Board of Governors Meeting Summaries
The Florida Bar Board of Governors met on January 31, 2014. Major actions of the board and reports received included:
Chief Justice Ricky Polston discussed the state of the judiciary. He said the court system is seeking competitive pay adjustments and equity and retention funds for court staff, funds for repairs and upgrades to four aging district court of appeal buildings, and funds for continued technological improvements for the court system. The proposed budget for 2014-15 also includes 49 new judges – three appellate, seven circuit, and 39 county judgeships -- as detailed in the December 20 judicial certification opinion. For additional information on the court system's budget requests for 2014-2015, please visit www.flcourts.org.
President Eugene K. Pettis announced that the deadline for Bar members to apply for the Bar's recommendation of six lawyers for two vacancies on each Judicial Nominating Commission to the Governor for the Governor's appointment has been extended to Friday, March 21, at 5:30 p.m. Each appointee will serve a four-year term commencing July 1, 2014. Applicants must be engaged in the practice of law and a resident of the territorial jurisdiction served by the commission to which the member is applying. Applicants must comply with state financial disclosure laws. Screening committees of the Board of Governors will review all JNC applications. The Executive Committee will then make recommendations to the Board of Governors. The application is posted on the Bar's website or members may call Bar headquarters at (850) 561-5757, to obtain the application.
Three proposed amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar were received on first reading. They pertain to: participation in lawyer referral services (Rule 4-7.22); the requirement that Bar members certify that the maintenance of their trust accounts is in compliance with rules (Rule 5-1.2); and replacing monies improperly taken from trust accounts (Rule 5-1.1). For details on the amendments, please watch for articles in The Florida Bar News.
The board approved allowing the Legal Needs of Children Committee to support legislation allowing only judges to make a determination when children charged with crimes should be tried in adult court. In addition, the board approved a request of the Standing Committee on the Unlicensed Practice of Law for The Florida Bar to support the American Bar Association's efforts to advocate for passage of legislation (HR 2936) to prevent immigrants from being victimized by nonlawyers in immigration matters.
A dedication ceremony was held to formally name the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy. The Academy's first class of 59 fellows met in Tallahassee on January 30-31 and attended the Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society Annual Dinner and the academy's dedication ceremony at the Board of Governors meeting.
Justice Barbara Pariente made a presentation on the Informed Voters Project, a nonpartisan voter education initiative of the National Association of Women Judges. Florida is one of eight states selected to implement pilot projects to address the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary and of keeping special interests from influencing judicial elections. For more information, visit http://ivp.nawj.org/ and read the February 1 Florida Bar News article.
Special Appointments Schedule:
The Board of Governors is seeking a lawyer applicant to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court's Bar Admissions Committee. Completed applications are due Friday, Feb. 28.