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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.

November 2010, Issue 57

A Message from the Special Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

The Special Committee on Diversity and Inclusion wants to be certain that the voluntary bar associations are aware of the new Florida Bar diversity grants program. A total of $50,000 is available to award to voluntary bar associations with individual grants up to $1,500 and up to $3,000 to multiple voluntary bar associations working together on a project. Funding will be on a first-come first-served basis so voluntary bars are encouraged to act expeditiously. Priority will be given to assure geographic diversity of these grants to coalitions of local bar associations within circuits, districts or regions of the state. Each voluntary bar association is limited to one application/project per year. Grants will be awarded to underwrite multi-hour, half-day, full-day or multi-day diversity conferences. The first deadline for grant applications is Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011. The application and additional instructions are available on The Florida Bar website at


7th Annual Minority Mentoring Picnic - More than 3,000 minority law students from various law schools throughout the state gathered this past weekend at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah to meet judges and lawyers from diverse legal backgrounds. Not only did law firm and government entities seek mentees, but also they scouted out potential interns. Students were able to interact in a family atmosphere and get to know judges and leaders from diverse bar associations to help them on their way to becoming lawyers in various fields of law. The Cuban American Bar Association has already matched 14 mentees with 11 mentors and hopes to continue to match more.

Holiday season begins with 'Ask-A-Lawyer' - On Nov. 6, 23 Jacksonville-area lawyers and 10 Florida Coastal School of Law students participated in an 'Ask-A-Lawyer" event held at the Gateway Town Center and was a joint effort of the Jacksonville Bar Association, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Grace and Truth Community Development Corp., Florida Coastal School of Law, the D.W. Perkins Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of Northeast Florida. The event included a team of attorneys giving free legal guidance and advice during individual consultations. “Ask-A-Lawyer” attorneys advised and provided compassionate and competent guidance to 97 people while addressing approximately 120 legal issues including family law matters, employment, landlord/tenant issues, wills and estates, criminal law, bankruptcy, foreclosures and more. Translation assistance was offered in both Spanish and Korean by bilingual attorneys and law students. While these numbers by themselves are clear measures of success, it is the comments of the people who came to “Ask-A-Lawyer” for assistance that tell the real story. As one participant remarked, “You can’t possibly imagine how helpful this was to me. Thank you for being here.” Another left with the comment, “I’m so relieved.”

Attorneys donate pro bono time - A free legal workshop for low income people was held Nov. 4 at a church in Clearwater. Organized by Gulfcoast Legal Services, more than 60 clients received free legal advice on 85 different legal matters. Twenty-three local attorneys, most members of the Clearwater Bar Association, answered questions and offered counsel on a variety of areas of law, such as mortgage foreclosure, tenant rights, bankruptcy, wills and a myriad of other topics. This pro bono workshop was held in conjunction with the spirit of The Florida Bar's Pro Bono ONE Campaign, asking attorneys across Florida to assist the indigent who are not able to afford an attorney and have nowhere else to turn.

Miami-Dade FAWL to host 28th judicial reception - The Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers will host its 28th Annual Judicial Reception and Scholarship Presentation on Dec. 3 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Ritz-Carlton in Coconut Grove. The cost to attend is $75 for members and $85 for non-members. For more information, contact Kristy Johnson at


2011 Midyear Meeting!! - The 2011 ABA Midyear Meeting will be held Feb. 9-15, 2011 in Atlanta.

Mark your calendars for the ABA BLI - Sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Services and the Division for Bar Services, the ABA Bar Leadership Institute is the premier program for developing the skills and substantive grounding for leading a bar association with inspiration, insight and innovation. Why is the ABA Bar Leadership Institute a must-attend event? Leadership from bar associations large and small discuss the essential skills and useful tips they've learned at BLI. For more information on the BLI to be held March 10-11, 2011, visit the Division for Bar Services website at


Legal Guide for New Adults distributed to more than 172,000 Florida public high school seniors - The Florida Bar continues its efforts to educate Florida's high school seniors about their legal rights and responsibilities through the pamphlet Legal Guide for New Adults. Prepared by the Law Related Education Committee, the guide is for students who have or are reaching the age of 18. It is filled with valuable information, such as facts about the legal aspects of signing contracts, how to attain credit, the court system, alcohol laws, driving laws, employment and housing laws. According to the Department of Education, the bar provides one booklet for each senior in public high schools. This school year more than 172,000 guides were distributed to 933 high schools. The informative pamphlet has been circulated during special activities and presentations organized by voluntary bar associations and private high schools, as well. Cooperating with the worthwhile educational efforts assists Florida's students in becoming productive citizens. The Legal Guide for New Adults is available to the general public for a nominal fee. The text of the guide can be found at For more information about the Legal Guide for New Adults, contact Mirieth Valenciano at (850) 561-5773 or

Don't forget the pamphlets. - The Florida Bar consumer pamphlets are available for distribution during speaking engagements. To see a complete list of pamphlets available, go to pamphlets. If you'd like to bring topic related pamphlets to your presentation, contact Mirieth Valenciano at

Free CLE on Redacting Confidential Information - A two-hour CLE on judicial administration Rule 2.420 is available free of charge from the 24/7 Online CLE link on the Bar CLE page.

Attorneys volunteer to improve the profession - What does it mean to be a board certified lawyer? Currently, 20 Jacksonville attorneys volunteer their time to assist The Florida Bar in answering that question. The Florida Supreme Court established the board certification program in 1982 to help consumers identify specialists in various areas of law. Those areas have grown from a few to 24 different practice areas. Board Certification is the highest level of evaluation by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys.

Be the ONE - If every practicing attorney in Florida took just one pro bono case, the combined effort could drastically reduce the backlog of cases and improve access to justice for all Floridians.


Gewirtz leads the FBBE - On Nov. 1, Jerry M. Gewirtz, the chief assistant city attorney for Tampa, became chair of the 15-member Board of Bar Examiners, committed to the proposition that issues of honesty, integrity, and character be fully and fairly analyzed in connection with those who seek the privilege of practicing law in Florida. "There can be no higher calling in the Bar than to protect the public and to ensure that future generations of lawyers in the state of Florida will possess the requisite competency, character, fitness, and integrity," said Gewirtz, who practices complex litigation at both the trial and appellate levels and was first appointed to the board by the Supreme Court in 2006.

Statewide Prosecutor - The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission is seeking qualified applicants to fill the position of Statewide Prosecutor. Applications are due Nov. 23.
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Jeff Doran
Voluntary Bar Liaison
The Florida Bar

[Revised: 12-22-2010]