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Makeshift courtroom
PARTICIPANTS GATHER FOR A PRETRIAL CONFERENCE in a makeshift courtroom in Marianna after Hurricane Michael damaged the north façade of the downtown Jackson County Courthouse. A procedural rule that in many instances would require an attorney standing in for another attorney at a hearing or court proceeding to file a written appearance notice with that court is advancing in the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee.
The Florida Bar News was launched in 1974 to keep members of the Bar on top of the happenings in the profession. It was a once-a-month publication that was expanded to a twice-a-month newspaper a few years later.

Alan LawsonYou could make the argument that Supreme Court Justice Alan Lawson is the most popular public official in Florida. Lawson cruised to an easy win in his first merit retention election as a justice, getting a 71.4 percent “yes” vote in the up or down referendum on the November 6 general election ballot. Seventeen district court of appeal judges also were retained in the election, and 24 circuit and 11 county court runoff races were decided. In unofficial results, Lawson piled up just over 5 million “yes” votes. Winners in the hotly contested gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, and state cabinet races received just over 4 million votes.



Nominating petitions for the 2019 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 17. All of the board positions are for two-year terms.

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 17.

Leadership Academy logo Starting December 1, The Florida Bar Leadership Academy will begin accepting applications for the incoming 2019–20 Academy, which will be Class VII. The deadline to submit an application is January 15, 2019. The Florida Bar Leadership Academy is a year-long leadership training program designed to foster professional growth and enhance the leadership skills for a diverse group of attorneys. The mission of The Florida Bar Leadership Academy is a multi-session training program designed to assist a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers in becoming better leaders within our profession, in their chosen path, while enhancing their leadership skills.

As 2018 draws to a close, the opportunity presents itself to pause and reflect on our life’s work and our heart’s longings. Each moment of our lives invites us to earnestly consider what has taken place and our aspirations for what may yet come. Doing so, we learn lessons and steady the stage from which we view and engage in the world. The practice of law and of living a good life is not easy, yet we are equipped to find delight in the work we do, to do it well, and to make a difference in the lives of others.

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Sen. Jeff BrandesMichelle SuskauerFlorida’s criminal justice system is like “a firefighter coming up to a house where every room is on fire,” according to Sen. Jeff Brandes. R-St. Petersburg, “and figuring out where to start.” Brandes, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, serves on the Criminal Justice Committee, and has been pushing for prison and sentencing reform, was speaking at the wrap up session of the Bar’s Criminal Justice Summit.

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  • December 1, 2018

    ATTORNEYS FROM SMITH CURRIE & HANCOCK in South Florida took time off from their firm retreat to participate in the firm-sponsored community project with Help Build Hope.
    John StewartThe annual committee preference form for Bar members seeking appointments for the term of President-elect John M. Stewart will be available December 1 at and are due no later than January 15, 2019. President-elect Stewart will make about 500 appointments to over 70 committees and he wants to make sure he has a diverse group of lawyers from which to choose.
    Scott BaenaAs the new chair of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, Miami bankruptcy lawyer Scott Baena has some reassuring news for aspiring attorneys. “No law student should avoid mental-health counseling” because they are concerned about how it will affect the Bar admissions process.

    The Hurricane Michael recovery effort in North Florida will take months and the The Young Lawyers Division is still seeking volunteers to staff The Florida Bar’s Disaster Relief Hotline.
    Lawyers can charge interest when they advance fees and costs to clients in contingency fee cases as long as the client has consented at the time the costs are incurred and the interest rate is reasonable.
    Electronic filing for Florida’s five district courts of appeal will shortly switch from the current eDCA system to the statewide e-filing portal that handles filing for the remainder of the state court system.

    LegalFuel: The Practice Resource Center of The Florida Bar has launched its Speaker Series, which features well-known and respected Florida lawyers discussing relevant topics from technology to work-life balance and social-media marketing. The latest installment of this free CLE video series is, “Cybersecurity for the Everyday Lawyer” presented by Al Saikali. It is available at

    Lost in the hoopla of gubernatorial and U.S. Senate elections, recounts, and a dozen constitutional amendments on the November 6 general election ballot was a small provision in one of those amendments. It increased the mandatory retirement age from 70 to 75 for Florida’s jurists — long a position favored by The Florida Bar.
    Rep. Heather FitzenhagenAfter spending six years building a solid legislative record, impressing House leaders and chairing a key committee, Ft. Myers attorney and state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen is gearing up for a fourth and final term. Cautious, no-nonsense, and quietly determined, the Dallas native credits her legal training at Nova Southeastern University for reinvigorating a deep-seated fascination with “the concept of justice.”

    A rewriting of one of the most complex of Florida’s court procedural rules —governing the handling of confidential and sensitive information in court records — is moving forward in the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee.

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    - On the Move
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    - Letters
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    - Classified Ads 12-1-18

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    Florida Bar CLE

    Essentials of Elder Law 2019
    Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 7:15 AM - 5:20 PM, Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando.

    Elder Law Annual Update & Hot Topics
    Friday, January 18, 2019 - Saturday, January 19, 2019, Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando.

    Practicing with Professionalism 2018-2019
    Friday, November 30, 2018 - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM, The Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando.

    Basic Trial Practice 2018
    Friday, December 07, 2018 - 8:45 AM - 4:30 PM, Tampa Airport Marriott.

    Annual ITC Boot Camp
    Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, JW Marriott Hotel, Miami.

    37th Annual International Tax Conference 2019
    Thursday, January 10, 2019 - Friday, January 11, 2019, JW Marriott Hotel, Miami.

    Civil Trial Update & Board Certification Review 2019
    Thursday, February 14, 2019 - Friday, February 15, 2019, Tampa Airport Marriott.

    Practicing with Professionalism
    Friday, February 8, 2019, - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM, Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel.

    Preserving Issues for Appeal
    November 27, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM, audio webcast.

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    [Revised: 11-19-2018]