars Lawyer Referral Service (LRS). The committee is looking at ways to redesign the LRS to meet the growing legal needs of Florida consumers through a statewide online platform. The LRS would be redesigned to work in conjunction with the gateway system proposed by the Access to Justice Commission.

    Bringing together all forms of lawyer referral assistance programs under one online portal with The Florida Bar brand is a big task. Board members John Stewart (Technology Chair), Gordon Glover (Young Lawyers Division President) and Renee Thompson (Communications Chair) are working with Voluntary Bars across the state to get feedback on how the LRS redesign could benefit the local bars and their members.

    The advancement of a statewide portal service ensures that all voluntary bars, regardless of whether they currently operate a LRS, will have access to an online platform. The challenge, is to design and implement a statewide system, while keeping intact the operating structure and financial resources of any existing programs.

    On-going communication is critical to the process as the team seeks to understand what is working well in the existing local referral programs and what ideas should be included in the redesigned statewide system. The Lawyer Referral redesign team will continue to work together with local voluntary bar LRS leaders to develop an efficient program that works for everyone. A workshop is scheduled in conjunction with the Winter Meeting in January, 2016.


    Congratulations and best wishes, Jan Jung!

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    Current and past bar executives attended a retirement party for Jan Jung of the Sarasota County Bar Association who is retiring as executive director after 26 years. Pictured above are Roberta Mand, formerly with the Tallahassee Bar Association; Nora Bergman, formerly with the St. Petersburg Bar Association; Jan Jung; Sue Revell, Manatee County Bar Association; Patience Burns, Palm Beach County Bar Association; Matthew Ridgely, Dade County Bar Association; and Karen France, Clearwater Bar Association.
    Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente draws record crowd in Central Florida

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    Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association was honored to have Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente at the group's 6th Annual Judicial Reception. More than 50 judiciary, 90 members and 30 sponsors helped CFTLA break a record for attendance.

    Abadin addresses Orange County Bar

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    Florida Bar president Ramón A. Abadin, addressed Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) members at its Oct. 22 luncheon in Orlando. The luncheon was co-hosted by the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida (HBACF) in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month. 
    Abadin spoke about the future of the legal profession to a group of 350 attorneys, judges and other legal professionals. He remarked that technology is driving the legal marketplace and that attorneys need to prepare themselves to be competitive with Internet-based delivery of legal services by both lawyers and non-lawyer providers. 
    Books and bears collection
    in Palm Beach County
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    Members of the Palm Beach County Bar Association Board of Directors contributed books and bears for National Adoption Day.
    Hillsborough Women rally around one of their own!

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    Congratulations to Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers member Melanie Griffin on being recognized as a Tampa Bay Business Journal Up & Comer!
    President Abadin joins Dade County Bar for lunch
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    President Abadin joined members as a guest at the recent Dade County Bar Membership Luncheon. Here he joins Jason M. MurraySteve Davis and John H. "Jack" Hickey and Judge Ed Scales for a quick pic!
    Bar association names new leader
    Logo of Sarasota Bar Assn.
    Holly Lipps has been named executive director of the Sarasota County Bar Association, a professional organization with 950 lawyer-members.

    Lipps, currently the association’s executive assistant, will replace longtime executive director Jan Jung, who is retiring after more than 25 years in the post. Lipps will assume her new role Jan. 1.     

    Pre-Disaster help offered in Hillsborough County
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    In remembrance of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA) and Bay Area Legal Services (BALS), a nonprofit legal aid organization, teamed up to help low-income families in clearing titles to their homes pre-disaster with a free training course offered to pro bono attorneys entitled “No Place Like Home . . . If You Can Prove Title." The organizations kicked off their first training Oct. 2 at the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center in Tampa. It was attended by more than 40 attorneys. Regional pro bono partners include the Community Law Program in St. Petersburg and Legal Aid of Manasota in Sarasota.
    Jax Bar hosts Trivia Night
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    The Jacksonville Bar Association Hosted a Trivia Night at Blackfinn on Oct.13! Participants battled it out for ultimate bragging rights!

    Lion of the Law Award presented by Collier County Bar
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    On Thursday, Oct.15, the Collier County Bar Association hosted the District Court of Appeals (DCA) annual dinner at the Port Royal Club.  Local civil trial attorney Joseph Stewart was presented with the Lion of the Law award bestowed by the local judiciary.  The award recognizes excellence in legal skills, professionalism and public service.  The program also included remarks by the current president of the Collier County Bar Association, John T. Cardillo, an introduction to Stewart by Collier Circuit Judge Frederick Hardt and remarks by the Honorable Judge Morris Silberman of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal.  

    Each year the District Court of Appeals sends a judicial panel to hear cases in Collier County. The DCA dinner takes place following the full day at court.  

    Pictured is Joseph Stewart (left) and Judge Frederick Hardt (right).
    Forum focuses on state and local legislative matters
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    The F. Malcolm Cunningham Sr. Bar Association (FMCBA) presented its Third Annual Legislative Update and Community Forum on Friday, Oct. 16, with a great turn out from the legal community and community at large. The event is a non-partisan discussion on the matters of interest from Florida's legislative session. The goal of the panel discussion is to inform and engage our legal community regarding legislative matters including legislative priorities for 2015 (Palm Beach County, School Board, Florida Legislative Black Caucus), and information regarding Palm Beach County communities. The program was made possible by a 2014 Diversity Grant awarded by The Florida Bar, which allows the organization to promote various events and programs geared toward improving diversity in the legal profession.
    JWLA makes strides against breast cancer!

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    Raising awareness and funds to fight breast cancer, the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association (JWLA) participated in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event on Oct. 24 at The Jacksonville Landing. Team JWLA, sponsored by CopyRight Jacksonville and CR Litigation Services, walked in honor of past and present members battling or who have battled breast cancer and raised more than $2,700.
    Divers team with wounded veterans to restore corals
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    The Divebar's ROOT project culminated this summer with some heroic scuba divers — military veterans with service-related disabilities. ROOT — Restoring Our Oceans Together — paired specially trained divers with wounded veterans, some of whom are paraplegics or who had lost limbs in combat. The project is a collaboration among DiveBar, Diveheart and Nova Southeastern University’s Coral Nursery Initiative.

    DiveBar lawyers trained with Diveheart to become certified adaptive dive buddies for the vets. The teams then embarked on a two-dive trip where they transplanted corals and performed maintenance at the offshore nursery belonging to NSU’s Coral Nursery Initiative and visited DiveBar Reef, where some 1,500 staghorn corals have been planted over the past two years. “ROOT empowers wounded veterans to explore the world beyond their wheelchairs or the limits of their disabilities,” said Robert W. Kelley, co-founder of DiveBar. “They’re not just restoring corals to the ocean floor; they’re restoring a level of freedom to their lives.”
    Haitian Diaspora focus of panel in Miami
    Ten people in line holding a Haitian flag
    The Haitian Lawyers AssociationHaitian American Professionals Coalition (HAPC), Haitian Americans for Progress and other co-sponsors hosted a panel discussion on "The Evolving Role of the Haitian Diaspora." Haitian-American professionals need to be involved in Haiti’s economic future and to be part of the conversation when it comes to U.S. government policies impacting Haiti. Pictured with the sponsors is Ambassador Kenneth Merten,  the U.S. Haiti special coordinator.

    Martin County honors 19th Circuit Judiciary
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    Members of the Martin County Bar Association gathered in Oct. to honor both the 19th Circuit judiciary and new members of the association.
    Orange County Bar trains paralegals to serve on the front line!
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    A two-day intensive boot camp program for paralegals, legal assistants and legal administrators was hosted by Orange County Bar Association in mid-October in Orlando. Participants met the clerk of courts, learned how to prepare for practice in circuit, civil, business, domestic and criminal courts and received tips on filing notices and communicating with judges.
    YLS golf for charities in Orange County
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    FAWL president joins JWLA for new year luncheon

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    Florida Association for Women Lawyers state President Kristin Norse, joined more than 80 attendees for Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association first luncheon of the new membership year!
    Former Gov. Graham is guest speaker for Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar

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    Oct. 9 was a day to remember for members of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association. The group enjoyed listening to Florida's 38th governor and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham as guest speaker.
    Lawyers in Tally gather for Fish Fry
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    Tallahassee Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division (YLD) hosted more than 100 people at the group's annual Fish Fry at the FSU Law Advocacy Center.
    Pink Party supports breast cancer
    in Palm Beach County

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    The Palm Beach County Chapter of FAWL and the North County Section of the Palm Beach County Bar Association Third Annual PINK PARTY was held Oct. 9 at Brio Tuscan Grille. A check for $1,630 was presented in support of the Smiley Wiley Breast Cancer Foundation.
    Local charities benefit from Central Florida
    Trial Lawyers Association clothing drive
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    The Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association donated clothing from the group's Annual Suit Drive to two local charities in Orlando. The recipient charities were Dress for Success Orlando and Orlando Rescue Mission.

    Pictured L to R: CFTLA President Tiffany Faddis, CFTLA Secretary David Heil, CFTLA directors Allison McMillen and Brent Miller and Dress For Success Representative Simone Fernandes.
    It's Family Fishing for a great cause
    in Collier County

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    Collier County Bar Foundation (CCBF) held a fishing tourney at the Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club to benefit the Neighborhood Health Clinic. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be used to provide healthcare to low-income working, uninsured Collier County adults.

    CBA members bought tickets to attend and fish either off the harbor or on a boat.  Participants had to photograph their catch and measurement.

    Local artist Marvin Rouse designed the logo for the tournament three years ago, and this year, donated six of his prints to be raffled off as prizes. More than 50 people attended the event. 
    St. Johns County has new chapter
    of Women Lawyers

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    The Florida Association of Women Lawyers recently approved a new chapter in St. Johns County. The newly formed St. Johns Association of Women Lawyers was established by attorneys Jane West, Julie Kurtz, Nina LaFleur, Kimberly DeLisa and Undine Pawlowski George. The inaugural luncheon for the chapter will be Nov. 5 at the St. Augustine Yacht Club. Judge Wendy Berger of the Fifth District Court of Appeal will be the featured speaker.

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A day to appreciate the hard working women and men who serve as lawyers.
15th Annual
National Love Your Lawyer Day
Friday, Nov. 6, 2015

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[Revised: 11-18-2015]