The Florida Bar Board of Governors met on October 6, 2017, in Orlando. The major actions of the Board and reports received included:
The Florida Bar’s Disaster Relief Hotline, set up by the Young Lawyers Division after Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage in our state, has referred more than 900 requests for assistance to over 400 volunteer Florida Bar members. More volunteers are needed to respond to calls from an increasing number of Floridians who need legal representation but cannot afford it. The types of legal questions most frequently involve landlord/tenant and other housing problems, consumer protection matters, and home repair contracts. Only a basic understanding of common problems experienced by disaster victims is needed and a training manual for volunteers is available. The Florida Good Samaritan Act and the Federal Volunteer Protection Act provide protection for the volunteers. Please volunteer today! In a letter posted here, YLD President-elect Christian George shares his story of recovery from flooding in Jacksonville while encouraging fellow Bar members to volunteer to return hotline calls. For additional ways lawyers can help and recovery assistance for Florida Bar members: floridabar.org/hurricaneinfo.
The Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida announced it is using its 501(c)(3) scholarship fund to raise money for the incidental costs of the relocation of Puerto Rican law students displaced in their studies after Hurricane Maria to U.S. law schools. Donations to the PRBAF Student Temporary Assistance and Relocation Program (STAR) will be used to fill some of the gaps that the ABA, law schools, and other organizations may not be able to fill, such as books, laptop computers, meals, clothing, and travel. Checks for the scholarship fund can be mailed to 517 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32806 or contributed securely via a PayPal link.
The Florida Bar launches its public education program on the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) on Oct. 17 at 11:15 a.m. in Tallahassee and via broadcast on Facebook live. “Protect Florida Democracy: Our Constitution, Our Rights, Our Courts” emphasizes the important work of the CRC and why Floridians should become engaged in this one-every-20-years process. The CRC submits its proposed amendments in May to go directly on the November ballot. Visit ProtectFLDemocracy.org and please encourage family, friends and colleagues to request a speaker for community groups, participate in learning activities, follow and share social media, and watch videos on what some Floridians are saying about the CRC.
A member petition to amend Bar rules to provide an automatic disciplinary finding when a state or federal appellate court rules a lawyer engaged in frivolous arguments or conduct is being considered by the board’s Disciplinary Procedure Committee. A report on this petition is expected at the Dec. 8 meeting.
An awareness campaign on the many member services offered by the Practice Resource Institute (PRI) is being developed by a joint subcommittee of the Board’s Communications and Technology Committees that is also working to improve the PRI website. The Technology Committee is: studying the use of virtual currency in legal transactions; the expanding role of artificial intelligence in legal work and whether the Bar has a regulatory role in that process; and, working with Stetson University College of Law to launch a legal incubator program to assist new lawyers and lawyers transitioning from public service to private practice in creating law firms to offer affordable services.
Suffolk University Dean and Law Professor Andrew Perlman discussed the future of the legal profession in light of rapidly changing technology and the growth of non-law firm legal services providers during the Board meeting. The Nov. 1 issue of The Florida Bar News will cover his presentation.
IMPORTANT LINKS & REMINDERS
The Oct. 17, 11:15 a.m., Protect Florida Democracy launch will be available to view via Facebook Live.
Nominations for the 2018 Florida Bar and Chief Justice’s Pro Bono Awards honoring lawyers, judges, law firms and bar associations, are due Nov. 8: FloridaBar.org/ProBonoAwards
The Nov. 10 CLE “Path to Inclusion Symposium” in Orlando will focus on gender bias, implicit bias, and a multicultural inter-disciplinary approach to addressing bias and diversity issues.
Save the Date! Applications for the 2018-2019 Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy will be available Dec.1 at FloridaBar.org/LeadershipAcademy and are due Jan. 15. Learn more about this great skill and network building program in this FloridaBarNews.TV segment.
Tap into more than 60 free or discounted products and services for Florida Bar members: FloridaBar.org/MemberBenefits
Follow The Florida Bar and may Bar programs, section and committees on social media for the latest news and information: FloridaBar.org/SocialMedia