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Miami-Dade County Judge Steve Leifman joked he was getting “old and gray” waiting for Florida to pass legislation to overhaul mental health services in the criminal justice system, where jails have become the largest, most expensive, and least effective psychiatric facilities.

Florida judge assists emerging democracies
 Judge James MartzCollected skulls were left on tables in mass monuments to remember the genocide in Rwanda three years earlier. Even during his time as a former police officer in Los Angeles, Judge James Martz had never seen “that level of violence, and that level of disregard for human rights and for life.

Portal being retooled to handle larger documents
Lawyers may soon be able to electronically file and serve larger documents with the state court system. The Florida Courts E-Filing Authority gave initial approval to a list of software changes to improve and update the statewide portal that handles e-filing for the court system. Those improvements are scheduled to be made around April 15 and will require action by other agencies before the upgrades are made.

Gordon GloverYoung lawyers and access to services
We all know the legal profession is facing many challenges, with three of the biggest being access to legal services, the lack of jobs for young lawyers, and the impact of technology. With some effort and creativity, we can turn those three challenges into solutions and opportunities.
Board of Governors nominating petitions are due December 15
Nominating petitions for the 2016 election for the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar must be received in The Florida Bar headquarters office on or before 5 p.m., December 15. All of the board positions are for two-year terms.

YLD nominations now being accepted
Nominating petitions for positions on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors must be received in The Florida Bar headquarters office on or before 5 p.m., December 15.

Court calls for 24 new trial judges
he state needs 24 new judges, according to the Supreme Court — 23 for the county courts and one for the circuit bench. The court released its call for new judges November 19 in its annual certification opinion. The court did not ask for any new appellate judges.

Valerie BarnhartYLD to recognize the achievements of women
To celebrate the accomplishments of women lawyers, the Young Lawyers Division’s Commission on Women in the Profession recently instituted the Outstanding Woman Lawyer of Achievement Award.

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    Harmless Error in Civil Appeals
    The Florida Bar JournalLast year, in Special v. West Boca Medical Center, 160 So. 3d 1251 (Fla. 2014), the Florida Supreme Court quietly effected a sea change in the law of civil appeals. By taking the unforgiving standard for harmless error in criminal appeals and applying that standard to civil appeals, the Florida Supreme Court has made it easier for appellants in civil cases to get a new trial. Moreover, Specialrepresents a new milestone in the century-long evolution of the standard for harmless error in civil appeals, from an outcome-oriented approach that favors finality to a process-oriented approach that emphasizes fairness. This article provides the context for the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Special and explains why that decision will have far-reaching consequences for civil appeals....

    December 1, 2015
    The Carroll Family
    A long legal road leads to a permanent home
    Brittney Carroll, 11, smiles broadly and extends her hand in greeting to welcome a visitor to her family’s Tallahassee farm, where she and her six siblings help care for a menagerie that includes dogs, cats, ponies, goats, chickens, a donkey, and a cow named Buttercream. Born prematurely and with a panoply of medical disorders that could shorten her lifespan, Brittney spent years in and out of Orlando hospitals and medical foster homes until Brian and Shannon Carroll got a phone call asking if they would consider adopting her.

    Bill SchifinoWant to serve on a Bar committee?
    The annual committee preference forms for Bar members seeking appointments for the term of President-elect Bill Schifino are available at beginning December 1


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    Once a three-pack-a-day smoker who got winded climbing stairs, in 1967 Sixth Circuit Judge Robert Beach tossed his cigarettes and jumped in the pool. And he’s been swimming laps and racking up competition ribbons and trophies from all over the world ever since.

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    Annual Civil Trial Update and Board Certification Review - 2016
    Course Classification: Advanced Level, Live Presentation: February 4-5, Tampa Airport Marriott.

    Practicing Before the Legislature
    Course Classification: Intermediate Level, Friday December 11 The Capitol Building, Tallahassee.

    Environmental and Land Use Law Audio Webcast Series 2016
    Course Classification: Intermediate Level, Audio Webcast Presentation Dates: December 10, 2015; February 11, 2016; March 24, 2016; May 5, 2016; June 2 , 2016.

    Agricultural Law Update 2015
    Course Classification: Intermediate Level, Live Presentation: Friday, November 20, Florida Farm Bureau Federation Building, Gainesville.

    Criminal Law Update 2015
    Course Classification: Intermediate Level, Live and Webcast Presentation: Friday, December 4, Orange County Bar Association.

    The Florida Bar SOLO & SMALL FIRM CONFERENCE, Wild Wild Tech: Taming The Technology Beast
    Course Classification: Intermediate Level, January 22-23, 2016, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

    Representing the Physician: The Only Constant is Change
    Course Classification: Advanced Level, Live Presentation: Friday January 8, 2016, Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando.

    Basic Evidence 2015
    Course Classification: Basic Level, One Live Location: Friday, December 4, Tampa Airport Marriott.

    Probate Law 2015 Seminar
    Course Classification: Intermediate Level, Live/Webcast Presentation: December 4, The Westin Cypress Creek, Fort Lauderdale.

    Elder Law Annual Update and Hot Topics
    Course Classification: Advanced Level, Live Presentation - January 15-16, 2016 - Loews Portofino Hotel - Orlando.

    Essentials of Elder Law
    Course Classification: Intermediate Level
    Live Presentation and Webcast- January 14, 2016 - Loews Portofino Hotel - Orlando

    34th International Tax Conference
    Course Classification: Advanced Level, Live Presentattion: Thursday and Friday, January 14-15, 2016
    J.W. Marriott Hotel - 1101 Brickell Avenue, Miami.

    Advanced Federal Practice - 2016
    Course Classification: Advanced Level, Live Presentation: Friday, January 15, 2016, Hilton Miami Downtown.

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    [Revised: 11-24-2015]