The Florida Bar

Florida Bar Journal

2021-2022 Annual Reports of Committees of The Florida Bar

Annual Reports
2021-2022 Annual Reports of Committees of The Florida Bar

Adoption Law Certification

Admiralty and Maritime Law Certification

Admiralty Law

Advertising

Annual Convention

Antitrust and Trade Regulation Certification

Appellate Court Rules

Appellate Practice Certification

Aviation Law Certification

Board of Legal Specialization and Education

Business Litigation Board Certification

Citizens Advisory

City, County and Local Government Law Certification

Civil Procedure Rules

Civil Trial Law Certification

Clients’ Security Fund

Code and Rules of Evidence

Constitutional Judiciary 

Construction Law Certification

Consumer Protection Law

Condominium and Planned Development Law Certification

Continuing Legal Education

Criminal Law Certification

Diversity & Inclusion

Education Law

Education Law Certification

Elder Law Certification

Family Law Rules

Federal Court Practice

Florida Bar Journal and News Editorial Board

Florida Probate Rules

Florida Registered Paralegal Eligibility and Compliance

Florida Registered Paralegal Enrichment

Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy

Grievance Mediation and Fee Arbitration

Health Law Certification

Immigration and Nationality Law Certification

Intellectual Property Certification

International Law Certification

Judicial Nominating Procedures

Juvenile Court Rules

Juvenile Law Certification

Labor and Employment Law Certification

Law Related Education 

Leadership Academy

Legal Needs of Children

Marital and Family Law Certification

Media and Communications Law 

Member Benefits

Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers

Prepaid Legal Services

Pro Bono Legal Services

Professionalism

Real Estate Certification

Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration

Senior Lawyers

State and Federal Government and Administrative Practice

Student Education and Admission to the Bar Committee

Tax Law Certification

Technology

Unlicensed Practice of Law

Workers’ Compensation Board Certification

Voluntary Bar Liaison

Workers’ Compensation Rules Advisory

 

Adoption Law Certification

We welcomed three new attorneys approved for board certification in adoption law in 2021. In addition, 16 board certified attorneys have been re-certified this year. We now have a total of 28 attorneys board certified in adoption law.

While we had no new applicants approved to sit for the examination in 2022, our committee has not been idle. We have updated our certification exam with new questions and with edits to some older questions and model answers. We have also approved new proposed rule changes to be considered by the Board of Legal Specialization and Education. Among these changes were edits to the Standards for Board Certification and Recertification in Adoption Law, with a view toward broadening the qualifying applicant pool by expanding the criteria for what activities will qualify for substantial involvement in adoption law.

On behalf of the committee, I express our sincere thanks to all the judges and attorneys who have responded this year to requests for peer reviews and evidence of substantial involvement. This feedback is essential for evaluating the qualifications of our candidates. We truly appreciate your time and efforts in this regard.

Thank you also to my fellow committee members for their contributions this year: Vice Chair Susan Levin, Leenetta “Lee” Carden, Amy Hickman, Ellen Kaplan, Stephen Price, Susan Stockham, and Rob Webster III. We are especially grateful to have Paige Dooley-Levy as our staff liaison again this past year. Her support has been invaluable to the committee. We appreciate all her assistance, and we look forward to working with her this coming year.

Richard S. Jackson, Chair

Admiralty and Maritime Law Certification

Admiralty and maritime law is the corpus of rules, concepts, and legal practices governing vessels, the shipping industry, the carrying of goods and passengers by water, and related maritime concepts. Admiralty and maritime law includes the substantive law and procedural rules associated with the general maritime law of the United States, admiralty jurisdiction, and procedure. There are only 56(!) of approximately 86,000 practicing Florida Bar attorneys who are certified as specialists in admiralty and maritime law. The Admiralty and Maritime Law Certification Committee is comprised of nine of those specialists who have the responsibility to identify those lawyers who practice admiralty and maritime law and who have demonstrated the special knowledge, skills, and proficiency to be properly identified to the public as board certified in admiralty and maritime law. The committee is responsible for developing and annually updating the 140-question exam used to determine whether an attorney has the sufficient knowledge, skill, and experience of a specialist in admiralty and maritime law.

Additionally, the committee evaluates whether an attorney applicant’s conduct, with respect to interaction with peer specialists, other professionals, the court, and in all aspects of the trial process, is consistent not only with the high standards of the profession in general but additionally with the higher standards of conduct, character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism of those certified as specialists. We take our duty very seriously.

This year’s certification committee action included four Zoom meetings and out-of-committee individual work effort to:

1) Review, update, and add sample questions on the Bar website, which advise exam applicants of typical questions.

2) Assign the 140 exam questions and their model answers to individual certification committee members for review, update language for readability, update caselaw as required, and revise model answers to assure accuracy and currency.

3) Assign members for initial review and recommendation as to 20 recertification applications and one initial certification application, to determine if certification requirements are met. Have committee discussion on the recommendations and vote for approval or consideration of denial.

4) Approve the final exam scheduled for April 8.

Barbara A. Kreitz Cook, Chair

Admiralty Law

The Admiralty Law Committee continued to advance its five core goals in the 2021-22 fiscal year, specifically 1) advance the practice of admiralty and maritime law by providing complimentary live seminars about recent trends and developments in maritime law; 2) provide a forum for networking among our admiralty colleagues; 3) foster the advancement of younger attorneys in this area of the law; 4) assist our Admiralty and Maritime Law Certification Committee colleagues in promoting certification in admiralty and maritime law; and 5) assist in the subcommittee in completing the rewrite of the Florida Maritime Law and Practice, 7th Edition update.

These five goals have been met. In meeting the first goal, the committee held a virtual maritime law seminar for three CLE credits on January 28, during the during the Winter Meeting and also held a day-long maritime law seminar for six CLE credits on February 18. The first seminar included presentations on “The Impacts of COVID-19 on Yachting,” “Florida Legislative Update 2022,” and “The 11th Circuit’s Yusko Decision and the Cases That Have Followed.” Importantly, after the Winter Meeting, the Admiralty Law Committee held its first-ever networking event with the Florida A&M University School of Law. The second maritime law seminar, “Port Everglades, Florida — Simulated Marine Casualty — Port Closure,” included five panels that consisted of maritime attorneys, marine industry professionals, marine insurance professionals, and three U.S. Coast Guard officers. This seminar was planned and conducted jointly with the Federal Bar Association’s Admiralty Law Section and, as a result, it received national attention and was attended by attorneys from all over the country. Additionally, the Admiralty Law Committee, for the first time ever, coordinated three one-hour lunch CLEs, which included the following presentations: “Yacht Building Agreements: A Checklist for the Practitioner,” “The Jones Act from a Public Policy and Legislative Perspective,” and “Training the Future Mariner.” The lunch CLEs were well attended and feedback from committee members has been extremely positive.

The second and third goals of networking and development of younger attorneys and law students continued to be hard hit by the on-going pandemic. However, the addition of the lunch CLEs has provided additional opportunities to network and discuss current issues in maritime law. Utilizing the time after the winter meeting to conduct a networking event between the committee members and Florida A&M University College of Law proved that networking goals can still be accomplished. Committee members also held an in-person networking event with students from the University of Miami School of Law on October 18, 2021. The subcommittee in charge of completing the re-write of the Florida Maritime Law and Practice, 7th Edition, update worked tirelessly to complete this task, and I thank all the contributors to this project; and I specifically thank Joanne “Jody” Foster and Ryan Eslinger for their hard work completing the re-write.

The current vice chairs are Joanne “Jody” Foster and Adria Notari, and they helped tremendously in the work of the committee. As I leave as committee chair, I wish the new chair continued success in meeting the challenges of the committee and emulating the work we have accomplished this year. It has been my distinct privilege to chair the committee this year. I cannot think of a finer collection of attorneys with whom to serve, and I thank all of you for your selfless contributions to our goals.

On behalf of the entire committee, I express our collective appreciation for our Bar staff liaison, Stefanie Svisco. She was indispensable to the committee, providing guidance, insight, expertise, and support for each of its meetings, while also providing key advice as to Bar policies and procedures. We appreciate her work ethic and thank her for all her support.

The committee extends an invitation to all eligible admiralty and maritime law attorneys to attend the committee’s meetings. The committee meetings are attended by a diverse group of lawyers, and they give us the opportunity to get together and communicate with one another on the key issues in our practice area. The committee preference forms are posted online by The Florida Bar from December 1 to mid-January to begin work on the committee the following July 1 of each year. Please remember to designate this committee as your first choice when you sign up for service. There is no better way for a maritime practitioner to advance his or her skills, professionalism, and ability to network in this practice area.

Ryon L. Little, Chair

Advertising

The Standing Committee on Advertising is responsible for advising members of The Florida Bar on permissible advertising and marketing practices. The committee, which meets periodically as needed, reviews appeals of opinions issued by staff counsel, offers guidance to staff in evaluating lawyer advertisements, makes recommendations regarding rule changes, and provides guidance to Florida Bar members concerning both the substantive and procedural requirements of the advertising rules.

The committee advises Bar members on the substance of the advertising rules through a variety of different methods. An in-depth analysis of the filing requirements, substantive regulations, and committee interpretations is provided by the committee’s Handbook on Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation. The Handbook is regularly updated by the committee to reflect important changes that have occurred and is currently available on the website for easy access by Bar members. The Handbook and other information addressed in this report are available on the Bar’s website at www.floridabar.org.

Similar to other recent years, 2021-2022 was a busy year for the Standing Committee on Advertising. In addition to reviewing advertisements filed by members of The Florida Bar, the committee considered recommendations from Florida Bar members and the Board of Governors’ comments on the recommendations of the Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services.

On September 9, 2021, the Supreme Court adopted an amendment proposed by the committee. The amendment to subdivision (a) of Rule 4-7.19 requires the filing of advertisements in the manner specified by The Florida Bar on its website. This change will allow the Bar to implement procedures for online submission of advertisements when the Bar is ready to do so.

By far the most time-consuming task of the committee this year, as in past years, has been reviewing advertisements filed by members of The Florida Bar to determine whether they comply with the advertising rules. The committee reviews decisions of its staff regarding lawyer advertisements if committee review of staff’s interpretation of a particular rule or advertisement is requested by an advertising attorney. Advertisers may request review of committee decisions by the Board of Governors. The committee also provides guidance to its staff and advertisers, pursuant to requests for guidance, to foster compliance with the rules and permit advertisers to accomplish their legitimate advertising goals. The committee works hard to apply the advertising rules fairly to all types of advertisements and to balance the rights of advertisers with the needs and concerns of the public.

The committee is made up of nonlawyers as well as lawyers. We believe that this has contributed substantially to our work and our broad perspective on advertising and marketing. I thank each of our committee members: Manohar Athavale, Zachary L. Catanzaro, Lisa Karray Crawford, Vincent Cuomo, Tyler B. Everett, Ryan L. Gilbert, Neidy E. Hornsby, Rosalind B. Johnson, Alexis Rosenberg, Rosanna M. Schachtele, Shannon Brooke Schott, Joseph B. Towne, and Jenny Maria Vargas de Perez-Coru.

Finally, the committee thanks our board liaison, Jeremy C. Branning, Division of Ethics and Consumer Protection Division Director Gypsy Bailey, and our hardworking staff: Assistant Ethics Counsels Huy-Yen C. Bailey, Joy A. Bruner, Jeffrey M. Hazen, LiliJean Quintiliani, Kelly N. Smith, and Heather S. Telfer, Paralegal Donna Hostutler, Administrative Support 4 Pamela Brown, Administrative Support 2 Susan Permenter, and Administrative Support 2 Kelley Hamilton, headed by Ethics Counsel Jonathan D. Grabb. Without the participation, guidance, experience, and hard work of these individuals, the business of this committee could not be accomplished.

Jackson Wolfe Adams, Chair

Annual Convention

Back to the Future! The 2022 Florida Bar Annual Convention is back: live, in-person, and better than ever. From committee meetings to receptions, from big luncheons to the hallway magic of networking one-on-one, to CLE seminars, the 2022 Annual Convention is a don’t-miss event for any Bar member.

The 2022 Annual Convention will take place June 22-25 at the Signa by Hilton Bonnet Creek & Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. Be sure to enjoy all the resort complex has to offer during your stay: Play golf in the Bonnet Creek nature preserve, relax in the state-of-the-art Waldorf Astoria spa, dine with family and colleagues at one of the many restaurant options, and don’t forget to unwind as you float in the lazy river.

Special events include the return of the popular Judicial Luncheon with an address by Chief Justice Charles Canady and the All-Member Reception on Thursday. Friday will feature General Assembly, the 50-year Member Luncheon and Diversity and Inclusion Luncheon, as well as the Friday Night President’s Reception. This year’s President’s Showcase CLE offerings include Wednesday’s 2022 Annual Technology Symposium powered by LegalFuel: The Practice Resource Center of The Florida Bar and Thursday’s Litigator-Mediator Forum: A Collaborative Examination of Mediation Best Practices and Ethical considerations presented by The Florida Bar CLE Committee, the Trial Lawyers Section, and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section. A variety of CLE opportunities will be offered throughout convention alongside a full agenda of section and committee meetings. We can’t forget our exhibitors and corporate sponsors who have shown up in record numbers, thrilled that we are returning to an in-person convention.

It has been an honor and privilege to chair the 2022 Florida Bar Annual Convention with the wonderful Annual Convention Committee! The Florida Bar Meetings Department, including Beth Anne Trombetta, Rodney McCammon, Jamie Moore, and Brooke Smith have all worked extremely hard, and we thank them so very much. We look forward to seeing everyone in person as we head Back to the Future! Wishing everyone good health and happiness.

Leora Freire and Jorge Piedra, Co-Chairs

Antitrust and Trade Regulation Certification

The Antitrust and Trade Regulation Certification Committee consists of five board certified members: Lizabeth Brady serves as the chair of the committee and William Blechman serves as vice chair. Other members include Gregory Hansel, Robert Scott Palmer, and Judge Lori Rowe. Laurinda Jackson serves as the certification specialist to the committee with Sean Moyles serving as the BLSE liaison to the certification committee.

Antitrust law is the substantive area of law dealing with anticompetitive conduct or structure affecting consumer welfare. The federal Sherman Act and analogous Florida statutes are the principal laws applicable to antitrust cases. Trade regulation law covers the substantive area of law dealing with deceptive, unfair, or unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair methods of competition under the Federal Trade Commission Act and Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Nine attorneys are currently board certified in the area. The Antitrust and Trade Regulation Committee worked diligently to propose rule amendments to the area standards that would have included the practice of consumer protection law and possibly attracted new applicants to the area. However, the proposal to amend the rules was not approved. It is my understanding that at least one attorney is contemplating applying for board certification this year.

I thank each member of the committee for their commitment to professionalism and their diligent efforts to promote the growth of the certification area. It has been an honor to serve as chair of the committee.

Lizabeth Brady, Chair

Appellate Court Rules

The Appellate Court Rules Committee has enjoyed another active year, moving forward on numerous rule changes referred to the committee and providing comments and appearing at oral argument on amendments proposed through the Florida Supreme Court’s Workgroup process. The committee could not accomplish any of this without the hard work and dedication of its volunteer membership and support of The Florida Bar and Board of Governors.

This year has kept the Criminal Practice Subcommittee very busy. Led by Chair Judge Susan Rothstein-Youakim and Vice Chair Matthew Ocksrider, the Criminal Practice Subcommittee drafted responses to public comments regarding the committee’s proposed new Rule 9.143 in response to the victims’ rights amendment to the Florida Constitution known as Marsy’s Law. Committee Vice Chair Keith Upson argued before the Florida Supreme Court in favor of the proposed rule, which provides a procedure for victim participation in appellate proceedings. The Florida Supreme Court adopted the new rule effective January 6. The committee also prepared and filed a comment in response to the Florida Supreme Court’s proposed amendments to Rules 3.851 and 9.142 regarding the discharge of postconviction counsel, appointment of standby counsel, and dismissal of postconviction proceedings in capital cases. Committee Chair Laura Roe represented the committee at oral argument on February 10.

The Civil Practice Subcommittee, led by Chair Sarah Weitz and Vice Chair Charles Auslander, moved forward on several important matters before the committee this year. The Florida Supreme Court recently adopted the committee’s proposed amendment to Rule 9.130 permitting interlocutory appeals from orders granting or denying motions to amend a complaint to add a claim for punitive damages. Committee Vice Chair Elaine Walter appeared on behalf of the committee at oral argument. This amendment will go into effect on April 1. Currently, the subcommittee is working on a comment in response to rule amendments proposed by the Workgroup on Improved Resolution in Civil Cases. The committee hopes to approve and file the comment with the Florida Supreme Court before the March 31 deadline.

The General Practice Subcommittee, with Chair Christine Davis and Vice Chair Miguel Chamorro at the helm, also made significant progress on several committee matters. Based on the hard work of the subcommittee, the committee approved and filed a comment to the Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19’s report, recommending changes to Rules 9.700, 9.720, 9.740, and 9.320. Chair Laura Roe represented the committee at oral argument before the Florida Supreme Court on February 8. The subcommittee is also considering referrals related to rendition, the timely resolution of appeals in judicial waiver cases under Rule 9.147, and fee motions in discretionary review proceedings, among other important projects.

In addition to the matters addressed above, the Supreme Court adopted several of the committee’s proposed amendments. Of note, the court:

1) amended Rules 9.147 and 9.300 and form 9.900(f) for consistency with amendments proposed by the Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration and Juvenile Court Rules committees related to legislation on parental consent to abortion;

2) adopted the committee’s proposed amendment to Rule 9.020(h)(1) to include remittitur and additur motions as motions that toll rendition;

3) adopted the recommendations of the joint committee report changing all references within the rules from Florida Rules of Judicial Administration to Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration.

While not specifically recognized above, the committee’s other subcommittee chairs and vice chairs deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to the committee’s work this year: Edward Sanchez and Judge Fleur Lobree, Administrative Law Practice; Judge Meredith Sasso and Stephanie Serafin, Family Law Practice; Judge Edward Artau and Jeffrey DeSousa, Internal Operating Procedures; Joshua Levine and Raemy Charest-Turken, Original Proceedings; Melissa Madsen and Melissa Roca Shaw, Record on Appeal; and Judge Rachel Nordby and Judge M. Kemmerly Thomas, Worker’s Compensation. The committee also thanks Vice Chairs Judge Andrew D. Manko, W. Aaron Daniel, Keith Upson and Elaine Walter; Sarah Lahlou-Amine, secretary; Judge Edward Artau, parliamentarian; Judge Bronwyn Miller, Criminal Procedure Rules Committee liaison; Edward Sanchez, Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration liaison; Thomas Hall, clerk liaison and past chair; Board of Governors Liaison Robin Bresky; and Bar Liaison Krys Godwin. The committee owes its productivity and quick response time to the hard work and dedication of all these incredible individuals.

Thank you to everyone who has sacrificed their time in service of the rules and the greater good.

Laura A. Roe, Chair

Appellate Practice Certification

The main tasks of this committee, like other certification committees, fall into three categories: writing and grading the certification exam, reviewing certification and re-certification applications, and review of rules affecting the committee and recommending suggested improvements.

The year began with no certainty as to what the pandemic situation would be in March, so the committee elected to retain the same examination format as it had used last year. This examination format likely will be used in all years to come. This format involves four separate sessions, each one balanced between multiple-choice and essay questions. The committee continues its active efforts to improve the quality of its exam and to keep the subject matter of its exam up to date. Eleven persons submitted applications to take this exam, and 10 were approved. Those 10 applicants are taking the exam the same day this report is being written, and the committee looks forward to the arduous, but rewarding task of grading those exams.

In addition to new applicants, the board reviewed the 37 recertification applications. The board remains gratified at the skill and accomplishments of our current board-certified appellate lawyers. Currently, there are 209 attorneys board certified in appellate practice by The Florida Bar.

The committee is also addressing and preparing to make a recommendation for an amendment to its rules to correct a problem that arose inadvertently from the adoption of some but not all recently proposed rule amendments.

Whether it is in the drafting or grading of the exam, the review of individual applications, or the drafting of the rules, the committee’s aim is always to be fair — to the applicants, to the other attorneys who have earned the right to hold themselves out as bar certified specialists, and to the general public who rely upon certification.

The committee takes this opportunity to repeat its frequent plea to all people who receive requests for peer review, especially members of the judiciary, to complete the peer review forms thoughtfully and promptly. The certification process depends upon the ability to evaluate applicants’ reputations in the community. If the committee members were required to rely on their own knowledge of the applicants, the application process would become unfair. The participation of peer reviewers is essential to the certification and recertification processes.

As committee chair, I am grateful to our committee members: Vice Chair Duane Daiker, Past Chair Andy Berman, Ed Guedes, Manny Farach, Tom Hunker, Forrest Andrews, Mark Tinker, and Nancy Gregoire Stamper. Special thanks also to our board certification specialist, Ashleigh Bolstridge, who deftly totes all of us bullfrogs in a wheelbarrow with a smile on her face.

John H. Pelzer, Chair

Aviation Law Certification

The Aviation Law Certification Committee has continued its efforts to attract attorneys that practice law in the specialized area of aviation law to become board certified. There are currently 46 board certified aviation law attorneys in Florida. Three applicants are taking the certification exam this year, and we are looking forward to the announcement of the exam results.

Our committee continues to actively recruit qualified attorneys practicing in the broad field of aviation law to take the aviation law certification exam. Board certification not only helps consumers, it benefits the legal profession by requiring high standards and professionalism in the practice of law. Aviation law encompasses many diverse subspecialties such as FAA enforcement actions, aircraft transactions, litigation, airline labor law, airport land use, and even space and drone law. To become a certified specialist, a lawyer must be an active member in good standing of The Florida Bar, have practiced law for a minimum of five years, pass a written examination in the specialty area, be favorably evaluated as to ability and experience in the specialty field by judges and other lawyers, exhibit outstanding character, ethics, and a reputation for professionalism. A member of The Florida Bar who has earned this career achievement may hold themselves out as “board certified,” “expert,” or “specialist.”

I thank my vice chair, Robert Feldman, for his invaluable support and dedication this past year. I also extend my thanks to all of the other committee members for their assistance.

Allison Armour, our Bar staff liaison, has provided invaluable knowledge, guidance, and support to the entire committee. And we had another successful year because of her never-ending help and support of the committee.

Mary Burnett, Chair

Board of Legal Specialization and Education

The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE) has the responsibility to administer programs for regulation of 27 areas of certification. The BLSE also oversees the legal education offered to all members of The Florida Bar.

Established by the Florida Supreme Court, board certification is the highest recognition for ethics, character, professionalism, and credibility in the practice of law as recognized by The Florida Bar. The Florida Bar is the largest certification program in the nation with more than 5,000 board certified attorneys.

The BLSE is comprised of 16 members: Chair Philip R. Augustine; Vice Chair David C Willis, John F. Eversole, Joseph F. “Skooter” Kinman, Jr., Michele L. Lieberman, Robert A. Norgard, Norma Stanley, R. Kansas Gooden, Colin M. Roopnarine, Elisha D. Roy, Joseph J. Weissman, William Henry Burgess III, Amy J. Fanzlaw, Patricia Dawson, Deborah Anne Schroth, and Sean Moyles. The Board of Governors liaison to the BLSE is Charles Richard Nail.

Each member of the BLSE is assigned as a liaison to designated areas of certification and monitors issues and events for the individual certification areas, as needed.

The BLSE has engaged in an outreach program to emphasize the value of becoming board certified to accomplish the following: 1) recruit new candidates to become board certified; 2) educate the public as to why it is important to retain a board-certified attorney; 3) encourage existing certified members to retain their board-certified status. Our goal is to publicize the value of board certification and elevate this distinction to a new level.

Board certification matters! A recent study found that of 1,400 visitors to The Florida Bar website, 64% considered board certification to be the most important factor when retaining an attorney. This statistic supports our message to local bar associations, law schools, and area committee functions that specialization provides an opportunity to become a better attorney and distinguish your credentials from others. To emphasize this point, the BLSE has encouraged board-certified attorneys to post this video, https://www.floridabar.org/about/cert/resources/board-certification-advantage/, on their law firm website to educate potential clients about the advantages of hiring a board-certified attorney. The video is posted on Facebook directly from The Florida Bar board certification page and available for download and dissemination by our members to clients and consumers of legal services. The video can also be found on our YouTube channel.

As part of the BLSE’s oversight of board certification testing, Alpine Testing Solutions has been retained to review all area committee testing protocol. Alpine performs a psychometric evaluation of the certification program. It was last done in 2015 and recommended every five to seven years to evaluate the development and validation processes, which includes the people involved, processes, procedures, results, and decision rules regarding certification exams. The goal is to ensure a credible and fair exam for attorneys testing for board certification.

In its continuing effort to assure that members applying for board certification are treated fairly and uniformly across the various certification areas, the BLSE is again sponsoring a roundtable session at the June 2022 Annual Convention. The roundtable will be held in-person in Orlando. The roundtable presentation will focus on topics facing all area committees, including test drafting and formatting, as well as promoting board certification.

At The Florida Bar Annual Convention in Orlando on Thursday, June 23, Chief Justice Charles T. Canady will present the Justice Harry Lee Anstead award in recognition of The Florida Bar Board Certified Lawyer of the Year. This award goes to the member who is board certified and who demonstrates outstanding excellence, professionalism, and commitment to the certification program, and to the practice of law in Florida. BLSE will also conduct its annual “pinning ceremony” to recognize all newly board-certified attorneys.

Philip R. Augustine, Chair

Business Litigation Board Certification

The Business Litigation Certification Committee met the challenges brought during 2021-2022 and remains committed to supporting board certification. I am very proud of and grateful for all the committee members’ participation and contributions this year. I am also very appreciative of Bar staff certification specialist, Chyra Reynolds, who did an excellent job for our committee.

The Business Litigation Board Certification Committee consists of nine members: Chair Joanne O’Connor, Vice Chair Andrew Lannon, David Ferrentino, Stephen Padula, Steele Williams, Rachael Loukonen, Michael Freed, Joelle Schultz, and immediate Past Chair Sheila Biehl.

The committee met five times through March 1. Due to the pandemic circumstances, our meetings have been by Zoom. It is expected that our committee will meet three more times before the year end. We look forward to the in-person administration of our exam in May. Our exam questions were reviewed and edited for 2022 to ensure compliance with the updated examination guidelines.

In May 2021, there were 11 exam takers. There were 50 applications for the 2021 recertification, with 40 approvals thus far. Currently, we have 11 applicants who are seeking initial certification and we anticipate will take the 2022 exam.

Our committee believes that we are having positive results from the rule change that now allows for advanced trial advocacy course to substitute for the jury trial requirement. We also believe that the Florida Supreme Court’s administrative order, which temporarily addresses until October 31, quantitative requirements for certification and recertification during the seven years immediately preceding the applications for certification and recertification, will be very helpful in growing and retaining the business litigation board certification members. Currently, there are 227 board certified business litigation attorneys.

Thank you to Bar staff and all the committee members for their hard work and dedication. Board certification is one of the highest honors that a lawyer can achieve, and I have been very honored to serve as chair of the Business Litigation Certification Committee. We encourage all lawyers who want to excel in their field to work toward board certification. The time and investment that you make in yourself is well worth the effort. To all the members who are currently board certified, thank you for your continued support of the certification process and for serving as honorable and professional role models.

Joanne M. O’Connor, Chair

Citizens Advisory

The Florida Bar Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is composed of 12 nonlawyer Floridians with varied interests and backgrounds who serve to provide two-way communication between the state’s citizens and The Florida Bar Board of Governors.

The objectives of the committee are to serve as a feedback mechanism and sounding board on Bar plans and programs and to advise the Bar regarding public understanding and support of significant legal and justice issues. Up to three attorney members are also appointed to the committee annually to serve as resources. The committee generally meets three times a year, twice in conjunction with Board of Governors meetings and once at annual convention, and as needed by teleconference or Zoom on certain matters.

During the 2021-22 Bar year, the CAC will have three meetings. Tom Wert, a member of the Board of Governors, is the chair, and Hong Potomski of Pensacola, who is in her third and final year serving on the committee as a nonlawyer, is vice chair. Virgil Hawkins Fla. Ch. National Bar Association President Michael T. Davis is the lawyer member for this year. BOG public members Jody Hudgins and Linda Goldstein have been invited to attend the meetings as well.

This year, committee members worked on a project aggregating resources and providing information for consumers about how to hire a lawyer and how to prepare for the first appointment. This project is web-based and includes links to Florida Bar consumer information, Florida Bar and local bar lawyer referral services, and other sources. Committee member Karen Cespedes, of Miami, is leading this effort.

In July, the committee heard an in-depth presentation on The Florida Bar’s role as a mandatory bar and about the cases around the country challenging mandatory bars. In the fall, they got a detailed preview of the new Benchmarks civic educations technology and discussed how best to promote these new civic education programs to the public. The committee members also reviewed and provided feedback on the main public pages of www.floridabar.org to make sure that the language was user-friendly and easy to understand.

In January, the committee was given a briefing on the upcoming legislative session and anticipated issues affecting the administration of justice, including court funding from Jim Daughton. The committee was also briefed by Vinnie Cuomo on the Special Committee on the Review of Professionalism, Kevin Gay on the COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force (Discussion on Small Claims online platform), and Nancy Vaughn on the Special Committee on Opportunity in the Practice of Law in Florida.

Four members will complete their terms in June: Hong Potomski, Pensacola; Allen Jackson, Ft. Lauderdale; Thomas Kontinos, Ft. Myers; and Melanie Shore, Gainesville. Their service has been greatly appreciated.

Nominations for the four appointments for 2021-24 are being received, and from those nominees, President-elect Gary Lesser will make those appointments. Those nominees who are not appointed this year will be forwarded to BOG members and staff for consideration for grievance and UPL nonlawyer appointments.

It is anticipated that the final committee meeting of the year will be held in June. More information on the Citizens Advisory Committee, including its charter and members’ photos and biographies, can be found at www.floridabar.org/citizensadvisory.

Tom Wert, Chair

City, County and Local Government Law Certification

The City, County and Local Government Law Certification Committee is responsible for the process of certifying attorneys as local government specialists, with the oversight of the Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE). This year marks the 25th anniversary for our area of board certification. The committee received 37 applications to sit for the examination, as well as 56 recertification applicants, 15 of whom were certified in the inaugural year.

The committee worked diligently to prepare and refine the 2022 certification examination. Since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affected our normal in-person meetings, we continued to collaborate through Zoom videoconferencing. In addition to evaluating applications and formulating the examination, the committee submitted a rule amendment proposal that is awaiting approval from the BLSE.

It was a privilege to serve as chair of the committee this year, and I extend my sincere thanks to Vice Chair Henry Hunnefeld and committee members Dean DiRose, Derek Rooney, Robert Shillinger, Jr., Nikki Day, Carl Brody, Jr., Michele Samaroo, and Kathleen Berkey. The committee tasks could not have been accomplished without the hard work and tremendous knowledge of its members, as well as the steady guidance of our Bar certification specialist, Paige Dooley-Levy.

To those who are currently board certified in city, county, and local government law, thank you for your support in raising the level of professionalism, collegiality, and diligence in our field. I encourage you to pursue committee membership if you are interested in becoming more involved in the Bar. There is incalculable value in forming relationships with fellow specialists, and the environment on the committee fosters an exchange of ideas and open communication that enhances your level of expertise in this broad area of law.

Sarah Rissman Taitt, Chair

Civil Procedure Rules

The Civil Procedure Rules Committee has worked tirelessly this year to continue its work to improve the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. The committee responded to referrals from judges and lawyers to consider several rules revisions, provided extensive comments to Florida Supreme Court inquiries, and worked cooperatively with many other committees and sections of The Florida Bar. The committee is pleased to report on its ongoing progress and many accomplishments.

The committee submitted several proposed revisions to the Board of Governors for approval, all of which were approved, including amendments to Rule 1.440 (harmonizing the rule with proposal to Rule 1.500 reflect the defaulted party’s right to receive notices of trial and other clarifying revisions); Rule 1.500 (clarifying that a motion is required for entry of a clerk default and also to ensure that defaulted party has a right to receive documents until a default is entered); Rule 1.530 (clarifying the language for consistency and readability), Rule 1.535 (relocating to Rule 1.530 for clarity). The committee is presenting additional proposed revisions in the upcoming month, including amendments to Rule 1.351 (clarifying the time to serve a subpoena after notice and prohibiting service of a subpoena less than 45 days of service of process to ensure sufficient time for all parties to object); and Rule 1.453 (adding a new rule to provide guidance when a juror asks for a review of the testimony presented).

In addition to the committee’s normal work, it has been very busy this year responding to several significant proposals from the Florida Supreme Court. First, in August 2021, at the outset of this committee’s term, the Florida Supreme Court amended Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.280 to expressly adopt the “apex doctrine” to protect high-level corporate officers from abusive discovery. Vice Chair Lance Curry volunteered to lead the charge in heading a subcommittee to provide a comment, including proposed alternative amendments, that was approved by the committee and submitted to the court.

Second, the court, sua sponte, drafted a proposed amendment to Rule 1.442, which proposed eliminating the strict construction of the procedural requirements of proposals for settlement, excluding the use of nonmonetary terms in the proposal for settlement and employing a procedure for joint proposals for settlement. This was a fast-tracked effort led by Vice Chair Kathryn Ender, who chaired the subcommittee that worked to diligently prepare a comprehensive comment to the court’s proposal, including additional rule amendment alternatives. The committee approved the comment, and it was submitted to the Supreme Court. Ten days after the committee submitted its comment, the Third District Court of Appeal issued its opinion in Safepoint Insurance Company v. Williams, 3D19-2196, 46 Fla. L. Weekly D2406, 2021 WL 5226272, 2021 Fla. App. LEXIS 14648 (Fla. 3d DCA Nov. 10, 2021). The Williams opinion raised substantial issues bearing on the court’s ultimate consideration of Florida law and proposed amendments to Rule 1.442. Accordingly, Vice Chair Ender and Paul Regensdorf prepared a supplemental comment and request for oral argument, which was approved by the court. Oral argument was April 6.

Third, on February 10, the Florida Supreme Court published for comment a proposal from the Judicial Management Council’s Workgroup on Improved Resolution of Civil Cases (Workgroup) that recommended sweeping amendments to the Florida Rules of Procedure, the Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, the Florida Small Claims Rules, and the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. The workgroup’s proposal is over 300 pages, and it proposes the most sweeping overhaul of the Rules of Civil Procedure since they were written. Paul Regensdorf deserves special recognition for his efforts in preparing the committee’s response to the Workgroup Initial Draft Report in November 2021. He spent countless hours preparing a detailed and fulsome comment that addressed overarching policy concerns, as well as specific comments and amendment alternatives affecting no less than 25 different existing and new rules. The committee approved the comment, and it was submitted to the workgroup, which, in turn, considered many of the committee’s concerns. The committee is currently preparing a comment to the workgroup’s final report. Paul Regensdorf is once again at the helm of the committee’s coordinated effort to respond, along with Vice Chairs Judson Cohen, Lance Curry, Kathryn Ender, and Cosme Caballero.

In addition to the referrals from the court, the committee continues to work diligently on several other proposals affecting the entire body of rules. This committee is comprised of some of Florida’s most accomplished practitioners and judges, and they devote a remarkable amount of time and energy to produce outstanding work product for the court to consider. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with all of them.

Of course, thank you to committee Vice Chairs Judson Cohen, Lance Curry, Kathryn Ender, and Cosme Caballero for all the time they put into the committee’s work this year. Getting through this year would have been impossible without them. Also, thank you to Amelia Beard for serving as the committee’s secretary. A special thank you to Ceci Berman for providing an example of how to chair such an important committee and for her guidance this year when I needed it. Last, but certainly not least, on behalf of the entire committee, thank you to our Florida Bar attorney liaison, Mikalla Davis, who has provided us with the much needed and very much appreciated guidance throughout the year.

Serving as chair of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee has been one of my greatest professional honors, and I am so proud of the work the committee did this year.

Jason Paul Stearns, Chair

Civil Trial Law Certification

Civil trial law is the practice of law dealing with the litigation of civil controversies in all areas of substantive law before Florida circuit courts or other equivalent courts of the state and federal district courts. In addition to the pretrial and trial process, civil trial law includes evaluating, handling, and resolving civil controversies prior to the initiation of suit.

Civil trial law is one of Florida’s first certification areas, having been approved by the Florida Supreme Court in 1983. Currently, less than 1% of Florida lawyers are board certified civil trial lawyers sitting at 972 certified lawyers. More than 70 board certified civil trial lawyers have been continuously certified since 1983.

The Civil Trial Certification Committee is charged with the responsibility of reviewing and recommending changes to the standards for certification in civil trial law; evaluating applications for certification and recertification; and preparing and grading the annual examination, which is a requirement for all applicants.

The Civil Trial Certification Committee overcame significant challenges this year in the contained face of COVID-19. In the 2021-22 year, we were able to conduct all our meetings remotely on Zoom or hybrid meetings with excellent attendance and were able to again undertake the application review process completely online for peer review for new applicants and applicants seeking recertification. We continued to increase our emphasis on peer review and continued to develop ways to recognize alternatives to trial participation for qualification purposes.

This year we successfully reviewed over 154 applicants for recertifications and 25 applicants for initial certification with 18 qualifying to sit for the exam. Chair James Gassenheimer served as our liaison to the Trial Lawyers Section executive council and used that platform to promote civil trial certification to the entire Trial Lawyers Section (TLS), with over 5,600 members. We also continued to work with the TLS on promoting the Advanced Trial Advocacy seminar that provides one trial certification credit.

We owe a special thanks to our board member, John Wesley, who drafted our committee’s efforts to amend the certification standards, which is currently being prepared for review by the BLSE.

The committee owes special thanks to all its members for their attendance at our meetings; and of course, Jaclyn O’Hara, our civil trial certification specialist from The Florida Bar, without whom we’d be lost. I step down as chair knowing the program is in the best hands.

James D. Gassenheimer, Chair

Clients’ Security Fund

The Florida Bar Clients’ Security Fund was established in 1967 as a voluntary, discretionary fund to reimburse clients who have suffered a monetary loss due to misappropriation, embezzlement, or other wrongful taking by a member of The Florida Bar when acting as the claimant’s lawyer. The Clients’ Security Fund is currently financed by $25 of every active and inactive Florida Bar member’s annual fees, as well as each application to appear pro hac vice in Florida and has over $2.6 million budgeted for fiscal year 2021-22 to pay claims brought by former clients. The fund reimburses clients under two circumstances: where an attorney takes an advance fee, but then fails to provide any services up to a maximum amount of $5,000, and for misappropriation or theft of client monies up to a maximum amount of $250,000. In the last fiscal year, the fund received 289 new claims and paid out over $1.2 million to clients for claims filed against 112 Florida lawyers. As of the date of this report, for the fiscal year ending June 30, the fund has received 118 new claims against 61 lawyers and has currently approved 25 claims with approved losses of over $1 million. Claims are paid only after a lawyer has been suspended, deceased, placed on the inactive list for incapacity not related to misconduct, or has had the member’s status as a member of The Florida Bar revoked or terminated. Fee claims, and misappropriation claims less than $1,000, are paid promptly after approval. All other claims, i.e., those over $1,000, are paid on a pro rata basis after the end of the fiscal year, if there are not enough funds available to pay 100% of the approved losses. Since its inception, the Clients’ Security Fund has processed over 13,000 claims and paid out over $47 million dollars to victims of attorney theft.

Claims are filed in writing by the former client, reviewed by Bar staff and, when appropriate, referred to a voluntary member of the committee for investigation. The 2021-22 Clients’ Security Fund Committee is composed of 22 volunteer attorneys appointed from all regions of Florida by the Bar’s president-elect. The committee meets four times during the year, but its volunteer members are actively engaged in the review and investigation of claims throughout the year.

This is a true working committee. Membership on the committee involves extensive time and energy in the investigation of claims and preparation of reports. Guided and assisted by dedicated Bar staff, claims are thoroughly investigated, and members make recommendations for approval or denial by the committee. Many investigations require active debate at committee meetings, and discussions of claims at meetings are spirited, but always with the goal of doing the right thing for the injured client as well as being good stewards of the fund. Although committee meetings are confidential, final action on claims is subject to limited disclosure. Committee recommendations are ultimately submitted to the Board of Governors for final consideration.

As lawyers, we tend to hold ourselves in high regard, especially after the rigors of law school, scrutiny by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, and continued oversight by The Florida Bar throughout our careers. Even though we feel this way about ourselves, during the investigation of claims and discussions with clients, we are repeatedly humbled by the notion that individual clients impart an unbelievable amount of trust in their chosen counsel. Breach of this trust may devastate clients financially and emotionally. Bar staff and the Clients’ Security Fund Committee are devoted to repairing the public’s trust in members of the Bar and the legal system.

There are more than 110,000 lawyers in Florida, and, as of the last fiscal year, claims under the Clients’ Security Fund were made against 0.1% of Florida lawyers. The work of the Clients’ Security Fund is an integral part of recovery and mitigation of losses to clients and the public whose trust and confidence in the legal profession has been negatively impacted by the wrongful acts of a few. The fund is one way in which the Bar strives to improve the public’s perception of Florida lawyers and to restore confidence in the profession.

I have served on this committee for four years and currently serve as chair. Each call to a client allows me and every investigating member of the committee the chance to right a wrong and attempt to reestablish lost trust in Florida lawyers. On the committee, I have met and served with some of the finest and most hard-working lawyers in the Bar. Without their dedication, the Clients’ Security Fund could not serve its valuable purpose. Each member of the committee is to be commended for their diligence and hard work in investigating and processing claims.

All who serve on a Florida Bar committee know that this important work would not be accomplished without the tireless dedication of the Bar staff. Committee members and the clients rely heavily on Bar staff and without their commitment, we could not do our jobs. Thank you to Stacey Thrash, administrative support; Celia Connell, CSF administrator; Rick Courtemanche, deputy general counsel; and Gypsy Bailey, general counsel/division director of Ethics and Client Protection, for the tremendous effort, work, and discipline they have given to this committee.

Amy Bandow, Chair

Code and Rules of Evidence

The Florida Bar Code of Rules and Evidence Committee (CREC) regularly met through the 2021-22 Bar year to consider proposed legislation and rule amendments that could impact the Florida Evidence Code. CREC also reviewed and considered proposals and inquiries from practitioners and private citizens regarding amendments or improvements to the Florida Evidence Code.

At the forefront of issues, the CREC carefully considered proposed legislation allowing courts to take judicial notice of internet mapping/imaging. After the judicial notice/internet mapping proposal was forwarded to the executive director and to the Trial Lawyers Section for lobbying efforts, the bill passed the full legislature by a vote of 39-0 in the Senate and 112-0 in the House and has been sent to the governor for consideration and signature. Since the 2020-21 term, the Code Improvement Subcommittee led the CREC with respect to crafting and editing the judicial notice/internet mapping proposed legislation to successfully shepherd the bill through the legislature. I recognize CREC members Dan Cytrn and Melissa Bodnar (immediate past CREC chair), who chaired the subcommittee on this issue and other issues, including exploring a proposal to amend the code to require notice of certification of records 14 days prior to trial in criminal trial context. In addition, we recognize the judicial notice/internet mapping bill’s sponsors, Sen. Jennifer Bradley, and Rep. Will Robinson. Passing a bill is no small feat.

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the CREC subcommittees and committee liaisons have been hard at work. Some of the highlights include the significant topic of remote testimony during the pandemic; and the ad hoc committee on this issue continues to monitor proposed rules on the use of audio/visual technology in our courts. The education subcommittee also coordinated and hosted The Florida Bar’s annual Hot Topics in Evidence CLE, which was presented virtually. This CLE remains one of The Florida Bar’s most popular and profitable CLE. And the subcommittee has again been organizing the next anticipated annual Hot Topics in Evidence seminar.

I recognize the CREC officers, whom have given their energy and talents to make the CREC function. The CREC officers are Vice Chair/Secretary Eric Hernandez, Vice Chair Mara Marazano, Vice Chair Judge Lina Alley, Vice Chair Sean Domnick, Parliamentarian Phil Gold, and immediate Past Chair Melissa Bodnar. The CREC is staffed by Mikalla Davis and Benjamin Morris. They continue to be an incredible resource and a pleasure to work with. On behalf of the CREC members, we extend our sincerest gratitude and thanks for their skilled support and guidance. Our liaison from The Florida Bar Board of Governors, Paige Adonna Greenlee, has also been constantly present, active, and informative.

In closing, I recognize all the members of CREC for their time and contributions toward improving the Florida Evidence Code and Rules of Evidence that allow our courts and practitioners to engage in the fair administration of justice. The work of the CREC during the COVID pandemic has been challenging. Yet, the diligence of our CREC members has shone through in their service and accomplishments.

Curry G. Pajcic, Chair

Constitutional Judiciary 

The Constitutional Judiciary Committee (CJC) worked diligently this year to gather information to present to the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government. The Lou Frey Institute (LFI), an organization at the University of Central Florida promotes the development of enlightened, responsible, and actively engaged citizens.

With approval from the Board of Governors, LFI will rework and modernize three Benchmarks topics specifically chosen by the CJC. LFI will create materials for the public and train attorneys on the materials and most effective methods for teaching the Benchmarks lessons across the state.

The Benchmarks program continues to provide education on the principles of democracy and the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary to adults.

The goals of the Lou Frey Institute, under the guidance of the CJC, are to develop professional development modules and materials for the updated Benchmarks, train TFB volunteer lawyers to present both in-person and virtual presentations and ensure appropriate implementation of the activities, assist TFB in evaluating the program using collected feedback and other sources (e.g., national studies on adult civic education) and recommend changes to meet additional measurable objectives; and train attorneys to become effective presenters with the ability to train others.

The CJC’s goals were as follows and the work accomplished by the chair and two subcommittees are described below.

Goals: Following approval from the Board of Governors, CJC worked with LFI to establish plans to sustain the program with measurable objectives to include an annual review of the individual activities, incorporate virtual presentations, use traditional and new technology (Nearpod) for presentations and feedback and measurement tools, and utilize Sachs Media to create a statewide promotional plan that will increase participation by Bar members and requests for presentations by community organizations.

With assistance from Bar staff, the committee implemented the final LOA’s between LFI and Sachs Media. As chair, I guided the committee to the determination of select Benchmarks to be revamped by LFI and how to best implement LFI’s materials via multiple Bar organizations.

The Procedures and Measurement Tools Subcommittee, chaired by committee Vice Chair Jason Silver, created survey feedback questions that will be used by trained presenters and attendees of Benchmark presentations. Those survey questions will be used in traditional print and electronic formats.

The Promotion Plan Subcommittee, chaired by committee member Katherine Van de Bogart, used the marketing materials presented by Sachs Media to brand grassroots campaigns by the CJC to recruit potential presenters and groups statewide to receive Benchmarks training.

Work has begun in preparation for the 2022 judicial elections with a committee-wide review of the “Guide for Florida Voters” and Voluntary Self Disclosure Statement. The committee members will begin reaching out to their home DCAs to encourage judges running for election to fill out their statement, which will be posted on the Bar’s website. Bar staff is compiling what will be needed for the Merit Retention Poll for the 2022 judicial elections.

The committee appreciated the support of the members of the BOG in allowing the partnerships between the CJC and LFI and Sachs Media to move forward. Next year will be a pivotal year for Benchmarks as the CJC begins holding Benchmarks presentations across the state.

Appreciation is extended to committee staff liaison Leslie Smith for her guidance and assistance.

Judge Gary Flower, Chair 

Construction Law Certification

The Construction Law Certification Committee has continued to pursue additional initiatives to improve the quality of the construction law certification exam for 2022 and learn from the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of this date, there are 418 board certified construction lawyers, including 22 who passed the 2021 exam (out of 43 examinees) and 56 lawyers applied to take the 2022 exam in May.

We continue to employ virtual meetings to bring committee members together from around the state and advance the work of the committee. The certification exam has been issued both remotely and in-person for the past two years and will continue to be issued in this hybrid manner on May 12. This year, examinees who have chosen to hand-write their exam answers will be taking the test live in Orlando.

We also approved changes to the exam specifications to phase out the 2007 and 2009 version of certain AIA form documents that previously appeared on the exam. Our committee also continues to create new multiple-choice and essay questions and update our test bank questions, consistent with the BLSE’s exam drafting guidelines.

This year, our exam will again consist of 100 multiple-choice questions and four essay questions, divided into four 90-minute segments. It will be further edited and evaluated prior to the May exam to ensure the finished product is one we all feel confident releasing to the examinees as they take the exam.

Our committee recertified over 70 lawyers who applied this year after reviewing applications, including careful consideration of peer review statements, grievance history, and CLE compliance.

Committee members have devoted countless hours writing exam questions and grading exams, and thoroughly reviewing certification and recertification applications. We continue to have outstanding staff support from our Florida Bar liaison, Allison Armour, and owe her the highest gratitude for her diligent efforts in assisting our committee during this challenging and busy year.

Finally, thanks to all our committee members for their steadfastness and devotion to ensuring that Florida maintains the highest ethical standards for construction law attorneys.

Kimberly C. Hirschman, Chair

Consumer Protection Law

For more than 40 years, the Consumer Protection Law Committee has continued to educate consumers and Bar members about consumer protection laws and issues, as well as provide expert resources to attorneys, judges, and lawmakers. The committee, which accomplishes its work through seven subcommittees, has been active this year. Among its accomplishments, the committee:

1) Hosted the Presidential Showcase winning CLE seminar at the 2021 Annual Convention, “Assisting Consumers in the Aftermath of COVID-19.”

2) Organized a new CLE seminar to be held virtually as part of the upcoming Bar Annual Convention on Wednesday, June 22. The 2022 seminar is “Foundations in Consumer Law and Strategies in Representing the Pro Bono Client.”

3) Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Subcommittee hosted quarterly, “cyberside chats” to discuss recent data privacy and security enforcement actions.

4) Monitored legislation to assess how proposed bills would affect Florida consumers.

5) Awarded The Florida Bar Consumer Protection 2021 Lawyer of the Year Award to Carol Degraffenreidt of the Office of the Attorney General.

6) Updated the online submission form to begin accepting new nominations for deserving attorneys to be selected for The Florida Bar Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year Award for 2022.

7) Prepared to distribute the updated Bench Manual on consumer issues published by the Florida Court Education Council for use by Florida state court judges.

8) Together with The Florida Bar, the subcommittee conducted an audit to review and identify the most relevant consumer pamphlets to educate the public on their rights. The subcommittee continues to review and update The Florida Bar consumer pamphlets on an on-going basis.

9) Reinvigorated our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages to engage Florida consumers and attorneys as part of the committee’s outreach and education efforts.

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity: The Consumer Protection Law Committee’s newest subcommittee was established last year to educate and inform fellow Floridians and attorneys about the growing and evolving impact that data privacy and cyber issues have upon Florida consumers, lawyers, and business. Through “cyberside chats” hosting various subject-matter experts, this subcommittee shares knowledge, insight, and awareness regarding emerging trends and recent developments. These presentations include topics ranging from providing a general overview on data breaches and ransomware and offering guidance to lawyers at small and large law firms about best security practices to sharing in-house, corporate perspectives on establishing protocols and policies to protect customer information, as well as reporting on developments with recent privacy bills introduced in the Florida Legislature. This subcommittee is headed by Chair Anthony J. Palermo of Holland and Knight, LLP, who was assisted by subcommittee members Kyle Dull, Leia Leitner, Richard P. Lawson, and committee Vice Chair Patrice Malloy.

The CLE Seminar Subcommittee worked on organizing the next CLE on Foundations in Consumer Law and Strategies in Representing the Pro Bono Client. In addition to lawyers seeking to learn the practice of consumer law, volunteer lawyers are needed to help the many low-income clients facing a wide assortment of consumer law matters who are unrepresented. Attendees are invited to join and learn the basics of consumer law so that they can competently represent a client in need, and to acquire new advocacy skills and strategies. The seminar will be held during the Bar Annual Convention on Wednesday, June 22 (8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Special thanks go to subcommittee Co-Chairs Ruth Jackson Lee of Jackson Lee P.A. and Margery Golant of Margery E. Golant, P.A., as well as the dedicated subcommittee members Jared Lee, Robert Murphy, Vanessa Clark, Lynn Drysdale, Jennifer Pinder, Aaron Weiss, and committee Vice Chair Derek Mountford.

Legislative: The Legislative Subcommittee has continued to diligently track and monitor legislation to assess how various bills would affect Florida consumers, as well as prepare summaries of specific bills that may impact consumer law in Florida. The subcommittee remains available for consultation by Florida legislators if they seek further insight and analysis on particular issues. In prior legislative sessions, the CPLC has responded to requests for information from the legislature on consumer issues, such as PACE loans and high-cost consumer loans. This active subcommittee is headed by Co-Chairs Rachel Bentley, an assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division of the AG’s office, and Barry Balmuth of Barry S. Balmuth, P.A. with the help of subcommittee members Nicholas T. Zbrzeznj, Mandy Mills, Carol DeGraffenreidt, Vanessa Clark, and committee Vice Chair Richard Polk Lawson.

Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year: For the 12th year, the committee will honor an attorney for excellence, character, community involvement, and commitment to the practice of consumer protection law. The Awards Subcommittee is led by Genevieve Bonan, senior assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division of the AG’s office with the assistance of subcommittee members Viviana Escobar, Steve Gard, Victoria Butler, and CPLC Vice Chair Patrice Malloy. To enhance accessibility, the nomination form is available online and in PDF format. The committee reached out to legal aid organizations, voluntary bar associations, leaders in the community, and private firms to widen the pool of nominees.

Bench manual for Florida judges: The committee has prepared a Florida Bar Consumer Protection Law Committee bench book covering six areas of law affecting consumers: the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act; auto sales and finance; the state’s Lemon Law; credit card actions; residential evictions; and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. The Publications Committee of the Florida Court Education Council approved use of The Florida Bar Consumer Protection Law Committee bench book two years ago. The manual is posted on the intranet of the Office of the State Courts Administrator. The committee is working on distributing the updated manual to the bench before the end of 2022. Co-Chairs Taras Rudnisky of Rudnisky Law Firm and Robert Neary of Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton, P.A., are overseeing the edits with the assistance of subcommittee members Adam Thorensen, Eric Matthew, Tiffany Wax, Brett Foster, and Andrea White.

Florida Bar Consumer Pamphlets updated: When consumers need basic legal information on a variety of topics from landlord-tenant issues to writing a will, they can turn to The Florida Bar’s 47 consumer pamphlets. The committee reviews and updates these pamphlets, which are available at www.floridabar.org/public/consumer/. Marena S. Ramirez of the Office of the Attorney General chaired the committee this year with the assistance of David Abrams, Guillermo Levy, Viviana Escobar, and CPLC Vice Chair Kaelyn Diamond in preparing both English and Spanish translations of pamphlets to provide critical information to consumers about their rights under Florida law.

The Social Media and Outreach Subcommittee focuses on highlighting the accomplishments and events organized by the Consumer Protection Law Committee’s other subcommittees through weekly posts on Fac ebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The subcommittee updates consumers on many relevant topics, such as, COVID resources and financial assistance updates from the CFPB and FTC. As well, the subcommittee worked to increase exposure of local legal aid Zoom webinars and CLEs that became more accessible to all Floridians than previous in-person events had ever been. Harold Oehler of Oehler Mediation chaired the subcommittee, with Dennis J. Wall acting as lead Twitter manager, Kaelyn Diamond as Facebook manager and Janelle Weber managing the LinkedIn page.

I thank Vice Chairs Patrice Malloy, Derek Mountford, Richard Polk Lawson, and Kaelyn Diamond. Their efforts, along with the efforts of our active members, contributed to another successful year for the Consumer Protection Law Committee.

Beth A. Norrow, Chair

Condominium and Planned Development Law Certification

The Condominium and Planned Development Law Certification, through the oversight of the Board of Legal Specialization and Education, consists of 198 certified attorneys as of June 1.

This committee certifies attorneys whose practice of law involves 1) serving as counsel to community associations, developers, lenders, property owners, community association members, sellers, purchasers, governmental agencies, and investors in matters related to condominiums and planned developments; 2) drafting governing documents or their amendments and preparing filings with governmental agencies that regulate community associations or planned developments; 3) serving in or for governmental agencies that regulate community associations or planned developments; 4) representing parties in construction lien and defect claims, collection of assessment actions, covenant and rule enforcement and dispute resolution, such as litigation, arbitration, and mediations in matters relating to community associations or planned developments; and 5) planning, developing, constructing, and financing of condominium or planned development communities.

The 2021-2022 committee received 17 applications; 16 were approved to sit for the examination; and nine applicants actually sat for the examination administered March 10.

During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the committee met numerous times by conference call and in person to 1) review any possible lessons learned from the previously administered examinations; 2) prepare a study guide and sample questions published on the certification website to assist applicants preparing the examination; 3) review and evaluate the credentials of the applicants; 4) preparation of the current examination; and 5) grading of the examination.

Members of the Condominium and Planned Development Law Certification Committee are Russell M. Robbins, chair, Coral Springs; Kenneth S. Direktor, vice chair, Ft. Lauderdale; Barry B. Ansbacher, Jacksonville; Viviana E. Aspuru, Coral Gables; Shawn G. Brown, Tampa; Charles B. Capps, Ft. Myers; Christopher N. Davies, Naples; Peter M. Dunbar, Tallahassee; and Robert S. Freedman, Tampa. I thank each committee member for their outstanding contributions to the committee this year.

On behalf of the entire committee, I express our appreciation for the support of Jasmine Rodriguez, our Bar staff liaison.

I encourage all eligible attorneys to apply for certification when the application period opens in July. This designation identifies an individual to other attorneys and to the public as having specialized knowledge, and as importantly, having been evaluated by their peers.

Russell M. Robbins, Chair

Continuing Legal Education

The mission of the Continuing Legal Education Committee is to assist the members of The Florida Bar in their continuing legal education. The committee includes representatives from other committees and all Florida Bar sections. This allows various sections and committees to share ideas regarding successful programming techniques as well as marketing models to reach wide audiences.

This year, there are four working subcommittees to further the CLE Committee’s mission:

Handbook Subcommittee — Revise and update the CLE Committee Handbook to assist Florida Bar sections with the production and delivery of quality CLE programs.

Marketing/Advertising Subcommittee — Responsible for recommendations to generate interest in seminars produced by The Florida Bar and encourage purchases of the Bar’s CLE products (CD and DVD, 24/7 on demand CLE, Publications, etc.).

Technology/Webinar Subcommittee — Charged with developing and delivering the highest quality Quick How-to Video Guide to a Successful Webinar and Quick How-to Video Guide to Effective Use of Technology in a Live Seminar and/or Webinar.

Increasing and Diversifying the Speaker Pool Subcommittee — Responsible for recommendations to promote diversity of speakers with the understanding that diversity presents different perspectives, life experiences, and creates a more dynamic seminar.

On October 14, 2021, the CLE Committee held its virtual retreat. 5528 Ethical Technological Solutions for your Law Practice seminar was presented by Marck Joseph and Sarah E. Kay, which included 3.5 hours of technology CLE. The CLE were recorded and is available for free credit online, www.floridabar.org/about/cmtes/cmtes-cm/cmte-cm120/.

The CLE Committee revised the 2.02 Speaker Diversity policy, and it was approved by the Board of Governors.

In keeping with the speaker diversity policy, the Increasing and Diversifying the Speaker Pool Subcommittee has developed a proposed “Diversity and Inclusion Survey” for attendees. The survey questionnaire is comprised of both multiple-choice and write-in inquiries. Also, the subcommittee is striving to have a proposed “Diversity and Inclusion Survey” for administrators and section chairs by June, coordinated in conjunction with The Florida Bar’s RPE Department.

The CLE Committee developed and is in the process of implementing new course evaluations for online webcast, CD/DVD and 24/7 aftermarket product formats. Previously, only live in-person course attendees were given the opportunity to evaluate a course, and this improvement should dramatically expand the number of survey responses each course receives, as well as offer additional insight into how to improve our collective virtual CLE programming. The implementation process is still under a foot due to the fact there are two separate operating systems, and an integrating process needs to be developed for attendees to evaluate the online webcast, CD/DVD, and 24/7 aftermarket products.

The CLE Committee developed and implemented evaluation forms for committee members’ webcast evaluations.

The CLE Committee, to continue its goal of assisting Florida Bar Committees to maximize the quality of their CLE presentation, presented 4899 Speaker Fever 2021 at the 2021 Florida Bar Annual Convention. The seminar was a virtual three-hour CLE which covered, “The Production: Best Practices in Creating, Preparing, and Presenting Great Florida Bar CLE,” “Not Your Parents’ Classroom: Best Practices in Employing Technology and Maximize the Impact of Your Florida Bar CLE,” and “Always Be Closing: Best Practices in Marketing Great Florida Bar CLE.” To diversify the pool of speakers and encourage members of The Florida Bar who seek to become a presenter to offer their services to our profession at the Bar’s various programs, the course was free. Additionally, the course was recorded and made available online for those who were unable to attend. The CLE Committee hopes our sections and committees will continue to enact practices and policies that develop the confidence and skills of newer members of The Florida Bar to allow those persons to assume leadership roles. You can say that this year our committee was focused on activities designed to make all members of this profession feel inclusive and knowledgeable in presenting and promoting CLEs.

Patricia Dawson, Chair

Criminal Law Certification

The Criminal Law Certification Committee is responsible for overseeing the process of certifying attorneys as either criminal trial specialists or criminal appellate specialists recognized by The Florida Bar and for reviewing the applications of currently certified attorneys seeking recertification because their terms are expiring. The certification process includes the following requirements: satisfactory peer review references, passing the certification examination (initial applicants only), substantial involvement in either criminal appellate law or criminal trial law, and a handling of either criminal appellate actions or trials. For initial criminal appellate applicants: representation of at least 25 criminal appellate actions. For recertification criminal appellate applicants: representation of at least 10 criminal appellate actions. For initial criminal trial applicants: at least 25 contested criminal cases, with 20 jury trials tried to a verdict, 15 which involved a felony charge, 10 as lead counsel. For recertification criminal trial applicants: at least five contested criminal cases, with four that were before a jury, and three that involved a felony charge.

The time frame for qualifying criminal appellate actions and trials is within the five years preceding an application. However, to offset the impact of court closures and delays due to COVID, an administrative order presently in effect extends this time frame to allow applicants to submit appeals and trials that took place within the preceding seven years. The administrative order is scheduled to expire on October 31.

As chair of the Criminal Law Certification Committee, I am happy to report another successful year of overseeing the certification of Florida criminal lawyers. This year, the committee was comprised of 12 geographically diverse board-certified attorneys who practice in a variety of areas, including criminal trial, criminal appellate, criminal prosecution, and criminal defense. The committee consists of government attorneys, public defenders, judges, and private practitioners. The committee began drafting the 2022 examination in July 2021 and met in October 2021 (via Zoom) and in December 2021 (in-person) to review initial and recertification applications. After pre-testing feedback, the examination questions for 2022 are in the process of being finalized to meet the high standards expected by committee members and The Florida Bar.

Both the criminal trial and criminal appellate certification exams contain five essay questions and 50 multiple-choice questions addressing procedural and substantive law in both state and federal court. The exam is written to assess a criminal lawyer’s fundamental knowledge of the law, analytical reasoning, and skill in applying knowledge to practical situations in both Florida and federal law. On May 13, applicants will answer these questions in four 90-minute sessions. The exam will be administered remotely via ExamSoft. For attorneys who will be writing exam answers by hand, the exam will be administered in person in Orlando. Applicants will be advised of their results by July 31.

At its final meeting, the committee will grade the 2022 examinations within the parameters of a standardized rubric. The committee grades the examinations on an anonymous basis, with each examinee identified to committee members only by a number assigned by Florida Bar staff. Those attorneys who meet all requirements for a certified attorney and achieve a passing score on the examination will earn the designation as a criminal appellate law board certified specialist or criminal trial law board certified specialist.

Of the more than 100,000 members of The Florida Bar, 418 are currently board certified in criminal trial law, and 41 are board certified in criminal appellate law. In 2021, 74 attorneys sought recertification in criminal trial law, and nine sought recertification in criminal appellate law. Thirty-two attorneys applied to take the 2022 criminal trial law certification exam, and nine attorneys applied to take the 2022 criminal appellate law certification exam.

The committee is grateful to the lawyers who participate in the confidential peer review process. Without candid commentary from applicants’ peers, the committee’s ability to properly review applicants’ qualifications would be severely curtailed. The committee emphasizes to Bar members and judicial officers that commentary is confidential and will not be divulged to any applicant.

It has been an honor to serve as chair of the committee this year, along with Cyrus Toufanian (vice chair), Lawrence Avallone, Judge Donna Goerner, Ira Karmelin, Alison Lopes, William Ponall, Michael Salnick, Judge Kathryn Speicher, Mitchell Stone, and Nancy Wear. Of course, the committee is aware that none of our work could have been accomplished without our wonderful staff liaison, Laurinda Jackson! I thank Ms. Jackson and the committee members for their dedication and hard work.

Melynda Melear, Chair

Diversity & Inclusion

Although the pandemic continued to interrupt our plans and caused us to “pivot” more than we would have liked, we, the largest of the Bar’s committees, worked diligently to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within The Florida Bar. It has been almost two years since we have met in person or been able to execute many of our statewide plans. But, because of our stellar executive council team, we continued to be an impactful and supportive force for our Bar’s minority members. Our extraordinary team of subcommittee co-chairs performed efficiently and effectively. They are Valeria Obi and Anika Hardmon, Get Involved: Katherine Scott and Starlett Massey, Multi-cultural: Julian Jackson-Fannin, Michael Andriano and Jade Davis, Grants: John Schifino and Rashaundra Suggs, Gender Equality: Lakisha Kinsey-Sallis and Jenay Iurato, Communications: Yumeko Motley and Patrick Cousins, Path to Unity: Charlie Ann Syprett, Harriet Williams and Larry Smith, and Bar Rules: Jared Krukar and David Brunell. We all met monthly via Zoom, and they each held their own monthly meetings.

This is my third and last year as chair of the Diversity Committee. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this vitally critical effort and to work with such talented, passionate, and committed lawyers.

I am most grateful for their hard work, leadership, friendship, and support throughout these challenging times. Additionally, I will be forever grateful for the unending support and guidance of Arnell Bryant-Willis, the Bar’s diversity manager. She has been the committee’s lifeline during the pandemic’s relentless attack. Although I will no longer serve as chair, I will remain dedicated to and supportive of the work of this committee.

Below is a just a brief snapshot of this year’s abundant efforts. You will see that despite the pandemic, it has been a busy year for us, and, that there is still much work to do.

Path To Unity (Ad Hoc) — Led by myself, Larry Smith, and Harriet Williams, we were finally able to kick off our program in Jacksonville — not the way we had planned; but, still memorable. We worked closely with the Jacksonville Bar Association, to launch this statewide, multi-year project. The portraits of five legendary Florida lawyers, James Weldon Johnson, Anna Brenner Meyers, Judge Mario Goderich, Larry D. Smith, and James Kracht were unveiled in October with a grand video presentation that included Florida Bar President Mike Tanner. From there the portraits began their statewide journey and were displayed in Volusia County and Orlando before the pandemic again stalled our efforts in January. We will begin again in August with the portraits travelling across the state and up the west coast before heading to the 2023 Annual Convention. Our celebratory gala will now take place during the 2023 Annual Convention. Meanwhile, the original paintings are on display in the beautiful and historic rotunda of the Florida Supreme Court.

Get Involved — This subcommittee worked tirelessly to coordinate Path to Unity events in local jurisdictions. Their subcommittee members served as ambassadors to our program working with local VBAs to schedule and plan the Path to Unity events. They also worked closely with our Pipeline Subcommittee to ensure that the education outreach component of the project was executed in each participating venue. The project will resume in August with their newly revised robust schedule. A special thank you to Katherine Scott, Starlett Massey, LaTesha Campbell, Vanessa Clark, Jenn Thomas, Dan Zuniga, Kyleen Hinkle, Brittany Cobb, Alcolya St. Juste, Hon. Tonya Brinkley, Carter Sox, Marisol Ruiz, and BJ Okcukar.

Pipeline — The Pipeline Subcommittee led by Anika Hardmon, and Valeria Obi, organized the education component of the Path to Unity project. We are most proud of the work of Pipeline Subcommittee members Vironica Brown and Viville Dietrich for their presentation at Bethune Cookman College. We look forward to the work of members Lori Dorman, James Rosenberg, Gemma Torcivia, Sui Chung, Trizia Eavenson, and Winnifred Accosta when the program resumes.

Recognizing that there are still many areas of law with minimal minority practitioners, the Pipeline team continued their compelling webinar series, “You Mean I Can Do That Too.” Created in 2020, the program seeks to introduce minority high school, college, and law school students to “nontraditional” areas of the law. This year’s webinar introduced students to the opportunities in the practice of healthcare and administrative law. They plan to expand this program each year and to strengthen our collaboration with Florida’s law schools.

In April 2022, they will present “The Pathway to the Bench,” which will discuss both the appointment and elected avenues to the bench.

Multicultural — Once again, the pandemic forced the delay of our planned symposium. Co-Chairs Julian Jackon-Fannin, Michael Adriano and Jade Davis had planned an exciting program for the entire Bar. Due to the pandemic, this has been rescheduled for January 2023.

Grants — The pandemic did not slow down the Grants Subcommittee. Co-Chairs John Schifino and ReShaundra Suggs and their subcommittee members evaluated the highest number of applications received in the committee’s history. After careful consideration, they awarded grants to support 31 different initiatives and programs that will encourage diversity, offer diversity training, or promote dialogue among lawyers in Florida. The programs funded included conferences, seminars, summits, and symposia planned and hosted by local and specialty bar associations. All programs have been or will be featured on our website’s calendar and will be showcased on the Diversity Committee’s Facebook page.

After completing the award process, they then conducted a thorough review of their application and review process and published a revised application this March.

Gender Equality — This subcommittee continues to be guided by the recommendations of the 2017 Report of The Florida Bar’s Special Committee on Gender Bias. Co-Chairs LaKisha Kinsey-Sallis and Jenay Lurato continued their webinar series that addresses issues unique to women lawyers, “Leveling the Playing Field.” In November, they presented, “Building Blocks for Successful Business,” featuring Yvette Simmons and Lynda McDermott. In April, the series will continue with, “Best Practices for Recruiting, Retaining and Developing Women Lawyers.” Plans are also underway to host a book discussion intended to promote the advancement of women.

Communications — Led by Yumeko Motely and Patrick Cousins, the Communications Subcommittee worked to keep the importance of diversity and inclusion within our Bar on the very front burner. In addition to creating an annual calendar for themed social media postings, they have been active in helping to market both Florida Bar and VBA diversity-related programs. Our lively Facebook page not only showcases successful Florida minority lawyers, but it also advertises diversity events across the state and raises awareness of current and relevant issues. They also created the Path to Unity project brochure, which will be distributed throughout the state.

Rules — The Rules Subcommittee has become one of the most important subcommittees. This work is critical to the Bar’s future as a diverse and inclusive organization. Serving as ambassadors of our mission the subcommittee members regularly engaged with Board of Governors members in our effort to stay abreast of various policy and rule proposals that could negatively impact diversity and inclusion initiatives. They also continued their work with the Council of Sections to develop strategies regarding bar-wide impacts of various proposed rules and policy changes.

They conducted an extensive review of the BOG’s proposal to amend the board certification Rules 6-3.5, 6-3.6, and 6-10.3, and assisted with providing information for others’ coordinated efforts regarding the proposal and the potential disparate impact it would have on women and minorities.

This subcommittee now conducts a regular review of Florida Supreme Court opinions and dockets to stay abreast of significant proposed changes in rules or policies that could impact the Bar’s diversity and inclusiveness. They closely studied the proposed amendment to Rule 6-10.3 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and Supreme Court Case SC21-284, including all comments filed. They disseminated information about the proposal and encouraged lawyers throughout the Bar’s sections to get involved in the discussion. They are currently engaging in a similar extensive and in-depth review of the Judicial Management Council Workgroup’s proposed amendments to The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, from SC22-122, to determine if there is any impact that would conflict with the goals of our committee and The Florida Bar.

Finally, they addressed a longtime need of our committee — the collection of reliable demographic information. They are working with other subcommittees, Bar staff, BOG members, and the Council of Sections to investigate and develop strategies for obtaining reliable demographic information that would be authorized by The Florida Bar.

Charlie Ann Syprett, Chair

Education Law

The Education Law Committee chose as its theme this year, “Reconnecting and Rebuilding Bridges.” We planned on returning to in-person meetings and networking just as soon as possible, but Omicron delayed us until March.

In June 2021, the committee considered education legislation that passed during the 2021 regular session. One CLE was, “Postsecondary Education Roundup from the 2021 Regular Session and the other was PreK-12 Education Roundup from the 2021 Regular Session.”

The committee also wrestled with on-campus controversial speech by considering a, “Leadership Response to Free Speech Crisis on Campus: A Case Study on Dillard University.”

On October 8, 2021, the committee spent the afternoon considering collective bargaining, beginning with the Scope of Bargaining for Educational Institutions, then turning to give-and-take between counsel for management and labor on contemporary bargaining issues including the response to COVID-19.

The committee also re-launched its Lunch-n-Learn Series with CLE presentations on, “Vaccines, Mask Mandates, and Florida Education Law and Federal Education Policy, Regulation and Personnel in the Biden Era.” The Lunch-n-Learn Series will continue monthly.

To start off the new year, on January 27, the committee sponsored its annual Education Law Workshop to help prepare lawyers to take education law certification exam. The committee considers expanding the numbers of board-certified education lawyers a priority. Workshop topics included Fla. Const. art. IX, qualified and sovereign immunity, student rights and discipline, whistleblowers, and ethics.

On March 4, the committee continued its bridge-building efforts by co-sponsoring for the first time the Stetson University National Conference on Higher Education Law & Policy in Clearwater Beach. We were pleased to resume in-person programming and networking among committee members and with law students. The committee sponsored a panel, “Prominent Legal, Policy and Compliance Challenges Facing Florida Secondary and Postsecondary Educational Institutions.”

On June 24, committee members are scheduled to come together in person again for the Bar’s Annual Convention.

The committee has also tried to grow the membership this year. In November, we sent an invitation to education lawyers around the state to join our committee.

The committee published two issues of Florida Education Law. The committee also hosted social media sites to keep the membership in touch with current events in education law.

My sincere thanks go to Vice Chairs Lacey Hofmeyer, David D’Agata, Mary C. Lawson, and Gregg Morton. All of them contributed leadership and presentations to the committee, and a few also published in Florida Education Law. I could not have done it without them.

Thanks also goes to our several fantastic CLE presenters this year to include Matthew Bouck, Robert Farrell, Gerard D. Solis, Michael Mattimore, Don Slesnick, Blaze Bowers, Daniel Woodring, Lauren Maddox, J. Paul Carland, Glen Stewart, Dennis J. Alfonso, Lisa Carmona, and Gray Schafer.

My personal thanks also go to the leadership of The Florida Bar for the opportunity to lead the committee. Bar committee leadership is a professionally rewarding and important undertaking.

Nathan A. Adams IV, Chair

Education Law Certification

 The Education Law Certification Committee serves to promote certification among attorneys who practice education law. “Education law” means the practice of law involving the legal rights, responsibilities, procedures, and practices of educational institutions (schools, colleges, and universities, whether public, charter, or private), students, personnel employed by or on behalf of educational institutions, and the guardians and parents of students participating in education. The practice area covers a broad range of legal matters, with the common element being that these legal matters are on behalf of, or related to, an educational institution. This year marks the 11th year of education law certification. As of the writing of this annual report, there are 46 board certified attorneys in education law, the committee reviewed 13 recertifications for the 2021-2022 year, and three applicants have been approved to sit for the March examination.

The committee met regularly through the year, virtually and by telephone. The committee continued its ongoing work to add, update, and improve the examination based on the ever-changing legal landscape of education law. The committee reviewed initial and recertification applicants for this area. Also, for the first time, a member of the certification committee spoke at the education law certification exam review course to talk about the exam specifications and test taking resources.

The members of the 2021-2022 Education Law Certification Committee are Chair Sarah Wallerstein Koren, Vice Chair Laura Pincus, and Karen Meta Chastain, Marilyn Batista, John Paul Carland II, Heather Wallace, Dana Macdonald, David Delaney, and Youndy Cook. I am grateful for the committee members’ dedicated service to our Bar. On behalf of the entire committee, I thank and commend Charlotte Bell for her assistance in completing the committee’s work.

The committee acknowledges the efforts of the Education Law Committee, which has promoted this certification area and provided the certification examination review course for the benefit of applicants and members of the committee alike.

Sarah Wallerstein Koren, Chair

Elder Law Certification

The Elder Law Certification Committee is comprised of nine board-certified elder law attorneys appointed by The Florida Bar president-elect. The committee members serve staggered three-year terms.

There were four attorneys who were newly certified for the 2021-2022 fiscal year: Kevin Albaum, Marissa DeBellis, Joannie Rodriguez, and Carla Conley-Trinca. The total number of board-certified elder law attorneys now stands at 117.

During the year, the committee reviewed 22 re-certification applications, four initial applications, and four attorneys are confirmed to sit for the exam on March 12. Good luck to all the examinees!

The committee has worked hard this year to create an examination that accurately and thoroughly tests the applicant’s knowledge and skill. We met through Zoom calls to draft, edit, and refine the examination questions. Additionally, the questions were vetted by an exam consultant and pre-testers who are board-certified attorneys. Much thanks to Carolyn Landon, Dana Kemper, Enrique Zamora, and Linda Solash-Reed who volunteered to serve as pre-testers.

This year’s Elder Law Certification Committee was chaired by Jana McConnaughhay (Tallahassee), and Marjorie Wolasky (Miami) served as vice chair. Other members included: Laurie Ohall (Brandon), Christopher Likens (Sarasota), Jill Ginsburg (Ft. Lauderdale), Beth Prather (Ft. Myers), Matthew Linde (Ft. Myers), Alex Cuello (Miami), and Amy McGarry (Cape Coral). We are especially grateful to our certification specialist, Laurinda Jackson, whose organization kept us on task and efficient. Thank you, also to our committee members who worked hard during another difficult year where we could not meet in person.

Jana McConnaughhay, Chair

Family Law Rules

It has been an exciting, busy, and productive year for the Family Law Rules Committee. While the committee has worked on numerous rules proposals, the committee also diligently worked on matters referred to it by the Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court and rule changes by the Florida Supreme Court.

This year the committee continued the practice of frequent, full committee meetings to ensure consistent progress. I encourage any future chairs to continue with this process as I believe it resulted in substantial action as well as kept momentum and members engaged in the process.

I had the honor this year, along with Cory Brandfon (the immediate past chair of the committee), of presenting oral argument in front of the Florida Supreme Court as to the committee’s comment to the court’s change to Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.510 (Summary Judgment). The subcommittee put in substantial time and effort in drafting the committee’s comment to this rule change. The Supreme Court did adopt some of the proposed changes from the committee’s comment.

Another substantial undertaking by the committee during the 2021-2022 Bar year included responding to the referral received by the Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court. This referral included creating a new rule to address the use of communication technology in the family law realm (Proposed Rule 12.026), a significant new rule considering the recent and necessary increased use of communication technology over the past few years; as well as proposed rules changes to Rules 12.310, 12.320, 12.407, 12.410, 12.430, 12.440, 12.451, and 12.470. The subcommittee formed to respond to this referral (which included multiple ad hoc members from the judiciary) worked tirelessly under time constraints to ensure the committee’s best work product. This kind of undertaking was unique, and I am very thankful for and proud of the effort put forth by the subcommittee members.

Additionally, the committee has considered several rule and form amendments including Rule 12.490 (General Magistrates) and Rule 12.491 (Child Support Enforcement), Rule 12.530 (Motions for a New Trial and Rehearing; Amendments of Judgements), Rule 12.100 (Pleadings and Motions, Rule 12.351 (Production of Documents and Things Without Deposition), Rule 12.340 (Interrogatories to Parties), Rule 12.200 (Case Management and Pre-Trial Conferences, Form 12.930(b) (Standard Family Law Interrogatories for Original or Enforcement Proceedings), and Form 12.930(c) (Standard Family Law Interrogatories for Modification Proceedings).

The committee also has over 22 subcommittees working on various matters, one of which includes finalization of amending the financial affidavit form that the committee has been working on for several years.

The successes of the committee would not have been possible without the effort and dedication of every single member. I send a special thank you to immediate Past Chair Cory Brandfon, our Vice Chairs Michael Andriano, Charis Campbell, Roberta Walton, and Judge Howard McGillin for their valuable guidance, assistance, tremendous time and effort, and true passion for Florida families.

Finally, I am extremely grateful for the dedication of our Florida Bar attorney liaison, Mikalla Davis. She works tirelessly to provide input and assistance regardless of the ask, and we would be lost without her as our guiding light.

This was an extraordinary year for the Family Law Rules Committee. Substantial progress occurred this year, but I am excited by the progress of the active subcommittees as an indicator for more to come. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as chair, and I thank the leadership of The Florida Bar for the opportunity to do so.

Ashley E. Taylor, Chair

Federal Court Practice

The Federal Court Practice Committee (FCPC) serves as The Florida Bar’s liaison to our federal courts, local Federal Bar Association chapters, the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference, and federal practitioners throughout our state (and beyond).

Like most Florida Bar committees, the FCPC continued its focus on utilizing virtual video formats for its meetings and events given the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee held its committee and subcommittee meetings virtually, and the committee has presented and continues to present virtual educational panels focused on addressing federal practice during the pandemic to continue its mission of presenting informative and timely updates on federal court practice. This virtual format has enabled the committee to broaden its reach across the state and enabled its programs to have a wider audience.

The FCPC hosts its signature event, the Federal Judicial Roundtable, annually during The Florida Bar Annual Convention. The CLE event provides an opportunity for federal judges to engage in a small setting with practitioners, including younger practitioners, on issues of ethics, professionalism, court procedure, and technology. The roundtable historically draws dozens of federal appellate, district, magistrate, and bankruptcy judges, and over 100 practitioners and concludes with a reception honoring the judiciary. While the 2021 roundtable was virtual for the second time, the 2022 roundtable will be in person. This year, the roundtable will address the changes in federal court practice and procedure as courts emerge from the pandemic. In a departure from past events, we intend to forgo having a featured presenter, and instead focus the time on the guided roundtable discussions between attorneys and the federal judges. The Roundtable Subcommittee is chaired by U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel C. Irick and Bernice Lee.

In addition to the roundtable, the FCPC presents CLEs through our subcommittees and in cooperation with the various Florida Federal Bar Association (FBA) chapters located across the state. Our Education Subcommittee, led by Brandon Breslow and Peter Sartes, so far have successfully organized two panels of judges and practitioners — one in the fall focused on the increasing number of multi-district litigation (MDL) matters assigned to Florida federal trial court judges, and the different procedures required to litigate those actions. The second successful panel discussion was held in March, focused on discovery issues presented by the large volume of electronically stored information (ESI). Our Pro Bono Committee, led by Kelly Garcia and Ana Martinez, has organized an upcoming panel of judges to present a seminar on April 14 on pro-bono practice in the federal court system. In conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division, the committee is taking the lead in creating a series of video presentations covering basic federal practice for new practitioners. In addition, the committee is continuing its progress toward creating a series of podcast episodes discussing issues in federal practice.

Another key component of the FCPC’s work is the Guide to Judicial Practices in Florida’s Federal Courts, or as it is more affectionately known, “the Guide,” www.floridabar.org/federalcorner. As part of an ongoing effort, the FCPC polls members of the federal judiciary in Florida to learn their preferences on a wide array of topics and maintains the Guide as a resource for practitioners. This subcommittee is co-chaired by Barbara Junge and Kevin Ross-Andino.

Another component of our FCPC is website and social media outreach. Our social media efforts create an active voice on various platforms through which the FCPC provides updates on relevant issues involving federal practice — everything from job openings in the courts, to relevant decisions, to court closures. Our social media team has also allowed the FCPC to deepen its ties with the local FBA chapters by marketing CLE presentations and other relevant events. In addition to social media, our group maintains the Federal Corner on The Florida Bar’s website (www.floridabar.org/federalcorner). Under the direction of subcommittee Co-Chairs Christopher Brochu and Raychelle Tascher, every member of the FCPC serves as a “roving reporter” helping us distribute relevant content to the Bar.

Another significant initiative of the FCPC is its Pro Bono Subcommittee. This subcommittee looks for opportunities to connect federal practitioners with pro bono opportunities in our courts, often in collaboration with local FBA chapters, pro bono service organization, projects, and clinics. The committee is also proud of our Long-Range Planning Subcommittee, which helps steer the FCPC forward and serves as a key component to our growth over recent years. Daniel Newman and Robert Griscti lead this subcommittee. We also need to give proper recognition to Lauren Millcarek and Lindsay Griffin for their leadership of our Federal Rules Subcommittee, keeping members updated about new and proposed rules in each of the districts. We applaud the efforts of all our committee members for making this year successful and productive.

Finally, the FCPC gives special thanks and recognition to our Florida Bar staff liaison, Lani Fraser. She is one of the hardest working people in Tallahassee. Her devotion to and relentless effort in all aspects of the FCPC’s work has allowed the committee to continue to grow and better achieve its mission. Thank you, Lani!

Phil Rothschild, Chair

Florida Bar Journal and News Editorial Board

The Florida Bar Journal and News provide timely, scholarly information to The Florida Bar’s more than 110,000 members. The Journal publishes in-depth, peer-reviewed academic articles on substantive law six times per year, while the News covers timely stories and events in the legal community. The Florida Bar News publishes 12 issues per year in print, and online content is updated daily.

The Editorial Board is 45 members strong this year and primarily serves as peer reviewers of feature articles for the Journal. They serve as subject-matter experts and provide comprehensive and impartial feedback to aspiring authors who submit manuscripts for publication. Additionally, they may write book reviews and participate on various other committees throughout the year. I thank each member for their continued dedication, hard work, and flexibility as we continue to face ever-changing circumstances professionally and personally. I would be remiss if I did not mention staff for their outstanding work and commitment to excellence. Staff work diligently with the Editorial Board to ensure the integrity and high quality of the Journal and News publications. Thanks, Melinda, Mark, and Rawan!

Thank you to all the authors who have submitted articles for consideration. The Editorial Board appreciates your hard work and contribution. Each year, the board selects a feature article to be recognized with The Florida Bar Journal Excellence in Writing Award. This year, the board selected Edmond E. Koester and Matthew B. Devisse for their article, “An Analysis of Current Florida Law in Connection with Recovering Fees on Fees,” which was originally published in the May/June 2021 issue. The Editorial Board congratulates the authors, who will be recognized in an upcoming issue of the News, for their impeccable penmanship.

The Florida Bar Journal and News are available in print and online at https://www.floridabar.org/news/news-journal/. Every issue of the Journal in the past five years is available as a digital flipbook that can be downloaded as a PDF. The News and Journal’s extensive archive also includes 25 years of articles that are available online in a searchable database. It is a tremendous research tool for Florida Bar members and is available free to the public as well.

The Bar actively promotes News and Journal articles on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Additionally, the News and Journal monthly email blast continues to gain in popularity with must-read stories in a convenient monthly digest format.

Between the volunteer members of the Editorial Board, section column editors, and authors, it takes more than 200 Bar members each year to produce the Journal’s content. We thank each of you for your extraordinary contributions and look forward to a bright future for the Journal and News.

Alen Hsu, Chair

Florida Probate Rules

The Probate Rules Committee has had a very productive year thus far. The committee started by proposing edits to the Probate Rules that would mirror changes made to probate and guardianship statutes passed by the 2021 legislature. Our fast-track committee, comprised of Stacy Rubel, Grier Pressley, Nick Curley, and Erin Finlen moved diligently to prepare proposals for submission to the entire committee and then to the Supreme Court. The fast-track proposals were approved in November 2021.

The Probate Rules Committee also filed a comment to the Petition of the Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings during and after COVID-19. The Probate Rules Committee’s minor edits to the COVID-19 Workgroup’s Petition were accepted by the workgroup and included in their revisions promulgated to the Supreme Court. The Probate Rules Committee is currently working on comments to the Workgroup on Improved Resolution of Civil Cases. The committee greatly appreciates the hard work of the members of the workgroups and the ability to comment and collaborate with them to propose rule changes to better the practice of law.

The Probate Rules Committee liaison to the Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration committee, Michael Kangas, is regularly meeting with a liaison committee to address edits to the Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration. The Probate Rules Committee greatly appreciates the opportunity to work with the other rules committees to address e-filing and signature rules, among others, that affect probate and guardianship practitioners.

At the Winter Meeting in January, the Probate Rules Committee approved edits to Rule 5.040 on Formal Notice and proposed a new Form Affidavit of Qualified Custodian. It is anticipated that those edits will be published for comment in April. The committee is also reviewing referrals from practitioners regarding service of formal notice through electronic service, the differences in probate filing requirements throughout the state, and the petition for administration when a business entity intends to serve as personal representative.

Chair Cady Huss thanks the hard work of her vice chairs, Stacy Rubel and Grier Pressley, RGPJA liaison, subcommittee chairs, committee members, PRC Florida Bar Director Krys Godwin, and Program Coordinator Benjamin Morris.

Cady L. Huss, Chair

Florida Registered Paralegal Eligibility and Compliance

The Florida Registered Paralegal Eligibility and Compliance Committee, formerly known as Florida Registered Paralegal Standing Committee, reports another successful year since its inception in 2008. The committee’s primary purpose is to assist in the implementation of the Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) program. The FRP program determines whether a paralegal has met the education, training, certification, and work experience required for registration as set forth in Ch. 20 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The duties of the committee include proposing rule amendments to Ch. 20, setting policy for the program and providing guidance to Bar counsel and the district paralegal committees.

In keeping with its enduring efforts to promote and preserve the Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) Program, the Florida Registered Paralegal Eligibility and Compliance Committee continues to study the ways in which the program can be enhanced for its valuable and valued membership. In conjunction with its sister committee (the Florida Registered Paralegal Enrichment Committee), the Florida Registered Paralegal Eligibility and Compliance Committee aims at growing the program’s membership in several different ways.

Of significance, the committee has voted in favor of reinstating the Grandfathering Provision for qualified FRP applicants meeting specific paralegal work-experience criteria as set forth in Ch. 20 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The provision would allow for applicants to be granted the FRP designation in the absence of other required criteria. The approved change to Ch. 20 to reinstate the grandfathering provision is now in further review by the Board of Governors and The Florida Bar.

The committee also voted to amend the rules to consider the character/fitness of Florida Registered Paralegal applicants in keeping with the standards set forth for attorneys in Ch. 4-8.4 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. This will allow for the committee to conduct the appropriate investigation to determine if applicants possess the professional standard and integrity expected of an FRP.

Florida registered paralegals are now eligible to serve as non-attorney panel members of The Standing Committee on Grievance Mediation and Fee Arbitration. The committee assists in resolving fee disputes between attorneys and their former clients.

A joint symposium with both Florida registered paralegal committees is being planned for the 2022 Florida Bar Annual Convention in Orlando to include the introduction of the recipient of the Florida Registered Paralegal of the Year Award and a networking reception.

Both FRP committees are continuing to work on a Florida Registered Paralegal Student Affiliate Program, which would provide a pathway for students in accredited paralegal programs to become an FRP. The structure of the program would include mentoring, networking opportunities, access to a job bank, as well as discounted rates for seminar/webinar costs.

Steven Sanchez, Chair

Florida Registered Paralegal Enrichment

The FRP Enrichment Committee was formed in 2019 by The Florida Bar with the primary purpose of creating awareness of the FRP program, enhancing communication with regard to the benefits of FRP membership, develop educational programming, and creating a network of paralegals throughout the state to foster camaraderie and cohesiveness. The foundation of the FRP Enrichment Committee rests on four unique subcommittees, each with a specific purpose: CLE Subcommittee, Chair Karen R. George; Special Events Subcommittee, Chair Frank Springer; Communications Subcommittee, Chair Shelly Zambo; and FRP Awareness Subcommittee, Chair Patricia DeRamus. Over the past year, the work accomplished by these subcommittees was momentous all the while adhering to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

The CLE Subcommittee continues to experience and enjoy incredible success with their monthly free CLE program for paralegals and attorneys. From our inaugural presentation back in June 2020, the CLE Subcommittee has reached 17,478 legal paraprofessionals across the state. The CLE topics continue to remain relevant and current and are offered both live and in recorded formats. Karen R. George’s leadership, along with the guidance and production skills of The Florida Bar’s Assistant Program Director Frank Digon-Greer, this CLE program continues to remain one of the FRP Enrichment Committees greatest successes. A complete list of our past presentations is available at https://www.floridabar.org/about/paralegal/frp-corner/#frpce.

The Special Events Subcommittee, saw the success of its first annual FRP of the Year Award Gala in June 2021. With a final total of 161 nominations received, the FRP Enrichment Committee honored Luigi Caldera, an FRP with Holland & Knight’s Litigation South Florida Practice Group. Mr. Caldera’s impressive paralegal career, after overcoming overwhelming obstacles, was both moving and inspirational for all of us in the paralegal profession. Mr. Caldera even took a moment to dedicate his award to his husband, his mother, and a recently deceased grandmother who helped raise him.

Note: Nominations for the 2022 FRP of the Year Award are being accepted until May 2 at https://www.floridabar.org/about/paralegal/frp-corner/florida-registered-paralegal-of-the-year-award/

Our FRP Awareness Subcommittee had a demanding year due to the ongoing restrictions regarding in-person functions, but hit the ground running once the restrictions were lifted. Under the direction of Patricia DeRamus, the committee is getting ready for the upcoming annual 2022 Florida Bar Annual Convention in Orlando. The FRP Enrichment Committee will be sponsoring a table at the convention to increase awareness of being an FRP to the attorneys in attendance. Members of the FRP Awareness Subcommittee will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the program’s requirements, as well as applications for attorneys so they can encourage and support qualified staff in their practice to become FRPs.

The Communication Subcommittee took the opportunity to increase FRP camaraderie and cohesiveness through their available communication channels. Shelly Zambo, chair, and the committee members provide relevant information for the FRP community through a wide range of social media outlets. The subcommittee has the overwhelming task of promoting the FRP of the Year Award, maintaining the FRP Corner, and publishing the FRP Times — the committee’s quarterly newsletter. Legislative updates and information of interest is continuously promoted to our FRPs through all available social media platforms. We are still a relatively new committee and already have 784 Facebook followers, 654 likes, 564 Instagram followers, and 191 Twitter followers.

Even though the past two years have provided unique challenges for us all, the members of the FRP committee continued to make phenomenal strides in reaching our program goals and objectives. Through consummate dedication and hard work, the FRP Enrichment Committee members have created a secure foundation for promoting the benefits of the FRP program while at the same time developing a connectivity among our membership that knows no geographical constraints.

It goes without saying that accomplishments of this magnitude require unparalleled commitment. We are truly honored to have our board liaison, Wayne Smith, whose dedication to the paralegals here in Florida is unquestionable; Assistant Program Director Frank Digon-Greer, whose direct involvement is key to our success; and Co-Vice Chairs Shelly Zambo and Karen George who bring energy, excitement, and vitality to the FRP Enrichment Committee and hold the key to its future success.

Personally, I thank you for the distinguished honor of having served as chair of the FRP Enrichment Committee for the past two years; providing me the opportunity to support and promote the paralegal profession that I absolutely love; and for the dear and wonderful friendships that I have come to cherish along the way.

Margo T. Valenti, Chair

Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy

The Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy (GPPA) Committee was approved in May 2016 by the Board of Governors to address the concerns of Florida lawyers who lobby or work within local, state, and federal governments. Since its inception, the GPPA committee has remained focused on advocating for those issues that specially impact its membership. The mission of the committee is to 1) Promote professionalism among lawyer-lobbyists; 2) provide appropriate and applicable legal education on matters of interest to (and tailored especially for) lawyer-lobbyists; 3) provide mentoring and networking opportunities that are not available elsewhere; and 4) provide an opportunity for lawyer-lobbyists to stay abreast of and collectively be heard by Florida Bar leadership on various Bar proposals (including proposed rules and ethics opinions) that may affect them.

In 2021-2022, the committee continued its online CLE series, “Connect at the Capitol.” This virtual interview CLE series allowed committee members and other attorneys to hear from state leaders, such as Rep. Spencer Roach, about the upcoming 2022 legislative session. Future episodes dealing with rule challenges within administrative agencies and lobbying agency leaders are forthcoming. The committee plans to feature members on its social media to elevate its presence.

The GPPA committee is steadily moving the ball forward as a relatively new committee of The Florida Bar. As we look to the future, the incoming leadership of this group is excited about the opportunity to make significant advancements in solidifying the structure of its working subcommittees and developing formal governing bylaws.

The current committee is comprised of 165 members and continues to grow in membership, annually. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Joni Hooks at [email protected].

Rosanna M. Catalano, Chair

Grievance Mediation and Fee Arbitration

The Standing Committee on Grievance Mediation and Fee Arbitration continues to focus on the areas of rules and recruitment, and this year added a new subcommittee, the Communications and Training Subcommittee. All three of these subcommittees are actively engaged and report to the general committee on a quarterly basis.

This year, the newly formed Communication and Training Subcommittee, chaired by Steven Lesser, focused on how to encourage lawyers and law firms to utilize the fee arbitration process by producing two short videos, one geared to law firm senior partners and the other to consumers. The Rules Subcommittee, chaired by Christina Magee, analyzed a half dozen suggested rule amendments including an amendment to the arbitration rules and mediation policy to establish specific areas and topics for mandatory disclosures by arbitrators and mediators followed by a time period for parties to object. The Recruitment Subcommittee, chaired by Charles Samarkos, continues to implement new and unique methods to publicize, advertise, and recruit new volunteer mediators and arbitrators for the program throughout the state. Methods used include drafting a recruitment letter to appeal to both attorneys and nonlawyer volunteers and speaking engagements, including local bar association luncheons, the ADR section meeting, and numerous other Bar committee meetings.

The committee recognizes and thanks all three of these subcommittee chairs for their efforts and very hard work throughout the year.

The Bar continues to utilize the video training sessions developed by the Training Subcommittee for use by both current and potential arbitrators and mediators. As of January 13, there are 127 active and trained arbitrators and 85 active and trained mediators. During fiscal year 2020-2021, the program conducted 165 arbitrations and 69 mediations.

Grey Squires-Binford, Chair

Health Law Certification

The Health Law Certification Committee oversees the certification of attorneys as health law specialists recognized by The Florida Bar. The Florida Bar certified the first class of health certified specialists in 1995, and there are currently 128 health certified lawyers in The Florida Bar. Board-certified specialists in health practice under a myriad of public and private sector health laws, providing advice and counsel in transactional, litigation, and appellate practices.

The Health Certification Committee reviews the applications for those lawyers seeking initial certification, as well as the renewal applications for certified attorneys seeking recertification every five years. To initially qualify for health certification, lawyers must be a member of The Florida Bar for five years, be substantially involved (at least 40% of their practice) in health law, complete 60 hours of advanced CLE of approved health law credits, pass a rigorous peer review process, and pass a certification exam. The certification exam currently consists of 56 multiple-choice questions along with four essays. Congratulations to those who passed the 2021 Health Law Certification Exam: Emily Ruth Katz, Frank Paul Rainer, Elizabeth Scarola, Kelly Ann Thompson, and Courtney Grace Meade Tito.

The hard working and dedicated members of the Health Law Certification Committee include Vice Chair Bill Dillon, Jacqueline Bain, Josh Boxer, Karen Davila, Marc Goldsand, Adam Rogers, Lisa Taylor, and Ramona Thomas.

Thank you all for your tireless efforts, diligence, professionalism, and commitment to upholding the high standards of this certification section. The committee also thanks our amazing staff liaison, Paige Dooley-Levy. Our work on the committee could not have proceeded as smoothly without her dedication, patience, and attention to detail.

Ryan Zika, Chair

Immigration and Nationality Law Certification

The 2021-2022 Florida Bar Immigration and Nationality Law Board Certification Committee consisted of John Gihon, chair; Francisco “Frank” Symphorien-Saavedra, vice chair; and members Jacob Ratzan, Michael Harris, Maud Poudat, Art Rios, Robert Bell, Kristin Figueroa-Contreras, and Jacqueline Villalba. I thank our Florida Bar staff liaison, Chyra Reynolds, for keeping us on track, promptly answering our questions, and working with us to achieve our objectives throughout the year.

We recognize the board-certified attorneys who served as “pre-testers” by volunteering their time to review the essay and multiple-choice questions prepared for the 2022 exam. Their input was extremely valuable. Specifically, we give special thanks to Isabel Castillo, Marcela Gyires, Shahzad Ahmed, and Yova Borovska for acting as pre-testers and making valuable contributions to the accuracy and integrity of the exam.

There are currently 78 Florida Bar board certified attorneys in immigration and nationality law. During the 2021-2022 term, our committee received and approved nine recertification applications and 17 applicants to sit for the exam.

At the beginning of our term and for the second consecutive year, we held a highly successful Zoom Q&A on the requirements and advantages of board certification as well as general exam topics, exam format, and applicable sources to reference as exam study materials. Committee members participated in the Zoom Q&A, which was attended by many interested attorneys. We also posted the video on our committee webpage so that those interested in the certification process could access the video and valuable information contained therein. Last term we updated and amended the exam specifications to keep up with changes in the law and our area of expertise. Those amendments were fully implemented during this year’s exam and hopefully will allow us to better gauge applicants’ abilities on the current practice of immigration law.

It has been my honor to lead the committee this year. The work of the committee in reviewing and processing applications for board certification and creating an appropriately challenging exam is not easy, but it is very rewarding as even experienced, board certified attorneys can learn new things during this process. Working on the committee provides each of the members an opportunity to interact with and learn from some of the most knowledgeable and highly qualified immigration lawyers in Florida. I thank this year’s committee for their dedication and commitment to achieving our objectives.

John Gihon, Chair

Intellectual Property Certification

The Intellectual Property Certification Committee certifies attorneys as experts in intellectual property law, which includes the areas of patent prosecution, patent infringement litigation, trademark law, copyright law, and trade secrets law. Board certified attorneys may practice in only one or a combination of these areas but must demonstrate proficiency in all areas to become certified. We currently have 142 attorneys board certified in intellectual property. This year’s committee was chaired by Woodrow Pollack, with Samuel Lewis serving as vice chair, and rounding out the committee were members Paul Biaco, Randi Karpinia, Kimberly Kolback, Jeff Lloyd, John Stull, Kelly Swartz, and Dineen Wasylik. We have three applicants seeking to take the test scheduled for May 12. This year, there are 75 lawyers due to recertify in 2022, and their applications are due by July 31 (barring any extensions).

Woodrow Pollack, Chair

International Law Certification

The International Law Certification Committee’s focus this year was updating the vastly outdated exam, specifications, study guide, and more. Specifically, the tasks performed successfully by the committee were the following:

1) Updated the International Law Certification Examination Specifications.

2) Updated the outdated study guide, including the International Law Section’s International Law Deskbook as the study guide we intend to use.

3) Completely updated the exam (with a goal of 200 multiple-choice questions in the test bank, we are almost at 186 right now, and the new exam specs would call for 100 questions; so we have an additional 86 in our test bank) to conform to the new International Law Deskbook 2020 written by Florida’s very own attorneys board certified in international law. Updates include deleting immigration questions, minimizing litigation questions (both have their own exam), and adding many more international law/customs/tax, etc. questions. We also now have questions organized by specific topics so that committee members, when they are on boarded, can review the questions that are within their expertise easily to ensure they are always updated. We have separately updated the essay question as well.

4) Continued working closely with the International Law Section on the biweekly promotion of board-certified profiles being featured in the section’s newsletter and social media (and often re-shared by The Florida Bar’s board certification accounts) — let us know if you haven’t been featured yet and want to be!

5) Continue to work on getting all attorneys that are eligible to take the exam encouraged, motivated, and ready to take the exam by reviewing the ILS membership to proactively seek Florida Bar members that have “substantial involvement in the specialty of international law” and sending a flyer with a new approved message about the board certification exam to all qualifying potential applicants; ensuring all board-certified members up for recertification are timely notified of the recertification application owed and are reminded of the deadline of May 31 to submit.

The final goal is to have the updated exam specifications, study guide, and exam ready so that next year, Clarissa will have the tools to promote and ensure a study course is created to incentivize more test takers.

I express my strong appreciation to all committee members for their efforts and contributions and all that have helped with our substantial effort of revamping the board certification exam: Jake Baccari, Francis Boyer, Joseph Gulino, Angelika Hunnefeld, Drew Marszal, Robert Kostick, Penelope B Perez-Kelly, and Clarissa Rodriguez. I thank the board-certified members that assisted with the exam rewrite: Andrew Joshua Markus, James Ray Lavigne, Santiago Cueto, Felicia Leborgne Nowels, Arturo Aballi, and Bob Becerra.

In closing, the committee encourages all members of The Florida Bar for whom international law forms a substantial portion of their practice to seek board certification!

Jennifer Diaz, Chair

Judicial Nominating Procedures

The purpose and mission of the JNPC is to assist the governor and the Judicial Nominating Commissions (JNCs) in performing their duties under Fla. Const. art. V, §11, and F.S. §43.291. To that end, the committee offers suggestions for improvements to the judicial nominating process by rendering best practices recommendations; rendering recommendations for amendments to the Uniform Rules of Procedure for all JNCs; and offering assistance with the annual training program for all JNC commissioners.

The vice chairs of the JNPC, Sheila Oretsky and William Spicola, have been instrumental in spearheading the initiatives of the committee this year. Their dedication and commitment to the work of this committee is greatly appreciated. Richard Courtemanche, deputy general counsel to The Florida Bar, continues to be the true backbone of this committee and a valued asset; we thank him for his service to our profession.

The JNPC is comprised of the following subcommittees:

1) Voluntary Bar Association Liaisons, chaired by Madeleine Mannello. This subcommittee assists voluntary bar associations that wish to educate their members about the JNCs.

2) Diversity/Implicit Bias, chaired by Ingrid Saurez. This subcommittee is continuing to develop concrete goals for improving diversity and inclusion of the JNCs and the judiciary.

3) JNC Demographics, co-chaired by Ingrid Suarez, Annika Ashton, and Lauren Johnson. The committee has collected demographic data regarding the composition of the JNCs and the composition of the judiciary.

4) JNPC Member Liaison, chaired by Loreal A. Arscott. Each JNC in Florida now has a liaison from the JNPC committee. Each liaison is available to help their respective JNCs and make resources available to their respective JNCs.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our subcommittees, the JNPC has continued to offer solutions and recommendations to 1) assist the governor with presenting an annual training program for all JNC commissioners; 2) offer suggestions for improvements to the judicial nominating process, especially in light of the changes that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic; 3) promoting dialogue between all JNCs and members of the committee through their work as liaisons with all JNCs; 4) promote best practices for those serving on the JNCs and best practices for the interview process; and 5) obtain and report on demographic data regarding the composition of all JNCs and judicial offices in each circuit.

This year, the committee rendered recommendations to the governor’s office for amendments to the rules of procedure for all JNCs regarding the accessibility of JNC interviews to the public during the pandemic, and the extension of the invitation to interview to all qualified applicants. The committee also spent considerable time this year discussing F.S. §43.291, and whether a review thereof was warranted or sustainable.

Finally, I thank the members of the committee for volunteering their time and energy in pursuit of our mission. It should be noted that despite the pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic, this committee continued to conduct its work, debate the issues, and formulate a solution for the members of the Bar, and in turn the people of Florida. During my time as chair of this committee, which began during the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been inspired by the professionalism and dedication of the members of this committee, who regularly attended our meetings, albeit virtual, despite the tumultuous times we have encountered since 2020. Thank you for your service. It has truly been my pleasure to serve as chair, and to work with my esteemed colleagues.

Loreal A. Arscott, Chair

Juvenile Court Rules

The laws that impact juvenile rules have had significant changes in the past couple of years, and the committee has worked extremely hard to ensure a timely response to those changes. The changes that required fast-track proposals did not stop the most pervasive issues that continue to affect the committee’s efforts, and that is the work of creating rules that evolved out of what we learned about remote testimony due to COVID-19. Necessity is the mother of invention, and while the ability to work remotely began as necessity, those in the legal world quickly discovered that the need to work remotely without compromising due process could indeed be accomplished in many situations. Once the process was routine, the collateral benefits of remote appearances became apparent for both practitioners and litigants alike in the juvenile court system. These benefits made work on rules regarding remote appearances, or as it is now commonly referred to as, appearance via “video-audio communication technology,” a priority for the Juvenile Court Rules Committee.

The importance of this work was not just reflected in the work by the Juvenile Court Rules Committee, but in every committee of the Bar and the Supreme Court Steering Committees. The Juvenile Court Rules Committee responded to proposals by the Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Courts, and the proposed rules published by that steering committee included a substantial amount of the suggestions from the Juvenile Court Rules Committee. Stephanie Zimmerman, JCRC vice chair, presented the work of the Dependency Subcommittee. This was particularly noteworthy for the JCRC, as it showed how effective a collaboration could be between the rules committees and the steering committees in addition to clearly illustrating the valuable function The Florida Bar’s rules committees serve. Cheo Reid, also JCRC vice chair, likewise ensured that the rules relating to delinquency within the juvenile court rules had effective procedures for post-COVID remote appearances, and many of the same suggestions were adopted by the steering committee for the rules relating to delinquency.

The fast-track changes related to the significant changes in Ch. 39, dependency proceedings, were adopted by the Florida Supreme Court in SC21-1681. The opinion includes 1) amendments to Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure 8.217 (Attorney Ad Litem), 8.305 (Shelter Petition, Hearing, and Order), 8.345 (Post-Disposition Relief), and 8.415 (Judicial Review of Dependency Cases); 2) a new rule 8.540 (Motion to Reinstate Parental Rights); 3) a new form 8.973A (Order on Judicial Review for Child Age 16); and 4) an amendment to current form 8.973A and its redesignation as form 8.973B (Order on Judicial Review for Child Age 17 or Older).

Another accomplishment of the committee was the amendment to the rules based on new legislation regarding restitution and the changes to Laws of Florida, Ch. 2021-172, F.S. §§775.089(7)(c) and 985.437 (2)(b). Joel Silvershein is to thank for his work on the changes to the restitution Rule 8.115, which both our committee and the Criminal Court Rules Committee jointly submitted. He also helped with remote proceedings from the delinquency perspective.

The committee is continuing its work of a full review of rules from previous chairs’ work including that of Linda Berman, Matthew Charles Wilson, and David Silverstein, all of whom have been tremendous examples and an inspiration of how to chair a rules committee. The work of a chair is nothing without its vice chairs, and the JCRC is lucky to have several. Thanks go to Stephanie Zimmerman, Cheo Reid, and Nazli Matt for their work as vice chairs on the committee. Thanks also go to Brandy Merryfield for her involvement on the committee and her work on the delinquency subcommittee who kept us on track with her minutes. Same to David Silverstein for his work keeping minutes for the full committee and for his continued willingness to offer the benefit of his experience to new chairs and vice chairs.

Stephanie Zimmerman is also owed additional recognition for her work as our liaison to the Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration and her tireless efforts on the committee as a whole. To have someone not only dedicated and committed, but also a board-certified expert in juvenile law on the Juvenile Court Rules Committee is an unparalleled benefit to the work of a rules committee.

Finally, many thanks go to the one constant on the rules committee, and that is Mikalla Davis, Bar liaison. The leaders of the committee may come and go, but every one of us relies on her institutional knowledge and her experience that ensures the committee’s work is the best it can be.

Candice K. Brower, Chair

Juvenile Law Certification

The Juvenile Law Certification Committee is pleased to report that the numbers of lawyers seeking certification as experts in juvenile law continue to rise. Juvenile law certification is not a specialty in which a lawyer can expect to increase their numbers of clients nor to raise their revenues by gaining the certification. Most are government lawyers who will not have salary increases after they pass a difficult exam and are awarded with the privilege of the title, “board certified specialist.” They likely will not be reimbursed by their employers for the expenses incurred to take the exam and the fees to maintain the status annually. These lawyers seek certification simply to be considered an expert in a field devoted to those who are unable to protect themselves and their interests alone, our children. Their reward is simply to have an impact on the lives of every child they are involved with and to assist in making children’s futures brighter.

The juvenile law certification exam is difficult. It has become more difficult since the Bar required the exam to be uniform to equally address both specialties, delinquency and dependency, instead of permitting an election to declare the area of subspecialty, changing the questions tested in the afternoon session. Delinquency and dependency expertise is not obtained by merely knowing through practice and study of the two chapters in the Florida statutes establishing the laws of delinquency and dependency (Chs. 39 and 985) and the Florida Juvenile Rules of Procedure. To successfully pass the exam, there are many other areas that the examinee must have knowledge, including, but not limited to, criminal law and procedure, Children in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services (Ch. 984), educational law (Chs. 1000-1013), dissolution of marriage, adoption, Social Security, ethics, mental health issues, treatment, and funding, etc. It is rare to find a lawyer who has a true dual specialty. Most must study many hours on their own time to be adequately prepared to take the exam.

After having to change the exam format to a unitary exam, then having to adjust to the changes necessary in the midst of COVID, most notably the inability to meet in-person and having to adjust to virtual meetings, the challenge this year has been the need to educate and train new members to the committee after several years of consistency with the original committee members. The committee lost three of the founding members, Gerry Glynn, Robin Rosenberg, and Deborah Schroth, and could have lost three more, Tamara Gray, Whitney Untiedt, and me if the BLSE had not granted a request to extend their terms another year. Another member with a few years on the committee resigned. There were four new members this year. The inability to meet in-person and spend time together made it that much more difficult to “bond” as a committee.

Gerry Glynn made remarkable strides when he was chair last year, with the assistance of Tamara Gray, to get 400-plus pages of banked questions in order and indexed. We hope to continue the reorganization of our banked questions to make it a bit easier to find and recycle them if needed for use in future exams. I hope that next year the committee will consist of a balance between delinquency and dependency members who can meet in-person several times and form close working relationships.

I have enjoyed being a founding member of the Juvenile Law Certification Committee and am forever grateful that I was chosen as a founding member so many years ago. I appreciate all the members I have served with, especially the original members, and the professional connections we have made. The glue that held us together this past year and kept us on task was Ashleigh Bolstridge. I don’t know what we would have done without her. I thank the Bar and BLSE for assigning her to us. She is phenomenal.

Laura Vaughan-Bosco, Chair

Labor and Employment Law Certification

The Labor and Employment Law Certification Committee oversees the certification of attorneys as labor and employment Law specialists recognized by The Florida Bar. The Florida Bar certified the first class of labor and employment law certified specialists in 2001, and there are currently 177 labor and employment law certified lawyers in The Florida Bar. Board certified specialists in labor and employment law practice under a myriad of public- and private-sector labor and employment laws, providing advice and counsel for both employee and employer representation in transactional, litigation, and appellate practices.

The Labor and Employment Law Certification Committee reviews the applications for those lawyers seeking initial certification, as well as the renewal applications for certified attorneys seeking recertification every five years. To initially qualify for labor and employment law certification, lawyers must be a member of The Florida Bar for five years, be substantially involved (at least 50% of their practice) in labor and employment law, complete 60 hours of advanced CLE of approved labor and employment law credits, pass a rigorous peer review process, and pass a certification exam. The certification exam currently consists of 50 multiple-choice and 20 short-answer questions, along with four essays.

For the 2021-2022 certification year, the Labor and Employment Law Certification Committee reviewed eight initial applications, all of which were approved except for one withdrawal. Of those, six sat for the certification exam administered March 11 in Tampa. Because this year was the 20th anniversary of the establishment of our certification, there were a larger than normal number of recertification applications submitted this year, a total of 68. The committee reviewed and renewed 65 recertification applications. Three other applications were reviewed by another certification committee because they were from current members of our committee.

The committee has met numerous times since July 2021 to review applications and draft the certification examination. The hard-working and dedicated members of the Labor and Employment Law Certification Committee include Chair Frank E. Brown, Vice Chair Patricia R. Sigman, and members Sacha Dyson, Eric Keith Gabrielle, Ellen M. Leibovitch, Kendra Dawn Presswood, Bradley Paul Rothman, Shaina Thorpe, and Janet E. Wise. Thank you all for your tireless efforts, diligence, professionalism, and commitment to upholding the high standards of this certification section. The committee also wishes to extend our thanks to our Florida Bar staff liaison, Paige Dooley-Levy. Our work on the committee could not have proceeded as smoothly without her dedication and attention to detail.

Frank E. Brown, Chair

Law Related Education 

The purpose of the Law Related Education Committee (LREC) is to promote effective law-related education programs in grades K-12 of Florida’s schools, with an emphasis on teaching young citizens about the legal system as well as respect for people and their property.

The 2021-2022 year was spent finalizing the website redesign project for The Florida Bar’s Legal Survival Guide: Florida Laws You Should Know. The online guide — which is updated by LREC members each year — is packed with FAQs on Florida laws that young people (ages 14-24) need to know, especially after they turn 18 years old. Guide topics include the court system, criminal charges, jury duty, landlord/tenant matters, and texting and driving. The committee continued crafting content that is timely, relevant to the target audience’s needs, and audience-appropriate. The topic that has been updated on the website is substance use. Within the next month, we anticipate additional topics being updated on the website.

The committee previously decided to forgo the use of an app in favor of the branded and more robust website with a strong social media component. This will make the information more easily updated and among the target audiences. In making this decision, the committee also analyzed usage data for the legal guide and printed pamphlets, concluding it would be most cost-effective to reallocate those funds and put them toward website rebranding and redesign. The website reflects the updated branding and was designed to maximize search engine optimization and mobile-friendliness.

Committee member Patricia Carbone continues to head the social media subcommittee. The subcommittee drafts regular social media postings for publication on Instagram and Facebook to expand its digital presence. LREC members engage with the social media posts that have been created monthly, sharing, and liking posts as they come out. Digital statistics will continue to grow as new content is added to the website.

Once the content is finalized on the website, the Bar’s Communications Committee and Citizens Advisory Committee have expressed an interest in working with the LREC to spread awareness of the Legal Survival Guide throughout the state.

LREC is in preliminary talks to revive the high school Moot Court program. Collaboration with the Appellate Section of The Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court is anticipated to bring this rewarding program back from pandemic hiatus.

I specifically recognize Vice Chairs Patricia Carbone and Lori Ward for their outstanding leadership and dedication to the committee’s mission. I thank the entire committee and Bar staff for their hard work and commitment to completing a series of ambitious projects this past year. None of these projects could have been completed without the incredible assistance and efforts of our LREC staff liaison, Leslie Smith. It has been an honor to lead the Law Related Education Committee, and I thank The Florida Bar presidents for the opportunity to serve.

Judge D. Melissa Distler, Chair

Leadership Academy

The Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy will graduate its ninth class during the 2022 Florida Bar Annual Convention. Class IX is comprised of 30 exceptional lawyers practicing law as solo practitioners, government lawyers, public interest lawyers, associates, and partners in law firms throughout Florida. The Leadership Academy Committee (LAC) consists of four judges and 48 attorneys charged with administering the Leadership Academy. The LAC is co-chaired by Nicholas Johnson, an LAC graduate, and Brittany Maxey-Fisher.

Like previous years, this year’s LAC built upon the success of previous years to create a new and enhanced curriculum for Class IX. While continuing to meet the goals of the Program Evaluation Committee (PEC), the LAC co-chairs began this year by reviewing the current and past LAC subcommittees and speaking with the previous chairs John Howe and Anthony Visone to determine the subcommittees that could be phased out and the subcommittees that could be added to help the LAC succeed. At the end of these discussions, it was determined the LAC needed the assistance of four subcommittees: the Curriculum Subcommittee chaired by Komal Mirza and Melanie Chung-Tims, the Public Relations and Marketing Subcommittee (PRMS) chaired by Lisa Capote, the Leadership Academy Alumni Relations Subcommittee (LAARS) chaired by Carlos Sardi, and the Graduation and Legacy Subcommittee chaired by John Howe and Anthony Visone.

The LAC has undertaken the task of raising additional funds for its programming through LAARS and PRMS, both working hand-in-hand to raise awareness of the LAC through advertising, communications with alumni, and social media. LAARS in conjunction with PRMS recently rolled out its first alumni-focused newsletter, which includes upcoming events and alumni news. LAARS has also been integral in establishing networking events for alumni of the Leadership Academy with fellows from both Classes VIII and IX, along with providing sponsorship for these events.

This year, the Curriculum Subcommittee has worked diligently to create programming, which includes speakers, moderators, and panelists, for the Leadership Academy Class IX Sessions. This subcommittee also expanded the range of presenters and panelists to include Leadership Academy alumni, judges, legislators, Florida Bar leaders, senior law enforcement leaders, and locally elected officials. Session I was conducted at The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention in Orlando. Titled “Training Today, Leading Tomorrow,” Session I included fellows from both Classes XIII and IX due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this session, the fellows heard presentations from the Leadership Academy’s Visionary, LAC’s inaugural chair, leaders at Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company and Florida Power & Light Co., the president-elect of The Florida Bar, a Florida Supreme Court Justice, members of the Board of Governors, past chairs of the LAC, and 10 jurists who all graduated from the Leadership Academy.

This year, Session II was held in Jacksonville, and the curriculum included a diverse group of presenters, including Retired Judge Pauline M. Drake, Judge Gary Flowers of Duval County, Michael Orr, Board of Governors member and past president of the Young Lawyers Division, Judge London Kite of the Fourth Judicial Circuit Duval County, Mayor Chris Offman of Jacksonville Beach, Mayor Ellen Glasser of Atlantic Beach, and Mayor Elain Brown of Neptune Beach. Class IX fellows also received their DISC assessments and attended a training on their individual DISC profiles by Dr. Mimi Hull, a recognized authority in communication, leadership, change management, strategic planning, and personality insights.

At Session III, held in Tampa, Classes VIII and IX were welcomed by Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa where she discussed hosting Super Bowl LV, which was the first time the host cities’ team had ever won the Super Bowl. The Tampa session included a presentation titled, “Professionalism and Civility — When It Matters Most,” conducted by Judge Mary S. Scriven of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and former Board of Governors member Lansing Scriven. The fellows also enjoyed presentations from former Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince and Jenay Iurato of Stetson University College of Law’s Board of Overseers, among others.

Unfortunately, Session IV in Tallahassee was cancelled due to the spike in the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

On March 17, the LAC held its Class X Selection Meeting, and Session V, titled, “Effective Interaction and Communication as Leaders,” was conducted March 18-19. During this session, fellows attended the “Line of Privilege” presentation by Dr. Ruth D. Edwards, a social justice advocate, and heard from a plurality of community and Florida Bar leaders on “Robert’s Rules of Order,” “Malpractice Pitfalls,” “Harnessing the Power of Relationships,” “Maximizing Meetings,” and “Technology and Social Media for Leaders.” Session V concluded with a panel featuring Leadership Academy alumni on, “Leading in Public Roles: Running for Public Office, Seeking Endorsements and Winning the Seat/Bench.”

As of the submission of this report, Session VI will be held in Ft. Lauderdale, and it is in its finishing stages of planning implementation. The graduation for Class IX will be held in conjunction with The Florida Bar Annual Convention in Orlando on June 22-25, and we will welcome Class X!

Each year, the Leadership Academy completes a class-wide project. This year, Class IX implemented a project focusing on “Post-Pandemic Pro Bono: Helping Floridians get Back on Their Feet.” The project’s objectives are to highlight the importance of pro bono work in our profession, exemplify the spirit of servant leadership by setting a strong pro bono example for others to follow, plant the seed of pro bono service in law students and encourage the participation of already barred attorneys, emphasize the positive impact pro bono service has on attorney mental health and the community at-large, and enhance the positive public perception of the legal profession and The Florida Bar.

The stated mission of LAC is to identify and train a diverse group of lawyers for leadership within the ranks of The Florida Bar, the bench, the government, and the community. LAC has proven itself to be a highly effective means of realizing these objectives. To date, alumni of the Leadership Academy have been appointed and/or elected to serve in the judiciary, on the Bar’s Board of Governors, on law school boards, on public boards, and on private boards.

The Leadership Academy program would not succeed or be as effective without the contributions of our Florida Bar staff leaders. The Leadership Academy’s activities are expertly coordinated by Arnell Bryant-Willis, the diversity initiatives manager for The Florida Bar, and her assistant, Tameika Wright. We thank these Florida Bar staff members, LAC members, our supporters, and sponsors for always doing their utmost to maintain the success of the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy.

Nicholas Johnson and Brittany J. Maxey-Fisher, Co-Chairs

Legal Needs of Children

This year has been an active year for The Florida Bar Legal Needs of Children Committee (LNOCC). First and foremost, since the committee was created, our scope and function has been to find ways to implement the recommendations of The Florida Bar Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, to study developments in this specialized area of practice of the law, and to keep members of the Bar informed of significant developments in this practice area through periodic updates. Towards these ends, the committee studied and carefully considered proposed legislation seeking to implement a Statewide Office of Children Representation recommended in the original commission report. Although Florida SB 948 and HB 1549 would create such an office, a significant contingent of committee members expressed serious concerns that the proposed legislation would restrict the role of the Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program. Thus, the LNOCC could not reach a consensus to support this proposed legislation.

The LNOCC continued its work in trying to address real concerns regarding the over-representation of minorities in the foster care system and best practices to minimize trauma to children in the legal system. On that front, the committee was able to reach consensus with respect to its position to the Criminal Court Steering Committee in opposition of proposed limitations on the use of audio-video communications technology in depositions of law enforcement witnesses in criminal cases, which the LNOCC felt might adversely impact children in juvenile and dependency proceedings.

Finally, in the wake of multiple challenges faced by Florida’s Child Welfare System and other systems serving children, and in light of the growing evidence of the value of high-quality representation for all parties, the LNOCC has been planning a series of CLEs starting in June designed to recruit Florida lawyers to step up to help children. The LNOCC is planning to utilize well-recognized expert speakers to educate and call upon attorneys throughout the state to become involved and lend their expertise to improve the lives of children and families involved in the child welfare system by volunteering to help children. The CLEs will educate attorneys on how our child welfare system works and will explore the myriad of ways that lawyers can get involved in representing individual children, volunteering to serve the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, serving on boards and providing community oversight, and addressing the critical need for representation of immigrant children.

Howard Talenfeld, Chair

Marital and Family Law Certification

The 2021-2022 Marital and Family Law Certification Committee is comprised of nine members who are diverse in geography and experience, if not in gender: Chair Laura Davis Smith; Vice Chair Bonnie Sockel-Stone; immediate Past Chair Jennifer Ann Ficarrotta; Belinda Barndollar Lazzara; Karen B. Weintraub; Christopher R. Bruce; Judge Sandy E. Karlan (Ret.); Sarah E. Kay; and Catherine M. Rodriguez. Each member has been a valuable, active participant, bringing their unique skills, knowledge, and insight, and the committee has been enriched by the addition of its three newest members.

The Marital and Family Law Certification Committee is responsible for 1) the review of applications to sit for the annual certification exam; 2) the review of applications for recertification; 3) the drafting and revision of the annual exam; and 4) the grading of the exams once taken. The committee reports and responds to the Board of Legal Specialization and Education as necessary, and considers changes in law, rules, and applicable policies relevant to attainment and retention of board certification in marital and family law.

Presently, there are only 269 board certified marital and family law attorneys. That number reflects less than 1% of the entire membership of The Florida Bar. This year, as we continue to travel through the uncharted waters of a pandemic, the committee focused on its desire to increase the number of lawyers who are board certified in marital and family law. The committee achieved this by 1) maintaining transparent and expeditious application requirements and processes; 2) prioritizing the crucial confidential peer review: 3) maintaining the highest professionalism standards; 4) drafting five well-written essay questions, 30 multiple-choice questions, and 25 short-answer questions, while adding to the question bank for future use; and 5) insuring accurate, complete, and fair testing. Members met regularly via Zoom, and, in January, several members were able to meet — safely — in-person at the annual Marital and Family Law Review Course in Orlando.

The committee scaled the hurdle of the departure of its Bar staff liaison, certification specialist, Blaire Bisbee, who had served the committee valiantly before leaving for new experiences in the fall. We were then privileged to work with now-Director of Legal Specialization and Education Maritza McGill (congratulations!) whose interim guidance insured a smooth transition. The committee is now delighted to report that our new — and we hope permanent! — staff liaison is Certification Specialist Jacob Henderson, who has hit the ground running. We cannot thank Ms. Bisbee, Ms. McGill, or Mr. Henderson enough for the support throughout this Bar year.

The committee is also grateful to the judges and attorneys who offered thoughtful peer review for the committee’s consideration, as feedback from peers and judges is critical in the vetting process. We recognize the time and energy devoted to responding to the requests for review, and there is simply no substitute for this part of the process. We are also grateful to those board-certified lawyers who were willing to pretest the exams. The input from the pre-testers was invaluable in arriving at the final product, offering necessary clarity in the drafting.

The committee is confident that the 25 registered test-takers will find this year’s exam to be a fair assessment of the marital and family law knowledge expected of a board-certified expert. We look forward to welcoming those examinees who achieved passing scores on the March 11 exam!

Laura Davis Smith, Chair

Media and Communications Law 

The Media and Communications Law Committee’s (MCLC) mission is to facilitate the exchange of factual and legal information about the roles of America’s lawyers, judges, and elected officials in our society, and the importance of protections for free speech and communication, conducted through print, broadcast, cable, internet, and emerging technologies, in furthering public understanding of our institutions of government.

The MCLC seeks to enhance the collegiality among members of the Bar and journalists and to serve as an active bridge for communication on topics of mutual interest and concern. The committee plans the annual Reporters’ Workshop in conjunction with the Florida Supreme Court; coordinates the annual Parker Thomson Award for Outstanding Legal Journalism and the Susan Spencer-Wendel Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to the state of Florida through journalism; and produces the online Reporter’s Handbook.

Authored principally by MCLC, the Reporter’s Handbook is a resource guide for members of the media and attorneys about topics relevant to both, such as the public’s rights of access to federal and state government records and court proceedings and the operations of Florida’s attorney discipline system. The handbook’s content has been fully revised, and the web page has been redesigned for ease of use. The handbook has been promoted in the Bar News, Bar social media, and through the M&CLC’s network.

The annual in-person reporters’ workshop for journalists organized by committee member Craig Waters and presented by The Florida Bar at the Florida Supreme Court was transformed into a virtual, multi-session workshop that spanned six months. Each month a new topic was presented via Zoom. Topics included access to court information and proceedings in the COVID-19 environment, lawyer regulation, JQC, redistricting and elections 2022, and public records and the courts.

This new workshop format allowed for a greater number of attendees while preserving as much of the interactivity among panelists and journalists. The MCLC remains, as always, grateful to the Bar and the Florida Supreme Court for their participation and support for this presentation. In-person sessions with attendees in Tallahassee are forecast to resume October with the help of incoming Supreme Court Public Information Officer Paul Flemming, who takes over following Craig Waters’ retirement.

Committee Chair David Karp will moderate the MCLC’s annual presentation on First Amendment issues before the U.S. Supreme Court at the Bar’s Annual Convention in June. He will be taking over from MCLC member Tom Julin, who presided over the seminar for many years. The committee is also planning a Zoom seminar on social media regulation, which it plans to host in April.

The process of accepting entries is currently underway for the Annual Parker Thomson Award for Outstanding Legal Journalism in Florida and Susan Spencer-Wendel Lifetime Achievement Award, chaired by Sam Morley, general counsel of The Florida Press Association. Qualified entries consist of stories that highlight the system of law and justice as it affects Floridians. The Parker Thomson Award and the Susan Spencer-Wendel Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented this year at the Florida Media Awards Conference.

In closing, I thank the entire committee for its outstanding service during this year as we transitioned back to “normal.”

David A. Karp, Chair 

Member Benefits

The mission of the Member Benefits Committee is to review and evaluate existing member benefit programs for Bar members, evaluate potential new programs and services offered to The Florida Bar for members, and to make recommendations to the Board of Governors on changes or additions to the benefits program. During the past several months, the committee has taken this mission seriously and worked diligently evaluating existing programs and reviewing potential new member benefit proposals. The committee reviewed a variety of proposals from potential Bar member benefit providers during the 2021-2022 fiscal year and approved several new member benefits for recommendation to the Board of Governors. Among the new benefits approved by the committee this year are the Hire an Esquire legal recruiting and staff platform for law firms and companies seeking to hire lawyers or paraprofessionals, Coaxis Hosting Solutions managed data and cloud hosting; Tracers all-in-one public records platform to locate people, investigate businesses, and find assets; YMCA membership; loanDepot home loan mortgage and refinance; and MemberOptions property and casualty member benefits. The full offering of approved benefits can be viewed at https://www.floridabar.org/member/benefits/memberbenefits-button-page/.

The committee will review four to five additional potential member benefit proposals during the June meeting of the Member Benefits Committee during The Florida Bar Annual Convention. Chair Teresa Eyerman encourages Bar members to visit The Florida Bar Member Benefits Program site at https://www.floridabar.org/MemberBenefits to take advantage of the wide array of discounted professional and personal services offered to Bar members through The Florida Bar member benefits program.

Teresa Eyerman, Chair

Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers

The Florida Bar established the Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers Committee to implement its strategic planning priority to focus on the mental health and wellness of Bar members, which includes an educational component to:

1) Destigmatize mental illness in the legal community (lawyers and judges).

2) Educate employers, judges, and lawyers how to identify and address mental health illness of Florida lawyers and create “best practices” on how to address mental health issues.

3) Educate lawyers about the benefits of balancing personal life and career obligations.

4) Provide health and wellness programs to provide Florida lawyers with healthy strategies to deal with the pressures of their practices to enhance the mental health and wellness of Florida lawyers.

5) Educate voluntary bar associations on mental health and wellness programs so they may better assist their members at the local level.

6) Expand the accreditation definition so as to broaden the scope of what constitutes and health and wellness continuing legal education (CLE) program.

7) Develop new and innovative CLE on mental health and wellness issues.

8) Interface with Florida Lawyer’s Assistance, Inc., to broaden their reach to all members not limited to those members facing Bar grievance issues.

9) Create a special interdisciplinary committee to study and improve The Florida Bar’s rules and programming related to mental health and wellness of Florida lawyers and to ensure that Florida Bar members (including judges) are aware of mental health issues and are able to access those services needed.

This year, the committee held three meetings via Zoom. Two subcommittees were formed to focus the work of the committee: Education and Communications. Members who are also judges continued their work from the prior year informing their colleagues about judicial wellness resources.

The committee did the following:

1) Started an online Working Mothers Support Group in partnership with Florida Lawyers Assistance. This support group developed a core group of participants and is still ongoing with weekly meetings.

2) Twelve committee members attended and completed Mental Health First Aid training to experience this training firsthand. It was a positive experience, and committee members encouraged their respective groups and local bar associations to schedule MHFA sessions. It has been approved for 8.5 CLE credits and CJE credits are pending.

3) Worked with TFB’s communications department to increase social media outreach and generate news articles about committee initiatives.

4) Finalized and printed a graphic designed information sheet of wellness resources for new attorney packets and business cards promoting the helpline for distribution at the 2022 annual conference.

5) Vice Chair Rich Rivera oversaw the YMCA gym member benefit being approved by the Member Benefits Committee and formally put into place.

6) Two CLEs on secondary trauma are being produced, the first video CLEs on this topic by TFB. An additional CLE on a wellness topic is also being planned.

7) Judicial members of the committee helped provide special outreach to judges, including promoting a CJE on wellness aimed just for judges in October on mindfulness for judges working under the influence of chaos (1.0-hour CJE credit). They also recorded a virtual program with a trauma expert (3.0 hours of CJE pending).

8) Continued weekly postings for the Wellness Wednesdays tips for the Daily News Summary, available at https://www.floridabar.org/member/healthandwellnesscenter/wellness-wednesday/.

Thank you to our BOG liaison, Ronald Ponzoli, Vice Chair Rich Rivera, my fellow committee members, Judge Susan Bedinghaus, Nora Bergman, Bruce Blitman, Peggy Bush, Cindy Campbell, Hillary Cassel, Stephanie Chaissan, Mandi Clay, Dr. Kristie Deblasio, Celia Thacker Dorn, Alexandra Echsner-Rasmussen, Ashlea Edwards, Karla Ellis, Judge Samantha Feuer, Benjamin Gibson, Sherri-Ann Grant-Clarke, Courtney Chambers Kilbourne, Judge Alicia Latimore, Marc Marra, Devona Reynolds Perez, Miriam Ramos, Joanna Sandstrom, Judge Nushin Sayfie, Kathleen Shea, Jane Springer, Alexis Sykes, Lisa Varon, and to our Bar staff liaison, Christine Bilbrey.

Karl Klein, Chair

Prepaid Legal Services

The Prepaid Legal Services Committee of The Florida Bar is expressly entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that a legal services plan submitted by members of The Florida Bar are in full and complete compliance with the rules and regulations of Chapter 9, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.

The committee was established to further The Florida Bar’s policy to promote and improve a person’s ability to gain access to justice and the legal system in Florida. In establishing and managing a legal service plan, there are entrepreneurial benefits, which include expanding a client base.

In addition to fulfilling its stated mission, the committee has, throughout the years, expanded its scope and focus to include 1) educating the membership of The Florida Bar on the specifics of the Florida regulatory system of legal services plans, including the entrepreneurial aspects of the creation and establishment of plans by and under Chapter 9, and the availability of other legal and business opportunities provided in the “Legal Expense Insurance Act” by and under the provisions of F.S. Ch. 642; and 2) creating a greater awareness in the consuming public of the benefits afforded upon membership in plans. Chapter 9 sets out the requirements for, and regulation of, Chapter 9 plans whereby a sponsor contracts directly with a managing attorney for the provision of legal services to its members. Under Chapter 9, a sponsor is a group that provides a plan for the benefit of its members. A group is defined as an organization of two or more persons whose individual members are identifiable in terms of some common interest or affinity. Examples of groups shall include, but not be limited to the following “traditional” groups: 1) churches; 2) educational institutions; 3) credit unions; 4) employing units; and 5) associations.

On June 9, 2021, the committee and Florida Lawyers Legal Insurance Corporation (FLLIC) presented a virtual CLE during The Florida Bar Annual Convention, “Chapter 9 Legal Services Plans and Legal Expense Insurance: Opportunities for Florida Attorneys to Deliver Legal Services to Floridians in the Post-COVID-19 World.” Vice Chair John Schaefer addressed the fundamentals and practical tips on the creation of a successful Chapter 9 plan along with an overview of the Legal Expense Insurance Act. Howard Rosenblatt and Robert (Bob) Jerry II presented on behalf of FLLIC and addressed an overview of legal insurance, what it is, how it works, and what it offers to consumers and lawyers alike. The committee hopes to again co-sponsor an informative CLE seminar with Florida Lawyers Legal Insurance Company during The Florida Bar 2022 Annual Convention.

The 2021 CLE presentation was recorded and has been posted on the committee’s page of The Florida Bar’s website. It is a great resource and offers a detailed overview and educates members of The Florida Bar and the public about Chapter 9 plans and legal insurance. Over the years, the committee has provided solid practical information on The Florida Bar’s website for those interested in Chapter 9 plans. This also includes the application for a lawyer to complete in order to submit a plan. The CLE presentation along with plan application forms and the committee’s materials updated during the 2020-21 Bar year can be found on The Florida Bar’s website at the following link: https://www.floridabar.org/about/cmtes/cmte-cm460/.

During this 2021-22 Bar year, there have been very few proposed Chapter 9 plans submitted for review. However, the committee had the opportunity to review; discuss; and, ultimately, approve, disapprove, or seek additional or corrective information in relation to the submission of any proposed Chapter 9 plan, including plans that do not necessarily fall within the traditional examples of a group as defined under Chapter 9.

At this time, the undersigned would be remiss not to acknowledge a couple individuals whose great work has contributed significantly to permitting the committee to accomplish its agenda and, in turn, further its mission, during this Bar year. As such, I take this opportunity to publicly thank and acknowledge the work of committee Program Administrator Jenny Dorminy for her tireless efforts to keep both the undersigned chair and the committee on task during the course of this Bar year. I also thank Ricky Libbert for stepping in as program administrator while Jenny was on leave. Additionally, I thank committee Vice Chair John Schaefer, for his years of support and guidance. It has been such an honor to serve with Mr. Schaefer, who first started serving on this committee in 1985. Since then, he has lectured, assisted in revising the Chapter 9 rules along with creating the Chapter 9 plan application packet, and has educated the membership of The Florida Bar on Chapter 9 plans. Finally, I thank the entire committee for all their time, effort, and hard work throughout this Bar year.

In conclusion, it has been an honor to serve The Florida Bar as chair of the Prepaid Legal Services Committee during the 2021-22 Bar year.

Kelli Lueckert, Chair

Pro Bono Legal Services

During Bar year 2020-2021, the Pro Bono Legal Services Committee has continued to work on a number of initiatives and projects. The committee:

1) Raised $37,000 to fund production of three videos as part of the resurrection of the 2009 One Campaign (to promote pro bono service) as the new One Promise Campaign. The donors include The Bench and Bar Fund of the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida; The Florida Bar Foundation; Florida Justice Technology Center, Inc.; Business Law Section of The Florida Bar; Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar; Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association; Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association; Alternative Dispute Resolute Section of The Florida Bar; Workers’ Compensation Section of The Florida Bar; Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers; and the Labor and Employment Law Section of The Florida Bar.

The committee thanks all the donors for their generosity, support of the committee, and commitment to promoting pro bono work in Florida.

Donations are still being sought for ancillary promotional materials, such as brochures and courtroom posters.

2) Created, in conjunction with The Florida Bar Foundation, three videos promoting pro bono work to three distinct constituencies. The committee thanks the Foundation for its support and assistance with this project. The committee also thanks the many volunteers who generously gave of their time to speak about the importance of pro bono work. The committee and the Foundation have begun the rollout of the videos, which can be viewed at One Promise, The Florida Bar Foundation (scroll to bottom to see all three). Additional information about the One Promise Campaign can be found at https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-news/foundation-launches-video-promoting-its-one-promise-campaign/. The videos are available for presentation at local bar meetings and Inn of Court meetings. The committee urges all circuit pro bono committees to ensure that all local bar organizations and committees display one of the videos at an upcoming meeting.

3) Planned a Pro Bono Summit to be held during The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention in June among the many pro bono stakeholders, including the committee’s members from throughout the state, leadership of The Florida Bar Foundation, Circuit Pro Bono Committee representatives, non-profit legal services providers, the Board of Governors and Young Lawyers Division board, and other constituencies around the state. The purpose of the summit is to discuss coordination of efforts and improvements in the delivery of pro bono legal services to low-income Floridians. The summit is expected to focus on one or two discrete initiatives, with others to follow in ensuing years’ summits.

4) Promoted The Florida Bar Business Law Section’s Best Practices Guide for a Firm Pro Bono Policy, which can be viewed at https://www.flabizlaw.org/files/bestpractices.pdf. See the Florida Bar News article at https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-news/business-law-section-updates-pro-bono-guide/.

5) Continued to monitor the hugely successful Florida Free Legal Answers, Florida’s version of the American Bar Association program. Florida is the only state of the 40 states participating in the ABA Free Legal Answers Program to have more than 1,000 volunteer attorneys providing service. The following shows the statistics from inception, May 1, 2017, through February 28, 2022: total volunteer attorneys, 1,009; total client accounts, 21,789; total questions asked, 20,357; total of questions answered, 17,633; overall answer rate, 87%; number of clients served, 15,801.

Florida Free Legal Answers now also connects individuals in need of legal assistance with online intake programs run by various legal service providers including Legal Services of Greater Miami, Legal Services of North Florida, Bay Area Legal Services, Coast to Coast Legal Aid, Three Rivers Legal Services, Florida Rural Legal Services, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida with at least two additional legal services providers to join in the future. The addition of this connection provides Floridians in need of legal services with access to more in-depth advice, counsel, and potential representation to address their legal problem.

1) Continued to monitor Florida’s pro bono reporting compliance and noting trends in hours performed and monetary contributions compared with past years’ data.

2) Continued updating and digitizing the Circuit Pro Bono Committee Chair Handbook for dissemination to the current Circuit Pro Bono Committee chairs.

Deferred initiatives that the committee is looking forward to picking up on as circumstances permit:

3) Committee desires to coordinate communication to Bar members who have not reported any pro bono work during the prior reporting year to remind them of the opportunities in their community to perform pro bono work (this was deferred to identify a proper signatory for a form letter the committee approved).

4) Creating voluntary or even mandatory pro bono training, to be delivered virtually, at “baby judge” school, pending approval in concept by the chief justice.

The committee thanks its subcommittee chairs for their work the past year: Dominic MacKenzie, Rules Subcommittee; Circuit Judge Virginia Norton, All Circuits Subcommittee; and Donald Workman, Law Firm Subcommittee.

The committee also gratefully acknowledges the support provided by Bar President Michael Tanner and the Board of Governors, who have demonstrated their continued support of pro bono work throughout the year. The committee looks forward to the support of President-elect Gary Lesser for the committee’s mission. The continuity of support by The Florida Bar’s leadership for pro bono activities has been a vital underpinning of the committee’s work over the years. We thank Francisco-Javier P. Digon-Greer, who provides superb administrative support and wise counsel to the committee.

Kathleen S. McLeroy and Judge Catherine Peek McEwen, Co-Chairs

Professional Ethics

The Professional Ethics Committee is responsible for providing guidance to Bar members on the Rules of Professional Conduct. Formal committee opinions are available on the Bar’s website at www.floridabar.org. The committee also provides informational packets and topical information on the website. A link to “Rules, Ethics, & Professionalism” is included at the top of every page of the website. This link leads to a landing page with a link to the main Ethics page, which includes links for Formal Ethics Opinions by subject and by number, the Rules of Professional Conduct, Informational Packets, Bar News and Journal articles on ethics issues, and other topical information relating to lawyer ethics.

The committee is staffed by the Bar’s Ethics Department. The Bar’s ethics attorneys research and draft informal staff opinions and maintain the toll-free ethics hotline for bar members. The committee reviews informal written opinions issued by the bar’s ethics attorneys and reconsiders them sua sponte if the committee deems appropriate or if the inquiring attorney seeks review of the informal staff opinion. In addition, the committee sponsors an annual professional ethics seminar. The committee met four times this year to consider a variety of ethics issues.

Formal Advisory Opinion Procedures — The Florida Bar Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Ethics govern the process by which staff issue informal oral and written opinions and by which the committee issues formal opinions. The committee may issue formal opinions on review of staff opinions and existing formal opinions. Additionally, the Bar Board of Governors may request that the committee issue a formal opinion concerning the application of the ethics rules to certain facts. When issuing proposed formal opinions, the committee publishes an official notice in The Florida Bar News, inviting Bar members to comment. The committee values the input provided by these comments and encourages bar members to comment on proposed ethics opinions.

Final Advisory OpinionsAdvisory Opinion 21-1. This opinion addresses how lawyers may respond ethically to negative online reviews posted by people who are not current or former clients in light of a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality under Rule 4-1.6. The opinion states that it is permissible for a lawyer to state that the person is not a current or former client, as long as this is true. If a negative online review concerns an actual client’s matter, the opinion reminds lawyers that they cannot reveal confidential information in response to such reviews from nonclients unless they have informed consent from the client. Thus, the opinion cautions lawyers to make sure that any response does not reveal confidential information relating to the representation of a client.

Advisory Opinion 21-2. This opinion addresses whether lawyers may accept payments through a web-based processing service, such as Venmo or PayPal. The opinion concludes that a lawyer ethically may accept payments through such services only if the lawyer takes reasonable steps to protect client confidentiality and to safeguard the funds of clients and third parties entrusted to the lawyer.

Advisory Opinion 21-3. This opinion discusses the duties of lawyers appointed to represent an alleged incapacitated person in an emergency temporary guardianship where the court has ordered the hearing to be held ex parte and/or where the hearing is held before the lawyer has the opportunity to communicate with the client. The opinion advises that the lawyer in this position should investigate as is reasonably possible under the circumstances, cross-examine the petitioner’s witnesses, test the petitioner’s case, present any appropriate evidence found, and otherwise ensure that the petitioner proves all essential elements in order to protect the client’s rights. The lawyer should then advise the client of the proceedings and the outcome when able to do so. The committee thanks the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section for its assistance in responding to the inquiry.

Advisory Opinion 88-11 (Reconsideration). This opinion discusses retaining and charging liens generally and, more specifically, when a lawyer may assert a retaining lien in a contingency fee case. The opinion also discusses a lawyer’s duty to provide copies of information in the lawyer’s file to a client generally and in the absence of a retaining lien. The opinion was reconsidered by the committee to give additional guidance to lawyers as to the categories of information the lawyer ordinarily is to provide to a client seeking their file and information that a lawyer generally does not have to provide. The opinion further notes while lawyers do not have to bear the expense for reproducing the file, the cost should be reasonable and reflect the actual costs incurred for reproducing the file materials. The opinion also states that lawyers may charge a reasonable amount for the cost of retrieving and delivering file materials. The opinion recommends that information about such costs and the method used to determine them should be included in the original written representation agreement with the client.

Rules Amendments — The committee at times proposes amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The committee previously directed a subcommittee to draft proposed amendments to Rule 4-1.6 with comments concerning lawyers’ ethical obligations in responding to negative online reviews. The proposed amendments would allow a lawyer to respond to specific allegations made by a former client in a public forum alleging the lawyer has engaged in criminal conduct that is punishable under Florida law. The proposed amendments were submitted to the Board of Governors. The proposed amendments have not yet been filed with the Florida Supreme Court for approval.

Review of Written Staff Advisory Opinions — At its meetings, the committee considers appeals by lawyers of written staff advisory opinions in response to inquiries submitted by the lawyers. The committee affirmed a denial of a staff opinion where the inquiry concerned the conduct of lawyers other than the inquiring lawyer. The committee also reviewed a staff opinion discussing a fee sharing issue at the request of a committee member and affirmed the staff opinion.

Masters Seminar on Ethics — The committee’s yearly CLE program addresses ethical issues of great significance to bar members at the Annual Convention. The Seminar Subcommittee is chaired by Steven Teppler. The other members of the subcommittee are Vice Chair LaShawn Donyale Riggans, James L. Bell, Robert William Borr, H. Scott Fingerhut, Marcus Russell Kelly II, Sanjay Kurian, and Oscar A. Sanchez. The seminar will be presented at the June Annual Convention and provide 4.0 hours of general CLE credit (2.0 ethics, 1.0 technology and 1.0 professionalism). The 2022 Masters Seminar on Ethics will address the grievance system, how technology affects lawyers’ ethical duties, and the interaction of professionalism and the ethical rules. The seminar also will include a judicial roundtable discussing the ethical issues judges see in their courtrooms and how they address these issues. Speakers scheduled to participate are James L. Bell, Eric Hibbard, Senior Judge Paul C. Huck, Tatiana Melnik, Judge Lisa Taylor Munyon, Donald A. Myers, Jr., Judge Stephanie Williams Ray, Patricia Ann Toro Savitz, Lansing “Lanse” C. Scriven, and D. Culver “Skip” Smith.

Informal Advisory Ethics Opinions Service — The advisory ethics opinion process continues to rate as among the most desirable services on membership surveys. The committee is committed to providing ethics guidance to bar members. The committee thanks the staff of the Ethics Department for their dedication, assistance, and support in providing such guidance throughout the year. For fiscal year 2021, staff had another busy year on the Ethics Hotline, handling 20,846 hotline calls, in addition to providing hundreds of written staff opinions and other ethics correspondence.

Finally, the committee thanks Board Liaison Clifford C. Higby; Ethics and Consumer Protection Division Director Gypsy Bailey; Ethics Counsel Jonathan Grabb; former Ethics Counsel Elizabeth Tarbert; and our hardworking staff: Assistant Ethics Counsels Huy-Yen Cam Bailey, Joy A. Bruner, Jeffrey M. Hazen, Kelly Smith, Heather Telfer, and LiliJean Quintiliani; and Paralegal Donna Hostutler. Without the participation, guidance, experience, and hard work of these individuals, the business of this committee could not be accomplished.

Kalinthia Dillard, Chair

Professionalism

The purpose of The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism (SCOP) is to assist The Florida Bar and The Florida Bar’s Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism in implementing programs, events, and activities to promote professionalism throughout the state. SCOP is supported by the wonderful team at the Center for Professionalism, whose mission is “to promote the fundamental ideals and values of professionalism within the legal system and to instill those ideals of character, competence, commitment, and civility in all those persons serving and seeking to serve therein.” SCOP is comprised of federal judges, state court judges, administrative judges, and attorneys from around the state. The members of SCOP were divided into the following working groups to carry out the overall mission to improve professionalism: Awards Working Group, Education and Resource Working Group, Gender Bias Working Group, Mental Health and Wellness Working Group, and Mentoring Initiatives Working Group.

The Center for Professionalism — Thank you to the Center for Professionalism team, which includes Rebecca Bandy, director; Katie Young, assistant director; and Beth Kirkland, program coordinator. They each work hard to not only produce professionalism projects and education at the Center for Professionalism, but also to support the work of SCOP, the Student Education and Admissions to the Bar Committee (SEABC), and other committees on their professionalism initiatives. I encourage you to take the time to check out the wonderful resources offered by the Center for Professionalism at https://www.floridabar.org/prof/. You will find helpful #ProTips (short clips on professionalism advice) and Never Contemplated (candid interviews with female judges regarding professionalism and gender bias), as well as other great resources. While you are there, please also download a copy of the Professionalism Handbook, which is a very handy collection of professionalism standards and will be updated this year.

Special Committee for the Review of Professionalism in Florida — A 2021 Florida Bar survey revealed that 32% of respondents consider lack of ethics and professionalism to be the most serious issue in the legal profession. Responding to the concerns, Bar President Mike Tanner made it his mission to bring awareness and make improvements. With approval from The Florida Bar Board of Governors, he formed the Special Committee for the Review of Professionalism in Florida to develop recommendations regarding professionalism standards, education, and enforcement. SCOP will be instrumental in implementing the special committee’s recommendations going forward.

November Legal Professionalism Month — In 2021, the Florida Supreme Court partnered with The Florida Bar to bring professionalism to the forefront and declared November “Legal Professionalism Month.” SCOP, along with contributions from SEABC, prepared the legal professionalism month white paper, which outlines the current state of professionalism and its history. A copy may be found at https://www.floridabar.org/prof/presources/legal-professionalism-month-white-paper/.

Awards Working Group — Judge John Badalamenti chairs this working group, which promotes professionalism by recognizing organizations and individuals who exemplify SCOP’s mission. There are three awards, which include the William M. Hoeveler Judicial Professionalism Award, the Group Professionalism Award, and the Law Faculty/Administrator Professionalism Award. Review of the nominations and award recommendations will go to the full committee by March 18, and the recipients are announced at Annual Convention in June.

Education and Resource Working Group — Abby Spears has led this working group in recruiting attorneys to submit #ProTip videos; reviewing the professionalism standards with a focus on diversity and inclusion; and encouraging attorneys to volunteer for The Florida Bar’s Speakers Bureau. This group’s charge also includes submitting materials for the Center for Professionalism’s newsletter, The Professional, which this year was changed to an online format found at https://www.thefloridabarprofessional.com.

Gender Bias Working Group — Magdalena “Magie” Ozarowski is Co-Vice Chair of SCOP, and she also chairs this working group. This group’s tasks include aiding the development and promotion of CLEs and providing articles on issues related to gender bias, such as implicit bias, the business case for gender inclusion, and gender-neutral hiring and evaluation criteria. The group has also focused on developing a gender bias toolkit to add to the Center for Professionalism’s website that will include various resources on gender bias-related issues. Judge Hetal Desai, who is a member of this working group, leads the podcast series, “Never Contemplated.” The podcast is in its second season, and it provides awareness through interviews with female judges.

Mental Health and Wellness Working Group — This working group is chaired by Charise Morgan-Joseph and is responsible for aiding in the development and production of a CLE on health and wellness issues in general and how COVID-19 has impacted mental health and wellness in the legal profession. This group plans to host its CLE prior to Annual Convention and is also exploring ways to partner with various local bar associations to promote their health and wellness programs.

• Mentoring Initiatives Working Group — Jason D. Berger is Co-Vice Chair of SCOP and the chair of this working group, which presented a thought-provoking CLE, “Empowering Neurodiverse Professionals Through Mentoring.” A recording of the CLE is available on the Center for Professionalism’s website. This group plans to present its second CLE in April.

It has been a great privilege to serve as chair of SCOP this year, and I thank Florida Bar President Mike Tanner and Rebecca Bandy for this wonderful opportunity.

Elizabeth R. Hunter, Chair

Real Estate Certification

The Real Estate Certification Committee had another busy year. The 2021-2022 members of the committee are Chair Wiley S. Boston of Orlando, Vice Chair Kenneth Lee Bohannon of New Smyrna Beach, Deborah Boyd of Port Saint Lucie, Liliana Valderrama Avellan of Miami, D. Michael Chesser of Shalimar, Ofonedu-Ime Goodwyn of Coral Gables, Michelle Gomez Hinden of Orlando, Sebastian Jaramillo of Miami, Robert M. Schwartz of Boca Raton, William Jeffry Stein of Oviedo, and Rebecca Wood of Gainesville.

The committee is charged with evaluating and approving lawyers who apply to become board certified in real estate law, evaluating and approving existing board-certified real estate lawyers for recertification (every five years), and preparing and grading the annual certification exam. The latter process takes up the bulk of the committee’s time and effort. As dictated by the Florida Supreme Court, the evaluation of applicants involves the determination of whether an applicant meets the highest standards of professionalism and ethics. This process is often difficult and is taken very seriously by the committee members. The committee strives to prepare the exam from year to year in a manner that best tests those high standards as well as the knowledge, proficiency, and skill expected of members of The Florida Bar holding themselves out as experts in real estate law.

The real estate certification program was established in 1986 with the first-class becoming board certified in 1987. Real estate has historically been the second-largest area of certification in terms of number of individuals who are board certified by The Florida Bar. There are currently 435 board certified lawyers in real estate law, and 40 applicants that have been approved to sit for the 2022 exam.

The present format of the exam includes 45 multiple-choice questions, six mandatory short-answer essay questions, a long-answer homestead essay question, and a long-answer transactional analysis law question. The exam is divided into four 90-minute modules. While not everyone will pass the exam, we regularly receive feedback that the process of preparing for the exam causes every examinee to be a better real estate lawyer. Of those who do not pass the exam on the first try, many find success in the year that follows.

We encourage all experienced and eligible lawyers to apply for board certification. Certification identifies a lawyer to the public and to other lawyers as having specialized knowledge, skills, and capabilities. We also encourage board certified lawyers to apply to serve on the committee; it provides invaluable exposure to other real estate law experts in a collegial and intellectually stimulating setting.

As chair of the committee, I thank the members for their hard work and dedication to the exam preparation and applicant review process. Additionally, the committee extends its thanks and gratitude to those who have graciously volunteered their time to serve as exam pretesters: Laura Licastro, Jeffrey Ostlie, and Steven Presley. The committee members also thank David Willis, our BLSE liaison to the committee, and acknowledge the hard work and service of Jasmine Rodriguez, our Bar staff certification specialist. Our jobs would be impossible without her talented assistance and dedication to the committee.

Wiley S. Boston, Chair

Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration

The Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration is the central address for all court rules of procedure that have general and common application across multiple areas of practice. In addition to managing and improving its own rules, particularly those rules found in Part IV (Judicial Proceedings and Records) and in Part V (Practice of Law), the RGPJAC reviews for consistency and commonality all recommendations and all rule revisions proposed by all other rules committees. When requested or otherwise indicated, the RGPJAC also leads efforts to coordinate the analysis and submission to the court of a single comprehensive report of proposed rules amendments on behalf of multiple rules committees and workgroups.

The RGPJAC’s agenda this year has been robust and challenging. Rather than accepting for consideration rule amendments only on a three-year rotating cycle, the court has adopted the RGPJAC’s recommendation to amend Rule 2.140 to expedite the rule amendment process by requiring that rule proposals be submitted to the court when ready for consideration. As a result, the RGPJAC has been fully engaged on work to submit a number of pending proposals to the court.

Last year, the court declined to adopt a series of proposed amendments to the rules designed to implement a broad range of adjustments to accommodate the electronic world in which we live and work. In response, the RGPJAC formed an ad hoc subcommittee comprised of a diverse group of practitioners and judges to consider the concerns expressed by the court and by commenters, with the goal of presenting a comprehensive electronic rules structure that is endorsed by all interested constituents, particularly each of our 10 rules committees. The entire electronic rules amendments package is near completion, and I personally invite all to share their thoughts when this is published for comment this summer.

The RGPJAC has worked diligently to revamp and restructure Rule 2.530, Communication Technology, to address procedures for requesting, scheduling, and conducting nonevidentiary and evidentiary proceedings using communications technology, including allocation of respective burdens and identification of relevant considerations. The new rule also addresses the administration of oaths through communication technology applicable to witnesses wherever located. The proposed rule restructuring devised by the RGPJAC was adopted by the Workgroup on Continuity and presented to the court for adoption. Oral argument was held in February and an opinion is forthcoming.

The RGPJAC has worked closely with the Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations After COVID-19 as the Workgroup addressed and continues to consider means and methods by which to facilitate and enhance effective and efficient participation in the court system during virus times, including recognition of the needs of self-represented litigants (SRLs) and expansion of the online alternative dispute resolution options.

While addressing Rule 2.530, the RGPJAC identified a glitch in the statutory authority to administer oaths in courtroom settings. In order to grant authority to deputy clerks and other qualified persons to administer oaths to jurors and witnesses in court, the RGPJAC is recommending the adoption of a new Rule 2.533.

Rule 2.420, Public Access to and Protection of Judicial Branch Records, has continued to receive attention and refinement. The RGPJAC appointed an ad hoc subcommittee to address several issues, including allocation of responsibility among participants for designating confidential information within filings, the authority of clerks of court to reject filings, and refinements necessary to accommodate statutory amendments regarding parental notification before the termination of a minor’s pregnancy and the constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law. Included in the refinements is also the inclusion of documents related to the settlement of a minor’s or ward’s claim in the list of confidential documents.

The RGPJAC has also been active in the review and reconciliation of recommendations of the court’s Workgroup on Improved Resolution of Civil Cases. The Civil Workgroup has adopted many of the RGPJAC’s recommendations and addressed most of the concerns expressed. The revised proposals for rule amendments have been recirculated and the Civil Workgroup’s revised proposals are under review. The final Civil Workgroup recommendations will likely be set for oral argument.

The Florida Courts Technology Commission has established a joint workgroup comprised of members of the FCTC and members of the RGPJAC. The joint FCTC/RGPJAC workgroup is considering several issues, including 1) the need for or benefit of requiring a notary to administer an oath in order to bind a signatory to the truth of the matter asserted and to subject the signatory to penalties of perjury; 2) the need for or benefit of requiring filers through the Portal to use standardized fonts for trial courts to facilitate conversion of the filings to the PDF/A format and ensure ADA compliance; 3) a limitation on the number of email accounts that a filer may register and use for filing/serving documents through the Portal; and 4) the viability of using electronic signatures under Rule 2.505.

As a demonstration of concern for some rather fine points of procedure, the RGPJAC considered the interplay between Rule 2.505 and Rule 2.516. Rule 2.516 requires a withdrawing attorney to provide an email address for the client. A proposed amendment to Rule 2.505 would clarify that inclusion of the client’s email address does not constitute the client’s consent to email service.

As in prior years but even more so this year, we have been extremely busy tracking and coordinating the work of the many rules committees, workgroups, and task forces that are moving with all due speed to simplify and to transform our statewide rules of procedure in a concerted and valiant effort to address the many challenges that we are facing and will continue to face as we progress through the digital age into the full-blown electronic era, during a pandemic no less.

The RGPJAC has made tremendous progress. We are deservedly proud, but we have lots more work to do. Our committee is comprised of dedicated lawyers, judges, clerks, and court personnel who care deeply, work tirelessly, give endlessly, and ask nothing in return other than the improvement and enhancement of our judicial system. Each member of our committee has contributed mightily to our progress and should be commended and acknowledged for his and her efforts. We are honored to serve.

Stanford R. Solomon, Chair

Senior Lawyers

The SLC consists of members in good standing of The Florida Bar (TFB), most of whom are appointed utilizing the committee preference form. Some members have joined after the appointment period upon a request to The Florida Bar. Any member in good standing who is interested in the mission statement of the SLC is welcomed to apply to the SLC. Current SLC members range in age from approximately 42 to 93 years of age, with the majority being in their 60s and lower 70s. There is no age restriction for the SLC and the number of one-year terms to which a member of TFB can be reappointed is unlimited. In January, the SLC voted to pursue division status in TFB. Currently, TFB has two other divisions, the Young Lawyers Division, and the Out of State Division.

The leadership team of the SLC consists of Chair Andromeda Monroe, Vice Chairs James (“Dick”) Caldwell and Leslie K. Stein, all three appointed by President Michael G. Tanner, Newsletter Subcommittee Chair and Editor Susan Healy, and Webpage Subcommittee Chair Colleen Sachs. The SLC leadership team consists of experienced lawyers over the age of 55 who have been practicing law for at least 30 years and are at different stages in their careers, in a full-time law practice or corporate in-house position, university adjunct professor, or solo practitioner after many years as in-house counsel and/or in law firm practice. In addition, some members of the leadership team are admitted to practice in other jurisdictions. The SLC’s Board of Governors’ liaison is Michael Gelfand, and its program administrator is Cheryl Wright. This is an excellent team. Each person’s innovative thought, work ethic, commitment, support, and follow-through are appreciated.

The SLC has met three times (all virtually) this fiscal year on August 30, 2021, October 15, 2021, and January 31, at which formal votes were taken on certain matters. We anticipate two additional meetings, with the last one of the fiscal year being held in-person and virtually during The Florida Bar Annual Convention. Meetings of subcommittees/focus groups (as later described) have been held, as necessary.

The initiatives are 1) greater accessibility for senior lawyers and others with disabilities; 2) inclusion of retired attorneys in TFB and pro bono programs of legal aid services or pro bono organizations; 3) creation of a Senior Lawyers Resource Center; and 4) multiple options for membership signup for SLC. At the January meeting of the SLC, the committee voted to pursue division status within TFB, and division status pursuit has replaced initiative four. The initiatives were developed in recognition of the SLC as a service committee of TFB, the aging population of TFB, the need to address this unique demographic group, the perceived desire for senior lawyers to remain active in TFB after they stop practicing law full-time, move from a law firm to solo or small-firm practice, start second careers or hobbies that utilize their legal capabilities, or engage in other activities as members of boards, volunteers in charitable or community organizations, professors, or as CLE or other course lecturers and providers. President Tanner and President-elect Gary S. Lesser were notified of these initiatives in July 2021. The initiatives are addressed in various subcommittees.

There are seven subcommittees and one focus group as indicated below.

1) Retired Lawyers Inclusion Subcommittee, Dick Caldwell, chair: The SLC was made aware that retired members may wish to remain active in sections and committees of TFB and also be able to reactivate to the practice of law in some capacity (limited or otherwise), without taking the Bar exam, after they retire. Currently, lawyers who have permanently retired from TFB can never be admitted to the practice of law in Florida again, and lawyers who have been retired for more than five years cannot practice law in Florida unless they have applied and are readmitted by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and the Florida Supreme Court, which means, among other things, passing the Florida bar exam again. Inactive lawyers have the ability to reactivate at any time, provided certain educational and other requirements (exclusive of taking the bar exam again) are met. Some lawyers do not maintain active or inactive status due to limited financial resources and some lawyers who plan on practicing periodically or on a very limited or pro bono only basis find the membership fee too onerous for such a limited practice. Some other integrated (mandatory) bar associations permit emeritus status for lawyers over a certain age, which enables them to actively practice law only on a pro bono basis, permit continued bar membership for the limited purpose of committee/section membership (subject to any section fees), or permit a retired lawyer to return to active practice upon meeting certain non-bar exam related requirements. The ability of retired lawyers to return to the practice of law to assist on a pro bono basis would be advantageous to those unable to afford an attorney and for the delivery of legal services to those whose income fall below a particular standard. This subcommittee developed a survey to assess the interest that lawyers in good standing over 55 and those currently retired have regarding continued membership or involvement in TFB following retirement. The survey was presented at a SLC meeting and then to TFB staff for review. The restructuring of that proposed survey by TFB staff was received on March 11 and will be reviewed by this subcommittee.

2) CLE Subcommittee, Dick Caldwell, chair: This subcommittee is responsible for providing free CLE webinars/seminars at or around the time of TFB fall meeting, TFB winter meeting, and TFB Annual Convention. Additional webinars can be planned outside of these periods. The webinars held this fiscal year have been, “Crossing the Line: Zealous Advocacy or Unprofessional and Unethical Conduct,” held on January 26, and, “Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — What Senior Lawyers, Other Lawyers, and Law Firms Should Know About the Protections and Obligations of This Law,” held on October 15, 2021. A substantive law webinar (topic pending) is scheduled for the Annual Convention.

3) Newsletter Subcommittee, Susan Healy, chair and editor: This subcommittee writes and seeks out articles, short stories, poetry, and other items of interest for the SLC newsletter, “Experience Matters.” The chair of this subcommittee often writes a number of articles. This subcommittee has done an outstanding job in developing this newsletter, which had its start during the beginning of the pandemic. It has had multiple editions since its start. This fiscal year, it has published two newsletters, Fall 2021 and Winter 2022.

4) Webpage Subcommittee, Colleen Sachs, chair: This subcommittee is responsible for updating the SLC webpage on TFB website and locating additional free CLE webinar/seminar sources and senior-related organizations for posting on the SLC website. The webpage currently displays various free webinars, some senior-related organizations, and the SLC subcommittees/focus groups, and is the home of SLC newsletter.

5) Senior Resource Center Subcommittee, Andromeda Monroe, chair: This subcommittee is responsible for creating the Senior Resource Center, which will provide access to information or information of interest to senior lawyers, including ethical opinions that affect senior lawyers, health resource tools (free hearing and cognitive testing), articles of interest relating to senior lawyers, law firm closing and solo practice procedures, and TFB membership categories. This resource concept is based upon the State Bar of California’s “Senior Lawyers Resource” webpage. This subcommittee will eventually merge with the Webpage Subcommittee.

6) Accessibility Subcommittee, Andromeda Monroe, current chair: This subcommittee had a conversation in July 2021 with TFB Board Technology Committee regarding the need for the placement of a disability accessibility tool on TFB website. The subcommittee, after a vote of the SLC, will now focus on closed captioning for TFB approved CLEs in light of hearing dysfunction by some senior lawyers that may or may not rise to the level of an ADA accommodation. One of the two recent members to this subcommittee may become the chair of this subcommittee.

7) 50-Year Member and Senior Counsel Luncheon Advisory Subcommittee: This subcommittee assists TFB, as requested by the president of TFB, with the luncheon, and traditionally, has hosted the event. We are appreciative that President Tanner requested our review of potential keynote speakers and for a short list of recommendations. Last year, this subcommittee notified the law school of each honoree of this 50-year milestone and plans on continuing this as a tradition.

8) Membership Focus Group: This subcommittee initially was examining various ways to have individuals join the SLC, other than via the committee preference form. As a result of a vote of the SLC, this subcommittee will now explore division status for the SLC. Members of this committee currently consist of mainly members of the SLC leadership team.

Andromeda Monroe, Chair

State and Federal Government and Administrative Practice

Currently, there are 79 board certified lawyers in state and federal government and administrative practice. Our committee covers a broad practice area that includes state and federal rulemaking, administrative adjudication, and agency interaction, along with state and federal government practice areas.

This year, six people applied for certification, a significant increase from last year.

We are continuing to work on encouraging administrative practitioners to apply for certification. We have worked on revising the scope and specifications of the exam to focus more on state law rather than federal law, and we are working to prepare a revised study guide. We have advertised the revised focus of the exam, which has increased applications; however, we have more work to do to increase membership in this certification area. The committee has sought to identify possible modifications in our certification rules and requirements and will continue to do so.

While we are working to revise our criteria for the future, our committee also has determined that it needs to work harder on promoting certification in this area. Several members of the committee have worked to increase participation in the certification area by seeking input and suggestions from certified and noncertified administrative law practitioners. We plan to intensify this effort over the coming year.

The 2021-2022 committee has been very active and dedicated. Vice Chair Bruce Lamb has been very helpful to the committee in pursuing our long-term goals. Angela Morrison and Douglas Sunshine have provided extra effort in reviewing and revising questions for the 2022 exam. Kristin Bigham, Judge Francine Ffolkes, Brittany Long, John Rimes, and Judge John Van Laningham also have assisted greatly with this endeavor and have actively contributed suggestions regarding possible rule changes and ways to encourage new applicants. We are fortunate to have an excellent, professional, and very friendly liaison, Allison Armour. We greatly appreciate her hard work and assistance.

If you have any questions about certification in state and federal government and administrative practice, please visit The Florida Bar’s website, or call Allison Armour at 850-561-3143.

Michael Cooke, Chair

Student Education and Admission to the Bar Committee

The committee has continued to fulfill its mission by working with law students, law schools, and new lawyers to assist them in understanding the essential issues, challenges, skills, areas of responsibility and legal knowledge to cultivate the highest caliber of Florida legal practitioners.

The committee has done its work by assigning its members to working groups. These groups have been very busy determining goals for the year and their implementation. The working groups are described below and how they are preceding:

1) Law School Professionalism Panels. Three one-hour Zoom sessions for law students and young lawyers focusing on the attorney-client relationship have been scheduled during the year. Panel members include committee members and others from different practices and discuss the importance of counseling the client on all aspects of the representation including, confidentiality, competence, communication, goal-setting, fees and fee agreements, and understanding the legal landscape. This group has already had two sessions that went live and have been recorded and posted on the Bar’s website for CLE credit.

2) Law Student Program. They are working on creating short videos that will correlate with the handbook, “So You Want to Be a Lawyer.” These videos are set to be completed in April and edited and ready by the Bar convention meeting.

3) Mentoring. Information is being gathered from all Florida law schools regarding their current mentoring initiatives to create a mentoring toolkit to be used on the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism’s website. In addition, they are also coordinating mentoring opportunities from other sections and committees of the Bar so law schools, law students, and young lawyers will have more information on the center’s website.

4) Social Media. The center is receiving new created #ProTipTuesday videos for its website supplied by this group, as well as helping the center create content for social media.

The committee was also involved in November, during the Legal Professionalism Month, in reviewing and commented on the white paper released by the center focusing on the importance of the attorney-client relationship and the role it plays in professionalism. In addition, the committee was active in the Florida Board of Bar Examiners in getting the word out for Bar members to take the survey generated from the efforts of the FBBE’s Practice Analysis Panel. The survey ran through October 2021 and yielded a high response rate.

The committee will continue its work fulfilling its mission to ensure the highest caliber of legal education and preparedness for bar admission emphasizing the importance of professionalism.

Joshua Magidson, Chair

Tax Law Certification

As the 2021- 2022 chair of the Tax Law Certification Committee, I am pleased to provide this report for the committee. Members of the committee are responsible for overseeing the process of certifying attorneys as tax law specialists recognized by The Florida Bar, for reviewing applications of current certified attorneys seeking recertification at the expiration of their terms, for improving the tax certification examination, and for reviewing and approving certain continuing legal education courses qualifying for tax law certification credit.

The certification process consists of four requirements: an active practice in tax law; excellent peer review references; having sufficient continuing legal education in tax law; and passing the certification examination.

The committee is comprised of nine board-certified tax law attorneys who work throughout the state. Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, all the meetings this year were again conducted telephonically or via Zoom. The committee first met via Zoom in August 2021 to begin drafting the 2022 examination and to review initial and recertification applications. This year, the committee again revised the 2022 examination to adapt it to remote administration and to improve the exam’s ability to distinguish attorneys with high level of competence to meet the high standards expected by the committee and The Florida Bar.

The 2022 exam was the second year with a new exam format. The exam is comprised of two sections that together comprise the long-answer essay question and two sections that each contain five multi-part, shorter answer essay questions that address procedural and substantive law. For the various subjects, the committee once again updated questions from previous examinations to reflect the change in format and any changes in law, as well as created new current questions to adapt to changes in the law. The committee adjusted the exam questions to reflect lessons learned from last year’s virtual exam format. The committee continues to work to ensure that the exam is a fair but rigorous test of an applicant’s expertise in what is expected of a board-certified tax lawyer.

The examination took place March 11. The committee will grade the 2022 examinations on an anonymous basis with each examinee identified to the committee only by a number assigned by Florida Bar staff. The committee will discuss the results at its final meeting scheduled for April 29. Those attorneys who meet all requirements for a board-certified tax law attorney and achieve a passing score on the examination will earn the designation as a board-certified tax law specialist.

The committee approached the Tax Section leadership regarding the possibility of providing all tax certification exam candidates complimentary access for a period of time to Tax Section education materials and seminars prior to the exam administration to facilitate exam preparation. While the Tax Section leadership agreed, this new program was not able to be implemented for the 2022 exam. We hope that it will be available for the 2023 exam because we do not want the cost of study materials to be a barrier to exam preparation and subsequent board certification.

Of the more than 100,000 members of The Florida Bar, 194 are currently board certified in tax law. Seven attorneys are expected to sit for the 2022 tax law certification exam. The committee also reviewed 21 recertification applications.

The committee is grateful to the lawyers who participate in the confidential peer review process. Without candid commentary from applicants’ peers, the committee’s ability to properly review applicants’ qualifications would be severely curtailed. The committee emphasizes to Bar members and judicial officers that commentary is confidential and will not be divulged to any applicant.

It has been an honor for me to serve as chair of the committee this year. This year’s committee included Chair Michael A. Lampert, Vice Chair Mark C. Kloeppel, Erin E. Houck-Toll, Gerrard Lyndon Grant, Thomas F. Hudgins III, Karen Lapekas, Brian Richard Harris, Daniel Martinez, and Kelly Leigh Hellmuth. We thank our staff liaison, Chyra Reynolds, for all her efforts. She has tactfully kept us on track and her efforts and professionalism are very much appreciated.

Michael A. Lampert, Chair

Technology

The Standing Committee on Technology consists of 42 members with a stated interest and competence in technology, data security, and privacy. For the 2021-2022 year the committee focused primarily on cybersecurity topics and related content. The scope and function of the Committee on Technology is to interact regularly with LegalFuel: The Practice Resource Center of The Florida Bar to assure that technology tools for lawyers and educational assistance concerning technology related to practice management are readily available to Florida lawyers. The Committee on Technology was chaired by Beau Blumberg (Deutsch, Blumberg, & Caballero, P.A., Miami) with Anessa Allen Santos (Intellilaw, Orlando) serving as vice chair, and Kevin Johnson (Johnson Jackson, Tampa) stepping in for Halley Peters as vice chair.

In 2021 the Programming Subcommittee developed and presented a series of technology-related webinars. These webinars led up to the Annual Technology Symposium, which was an all-day event held on June 9, 2021, as part of the 2021 Florida Bar Annual Convention. The webinars and the symposium were all very well received with the symposium being attended by over 130 Bar members. The webinars were recorded and are available on LegalFuel.com’s Free CLE page for on-demand viewing.

This year the committee produced a Cybersecurity Toolbox. The Cybersecurity Toolbox provides materials ranging from introductory to advanced topics regarding cybersecurity. This toolbox is intended to provide tools for lawyers looking to improve their own cybersecurity practices. This is an evolving and dynamic toolbox that will be continuously updated with additional materials. If there is an area or topic that is not covered, please email the Committee on Technology. The toolbox has been published on LegalFuel.com for Bar members to reference.

The committee continues to work closely with the Board of Governors Technology Committee on various topics such as updating The Florida Bar Best Practices for Remote Court Proceedings guide, updating The Florida Bar member portal, and the implementation and launch of the IT hotline. The committee collaborated with the Member Benefits Committee on reviewing two technology-specific member benefits applicants.

The Current Technology Issues Subcommittee, chaired by Anessa Allen Santos, is developing new content for LegalFuel on current technology relevant to practice management, including substantial materials on cybersecurity. The content produced by the subcommittee will be published on LegalFuel for Bar members to access.

The Practice Management Subcommittee, currently chaired by Beau Blumberg, is working on its continuous review of the LegalFuel website to ensure content is relevant, current, and organized in such as way as to maximize visibility. The committee continues to provide feedback on areas in which additional content would benefit members and is working with LegalFuel to develop and update this content. The subcommittee will also be working with the Programming Subcommittee on a marketing plan for the upcoming Technology Symposium.

The Programming Subcommittee, currently chaired by Kevin Johnson, is working to develop the programming for the 2022 Annual Technology Symposium, which will be held in conjunction with the 2022 Florida Bar Annual Convention in Orlando on June 22. Moreover, and most importantly, the 2022 Annual Technology Symposium was selected as one of the 2022 Presidential Showcase seminars. We thank the committee officers, members, and the staff liaison for their hard work and dedication.

Beau Blumberg, Chair

Unlicensed Practice of Law

The Florida Bar Unlicensed Practice of Law (UPL) Committee staff continued their efforts to protect the public from UPL. We approved litigation for injunctive relief against individuals and businesses for holding themselves out as attorneys and providing legal services in immigration, real property, and eviction matters.

The standing committee had another busy year addressing formal advisory opinion requests. Under Rule 10-9 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, an individual or organization seeking guidance as to the applicability of the state’s prohibitions against the unlicensed practice of law may request a formal advisory opinion from the standing committee. After holding a public hearing to receive input from interested parties, the standing committee, at its discretion, may file a proposed formal advisory opinion with the Florida Supreme Court containing its interpretation of the law. The court then reviews the proposed opinion and can approve, modify, or disapprove the advisory opinion with the ensuing opinion having the force and effect of an order of the court. The standing committee declined to hold a public hearing in one request it received and will be holding a public hearing on a second request at its June meeting. Notice of the public hearing will be published on the Bar’s website and in The Florida Bar News.

The Florida Supreme Court approved the standing committee’s proposed formal advisory opinion on whether it constitutes the unlicensed practice of law for an out-of-state licensed lawyer to work remotely from Florida. The standing committee had opined that an out-of-state licensed lawyer working remotely from his Florida home for his out-of-state law firm on federal intellectual property rights matters (and not Florida law) and without having or creating a public presence or profile in Florida as an attorney would not be engaged in the unlicensed practice of law. In approving the proposed advisory opinion, the court’s opinion has the force and effect of an order of the court (Case No. SC20-1220).

We continue to receive complaints against out-of-state licensed lawyers for assisting individuals with Florida legal matters. Under the MJP (multijurisdictional practice of law) rules, out-of-state lawyers may provide limited legal services in Florida on a temporary basis under certain circumstances. The rules also subject out-of-state lawyers to the disciplinary authority of the Florida Supreme Court while providing those legal services. Thus, while out-of-state lawyers may not be engaged in the unlicensed practice of law if their activity falls within the rule, they can be disciplined for unethical conduct. The MJP rules also require out-of-state lawyers who appear in a Florida court or arbitration to file a copy of their pro hac vice motion and verified statement, respectively, with The Florida Bar. To check whether a lawyer has complied with these filing requirements, you can contact the UPL Department at 850-561-5840.

As we conclude this year, I thank all the public members and lawyers on the standing committee for their dedicated service. It has been my sincere pleasure working with you. The committee gives a special thanks to the circuit committees; we know you are the unrecognized heart and soul of UPL enforcement for the court. All committee members, who contribute their valuable time and energy in protecting the public, are especially appreciated.

I also thank and recognize Jeffrey Picker, UPL director, and UPL branch counsels Jacquelyn Needelman (Miami), Ali Vazquez (Ft. Lauderdale), Ghunise Coaxum (Orlando), Maria Torres (Tampa), Karen Dexter (Tallahassee), and their excellent support staffs. These dedicated and hard-working public servants do an incredible job year after year.

It has been my honor and pleasure to work with you all.

Antonette Russell, Chair

Workers’ Compensation Board Certification

The Workers’ Compensation Certification Committee oversees the certification of attorneys in this area, such that those attorneys successfully completing the requirements are recognized by The Florida Bar as specialists. Board certified workers’ compensation attorneys represent both injured workers and employers and practice pursuant to F.S. Ch. 440 (primarily) and Florida Administrative Code Ch. 60Q, the Rules of Workers’ Compensation Adjudications. Additionally, some attorneys also handle various claims of first responders pursuant to F.S. Ch. 112. These claims require practitioners to be highly knowledgeable, not just in substantive law but also in evidence and trial strategy. Likewise, they must be organized and effective time managers, as there are just 210 days for discovery between the filing of the petition to the final hearing (trial).

For the 2021-2022 certification year, the Workers’ Compensation Certification Committee reviewed seven initial applications and 31 applications for recertification. We also reviewed several applications for recertification for the Labor and Employment Law Certification Committee.

The committee met numerous times throughout the year, despite COVID-19, primarily by Zoom but also in-person at the 75th Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference in December. At that convention, we also, for the first time, set up a table at the convention level with Florida Bar and board certification materials to draw attention to the benefits and privileges of board certification.

The success of the Workers’ Compensation Board Certification Committee would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of its members: Vice Chair Mark Eckels, Lawrence Anzalone, Frank Wesighan, Matthew Carrillo, Mark Touby, Barry Stein, L. Gray Sanders, and Juliana Curtis. I am deeply indebted to them and thank them all for their efforts, diligence, professionalism, and commitment to upholding the high standards of this certification area. We plan to meet once more prior to the May exam and then again in June, to grade the tests.

Last, but certainly not least, the committee thanks our Florida Bar staff liaison, Charlotte Bell. Our committee could not have accomplished as much as we have, smoothly and professionally, without her dedication.

Jill E. Jacobs, Chair

Voluntary Bar Liaison

In 2021-2022, Florida boasted 295 voluntary bar associations consisting of diverse subgroups of thousands of community-involved lawyers across the state. The Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee (VBLC) serves as the connection between The Florida Bar and these organizations. The committee is composed of both attorney and executive director representatives. The mission of the VBLC is multi-faceted: 1) Improve communication between The Florida Bar and voluntary bar associations; 2) coordinate programs of The Florida Bar involving voluntary bar associations; 3) advise the Communications Department on the public relations needs of the voluntary bars; 4) provide a resource and information bank with activities and tools to address the problems of voluntary bar associations; and 5) advise the Board of Governors regarding interpretation of The Florida Bar programs to voluntary bar associations and individual members.

Every July, the VBLC hosts the Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference, which is the culmination of the committee’s yearlong planning efforts. The 2021 conference was the first in-person conference since 2019 due to the worldwide coronavirus public health crisis. Demonstrating extreme resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s voluntary bar organizations came back recharged and ready to reach new heights, in-person and via virtual programming where appropriate.

Online Presence — Learning from the pandemic, the committee recognized that its members and bar leaders needed various ways to connect and communicate outside the annual conference. To this end, with the leadership and assistance of The Florida Bar communications team, the VBLC has focused on three online initiatives.

1) Facebook Group for Voluntary Bar Leaders: A Facebook group was created to permit the exchange of ideas among leaders across the state. The group has exceeded 270 members and is often the first stop for leaders to ask questions and bounce off ideas.

2) Facebook Page: To assist voluntary bars in gaining publicity and recognition, while continuing the sharing of ideas, a Facebook page was created for Florida voluntary bars. The page shares news, events, and other announcements about the great work of Florida’s voluntary bar organizations.

3) Voluntary Bar Center: Recognizing the success of the Voluntary Bar Center website (https://www.floridabar.org/about/volbars/), the committee continues its efforts to expand the database and available resources. The Voluntary Bar Center houses a collection of resources and information to assist Florida’s local and specialty bar associations with leadership, operations, and membership. The database also has served as a resource for The Florida Bar when attempting to collect data on certain programming activity.

Voluntary Bar Leaders Mentorship Initiative — During the pandemic, a mentoring program was developed to provide peer-to-peer and hands-on guidance and skills in leading a voluntary bar. The program is founded on the premise that experienced and accomplished current and past leaders can contribute to other like-minded, up-and-coming leaders’ success and advancement. It is the hope that others are encouraged and inspired as a result to provide further service with The Florida Bar. This effort allows the exchange of ideas and learning opportunities to extend beyond the annual conference. The concept builds upon committee members’ knowledge and expertise and provides an invaluable resource to Bar leaders. The program hosts virtual events to allow mentors and mentees to come together in a fun environment.

Committee Appointments Initiative — The committee continued its’ efforts to ensure circuit representation/diversity and for recruitment of future Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee members. The committee now has representation from each circuit and continues to monitor vacancies anticipated due to term limits. Committee members have performed extensive outreach and the results have been recognized by leadership.

2021 Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference — The Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee looks forward to hosting an amazing Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference July 8-9 at the Vinoy St. Petersburg. The event is themed as a boot camp to assist leaders at all levels achieve their goals for bar leadership. Amelia Hallenberg Beard and Beth Feder are co-chairs of the conference. The committee is working diligently to secure diverse speakers throughout the state, representing all facets of bar organizations. Dr. Damon Friedman, a nationally recognized speaker, has been secured as the keynote, and he will share valuable skills from his lessons learned leading elite military operators and over a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Thank you to everyone who participates in the VBLC, but most of all, a deep and sincere thank you to The Florida Bar staff. Without them, the VBLC’s many accomplishments would not be possible.

Kimberly Lopez, Chair

Workers’ Compensation Rules Advisory

The Workers’ Compensation Rules Advisory Committee is a unique rules committee because it does not operate under Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.140, but rather submits proposed amendments to the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC) and Director of the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH), which are empowered by F.S. §§440.45(1) and (4) to promulgate the Rules of Procedure for Workers’ Compensation Adjudications, located in F.A.C. Ch. 60Q-6.

In May 2021, as the term of immediate Past Chair James Fee, Jr., was winding down, the OJCC provided a notice of development of rulemaking, and scheduled two rule development workshops on July 8 and 13, 2021, via Zoom and live in Ft. Lauderdale. DOAH Director and Chief Judge Peter Antonacci, newly appointed to that position by Gov. DeSantis in December 2020, and Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims David Langham presided at the workshops, which were attended by Fee and WCRAC Parliamentarian Neil Ambekar, as well as Mark Touby, the current chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section, and Christopher Smith, former president of the Florida Workers’ Advocates and co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section Rules Committee, among many others.

In the nearly six years I have been on the WCRAC, this was the first rulemaking undertaken. Amendments to 21 of the 30 60Q rules, some stylistic, others quite substantive, were proposed, so there was a lot of work.

We formed an Ad Hoc Rulemaking Subcommittee, which was chaired by WCRAC Vice Chair Jodi Middleton, to review all the proposed amendments, most of which were recommended by the WCRAC, but some of which were offered by others. Although the WCRAC typically has only one meeting in August of each year, we held a historic two meetings in August 2021, to allow the WCRAC to review, gather, and provide information to aid the OJCC in the rulemaking process. The OJCC, through the Department of Management Services, published its Notice of Proposed Rules in the Florida Administrative Register on October 14, 2021, and the new rules became effective on February 14. Many thanks to Ad Hoc Subcommittee Members Jodi Middleton, James Fee, Neil Ambekar, Barry Stein, and Kimberly Syfrett for their dedicated work during the whirlwind of rule development between May and December 2021, and to all the members of the WCRAC, past and present, who contributed to the amendments and this process over the years.

As a result of the rulemaking process, the WCRAC embarked upon an overhaul of its internal operating procedures, with an eye for clarifying the committee’s actions when the OJCC institutes rule development. Thanks to IOP Subcommittee Chair Robert Swain and subcommittee members Catherine Agacinski, Roberto Mendez, Dawn Traverso, Hayley Folmar, and Irene Rodriguez for undertaking this important work.

The WCRAC also improved its webpage on the Bar’s website by posting materials for each referral for amendment proposals. In doing so, the WCRAC has become more transparent and made subcommittee work easier for its members by consolidating all the information in one location. Many thanks to Bar Liaison Mikalla Davis for her hard work on the webpage, which she undertook at a particularly busy time.

To improve communication and cooperative work with other Bar committees and groups, the WCRAC appointed official liaisons to the Workers’ Compensation Section’s executive council, Conference of the Judges of Compensation Claims, Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration Committee, and Appellate Court Rules Committee. Those liaisons, as well as Florida Bar Board of Governor Liaison Lorna Brown-Burton, share the work of the WCRAC with these other groups and have been added to the WCRAC’s agendas to report on the pertinent actions of those groups.

Although the 60Q rules have recently been amended, our work on the WCRAC continues with the goal of offering suggestions to better the rules for practicing workers’ compensation. We have been working on referrals concerning citation form and trial and appellate attorneys’ fees. Check the WCRAC webpage at https://www.floridabar.org/committee-page/wcra-committee-materials/ for more information. Importantly, we welcome rule amendment suggestions from anyone, so if you have ideas to improve the 60Q rules, please send them to us.

The 2021-2022 annual report would not be complete without mention of COVID-19, which forced the WCRAC’s work to move to Zoom. Happily, after over two years without an in-person meeting, the WCRAC gathered for a live meeting on December 14, 2021, at the Annual Workers’ Compensation Education Conference in Orlando, which had been reset from its usual August date. We will also met live during the Workers’ Compensation Forum in Orlando on April 7. I believe I speak for everyone in saying we are glad to return to the camaraderie of in-person Bar committee service. It is more time-consuming and costly to travel for meetings, but the benefits of fuller participation and comment associated with live meetings cannot be understated.

As chair, I take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation to each member of the WCRAC for dedicating their service. The committee includes Vice Chair Jodi Middleton; Secretary Frank Taddeo; Parliamentarian and Subcommittee Chair Neil Ambekar; Subcommittee Chairs Kimberly Syfrett, Robert Swain, and R. Dale Albright; Liaison to the Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration Committee Michael Tempkins; Liaison to the Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Council Barbi Feldman; and Liaison to the Conference of Judges of Compensation Claims Judge Jeffrey Jacobs; members Catherine Agacinski, Teri Bussey, James Fee, Hayley Folmar, Rebecca Gardiner-Bess, Elaura Hodgetts, Roberto Mendez, Tracey Kort Parde, Joanna Pino, Maureen Proctor, Irene Rodriguez, Anne Santomaggio, Barry Stein, Dawn Traverso, and Judge Jack Weiss; and Florida Bar Board of Governors Liaison Lorna Brown-Burton.

I am confident that I speak for all the WCRAC members when I acknowledge the outstanding and dedicated service of our Florida Bar liaison, Mikalla Davis, who has provided invaluable support to our committee. Thanks, too, to Program Coordinator Benjamin Morris, who has assisted Mikalla throughout this year with our scheduling.

We look forward to our meeting in April and continuing to provide service to The Florida Bar, Workers’ Compensation Section, Office of Judges of Compensation Claims, and all Bar members who practice workers’ compensation.

Wendy S. Loquasto, Chair