2021-2022 Annual Reports of Sections and Divisions of The Florida Bar
I am honored to present the Administrative Law Section’s annual report for the 2021-2022 term and highlight the hard work of the many members who devoted countless hours to the section. The 2021-2022 term was a busy one for the Administrative Law Section.
• Early Events — Our section held a number of successful events during the first half of the Bar year. In July, the section held a Long-Range Planning Retreat in Tallahassee. At that meeting, several topics were discussed, including a report from the ad hoc committee on membership about the coordinated campaign encouraging former members to renew and non-members to join; updating the section’s logo and branding; increasing the number of programs and events held in South and Central Florida; and improving outreach to young and government lawyers and law students.
Following the Long-Range Planning Meeting, the section hosted a reception for Pete Antonacci, the new chief administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings. The event was held at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee and was very well attended by administrative law judges and members of the section. A special thanks to Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk, who planned this event.
• Continuing Legal Education — The section held several major CLE programs in the fall. Members assisted with the second DOAH Trial Academy, an intensive hands-on trial practice program, which was organized by DOAH Deputy Chief Judge Brian Newman. The week-long academy, held at DOAH from September 27 to October 2, 2021, was modeled after other immersive trial preparation training courses with a focus on skills that attorneys need for practicing in an administrative forum. The program included a full day of lectures from administrative law judges on numerous topics, including opening statements, writing proposed orders, evidence, examining lay and expert witnesses, trial notebooks, and building a record. Following the lectures, the participants were divided into teams and spent the next two and a half days in intensive workshops practicing and refining basic trial skills, such as direct and cross examination and opening statements. Upon completion of the program, participants had the opportunity to join a mentorship program with an experienced administrative law attorney.
The section once again sponsored its premier CLE program, the Pat Dore Administrative Conference, at the University Center Club in Tallahassee on October 14 and 15, 2021. To ensure the safety of participants, the conference was a hybrid event, with registrants able to attend either in-person or remotely. Judge J. Curtis Kiser, commissioner of the Public Employees Relations Commission, gave the keynote address on the origins of the Florida Administrative Procedure Act. The conference presented numerous panels that addressed a variety of issues, such as constitutional rulemaking, agency deference, and mentoring the next generation of administrative lawyers, as well as a panel of judges from the First District Court of Appeal and a panel of administrative law judges. The members of the Pat Dore Steering Committee put countless hours into planning this event. A heartfelt thank you to Administrative Law Judges Li Nelson, Gar Chisenhall, Suzanne Van Wyk, and the chair of the Steering Committee, Judge Cathy Sellers.
The section also sponsored lunch series webinars in late April/May using the Inreach platform for the Administrative Law Section, featuring several speakers and topics.
• Charitable and Social Events Throughout the Year — The section hosted a number of events supporting different charitable organizations over the course of the year. In August, the section held a “Backpack Drive” benefiting Boys Town. We hosted a “Turkey Drive” in November, a social event where attendees could donate funds to purchase groceries for families of students at a local elementary school. Generous donations by section members enabled us to purchase 74 bags of groceries that were delivered to families in time for Thanksgiving. During the second half of the Bar year, the section continued hosting social and charitable events, including a March Madness event on St. Patrick’s Day.
Thank you to Tabitha Jackson, Matt Bryant, James Ross, Paul Drake, Ross Vickers, Virginia Ponder, Patty Nelson, Amy Schroeder, and Judge Gar Chisenhall for their continued work in promoting networking and social activities events with charitable endeavors.
• Publications — I also thank Jowanna Oates and Tiffany Roddenberry, the co-editors of the section’s newsletter, who continued to do an outstanding job producing this first-rate publication. The quarterly newsletter features “Appellate Case Notes,” in which Melanie Leitman, Tara Price, Gigi Rollini, Larry Sellers, and Robert Walters provide concise descriptions of every significant administrative law case decided by Florida’s appellate courts during the previous quarter. The newsletter’s other recurring column, “DOAH Case Notes,” edited by Gar Chisenhall, Matthew Knoll, Dustin Metz, Paul Rendleman, Tiffany Roddenbery, and Katie Sabo, concisely describes noteworthy administrative decisions from the preceding quarter.
In addition to the section’s newsletter, the section is now also publishing a quarterly Bulletin, which shares more informal information about section members and social events. Thanks especially to the following for their contributions to the Bulletin: Maria Pecoraro McCorkle; Judge Gar Chisenhall; Tabitha Jackson; Brittany Dambly; Brittany Griffith; Judge Kilbride; Richard Shoop; and Jowanna Oates.
I also thank Lyyli Van Whittle for continuing to lead our section publication efforts for The Florida Bar Journal.
• Membership Initiatives — As mentioned in previous annual reports, the section has been making a concerted effort to increase its membership and has established an ad hoc membership committee that has been working toward that goal. Members of the committee called every attorney who did not renew their membership to see if they would reconsider joining the section. They found that many times the failure to renew was simply an oversight and the members rejoined or confirmed that other former members had moved out of state or changed practice areas and were no longer interested in belonging to our section. A special thanks to Gigi Rollini for chairing this committee.
The section continues its goal to develop Central and South Florida chapters to host live events for members of the section who live and practice outside of Leon County, where the majority of our members practice.
• Law School Outreach — Thanks to the efforts of our Chair-elect Tabitha Jackson, we have maintained a law school outreach program for building awareness of the section among law students at every law school in Florida and that effort continues. As such, the section considers its monthly luncheons at the law schools to be long-term investments toward increasing membership by building awareness of the section among future administrative law practitioners. The section is also making a concerted effort to increase awareness among attorneys employed by administrative agencies.
• Technology and Social Media — Members of the section’s Technology Committee continued to do an outstanding job maintaining and updating the section’s website and social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Thank you to Gregg Morton, who has played a large role in this area, to Brittany Dambly, who has been helpful in updating the website, and to Maria Pecoraro-McCorkle, who has been assisting with social media posts.
In closing, I recognize the continued, outstanding work of the section’s administrator, Calbrail Banner. We could not have accomplished these tasks without her support. We also recognize the commitment and hard work of our officers: Chair-Elect Tabitha Jackson; Secretary Suzanne Van Wyk; Treasurer Marc Ito; Board Liaison Larry Sellers; and immediate Past Chair Bruce Lamb. Because of the guidance and work of our officers and other members mentioned above, the Administrative Law Section stands on a solid foundation, and we look forward to continued innovation and success in the coming years.
Stephen C. Emmanuel, Chair
The Animal Law Section (ALS) of The Florida Bar is experiencing another successful year of promoting the practice of animal law, providing unique opportunities and benefits to our members, and promoting animal welfare initiatives around the state. Although the pandemic continued to be a factor for portions of the year, we have continued to explore ways to utilize technology in pursuit of our core mission of educating members of our section and The Florida Bar, as well as the public, about the latest developments in animal law.
We started the year off at the annual meeting in June with a free five-hour virtual seminar, “Animal Law in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Issues and Solutions.” The seminar was well attended by a live audience and was also recorded. Keeping with its tradition of being a leader in social media and technology, the recording is now available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbyAJyM1WPg, along with the materials on the ALS’s YouTube channel.
The ALS has also continued its work with the various regulatory agencies that deal with animals in the state. In August, the ALS offered a free webinar, “Protecting and Restoring Florida’s Coral Reef: Legal and Regulatory Update,” that was presented by a speaker from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The ALS has also made a commitment toward making sure its CLE offerings qualify for board certification credit where appropriate. The August webinar qualified for both city, county, and local government and state and federal and administrative practice credits. More recently, we hosted a free webinar, “Updates on Legal Efforts to Extend Habeas Corpus Rights to NonHuman Animals.” Over 70 members attended the webinar.
The ALS has also pursued unique opportunities for its members and law school students to work with different animal organizations through its sanctuary field trips. In November, the ALS had its second virtual visit to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. The sanctuary provides individualized lifetime care for the world’s largest land animal in a protected contact system that prioritizes the elephant’s wellbeing and freedom of choice. Participants received information on the laws and regulations governing elephants in the United States and around the world, including the Endangered Species Act, a patchwork of state and local laws, and a framework of regulatory agencies. The ALS’s Equine Committee also sponsored a trip to the Wild Horse Rescue Center in Webster. In February, the Farmed Animal Committee sponsored a sanctuary trip to the Kindred Spirits Sanctuary in Citra and the Wildlife Committee hosted a virtual happy hour to screen a film on endangered panthers and a Q&A with the filmmakers from the fStop Panther Conservation Program. We also had a sanctuary trip in April to the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula.
The ALS has continued to partner with other sections of The Florida Bar. In July, we worked with the Administrative Law Section for a trivia night in Tallahassee that was well attended and raised close to $1,000 for local animal charity Pets Ad Litem. In the spring, we plan on another joint happy hour with the Administrative Law Section that will raise funds for Tallahassee’s Animal Shelter Foundation. We are also discussing joint seminars with the City, County, and Local Government Law Section and are actively looking at opportunities to partner with other sections as well.
We also continue to work on increasing the use of therapy animals in court and other venues. Therapy animals are an important part of health and wellness initiatives. In November, the ALS co-sponsored a book signing event for the release of Tales of Tillie by attorney John Williams and his rescue greyhound. The book signing supported the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital’s Animal Therapy Program. The ALS and its partner, Pets Ad Litem, have continued to provide stuffed Rikki dolls to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for distribution to children as part of its Animal Therapy Program. The Rikki dolls resemble Rikki, a Golden Retriever therapy dog, who was the unofficial mascot for the ALS and previously featured on the cover of The Florida Bar Journal. This is one of the ALS’s most successful and gratifying programs, bringing joy and emotional healing to over 1,500 children since the program’s inception just four years ago.
The ALS has also revamped its website, https://flabaranimals.org/, through Candour, the same company that designed The Florida Bar’s website. The redesign has streamlined our old website considerably and allowed us to implement a plan to make articles for our Paw Review Newsletter, https://flabaranimals.org/paw-review-blog/, available throughout the year instead of limiting them to paper copies. The new website, which is still being updated, provides an overall more user-friendly experience and makes CLE offerings more prominent and accessible. In addition, our unique marketing campaigns contribute to the image of The Florida Bar and the ALS to promote a lifestyle brand of animals and animal law to enhance wellness. To benefit our members and the general membership of The Florida Bar, the ALS has developed a line of products, including t-shirts, socks, hot sauce and more, and updated our offerings on Café Press, https://www.cafepress.com/thefloridabar/17187206, to include additional designs and choices, including ones for the various committees, generating revenue and furthering promoting the ALS.
Our membership is now around 500, and our social media reaches many more and continues to grow. Recent analytics include: Facebook — 3,059 likes/3,308 follows; Twitter — 1,647 followers; Instagram — 847 followers, 540 posts; and LinkedIn — 146 group members.
The ALS is also continuing its outreach to law students and young lawyers who demonstrate an interest in animal law, offering free membership. In this regard, the ALS supports each of the Florida law schools’ SALDF chapters and expects that one day these students from FAMU, Stetson, FSU, and other colleges will become leaders of the ALS and The Florida Bar. Several of our recent executive council members started out with the ALS as law student members who continued on with the section after joining The Florida Bar. Now in its 10th year, the ALS again sponsored an annual animal law writing competition through the FSU College of Law. Law students from Florida schools submitted a number of papers on cutting-edge subjects in the field of animal law. The ALS looks forward to its continued participation in this now well-established annual event.
The ALS also experienced another successful legislative session both in monitoring and supporting a number of bills related to animals. One of the primary reasons the ALS petitioned to move from being a standing committee to becoming a section was the freedom to take legislative positions, and the ALS has had great success with the bills and initiatives it has supported in past sessions with everything from changing domestic violence injunction laws to cover threats to family pets to the end of greyhound racing in the state through a constitutional amendment. This session, the section focused on a number initiatives, including 1) supporting legislation that increases funding for manatees and protecting their habitat; 2) creating a public records exemption for information identifying individuals that adopt animals from government run shelters; 3) supporting legislation that provides for the appointment of advocates for the interest of animals in certain court proceedings; 4) providing for the care of retired law enforcement dogs; 5) preventing the removal of local ordinances that provide protection for animals that exceed the protection available at the state level; and 6) preventing pet leasing.
Finally, the ALS greatly appreciates the dedication of all its members. None of what we do would be possible without them, as well as the generous support of time and resources by our other officers, Michelle Ballard, Ashley Baillargeon, and Laura Roe, our other executive council members and committee chairs, Board of Governors liaison Paige Greenlee, and our Florida Bar Program Administrator Ricky Libbert.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the ALS since its creation and to now serve as its 2021-22 chair. The field of animal law and interest in it has grown exponentially in the past decade. This growth will only continue as law students and young lawyers become members of The Florida Bar and look for opportunities to practice animal law. As always, we welcome membership to participate in the ALS’s various activities, seminars/webinars, and field trips.
S. Brent Spain, Chair
The Appellate Practice Section successfully advanced its goals through adaptive and flexible planning to conquer the unique challenges of the past Bar year. We were not deterred by COVID protocols changing plans at the last minute and easily transitioned from in-person meetings to virtual programming as needed. We thank our section members, officers, executive council, committee leaders, judicial and Bar liaisons, and, most of all, Section Administrator Cheri Wright for all their efforts and work to fulfill the section’s purpose of enhancing the role and skills of appellate practitioners.
One fantastic example of this flexibility is in the work of our programs and outreach committees. Led by Outreach Committee Chair Mary Walter and Vice Chair Alexis Fields, the section hosted a lovely Autumn with APS Virtual Cocktail Class, featuring special guest mixologist and Florida Bar President Mike Tanner. Thank you again to President Tanner for teaching us how to make a delightful Fall concoction. Moving forward, the section plans to host another amazing Dessert Reception at the Bar’s Annual Convention. Desserts and dancing are the perfect end to a productive day of meetings and events. We hope to see everyone in person to celebrate this June and indulging in the amazing reception organized by Programs Committee Chairs Diane DeWolf and Lindsey Lawton.
The Annual Convention also is a platform for the section’s Annual New and Returning Member Orientation. To prepare new members for the APS, we will host a virtual meeting to introduce section members to our committees, followed by an in-person meet and greet before the section’s committee meetings. This event is a unique opportunity to learn about the section and become involved in our many incredible programs.
Speaking of incredible, our Retreat Committee, led by section Chair-elect Judge Carrie Ann Wozniak, is planning an incredible international adventure in London for fall. We will make up for the past years of virtual meetings with an educational, insightful, and exciting retreat that builds on the section’s goals of planning and development for the future.
The section took an active role in commenting on the proposed elimination of the Bar’s certification committees’ discretion to waive certain requirements. Immediate Past Chair Chris Donovan worked with several other sections to explain the concerns with the proposed rule changes and presented oral argument on behalf of our section and other sections in December 2021. Since then, the Florida Supreme Court has rejected the requested amendments without prejudice to the Board of Governors proposing them again after conferring with the sections.
We also maintained our partnership with the Government Lawyer Section, with almost 100 joint members. This program features the section’s goal of interconnectivity with other Bar sections.
Another primary goal is education and skill-building for our members. Our CLE Committee continues to crush that goal, offering innovative and timely programs, like 1) the 10-part monthly audio webcast series that brings in over 100 participants per program, 2) Let’s Talk Tech: The Best Hardware and Software for Your Appellate Practice, 3) Advanced Appellate Practice and Board Certification Review 2022, 4) Practicing Before the Florida First District Court of Appeal 2022, 5) The Ins and Outs of Rule 9.130: A Lawyer’s Guide to Non-Final Appeals Parts I and II, 6) Practicing Before the Florida Supreme Court 2022. The section also offered a free CLE jointly with the Government Lawyers Section on Navigating Your First Appeal, with over 220 registrants. A standing ovation to committee Chair Elaine Walter, Vice Chair Joe Eagleton, and Web Co-Chairs Allen Bonner, Geneva Fountain, and Eric Levine for creating exceptional learning opportunities for our members and the Bar.
Our Pro Bono Committee’s partnership with the Statewide Guardian ad Litem provided countless hours of pro bono appellate advocacy. We partnered again with GAL to offer a free, five-hour CLE program titled, “Winning Your Appeal at Trial,” which is available on GAL’s YouTube channel for free credit. We are proud and excited that four section members were recognized by the Florida Supreme Court for their pro bono efforts: Jamie Moses, Bryan Gowdy, Ryan Tyler, and Morgan Weinstein. We also have continued our expansion of pro bono services to include immigration appellate referrals from the Catholic Legal Services, assisting veterans in the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and appeals concerning family law, foreclosure, and small-claims cases referred to the section by legal aid organizations around the state and the Florida Supreme Court and district courts. Thank you to Chair Kimberly Berman, Vice Chair Samuel Alexander, and GAL liaison Thomasina Moore for their service and commitment to pro bono.
Thanks to Chair Tom Seider, the Publication Committee fulfilled the section’s commitment to publishing content that educates and informs members about interesting topics in appellate practice. Please check out The Record, led by Editor Courtney Fernald, which you can subscribe to at therecord.flabarappellate.org, for judicial profiles and news on appellate practice issues. We also publish substantive articles in every edition of The Florida Bar Journal, thanks to Editor Heather Kolinsky. The Self-Represented Litigant Committee, under the leadership of Co-Chairs Chance Lyman, Stephen Senn, and Sandra Ramirez is working on an update to The Pro Se Appellate Handbook: Representing Yourself on Appeal, a unique service project that helps pro se parties navigate appeals.
Led by Chairs Jared Krukar and the Honorable Stephanie Ray, and Co-Vice Chairs Chelsea Kirkpatrick and Laura Roe, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee partnered with The Appellate Project to bring in two student members to the section. This partnership helps empower law students of color to thrive in appellate practice. The committee also continued working on the Student Education Initiative, which is a multi-module pipeline project aimed at high school, college, and law school students of diverse backgrounds throughout the state.
Chaired by Jamie Moses and Brandon Breslow, the Fellows Program is thrilled to work with Fellows Chelsea Kirkpatick and Dayna Maeder, introducing them to appellate practice and providing hands-on appellate experience with the assistance of assigned mentors. The program has been very successful and will be announcing the 2022-2023 fellows at the end of the Bar year.
The Communications Committee, chaired by Dineen Wasylik and Morgan Weinstein, facilitated a modern and streamlined website update and curated the section’s social media presence. The social media efforts and website updates provided a direct interaction and relationship with our membership to highlight section activities and promote connectivity.
Similarly, the newly named Advocacy Committee (formally Legislative), chaired by Karla Ellis and Thomasina Moore, monitored legislative developments and potential changes to appellate practice, to ensure the section maintains its goals of exploring ways to inform section members and the public about those issues, and advising the section when section advocacy may be appropriate.
None of this success would be possible without the dedication of our section officers: Judge Carrie Ann Wozniak, chair-elect; Kansas Gooden, treasurer; Courtney Brewer, secretary; and Chris Donovan, immediate past chair. We also thank again our amazing section administrator, Cheri Wright.
Kimberly Jones, Chair
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section serves members of The Florida Bar who practice mediation and arbitration, as well as lawyers who practice before mediators and arbitrators, and members of The Florida Bar who are interested in the ADR process.
In addition, many ADR section members are also Florida Supreme Court certified mediators, who are therefore subject to regulation by the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC), which derives its authority directly from the Florida Supreme Court. The section tries to assist these members to fulfill these dual obligations whenever possible.
• Collaboration — A primary goal for the section this year has been to increase collaboration, communication, and connection between the ADR section, the Florida Dispute Resolution Center, Supreme Court Committee on ADR Rules and Policy, and all other sections of The Florida Bar. To that end, the section is actively engaged in efforts to enhance dialogue with these groups on all levels and to cross-promote and co-sponsor future events.
• Mentoring Academies — The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar require all lawyers, and thus all ADR section members, to mentor other practitioners. In order to meet this obligation, the section has created two signature programs, a Mediation Mentoring Academy, the first of which was held in 2019, and an Arbitration Advocacy Institute, the first of which was held in 2020.
Both academies were very successful and well-received. Now, through the efforts of Past-ADR Chair Chris Magee and ADR EC member John Salmon, the section has been busy preparing for its Second Mediation Mentoring Academy, which was unfortunately postponed in 2021 due to the pandemic, but is expected to be held in-person in 2022.
• Continuing Legal Education — Through the efforts of immediate Past Chair Kim Torres and the ADR CLE Committee, the ADR section maintains a robust CLE program, with nearly monthly webinars. Many of these webinars have a dual purpose, providing CLE credits to members of The Florida Bar, as well as providing Continuing Mediator Education (CME) credits to section members who are also certified mediators (as required by the DRC). This effort was ramped up during the pandemic to also include technology training for lawyers and ADR practitioners working remotely, and training for remote mediations. These webinars have been very popular, and they will continue to be in demand throughout the pandemic, as well as afterward, as remote mediations have become the new reality.
Finally, to improve the mediation process for their clients, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section collaborated with the Trial Lawyers Section to co-host The Florida Bar’s first statewide “Litigator Mediator Forum.” The Florida Bar selected this CLE presentation for the President’s Showcase during the annual Florida Bar convention. The forum not only provided continuing legal education on Mediation Advocacy skills and ethics but also provided Florida trial lawyers and mediators a long-needed platform to exchange ideas for improving mediation.
• Communications — The ADR section communicates with its members and with the public through four different methods:
1) Flabaradr.com: Section website with up-to-date information on section events and news;
2) Common Ground: Section bi-annual newsletter with scholarly articles on ADR-related topics
3) News and Tips: Monthly email newsletter for announcements, updates, and time-sensitive information;
4) Social Media: regular and frequent communications on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
• Membership Recruitment and Retention — ADR section Treasurer and Membership Chair Christy Foley has spearheaded the ADR section’s efforts to expand its membership. The section has doubled down on efforts to retain existing members and has used targeted efforts to contact attorney-mediators who are not members of the section. The ADR section has also implemented free dues for new members of The Florida Bar to encourage interest in the ADR section from the beginning of the lawyer’s career. The ADR section is also co-hosting webinars with the Trial Lawyers Section.
By cross promoting the section’s projects and CLE offerings with other sections, the section’s targeted audience has multiplied significantly. Members of the ADR executive council also continue to present seminars at the annual conference of the DRC, and the section has reached out to certified mediators who are also members of The Florida Bar. The section intends to refocus its efforts to reach out to underserved lawyers, to invite them to join the section, and to include programming addressed to lawyers who wish to improve their skills during mediation or arbitration.
When circumstances and health concerns permit it, the section plans to host in-person membership drives in the circuits to develop further interest in the section and to continue its efforts to recruit a more diverse membership base.
• Community Outreach — Through the efforts of Law School Liaison Committee Chair Ana Cristina Maldonado, the section continues its efforts to work closely with Florida law schools to better connect Florida’s ADR lawyers, professors, and law students. Plans are in the works to convene future conversations between the section, experienced practitioners, and law schools. The ultimate goal is to create synergy between the section, law schools, law professors, and practicing mediators.
In order to address the 1.5 million case backlog in Florida courts caused by the pandemic, the ADR section created an Outreach Subcommittee to promote greater use of mediation by 1) state judicial circuits and 2) corporations and industries. Members of the Outreach Subcommittee have spoken with multiple judicial circuits about implementing early or pre-suit mediation and have addressed several industry associations and corporations about adding mandatory pre-suit mediation provisions to their agreements to resolve disputes more efficiently than relying on litigation.
• Budget and Sponsorships — The section has an ambitious agenda, and as a result, the section’s budget allows for a narrow margin for expenses. However, through the efforts of Treasurer Christy Foley, and the executive council’s intense focus on the budget, the section has continued to achieve a budget surplus through the continued increase in membership, provision of quality continuing legal education programs, and employing fiscal responsibility. The section’s finances have never been better, and they continue to improve.
• Recommendations as to Legislation and The Revision of Rules — The section continues to be active in responding to proposed changes that impact ADR rules or policies. For example, the section conducted a survey of its membership as to the proposed rule change concerning the continued use of communication technology or online/remote mediations after the pandemic and then filed a comment with the Florida Supreme Court in favor of that change. The section presented its position before the Florida Supreme Court during oral argument.
Likewise, the section filed a comment as to the proposed changes to Part I and Part II of the Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, as initiated by the Supreme Court Committee on ADR Rules and Policy.
Additionally, the section is undertaking a review and will file a comment as to the JMC Workgroup Final Report on Improved Resolution of Civil Cases as it relates to the impact on dispute resolution processes.
Finally, the section continues to seek ways to enhance collaboration with the Supreme Court Committee on ADR Rules and Policy, so that the future process for rules changes becomes more efficient, greater advance notice for changes can be provided, and perhaps more section input during the revision process is obtained. The section and the Supreme Court Committee on ADR Rules and Policy share the same goals. Greater collaboration will certainly improve dispute resolution for all.
• Strategic Planning — Finally, the section has assembled a Strategic Planning Committee to establish long-term goals for the section and a plan that is consistent with achieving those goals over time, while section leadership changes on an annual basis.
In furtherance of the section’s strategic planning, a comprehensive membership survey has been prepared to ascertain the wants and needs of the members so they can be directly addressed. The objective of the section is to represent the interests of all its members while being an indispensable voice for responding to and making changes that improve dispute resolution for Florida.
Patrick Russell, Chair
I am pleased to offer this report that provides a summary of some of the Business Law Section’s (BLS) projects from this past year, as well as upcoming events:
• Section’s Diversity & Inclusion CLE Policy — Last year, in response to the section’s Diversity & Inclusion CLE Speaker Panel Policy, the Florida Supreme Court, sua sponte, amended the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar to preclude continuing legal education credit for “any course submitted by a sponsor, including a section of The Florida Bar, that uses quotas based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation in the selection of course faculty or participants.” This section, along with many other organizations and individuals, submitted a comment in response to the Court’s amendment. The vast majority of the comments asked the Court to reconsider the amendment. The Court denied oral argument. On December 16, 2021, the Court issued its opinion in response to the comments, making two minor changes to the rule effective January 1, 2022, but rejecting the substantive arguments asserted by commenters. Justice Labarga dissented from the opinion, citing many of the arguments raised by the section. The section is working to determine how to draft its policy to comport with the Supreme Court’s directives while also upholding the principles of diversity and inclusion, which are core values for the section.
• Commitment to Financial Literacy — For the past handful of years, the section has been committed to the concept of financial literacy, primarily to Florida’s youth, but also to all Florida citizens. This year, the section hosted its first Veterans’ Financial Literacy Project in October. The program was well attended and provided previously untapped resources for members of our nation’s military. Building on the success of the program, which was based in South Florida, the section hopes to offer similar programs throughout the state. Additionally, the section was once again legislatively active in supporting House and Senate bills, named in memory of longtime financial literacy advocate, Senator Dorothy Hukill, to require financial literacy classes for graduating high school seniors. After years of efforts, and sometimes frustration, the section is happy to celebrate the passage of this legislation by the House and Senate this year. Hopefully by the publication of this report, the governor will have signed the legislation into law. The section applauds the great efforts of our Bankruptcy/UCC Committee who were the original champions of this cause, led by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurel Isicoff. We also thank the hard work of the Financial Literacy Task Force and the continued work of leaders like Amanda Finley, Carlos Sardi, Jim Murphy, and Diane Wells.
• BLS Legislation Committee — The section’s Legislation Committee, chaired by Stephanie Lieb, had an industrious agenda for this year’s legislative session. The section is proud to announce that four of its initiatives have passed out of the House and Senate, and as of the writing of this writing, are heading to the governor’s desk:
1) Service of Process: SB 1062 by Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, revises provisions to the procedures for service on various kinds of business entities as well as for service outside the state of Florida and in foreign countries. Further, the bill amends procedures related to the filing of a presuit notice for medical negligence. SB 1062 was approved by the Legislature on March 7 and will now head to the governor. If approved, it will take effect January 1, 2023.
2) Pick Your Partner: SB 336 by Sen. Lori Berman (D-Lantana) reflects updates recently made to Article 9 of the model Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The amendments clarify that certain overrides of restrictions on transferability do not apply to an ownership interest in a general partnership, limited partnership, or LLC.
3) Legislation to rectify issues raised in Kearney: SB 406 by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, provides that language referring only to the type of collateral is insufficient to waive constitutional and statutory protections that prevent creditors from obtaining a judgment against certain assets, allowing the individual to pledge such assets as collateral. The bill was filed in response to a recent federal court case which held that mere contractual reference to “all assets” included certain property previously understood to be excluded from such an agreement. If approved, the legislation would apply to all security interests retroactively. SB 406 was approved by the legislature on March 4 and will now head to the governor. If approved, it will take effect upon becoming law.
4) Financial Literacy: See information above. SB 1054 by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, revises the requirements regarding financial literacy for the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. It also changes the required credits for a standard high school diploma to include one-half credit of instruction in personal financial literacy and money management. SB 1054 was approved by the legislature on March 8 and will now head to the governor. If approved, it will take effect July 1.
In addition to proactive legislation authored or supported by the section, the section takes an active role in reviewing proposed legislation that may impact our clients as well as offering technical advice on certain legislation. This year was no different on this front. The section provided input on the following issues during this session: money services businesses, digital currency, data privacy, restrictive covenants, Ch. 517, and mergers and acquisitions.
• Continued Study Groups — One mainstay of the section is to troubleshoot legislative issues that impact our members and their clients. To that end, members of the section continue working on the following issues which could lead to future legislative initiatives for the section: Task Force to Review the Report of the Working Group for the Improved Resolution of Civil Cases (Chair Russell Landy); Series LLC Task Force (Chair Lou Conti); Chapter 607 Task Force (Chairs Philip Schwartz and Gary Teblum); UCRERA Task Force (Chair Amanda Fernandez and Vice Chair Adina Pollan); Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC) Glitch Bill Study Group (Co-Chairs Jodi Dubose and Trish Redmond); and Bankruptcy Study Group regarding Florida Exemptions (Chair Kelly Roberts).
• BLS Fellows Program — The section’s Fellows Program, which is intended to recruit, involve, and retain young and diverse members, added eight new members this year and is accepting applications for the 2022-23 Bar year. Our fellows are integrally involved in the committee work of the section and provide great energy and perspective to our group.
• Bankruptcy/UCC Committee — The premier event for this committee is the View from the Bench, hosted on simultaneous days in Tampa and Miami. This event, normally scheduled in October, was delayed twice due to COVID and is scheduled in-person for May 12-13.
• Intellectual Property Committee — This year, the IP Committee began monthly roundtable meetings to discuss hot topics between our regular substantive meetings. Additionally, the IP Committee hosted its Annual IP Symposium April 28-29 at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
• Business Litigation Committee — The Business Litigation Committee has been very busy this year with legislation (service of process) and addressing the Florida Supreme Court’s Working Group for the Improved Resolution of Civil Cases. The committee is planning a three-part caselaw update CLE in May.
• Labor Day Retreat — The section’s marquee event is its Labor Day Retreat, often held at the Ritz Carlton in Naples. After cancellations the last two years due to hurricanes and COVID, section members eagerly attended the retreat, celebrating the section’s 50th anniversary!
• Winter Meeting 2022 — Although originally scheduled to be held in-person, the omicron variant caused The Florida Bar and the section to move its meetings online. All committees and task forces of the section met online, while the Executive Committee gathered as a group at the Sea World Renaissance. The gathering culminated with the executive council meeting on January 27.
• Executive Council Retreat 2022 — As chair, I was thrilled to plan a trip to one of my favorite locations, Ireland, for our executive council and other interested section members. Highlights from the trip include a reception at the Trinity College Long Library and a gala dinner at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. The trip just happened to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, so a good time was had by all.
• Annual Convention 2022 — The section is looking forward to a full schedule of committee and task force meetings in June in Orlando.
The section is grateful to its various judicial chairs as well as the other active members of the section from our state and federal judiciary. Their time, energy, and input toward the success of the section is phenomenal and the section is the better for their active participation. Also, the section is blessed with the continued involvement of many of its former chairs in the form of the section’s Long Range Planning Committee. Their institutional knowledge and support are invaluable to our section and particularly our leadership team. Finally, as chair, I am surrounded by a great leadership group in my Executive Committee — Doug Bates (chair-elect), Mark Stein (treasurer), Manuel Farach (secretary), Leyza Blanco (immediate past chair), and Greg Yadley (chair, long range planning). This group, along with our masterful administrator, Stephanie Svisco, are a joy with whom to work.
The foregoing is just an overview of the various projects and events that comprise the ongoing work of the BLS. While the pandemic has changed the way in which our section has met and interacted, it has not slowed down the efforts and progress of our industrious members! We look forward to returning to “normal” and continuing the hard work of the section.
Kacy Donlon, Chair
The City, County, and Local Government Law (CCLGL) Section was established in 1973 and serves 1,790 lawyers who represent Florida local governments or otherwise practice in the area of local government law. The section has made several significant changes during the 2021-2022 section year, while continuing to provide the services and resources that have long been valuable to CCLGL members.
Recent section successes, changes, and projects of note include:
Section Leadership: The 2021-2022 Executive Committee is the first to benefit from separate treasurer and secretary positions, following the 2020 bylaw updates that allowed the previously joint role to be bifurcated. This change creates an additional leadership opportunity and allows a greater focus on the section’s financial position and decisions.
Strategic Plan; Mission Statement; and Values Statement: On October 14, 2021, the section’s executive council adopted a strategic plan to direct the section’s trajectory over the next one-, three-, and five-year periods, and to establish consistent and cogent goals to keep the section successfully fulfilling its duties to section members. To begin this process, members were surveyed as to their priorities, goals, expectations, and objectives for the section, and a Strategic Plan Task Force was appointed to create a draft plan for approval by the executive council. Several goals and objectives of the plan have already been enacted, and we anticipate the plan will be a useful guide for future executive councils in implementing goals that will keep the section growing, improving, and providing even more value to its members. In addition to the strategic plan, the section adopted revised mission and vision statements to better reflect the section’s priorities and philosophy and focus on diversity and inclusion.
New Diversity Fellowship Program: In May 2021, the section announced the adoption of a Diversity Fellowship Program to assist attorneys who have a financial need with attending section events and becoming more involved in the section. This new program is an exciting way for the section to encourage engagement by a diverse range of attorneys who have demonstrated an interest in practicing local government law, as well as an interest in greater involvement in the CCLGL section and its committees, but who would not otherwise be able to participate due to financial constraints. The program offers funding for up to two fellows per year to attend section events, with funding capped at $1,000 per fellow annually. The program’s mission is to provide opportunities for deserving attorneys to achieve their career goals through leadership training and working closely with leading local government law attorneys. At the same time, the program will help foster diversity within the section, which is one of the top goals of section leadership.
Updated Sponsorship Program: For the 2021-2022 section year, the section adopted an enhanced sponsorship program to include new sponsorship tiers and benefits, to help fund increased CLE offerings as well as enhanced networking opportunities. The new program has been very successful, pulling in the strongest sponsorship numbers we’ve ever had. Details on the program, and a thank you to our sponsors, can be found at https://www.cclgl.org/about/sponsors/.
Website Update: The section launched its new and improved website (www.cclgl.org) in March of 2021. The new site includes significantly more content, easier navigation, and greater functionality than the prior site, and the section is already using it as a tool to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion in the section and to encourage member involvement. New features on the site include a welcome page, a section for “hot topics” articles, a “hall of fame” listing past award winners, applications for fellowship and grant programs, an outline the goals of various section committees, a dashboard for sharing local government law job opportunities, a sponsorship page and recognition of annual sponsors, and an updated calendar of section events. The website also includes links to the section’s bylaws, mission and vision statements, strategic plan, and other resources for section leaders and members.
General Section Benefits and Programs: The CCLGL offers the following (briefly summarized) benefits to its members:
1) Invitations to section-sponsored events at discounted member pricing, including our annual seminars and conference and all CCLGL continuing legal education (CLE) programs. Annual seminars include the Local Government Law in Florida Seminar (the section’s signature event); the CCLGL certification review course; Sunshine Law, public records, and ethics for public officers and employees; land use; and our alternating Public Finance or Public Employment Labor Relations Forum (PERLF) seminars.
2) Networking opportunities in-person, on social media, and through the section’s Listserv, where members share their expertise.
3) Access to the section’s grant awards program for funding summer law student interns, the section’s diversity fellowship program, and law student awards, which encourage new attorneys to enter the field of local government law.
4) Publication opportunities in the Stetson Law Review, section-sponsored Florida Bar Journal articles, The Agenda newsletter, and on CCLGL social media platforms.
5) Subscriptions to the annual Stetson Law Review Local Government Law Symposium and the quarterly The Agenda newsletter, to keep updated on local government hot topics and section news.
6) Leadership, mentoring, and service opportunities within the section.
7) Expert support for CCLGL board certification through a certification review course and resources.
The CCLGL executive committee thanks the section’s committee chairs, CLE program chairs, executive council, and our Bar administrator, Ricky Libbert, for keeping the section running smoothly. The incredible work of the section would not be possible without their tireless efforts!
Finally, a very great debt of gratitude goes to all of our sponsors for their incredible support and assistance (for a current list of sponsors visit https://www.cclgl.org/about/sponsors/).
Amanda S. Coffey, Chair
As the current chair of the Criminal Law Section of The Florida Bar, I welcome this opportunity to report on the undertakings and accomplishments of the section. Comprised of nearly 2,500 federal and state private criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors, public defenders, judges, and professors, our membership is a unique cross-section of all those involved in the criminal justice arena. Our executive council is an almost evenly divided body of prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges, and professors. That diverse membership makes for a powerful and contemplative group voice on the issues affecting our practice. The section works hard to capitalize on this in all aspects of operations. I look to highlight just a few of the section’s undertakings and accomplishments from the past year amongst so much good the section has done.
• Comments and Argument — Beginning with immediate Past Chair Warren Lindsey’s term and continuing with my term as chair of the section, we have strengthened our voice and the impact we have on matters affecting the practice of criminal law. The section actively participates in molding the rules working their way through the various paths set in place by the Florida Supreme Court. Be it the normal course, through the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee, or other ways through the COVID-19 Workgroup or the Criminal Courts Steering Committee, we have seen that sometimes the proposals affecting our practice overlap in these groups, leading to many attempted collaborative conversations among the players as they are often uniquely ushered through one of these groups with a special set of procedures. Regardless, the section has remained involved in these proceedings and debates and continues to fight to represent the best interests of its members and the criminal law profession as a whole. To that end, the section continues to file comprehensive comments and join the oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court, with two arguments having been recently made. This year, I created an Ad Hoc Comments Committee, chaired by executive council member Michael Ufferman, and consisting of some of the executive council’s greatest writers and minds to take the lead on representing the section in filing its comments and making arguments to the Florida Supreme Court. Their work has been essential in our representation of the interests of our members, and they should be commended.
Moving through, and not yet on from, the pandemic that faces our world and profession, issues have arisen regarding significant changes in our area of law. The court is considering proposed rule changes to the way that certification of criminal practitioners can be achieved, whether a defendant convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death can represent themselves in a capital post-conviction proceeding, and possibly most influential on our practice at-large is the consideration of a standardized rule mandating that non-evidentiary, non-essential hearings be held remotely upon the request of a party, a rule that the executive council unanimously endorses. These are topics that will mold the practice of criminal law for years to come. The section is proud to be a strong voice in the consideration of these issues.
Recently, the section also worked closely with the Board of Governors’ Disciplinary Procedure Committee to retool the proposed amendments to Bar Rule 3-5.2 (Emergency Suspension; Emergency Suspension Relating to Felony Charges; Interim Probation; Interim Placement on the Inactive List for Incapacity Not Related to Misconduct; and Freezing Trust Accounts). An Ad Hoc Committee, chaired by past section Chair David Rothman, worked tirelessly with the Disciplinary Procedure Committee and our BOG section liaison, Tad Yates, on wordsmithing the proposed language. This hand-in-hand work was fruitful in amending the proposed language to assuage many concerns held by executive council members about the potential violations of various constitutional protections. The section was happy to assist and looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Board of Governors and its committees on this and any other issue that may have criminal law implications.
• CLE — The section’s CLE Committee, co-chaired by past section Chair H. Scott Fingerhut and Judge Thomas Palermo, continues to put on some of the state’s best CLE programming in the area of criminal law. Ending 2021 with a bang, the section put on two great CLE seminars: Hot Topics in Evidence (in collaboration with the Code & Rules of Evidence Committee) and Modern Trends in Healthcare Prosecutions. Both programs were held virtually and were very well attended. Looking to 2022, the section is preparing for a mix of both virtual and in-person CLE programming. That programming includes some new presentations on contemporary relevant issues, such as “Electronic Information in Criminal Proceedings,” “Basic Federal Practice,” and “Misdemeanor Madness,” as well as long-standing section CLE seminars like the “Criminal Law Update” and “Masters of DUI.” The CLE Committee also has other programming in the works that will be scheduled in the near future on various areas pertinent to the day-to-day practice of criminal law in Florida’s state and federal courts.
• Awards — Each year the Criminal Law Section bestows the Selig I. Goldin Award on a deserving candidate. As noted on the section’s website, “‘As an attorney, Selig was always tops. Dedication and zeal were his trademarks. He accepted many cases and many clients others turned down, because he felt those cases had to be defended and he believed in the person and the cause.’ Those few words, spoken at Selig Goldin’s funeral by his brother, Philip, capture what members of the criminal defense bar knew of this young Gainesville lawyer who died of cancer before his time — that he was a man of great ability and great compassion.” In 2021, the section bestowed the honor of this award on a true titan of our profession, Benedict “Ben” P. Kuehne. Although not able to give the award to Ben in-person at the annual luncheon as in years past, a slew of friends, colleagues, and family members attended a virtual ceremony in which stories were shared, congratulations were bestowed, and memories were made. The section once again offers its congratulations to Ben on the award. The section is currently soliciting nominations for the 2022-23 award and all are encouraged to submit qualified candidates for consideration.
The year 2021 also saw the section create a new award to bestow. The section’s executive council voted to approve the creation of a new annual Law Student Scholarship Award for two students who demonstrate a strong commitment to furthering the criminal justice system. A number of nominations were made from law schools across the state and applications have been received from a number of law student qualified candidates. The section’s Awards Committee, led by past section Chair Harvey Sepler, is currently working through the applications for the executive council’s determination of the winners this spring. We hope you’ll join us in June to celebrate the winners when they are given their awards.
• Legislative Positions — The section adopted a new legislative position, which was approved by the Board of Governors. Long recognizing the inequity in funding of the judiciary and, even more so, the government and court-appointed lawyers in Florida, by a unanimous vote of voting executive council members, the section adopted a new legislative position supporting increased funding for the criminal court system. It is the strong belief of the section that the time has come to assign appropriate funding for the part of our judicial system addressing some of the most sacred rights and obligations in our constitutions. To that end, the section intends to encourage the legislators in Tallahassee to acknowledge, identify, and support the funding needs of, among others, the state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, offices of civil and criminal regional counsel, judiciary, and the Justice Administrative Commission. Full funding of these offices will lead to a more efficient, effective, and constitutionally sound criminal justice system.
The section, in understanding the need to have its voice heard in the halls of government in Tallahassee, also voted to approve funding for the hiring of a lobbyist beginning with the 2022-2023 legislative session. The sections Legislative Committee, chaired by executive council member Richard Greenberg, and the executive council are in the process of interviewing and vetting candidates for that position now.
• A Look Ahead — As we move into 2022, and what we can only hope is the final act of this worldwide pandemic that has dominated and shaped our practice over the past two years, the section is excited for its next steps. We are hopeful that the comments and arguments we make to the Supreme Court will be heard and accepted favorably. We are enthusiastic that our CLE programming will lead to an increased membership, a more informed base of practitioners, and a better criminal justice system. Finally, we are confident that, together with the Board of Governors and other stakeholders, we can push for the increased funding our profession and courts so desperately need to operate effectively and efficiently.
Jason B. Blank, Chair
The Elder Law Section continues to grow and to advocate for Florida’s most vulnerable residents and to educate our members. We remain a vital resource for our members, The Florida Bar, the Florida Legislature, the Florida Courts, and the residents of our state.
• Continuing Legal Education — In January, ELS hosted our three-day annual update virtually. Though originally planned as an in-person event in Orlando, it was changed at the last minute due to COVID concerns. The first day was an “essentials” program covering fundamentals of a broad range of topics for those new or transitioning to elder law. The second and third days provided a deeper dive into more advanced areas of an elder law practice for seasoned practitioners. The event was a huge success.
Our Elder Law Concepts and Board Certification Review Course, which is aimed squarely at promoting professionalism, expertise, and knowledge in the elder law practice, is still on track for completion this year. This project is to provide comprehensive legal and practical information on elder law for the newer practitioners and those looking to take the board certification exam.
During The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention in June, the ELS’s Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Committee will host a half-day CLE covering exploitation. This CLE represents the continuing efforts of the ELS to reach out to non-section members to provide an opportunity to learn about topics related to elder law to broaden awareness.
The section is headed to Boston in September for our twice-postponed annual retreat. Our Continuing Legal Education Committee is preparing the topics for the education portion of this program. We are thankful for the understanding and kindness of the Omni Parker House Hotel in working with us through the two unfortunate cancellations due to COVID.
• Advocacy — Our Legislative Committee, chaired by Debra Slater with the help of Travis Finchum, has been hard at work this year with an attempt to pass the Florida Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. This act would have brought Florida in line with 46 other states who have passed a version of this law to protect vulnerable adults who are taken from Florida to another state and then prevented from returning to Florida by the court in the other state because Florida did not adopt a version of the Uniform Act.
Our Legislative Committee also worked with Senator Bradley to address our privacy concerns with SB 1710. We recognized the need for reasonable guardianship date collection and the importance of balancing that imperative with the privacy needs of some of Florida’s most vulnerable residents. We appreciate her tireless efforts to benefit Floridians.
In addition, the Legislative Committee, which meets every other Friday prior to session and then every Friday during session, has followed or provided input on more than 80 bills and myriad amendments. All of this work included virtually every substantive committee of our section.
• Support — Our section seeks to help develop new members and emerging leaders through our New Practitioners and Mentorship Committee, chaired by Max Solomon, with its new and improved mentorship program and our Law School Liaison, Enrique Zamora, Jr., adding membership to his list. We’ve added a new committee this year under the leadership of Collett Small: Inclusion, Diversity and Engagement. We want every member to be a voice in our section.
• Looking Forward — The Elder Law Section, as every other Bar section, is looking forward to meeting again in person. We are working with the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys to represent the vulnerable residents of Florida, and we are looking for partnerships we can make with other sections, committees, and organizations who share our vision for Florida.
Finally, thank you to Guardian Trust and Elder Counsel for their continued support of the Elder Law Section. And thank you to the over 40 attorneys who volunteer as chairs and vice chairs. We know the work you do for the section takes a lot of time and we could not do this without you.
For more information, join the section or follow us at https://www.facebook.com/FloridaBarElderLawSection/ or on Twitter: @FlaElderlawSec.
Carolyn Landon, Chair
As seems to be the Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section’s legacy, we once again provided our members with robust CLE programming encompassing a wide variety of topics that impact the practice of entertainment, arts, and sports law.
My term as chair began at our retreat and annual meeting, which was held at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando. It was very refreshing to reconnect with the EASL leadership and members face-to-face during a lull between waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees were presented with a CLE that covered these relevant and timely topics: “Georgia, North Carolina and Google: 3 Big Copyright Cases Decided by SCOTUS this Term,” presented by Stephen Carlisle, copyright officer for Nova Southeastern University; “Overlooked Technicality or Billion Dollar Pitfall?: Section 540.08 and Online Marketplaces,” presented by Joseph “Joey” Coleman, Boatman Ricci, P.A.; and “Advocate, Advisor, Administrator: Best Practices for Administering a Client’s Song Catalog,” presented by Serona Elton, professor, music industry, University of Miami Frost School of Music.
The EASL 2021-2022 CLE Webcast/GoToWebinar Series also offered a variety of CLE topics, including, “What a Character! Wait! Can I Copyright That?,” presented by Stephen Carlisle, copyright officer for Nova Southeastern University; “The Ten IP Issues That Should Keep Sports and Entertainment Lawyers Up at Night,” presented by Mark Stein, Mark Stein Law and Janey Moreira, Maven IP; “The Art and Science of Athlete Branding and Marketing,” presented by Kim Kolback, Law Offices of Kimberly D. Kolback; and “NFTs, Investing in the Digital Art World!,” presented by Young B. Kim.
New this term, EASL implemented a lunchtime free CLE series spearheaded by executive council member Tee Persaud and Chair-Elect Christy Foley. Attorney Persaud generously volunteered his services and facilities to produce and host the seminars, which included “Recent Developments in the Fair Use Doctrine,” presented by Jose Seriego; “Non Fungible Tokens (NTF) and its trends, opportunities, and the law,” presented by Vivek Jayaram and Heather Burkett-Ocasio; “Name Image and Likeness and the NCAA,” presented by Jamie Rich Vining and David Friedland; “When Copyright Protection Expires: Public Domain in 2022 and Beyond,” presented by Lorri Lomnitzer and Spensyr Krebsbach; and “Music Catalog Sales and Valuation,” presented by Henry Root and Michael Olsen.
Our section leadership and members also participated in the 33rd Annual North American Law Summit in Costa Rica in November, and members have regularly participated as panelists and guest lecturers at law schools and undergraduate programs, as well as at entertainment industry conferences and entertainment law events throughout Florida and the country. The voluntary outreach of EASL members who generously give their time to these events has been an ongoing invaluable resource for law students, undergrads who aspire to be law students, practicing attorneys, and non-attorney entertainment professionals.
Chair-Elect Christy Foley has planned the next EASL retreat and annual meeting to be held at the iconic Biltmore Hotel Miami in Coral Gables, and the section thanks David Inez with City National Bank for their sponsorship. The retreat will include a CLE program covering the following topics: “Covid in Sports 2021-2022,” presented by Alan Fertel, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole Bierman, P.L.; “Legal Compliance in Fundraising and Securities Law,” presented by Lawrence Haber, Law Offices of Lawrence H. Haber, P.A.; and Understanding Digital Music Rights and Royalties, presented by Serona Elton, professor, music industry, University of Miami Frost School of Music.
At the initiative of EASL executive council member Porpoise Evans of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole Bierman, P.L., the section again this year co-sponsored with the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation a “Virtual Conversation about Practicing Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law,” in which many EASL members participated in a Zoom forum with 1L and 2L law students to discuss, answer questions, and provide insights about the practice of entertainment, arts, and sports law.
Also noteworthy, Serona Elton, a past chair of the section and professor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, was recognized in Billboard Magazine’s 2022 Women in Music edition for her work as the head of educational partnerships for the Mechanical Licensing Collective, and Stephen Carlisle, also a past chair of the section, saw his popular copyright blog surpass readership of 600,000. Like Serona and Stephen, so many of our members go far beyond just practicing law and engage in the entertainment industry in the most meaningful ways, to the benefit of all.
I am so very grateful to my officers for all their support this year: Christy Foley (chair-elect), Tania Williams (immediate past chair), Joey Coleman (secretary), and Brittney Trigg (treasurer). Their support has been incredibly valuable, and it has been a pleasure to serve as an officer alongside them.
I am also grateful for our outstanding executive council, all of whom have given generously of their time and hard work to advance the best interests of the section and the Bar: Kim Kolback, Marc Stollman, Alan Fertel, Porpoise Evans, Mark Ingram, Spensyr Krebsbach, Juan Delgado, Shannon Ligon, Zachary Margueles, Tee Persaud, and Charles Nail (board liaison). I also acknowledge and thank Josh Goldberg, 3L at FIU law school, who is our law school student liaison, for connecting EASL to the law student communities statewide and for bringing a student perspective to our executive council meetings. Also, a huge thank you to Kim Kolback, our EASL representative to The Florida Bar CLE Committee, who, in addition to serving in that post, has continually strived to make sure the section provides top-quality CLE programming year after year; her dedication to the section cannot be overstated. Thank you also to Serona Elton and Steven Eisenberg, who have provided support for our Listserv and website. And last, but far from least, our EASL section administrator, Angie Froelich, deserves a tremendous thank you and a round of applause for her years of dedicated service to ensuring that the section and its events always run smoothly.
It has truly been an honor to serve the section as chair for the 2021-2022 term. It is with great confidence that I pass the torch to the chair-elect, Christie Foley, as I am certain she will do a fantastic job as chair and will ensure that the section continues to thrive.
Thomas Andrew Player, Chair
In 2021, despite the challenges due to COVID-19, ELULS served the interests of over 1,300 members and affiliates in the fields of environmental and land use law. This report will set forth the accomplishments of the section this fiscal year, to date.
ELULS concentrated on providing virtual educational webinars to its members, providing continuing legal education (CLE) credits at reasonable prices. Webinars (both completed and upcoming) include Regional Water Quality Treatment and Water Quality Banks; Resiliency in Practice: Where the Water Meets the Road; Impact Fees — Core Concepts and Evolving Law; ELULS 2022 Florida Legislative Forecast; Local Code Enforcement and State Enforcement Procedures; and Short-Term Rental of Residentially Zoned Properties in Florida.
In addition to these webinars, the section also provided a virtual seminar at The Florida Bar Annual Convention last year and continues to plan this program on an annual basis. The topics at last year’s seminar included Environmental, Land Use, and Ethics Legislative Wrap-Up; DOAH Case Law and Ethics Update; Clean Water Act, State Assumption of the Federal 404 Assumption — Streamlined Permitting or Not: A Review of State Assumption Challenges; Clean Waterways Act Water Rulemaking – Update of State Water Quality Rules; Hot Issues in Land Use Law; Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Legislative and Case Law Update; and General Counsel Roundtable.
We also recently resumed in-person networking events to provide our members and affiliates the opportunity to meet with other environmental professionals. Networking events (both completed and upcoming) include Eco Tour of Lake Worth Lagoon Aboard the Hakuna Matata Catamaran at 2021 West Palm Beach LagoonFest; Networking Happy Hour Hosted in Conjunction with the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals (FAEP); Southwest Florida Water Management District Restoration Site Tours; and Discover Wild Florida with ELULS in March 2022 — Regional Events Planned in Panhandle, Central Florida, Tampa, Southwest Florida, and South Florida Regions.
The section has resumed the publication of its quarterly newsletter, which provides important substantive updates to our members.
We were pleased to submit the following articles to The Florida Bar Journal for publication in 2021: “State Assumption of the Clean Water Act Section 404 Permitting Program: Part I, An Overview,” by Susan Roeder Martin and Rachael B. Santana; “Modernization of Stormwater Quality Rules,” by Susan Roeder Martin and Karen West; and “The New Scope of Florida’s Water Quality Assurance Act,” by Lauren D. Brooks.
The section is continuing efforts to promote a wider distribution of its valuable treatise. The section hopes to make the treatise more widely available through Lexis and Westlaw in 2022.
Looking forward, we are excited about our 50th anniversary as a section of The Florida Bar, upcoming in 2022-2023. Our long-range planning is focused on a section anniversary retreat, as well as other events planned in conjunction with our anniversary.
Susan Roeder Martin, Chair
The Family Law Section had an incredibly successful year! The theme has been positivity and kindness. As eloquently stated by Abraham Lincoln, “Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Despite some battles that the section faced this year, the theme was always at the forefront with all tasks undertaken and carried out with positivity, kindness, professionalism, and transparency.
The Family Law Section is comprised of 4,005 members, 25 committees (i.e., 11 operational committees, eight substantive law committees and six ad hoc committees). In addition, the Family Law Section executive council is made up of 32 council members and five members of the Executive Committee.
We commenced this year with our fall meetings, which took place at Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa on August 27-28, 2021. The meetings went exceptionally well, each committee convened with all social distancing measures in place and the recommendations of the CDC followed. I cannot thank the officers of each committee, our members, and the executive council enough — their dedication to Florida’s families is truly remarkable. The meetings absolutely set the precedent for a tremendous amount of work which produced fabulous outcomes on so many levels throughout the year!
On October 7-10, 2021, we held our Trial Advocacy Workshop at the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street. The workshop became the first sold-out event of this Bar year! The Trial Advocacy Workshop occurs every other Bar year and is capped at 80 total attendees. The Family Law Section awarded five scholarships for this event (four general scholarships and one diversity and inclusion scholarship). The attendees were broken up into groups of 10, and each group was led by two workshop leaders (all of whom are board certified and many of whom are also fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers). The course further included phenomenal speakers, expert witnesses, and lay witnesses. The goal of the workshop is to improve trial skills while providing an unsurpassed and priceless experience for our attendees. The workshop chairs, Andrea Reid, Sonja Jean, and Elisha Roy, as well as our historian, Laura Davis-Smith, along with our truly amazing section administrator, Willie Mae Shepherd, put together an absolutely outstanding workshop that will be remembered for years to come.
On November 4-7, 2021, we had our in-state retreat at Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa. The in-state retreat sold-out! The retreat was full of laughter and truly amazing memories that will be cherished forever. The stage was set with the welcome reception overlooking the beach. As the days unfolded, we held an amazing CLE (on bar complaints and fee arbitration), executive council meeting (full of members, guests, trustees), an incredible sunset cruise, and team building activity where we all worked to build a massive sand sculpture with the section logo (a photo of which is proudly displayed on our section website). The retreat concluded with a dinner at Da Vinci Ristorante Italiano. The in-state retreat chairs, Christopher Rumbold and Kristin Kirkner, along with our wonderful section administrator, Wille Mae Shepard, did a truly wonderful job of capturing the vision of the retreat and brought it to a level that far exceeded all expectations.
Our mid-year committee meetings were held on Thursday, January 20, immediately followed by the highly sought after annual Marital & Family Law Review Course on January 21-22 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Conference Center. Our executive council meeting was held on January 23, immediately following the review course. The midyear meetings were extraordinarily well attended with significant productivity resulting from each committee.
In continuation of this year’s theme of positivity and kindness, the section doubled the number of scholarships available for attendance at the 2022 Marital & Family Law Review Course from 21 to 42 scholarships. The Family Law Section partners with the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers to put on the annual Marital Family Law Review Course. This live CLE provided a great foundation for those taking the board certification exam as well as a comprehensive review of current law for practitioners and judges. It is truly a premier program each year, and the section and the AAML were grateful to host so many attendees. It is necessary to thank the section’s Review Course Committee, Michelle Klinger Smith (chair), Kristin Kirkner, Jerry Rumph, Jr., and Julia Wyda, as well as Program Administrator Susan Stafford, who spent endless hours to ensure that every detail for the review course was perfect. Their dedication and commitment of time to make this event a success was inspiring and so very much appreciated!
Finally, we concluded this truly amazing year with our out-of-state retreat, in Yountville, California from April 20-24 at the Vintage House at The Estate Yountville. This retreat also sold out and provided so many incredible stories that will be told for years to come. The welcome reception gathered all attendees together and kicked off the start to this memorable event while celebrating under twinkle lights, overlooking the beautiful scenery of Yountville. The retreat included an option for a hot air balloon ride, wine tour and tasting at Bell Wine Cellars, and a CLE and executive council meeting. We concluded with an incredible celebratory dinner at Castillo Di Amorosa. The out-of-state retreat chairs, Andrea Reid and Trisha Armstrong, along with our fantastic section administrator, Willie Mae Shepherd, executed every single aspect of this event with extreme attention to detail truly making it a magical dream come true.
Overall and most importantly, the constant reminder for all of us has been to take the time to appreciate our family and friends, and truly cherish every moment we have.
Heather L. Apicella, Chair
The Government Lawyer Section (GLS) continued many initiatives from last year and implemented new ones. We continue to plan and present various CLEs relating to matters of interest to government lawyers. We continue our law school initiative presenting, “Lunch & Learn” panels throughout the state to law students about public service and government practice. Thank you to our amazing panelists.
Going forward, we plan to grow our membership and presence throughout Florida. Last year, we started planning for our mentorship initiative and scholarship award. Despite many challenges, we accomplished a lot last year and continue our efforts. We are grateful to Jacek Stramski, immediate past-chair, and Calbrail Banner, program administrator. Thank you to our dedicated members who remain committed to our mission. I am proud of you and the work we do.
Additionally, I invite all members of The Florida Bar who are interested in being involved to contact our GLS leadership about opportunities. We are working on a new website, keeping up with social media and our publication, the Voice — thanks to Maria Pecoraro-McCorkle. We look forward to hearing from you. Finally, thank you to the executive council: Immediate Past Chair Jacek Stramski; Chair-Elect Angie Miller; Treasurer Russell Kent; Secretary John Bajger; J. Carter Andersen, board liaison, and our committee chairs and members. A special thank you to Steven Klinger for this honor.
Patyl A. Oflazian, Chair
The mission of the Health Law Section is to serve as a forum for members to interact and develop expertise in health law and to provide education and resources emphasizing health law issues in Florida.
The section remains focused on governance, collaboration, communication, education, and advocacy — all elements of its 2019 long-range plan.
Regarding governance, the section has implemented best practices from the Council of Sections Leadership Conference to conduct results-focused executive council meetings. First the first time in many years, a fourth Health Law Section executive council meeting was added to the annual slate of events. Thanks to Greg Chaires and Joann Guerrero’s efforts during the 2020-2021 Bar year, the section’s bylaws were overhauled, providing the current Executive Committee greater flexibility to lead the section.
Concerning collaboration, the section continues to develop strong bonds with law students and industry stakeholders during section events.
The section’s Communications & Technology Committee finalized and deployed a new section logo. They have also been working to secure a marketing and communications consultant to help the section reach additional individuals with an interest in health law. The Education Committee continues to deploy high-quality CLE events.
On the advocacy front, the Legislative Committee is monitoring and communicating legislative developments of interest to the section and evaluating the section’s approach to developing future legislative priorities. In addition, the section has filed comments in cases of interest.
The section’s finances remain strong, and many new members and law students are volunteering for committees and participating at section meetings.
In closing, I’d like to continue to praise Program Administrator Emily Young! Emily’s competency, responsiveness, and professionalism keeps our section running.
Adam R. Maingot, Chair
On behalf of The Florida Bar International Law Section (ILS), we submit our section’s annual report. The mission of our section is to promote and facilitate the practice of international law in Florida. This includes the administration and application of the statutes, rules, and regulations pertaining to the practice of international law, including transnational business transactions, taxation, customs and trade, litigation, and arbitration. Our section is also tasked by the Bar with vetting applications of those seeking certification by the Bar as certified foreign legal consultants, which allow foreign practitioners in Florida, otherwise not Florida Bar members, to practice the law of their respective countries in Florida.
Our section, despite the challenges and impediments of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to present both interesting and entertaining programming for its members. For example:
1) The International Vis Pre-Moot Competition: The ILS continues to be one of the few Bar sections across the country that offers law students worldwide a pre-moot competition prior to participating in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Moot Arbitration, normally held in Vienna. This year, on February 19, law schools as far away as China, Brazil, Germany, India, and Hong Kong participated, along with five Florida law schools. All Florida law schools who participated received a stipend from our section.
2) ILS Annual Leadership Retreat: From April 29 through May 1, the ILS will hold its Annual Leadership Retreat at World Resorts Bimini in the Bahamas. We have also invited the Bahamas Bar Association and hope to sign a mutual cooperation agreement with them as part of our program.
3) ILS Annual Holiday Reception: On December 14, 2021, the ILS held a live holiday reception at an outdoor venue at the THEsis Hotel in Coral Gables. Some 50 ILS members attended this live reception.
4) ILS Lunch and Learn Series: The ILS continued its engaging Lunch and Learn Series, the series has a talk show-type format, with a prominent international practitioner being interviewed regarding his or her personal journey to a thriving international law career.
5) ILS webinars: The ILS continues to provide webinars to its members covering topics such as immigration, trade, and arbitration in a virtual format.
6) Law School and YLD Programming: The ILS held a number of virtual and in-person programs including CLE, with the law schools at the University of Miami, Florida International University, Florida State University, and St. Thomas University. We also co-sponsored a cocktail reception for the Young Lawyers Division at the Lowe’s Hotel in Miami Beach.
7) The ILS Gazette: The Gazette is our section’s weekly email newsletter informing our membership of the activities of our section, and also includes short articles from ILS members, member news, and a spotlight on a board certified international lawyer.
8) The International Law Quarterly: The International Law Quarterly is ILS’ flagship quarterly magazine publication on international law issues. It is a glossy, bound magazine, available in print and digitally. The most recent Winter 2021 issue focused on Haiti. The next issue for Spring 2022 will focus on “legal globalization.” The magazine can be accessed easily on the ILS website at internationallawsection.org.
9) ILS International Law Deskbook 2020: With the assistance of 27 volunteer authors and editors, the ILS published its International Law Deskbook 2020, which serves as a practice resource for international law practitioners and makes a great study aid for board certification examinations.
10) The iLaw, The ILS Global Forum on International Law: The ILS decided to delay its annual flagship conference, the “iLaw,” usually held in February at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Miami, due to concerns with holding a well-attended live annual conference during the spread of Omicron. The iLaw draws programming and panelists from around the country and world, and with travel hampered by Omicron, promoting attendance and putting on a first-rate program was not deemed likely. Nevertheless, “the show will go on” as planned on April 1. We are confident that it will be the best one yet.
11) Diversity and Interaction with other Bar Associations: The ILS conducted CLE programming and fundraising events with the Caribbean Bar Association (Hospitality Law CLE with Rum Mixology) and the Haitian Lawyer Association (fundraiser for Haiti following the earthquake and presidential assassination). We hope that these events helped to create new professional friendships and present opportunities to increase collaboration and diversity within our section.
12) The ILS Foreign Legal Consultant Committee: The ILS is single-handedly responsible for working directly with the NCBE in the evaluation, vetting, and approval of foreign attorneys to the Florida Supreme Court for certification. The ILS Foreign Legal Consultant Committee is comprised of a handful of ILS member volunteers to review applications and work with candidates on the application process. Each year, the ILS receives 20-40 applications for review, and the process takes several months. The committee’s work is exemplary. We are optimistic that this year we will also be able to offer an online portal to help streamline the application process.
The ILS looks forward to a bright future now that international practitioners can again congregate freely in a live venue and share ideas on international legal practice and the rule of law.
James M. Meyer, Chair
The Out-of-State Division (OOSD) of The Florida Bar is pleased to provide its 2021-22 annual report.
The OOSD division serves the interests of Florida Bar members who reside outside of Florida. The OOSD does not focus on any specific practice area, but rather on the common interests and needs of out-of-state Florida Bar members. Without being limiting, the OOSD services include: 1) providing a network to connect out-of-state members; 2) commenting on the proposal of laws that may result in disparate treatment of out-of-state members; 3) providing a forum for discussing issues of interest to out of state lawyers; and 4) supporting the development and maintenance of professional relationships between in-state and out-of-state members. The OOSD usually accomplishes these objectives by hosting networking events throughout the country, reviewing proposed legislative and policy changes for their impact on out-of-state members, and communicating with members through regularly distributed newsletter and social media.
COVID-19 had a significant impact on the OOSD from 2020-present. By its nature, the OOSD relies on meeting Florida Bar members around the country. At least two of its out-of-state events are in conjunction with the Board of Governors annual out-of-state meeting and in conjunction with the YLD out-of-state meeting. The OOSD was unable to hold live out-of-state meetings during 2020 and most of 2021.
But there were positives creates by COVID-19. First, the OOSD’s fund balance increased since 2020 by almost $40,000 to over $111,000. Two reasons for the increase were the OOSD’s share of Florida Bar investments and significant cost savings due to the inability to hold live events, thus saving the cost of travel and event expenses. In essence, the OOSD balance increased for a bad reason — it is good to have more money, but it was due to a limited ability to serve its networking function.
Second, presumably due to the inability to interact with other lawyers generally, the OOSD received record interest from out-of-state lawyers who wanted to become involved in the OOSD. This includes in-person interest at the first live meeting in two years in conjunction with the Board of Governors in October 2021 in Asheville, North Carolina. In fact, one new participant traveled from Raleigh, NC, to attend the event in Asheville. At the OOSD’s most recent Zoom meeting, we had even more participation than usual by out of state lawyers. One participant is a Florida Bar lawyer living in Saudi Arabia.
Two Asheville participants are worthy of specific mention. The Board of Governors and OOSD were honored to have the participation of Kirk G. Saunooke, chief judge of the Cherokee Court of the Eastern Bank of Cherokee Indians, Robert O. Saunooke, a Florida Bar lawyer who practices Indian law and represents several Native American Indian tribes.
There are currently more than 15,000 members of The Florida Bar who reside outside of Florida. Members live in every state of the U.S. and each of its territories, as well as in 52 countries around the world. The OOSD’s current dues-paying membership is 925.
The OOSD has an executive council constructed of the following: president, president-elect, immediate past president, secretary, treasurer, the four out-of-state representatives to the Board of Governors, and six at-large members.
In 2021-22, a new member to the executive council, Lauren Bingham, who is with the U.S. Department of Justice. It is unusual for the OOSD to have the involvement of a government lawyer, and, thus, Lauren’s addition was a significant positive for the OOSD.
Other members of the OOSD executive council include residents of Georgia, New York, Ohio, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and Oregon. Interested new members include residents of North Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as already-represented states.
CLE sales remain strong and are a source of revenue in addition to dues. The OOSD is currently planning updated ethical, technology, and professionalism CLEs to be rolled out in March and April.
The OOSD continues the electronic distribution of its quarterly newsletter, State to State, to all Florida Bar members residing outside of Florida under the direction of Information Committee Chair Don Workman of Washington, D.C. Each edition of State to State features an in-depth review of the latest actions taken by The Florida Bar Board of Governors and multiple articles of importance to out-of-state member interests. As a reminder to everyone reading this report, articles may be submitted by any Florida Bar member, and is a way to quickly reach over 15,000 recipients of the newsletter.
As further contact, the OOSD is on Facebook and Twitter at #OOSDDidYouKnow and @TFBOutOfState.
A special thank you goes to the OOSD Bar administrator, Emily Young, whose assistance and guidance is invaluable.
The OOSD also thanks its officers, members of the executive council, its four Board of Governors representatives, and all out-of-state Florida Bar members that have made this successful year. The OOSD looks forward to providing more benefits to out-of-state members in future years and continuing to collaborate with other sections and divisions of The Florida Bar.
As of the writing of this report, the OOSD executive council has a Zoom meeting scheduled March 15. At this meeting, the executive council will discuss CLE sales and plans for upcoming meetings and events. The executive council will also be discussing budgets and travel arrangements to increase live events as we come out of COVID-19 restrictions.
The next meeting is planned live at the 2022 Florida Bar Annual Convention in Orlando in June.
Larry H. Kunin, President
This year, the Public Interest Law Section has been very busy continuing to pursue our goals with vigor. We have provided education so that attorneys assisting vulnerable populations — whether it is their vocation as a legal aid attorney or avocation as a pro bono attorney — can represent their clients with excellence. We have advocated for and against rules changes as necessary by providing comments to rules committees and to the Florida Supreme Court as necessary. And in addition, we have advocated for or against changes in the statutes as needed with legislators as needed based on our approved legislative positions.
We are happy to report that this year, we have added a new executive council member from the Young Lawyers Division, who is acting as a liaison between our section and YLD. We are grateful to YLD for setting up an applications process and sending us a representative to connect our groups.
In our education efforts, we are producing a series of CLE offerings called, “Access to Justice.” This series will highlight the barriers for many groups of marginalized populations who have difficulty accessing the justice system. Five of our workgroups, Homelessness and Civil Rights working together, Consumer and Tenant Protection, Disability, and Immigration, have or will present CLE this year, and two other offerings will spotlight issues relating to racial injustice and barriers to justice for LGBTQ individuals. We are offering these first as a free CLE, each lasting an hour and presented at different times. Then we will package the six offerings for purchase.
Our operating committees have been working hard, and I can report the following:
• Advocacy — We have 43 legislative positions, and our Advocacy Committee has been identifying bills as they come up where we have an approved position. Our workgroups have also been monitoring bills where we might need to add a new position or provide white papers or other materials to legislators to make sure that bill language does not have unintended consequences.
• Engagement — Working with law students, this committee has put out a newsletter in the fall, and a second newsletter is scheduled for spring. This has the dual payoff of engaging law students in public interest work and providing the section with an amazing newsletter. In addition, this committee is editing articles for The Florida Bar Journal. The group is also setting up a swag shop online to increase our public awareness and give members a way to show their support of the section.
• Networking — This committee has hosted an event on Zoom for members to learn more about the section and how to get involved in subject matter workgroups in a speed dating-style event. They are gearing up for awards that will be given out in June and planning our first in-person gathering for the annual meeting.
• Professional Development — As of January, PILS has presented or co-sponsored 25 CLE offerings with Florida Legal Services Training Initiative, with over 2,500 registrants. One of the most highly attended webinars was put forward by our Nonprofit Law Workgroup examining the role of an attorney as a board member of a nonprofit. This committee is presenting both the “Access to Justice” series, and our annual Juvenile Law Board Certification Review course, in addition to our regular offerings.
• Recruitment — Last April’s membership report showed 399 members, a number that had been growing from a low of 371 in 2018. Currently our membership number is 461, which represents 15% growth over last year — the highest it has been since 2010. While growing in a virtual environment has been challenging, we are working with law schools and legal services providers, as well as pro bono attorneys and other professionals who are invested in raising the level of services available to underserved populations and increasing the opportunities to provide legal services to the poor and others who have difficulty accessing justice. We also contacted non-renewing members in the fall, some of whom did renew, and polled members regarding the value that they got from section membership and how we could improve. We have also ordered business cards, a tablecloth, banner, certificates, and note cards with our new logo to use in recruitment and appreciation and will have a new brochure.
Our subject matter workgroups meet with the main purposes of education and advocacy of the population served by the workgroup. The workgroups include Children’s Rights, Civil Rights, Consumer and Tenant Protection, Disability, Homelessness, Immigration, Nonprofit Law, and Parents’ Advocacy. They plan CLE on topics to raise the level of representation in those areas and identify areas where advocacy is needed.
As always, we thank everyone who has been so supportive and helpful to our section and invite all Bar members to join us!
Sarah L. “Sally” McArthur, Chair
At over 11,000 members, the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law (RPPTL) Section is one of the largest and most active sections of The Florida Bar. Our executive council consists of over 270 members and meets in conjunction with our section committees five times per year. The section committees are generally divided into three divisions: the General Standing Division (Sarah Butters, Tallahassee, division director and chair-elect); the Probate and Trust Division (John Moran, West Palm Beach, division director); and the Real Estate Division (S. Katherine Frazier, Tampa, division director).
The Probate and Trust Division has 19 different substantive committees touching on virtually every conceivable area of the estates, trusts, and guardianship planning, administration, and litigation practice. The Real Property Division has 18 of its own addressing issues such as title insurance and standards, construction law, residential real estate, commercial real estate, leasing, development and land use, and real estate litigation. The General Standing Committees of the RPPTL Section generally assist with internal section business and matters of interest to both sides of the aisle.
Our section committees are open to all section members and consist of an education component as well as discussion of legislative initiatives of interest to our practice. The committee meeting format is vitally important because most RPPTL initiatives originate in committee and are refined, debated, and vetted at length in our meetings. The committees also provide opportunities to share ideas and fellowship with great lawyers throughout the state.
This year, all in-state section meetings have been or will be held in a hybrid format with in-person attendees and virtual attendees able to interact.
• General Standing Division — The section currently has eight young lawyers who are part of our Fellows Program. The mission of the RPPTL Fellows Program is to actively recruit attorneys from diverse backgrounds, including geographic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, that are traditionally underrepresented in the law and the section. The Fellowship Program provides a unique and exciting opportunity to receive one on one mentorship and experiences in section-related activities.
Through the section’s Amicus Coordination Committee, the section filed an amicus brief in Hayslip v. U.S. Home Corp., which involves the Second DCA’s certified question as to whether a mandatory arbitration provision contained within a residential warranty deed can bind subsequent purchasers. The Florida Supreme Court rendered its decision on January 27, and the CLE Committee has already pushed out a podcast on the decision.
The section’s CLE Seminar Coordination Committee continues to produce top notch CLEs on topics of interest to section members such as the section’s Annual Legislative Update, certification review courses, and webcasts on guardianship, ethics, fair housing, uniform title standards, asset protection trusts, probate law, and trust law. Many of the section’s CLEs are available for after-market sales on The Florida Bar’s website.
Although the section was able to meet the CLE needs of its members virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have received an increasing number of requests to hold live, in-person events for practitioners to attend to both learn and network. Thus, many of our more popular events, like the annual Construction Law Institute and Attorney-Trust Officer Liaison Conference were held in a hybrid format that year, allowing for both in-person and virtual attendance.
The section’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee took on the substantial task of analyzing and advising President Tanner on the Final Report of the Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services. On October 15, 2021, the section issued a nine-page report to President Tanner with the section’s concerns in regard to the proposed changes. Additionally, on March 3, the Florida Supreme Court adopted its biennial amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and specifically adopted Rule 4-1.14 (regarding representing clients with diminished capacity). The section had taken significant interest in this rule and provides significant commentary over the last year.
The section has multiple legislative initiatives before the 2022 Florida Legislature relating to real property, probate, and guardianship. The section continues to provide technical assistance on multiple other bills to help reduce the likelihood of unintended bad consequences. These bills address a wide scope of topics, including electronic legal documents, lis pendens, open permits, leasehold cooperatives, marketable record title act, notices of commencement, condominium and homeowners’ associations, and other topics concerning guardianship, probate and the transfer of property.
Of particular note are the repeated conflicts that the section has run into with other sections of The Florida Bar, and specifically the Elder Law Section. Chair-Elect Sarah Butters has been working to resolve the differences between the RPPTL and Elder Law sections regarding legislative initiatives and to formulate a process to resolve these before they get to the legislative floor.
• Probate and Trust Law Division — The Ad Hoc Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) Assistance Committee has been working on recommendations concerning the intestacy rights of a child born by artificial reproductive technology.
The Ad Hoc Guardianship Law Revision Committee, which has been working for several years on a comprehensive rewrite of the Florida Guardianship Code, has been busy considering and analyzing comments from other stakeholders regarding the proposal.
The Asset Protection Committee has been working on multiple projects, including a potential legislative proposal concerning tenants-by-the-entirety trusts.
The Elective Share Review Committee has been analyzing issues regarding the inclusion of foreign property in Florida’s elective share laws.
The Estate and Trust Tax Planning Committee, which studies topics impacting estate planning lawyers, worked on addressing an overlooked 2018 Florida Department of Revenue Technical Assistance Advisement (TAA), which determined that documentary stamp taxes were due when a grantor transferred mortgaged real property to a revocable trust. Specifically, the committee worked on a proposed statutory change to resolve the Department of Revenue’s concerns and to make it clear that transfers to a revocable trust are not subject to the documentary stamp tax.
The Guardianship, Power of Attorney, and Advance Directives Committee has been extremely busy working on addressing and providing technical advice in connection with non-RPPTL legislative proposals concerning Florida guardianship law.
The IRA, Insurance, and Employee Benefits Committee has been primarily working on continuing legal education initiatives focused on retirement and life insurance topics.
The Principal and Income Committee has been hard at work preparing a proposed Florida Uniform Income and Principal Act, which is expected to be a future RPPTL section legislative initiative.
The Probate and Trust Litigation Committee has been working on several projects, including analyzing the possibility of limiting the liability of a trustee on resignation or termination of the trust under certain circumstances, and considering how the collaborative law process used in family disputes might be used in the estate and trust litigation.
The Probate Law and Procedure Committee has several pending projects, including proposed legislation clearly codifying the concept that a pending lawsuit against a decedent at the time of death is deemed an “independent action” under the Florida Probate Code.
The Trust Law Committee has been working on various legislative proposals, including a RPPTL section initiative providing for additional options for the resignation by a trustee under the Florida Trust Code.
In addition to their ongoing work, our Probate and Trust Division Committees have provided technical advice and comment on numerous pieces of proposed legislation. Additionally, the Probate and Trust Division substantive committees organized and presented numerous CLE, as well as articles for ActionLine (the RPPTL section publication) and The Florida Bar Journal.
• Real Property Division — Within two days of the Champlain Towers South tragedy, the Condominium and Planned Development Committee formed the Condominium Law and Policy Life Safety Advisory Task Force. The mission of the task force is to engage in information-gathering and fact-finding through the review of all aspects of Florida condominium law, development, construction, association operations, and maintenance to determine if changes or additions to legislation and/or regulations could prevent or minimize the likelihood of another tragedy like the Champlain Towers South Condominium collapse or similar tragedies in the future.
The Real Estate Leasing committee finalized its proposed updates to the following Florida Supreme Court approved forms: 1) Residential Lease for Apartment or Unit in Multi-Family Rental Housing (Other than a Duplex) including a Mobile Home, Condominium, or Cooperative; and 2) Residential Lease for Single Family Home or Duplex. The committee worked closely with the Florida Legal Services Housing Umbrella Group (HUG), which is a group of legal services attorneys and law professors from across Florida, and Florida Realtors in vetting the changes.
The Real Property Division committees provided input and technical advice and worked closely with The Florida Bar Florida Realtor-Attorney Joint Committee in approving revisions to the following: Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase; “As-Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase; Rider B — Homeowners’ Association/Community Disclosure (Part B.2(b)(c)); Comprehensive Rider E to Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (Federal Housing Administration (FHA)/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)); Comprehensive Rider I to Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (Mold: Inspection); Comprehensive Rider V to Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (Sale of Buyer’s Property); and Comprehensive Rider W to Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (Back-Up Contract).
The Title Issues and Standards Committee continued its efforts to evaluate and update the Uniform Title Standards utilized by many real property practitioners.
The Real Property Finance & Lending Committee worked with the Business Law Section in consulting on the First Supplement to the Report on Third-Party Legal Opinion Customary Practice.
The Insurance and Surety Committee continues to publish its quarterly newsletter, Insurance Matters!, which contains articles and other information pertaining to recent cases and hot topics of interest in the insurance industry.
The Real Property Division Committees also provide input and technical advice on both proposed and pending legislative initiatives.
Bob Swaine, Chair
This year has been nothing short of amazing, thanks to the dedicated members of the executive council and the participation of the membership. We have been able to offer an innumerable amount of CLE programs and resources to support the largest sector of The Florida Bar, solo and small firm practitioners, and their office staff. The positive response from our membership and the legal community is what keeps our section striving.
• Continuing Legal Education — The section produced a robust series of successful CLEs this year, all offered in a virtual format only. Annually we host several signature seminars beginning with our fall five-credit Annual Ethics Update. This year “Re-Imagining the Practice of Law” was offered on October 22, 2021. Last fall, our half-day Agriculture Law Update, offered every other year, was postponed. Our thriving five-credit Solo and Small Firm Conference, “Pivoting Your Law Practice: The Resilience & Grit You Need to Survive,” chaired by Camara Williams and I, was presented on February 11.
After several years of COVID postponements, our ever-popular annual spring trip and CLE will resume May 27-June 4, when visiting Hawaii’s Big Island and the Island of Oahu. The four-credit CLE, “Practicing the Island Way,” will include specialty area topics, as well as island attorneys sharing their local perspectives. Next, our full-day Florida Law Update is scheduled to be held live at The Florida Bar Annual Convention on Thursday, June 23. This program provides eight CLE credits on topics that included business law, employment law, animal law, elder law, estate planning, criminal law, personal injury law, and real property law. Both the Florida Law Update and Annual Ethics Update again were well organized by Program Chair Peggy Hoyt.
In addition to our signature seminars, this is our fourth year offering monthly, noon time, one-credit InReach webinars as well as free, Wednesday Wisdom webinars for section members only. The Wednesday Wisdom webinars, of which 10 were presented this year, utilize the Zoom platform and are available on-demand on the section’s members-only Facebook group. This year, the section will have presented 11 one-credit InReach webinars. These webinars, plus our seminars and conference, continue to supplement our CLE catalog listings which typically number about 20 programs. These combined CLEs realize strong aftermarket sales. Between the day-of revenues and aftermarket sales, the SSF Section has generated a healthy increase in CLE profits again this year. Major kudos to Linda Calvert-Hanson and her CLE Committee members who have kept the section in the forefront of CLE innovation and offerings for our members and The Florida Bar at large.
• Section Member Services and Communications — The section maintains an active communications and marketing program aimed at increasing membership, raising the section’s Bar profile, and promoting registration for the section’s CLE seminars.
• Section Services — Section members have access to monthly, free CLE through the Wednesday Wisdom Zoom webinar series, a $600 value. CLE Committee Chair Linda Calvert-Hanson coordinates each CLE program and executive council member Joshua Hertz moderates. The CLEs are available in the section’s members-only Facebook group video library, available 24/7 to members, until their credit-approval expiration dates.
The section offers its members the chance to network, gain access to free CLE programming, and receive early notifications about CLE registration through its closed Facebook group. Section members can ask questions, seek and give referrals, and share insights and more.
Through the efforts of section Chair-elect Chris Johnson, the section has a partnership with LAWCLERK, an online legal freelance marketplace. LAWCLERK connects hiring attorneys with an extensive, nationwide network of over 3,400 freelance lawyers. Solo and Small Firm Section members now can sign up as freelance attorneys and can earn rebates when they hire freelance attorneys through LAWCLERK; the section receives a share of the revenue for each member who signs up and uses an account.
Monthly Mindfulness Meditation is a new, telephonic wellness initiative offered by section member Adam Myron. Our members are encouraged to close their door, dial in anonymously, and spend 10 minutes letting go and relaxing to achieve greater well-being.
• Communications — The section recently launched a new series of tips on best practices for how to run small law firms. Experienced solo and small-firm attorneys share their insights on technology, marketing, apps, client management, personnel, professionalism, and more. Each of the “How to Solo Small Firm” videos are available on the section’s website, on YouTube, and on social media with the hashtag #HowToSoloSmallFirm. The section’s goal for the series is for it to become a trusted resource for attorneys when they have practice management issues that are unique to solo and small firms.
The section continues to expand its reach through active social media profiles, which include Facebook (1,945 followers), a members-only Facebook group (435 members), a LinkedIn group (696 members), Twitter (2,533 followers), and Instagram (added February 2021; 262 followers). The section’s social media profiles have strong synergy with profiles of The Florida Bar, other sections, and legal-community entities.
Under the leadership of Publications Committee Chair Michelle Garcia Gilbert, the section disseminates QuickLINK, a bi-monthly electronic newsletter containing CLE promotions, practice tips, legal-community news and more — content that is relevant to a solo or small firm practitioner. QuickLINK content also appears on the section’s website blog. Section members also receive the triannual LINK, a more expansive publication covering topics dedicated to solo and small firm practitioners, including feature articles and section news.
The section offers a CLE page that offers four ways to access section CLE offerings. In addition, the calendar page provides course descriptions and registration links so that members and others who are interested may easily find CLE opportunities. The annual solo and small firm conference also has a feature page on the website.
The section regularly sends content to The Florida Bar News for publication: announcements, calls for nominations, section news, awards, etc.
• Sponsorship Committee — Cristina Alonso and her Sponsorship Committee have expanded our sponsors this year. We express our sincere appreciation for the Solo and Small Firm Section’s 2021-22 sponsors. Section Annual Sponsors are MONE$Q, Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, and Clio. Tabs3 was a Section Friend during the first half of the Bar year. Our Section Supporter for the second half of the Bar year is Aligned CPA, LLC. We thank each of them for their support and service to our members.
As a result of the hard work of everyone mentioned here, all of the members and liaisons of the executive council, Program Administrator Ricky Libbert, and Lisa Tipton, our publicity, marketing and public relations consultant, our membership has continued to grow, and we look forward to meeting their continuing needs.
Jacina Parson, Chair
The Tax Section’s big news for fiscal year 2021-2022 was the return to in-person meetings. Due to the pandemic, we stopped having in-person meetings in early 2020. Our last in-person meeting of fiscal year 2019-2020 was cancelled, and our three in-person regular meetings for fiscal year 2020-2021 were all cancelled and were instead conducted by Zoom. But the door to in-person meeting cracked open for a small director’s meeting, and by the beginning of the 2021-2022 fiscal year, all meetings became in-person, but with all of the usual precautions in place and with options to attend remotely. Our first meeting was our organizational meeting in Amelia Island. I think all members agreed that it was good to see everyone again. I personally found in-person meetings more productive and effective. To be sure, we saved a lot of money with virtual meetings and more members were able to attend without having to travel.
Our organizational meeting included a lively debate and proposal to promote a change in Florida law to address an issue as to spousal lifetime asset trusts (SLAT). A common estate planning technique is for Spouse A to establish a trust for the benefit of Spouse B for Spouse B’s life and to transfer assets to that trust. Should Spouse B die before Spouse A, the assets in the trust are returned to Spouse A. There was some uncertainty as to whether the creditors of Spouse A could attach to the assets in the trust. The Tax Section decided to take a legislative position to promote a law change that transfers to the trust were completed gifts and during Spouse B’s lifetime, Spouse A was not a beneficiary of the trust. Thanks to the leadership of French Brown together with the assistance of Gerald “JJ” Wehle, Donna Longhouse, Brian Malec, Mark Brown, Ritchie Comiter, Mark Scott, Joe Schimmel, Brittany Cobb, Bill Lane, Sasha Cobb, and others, this legislation was introduced and passed and headed to the governor’s desk to sign.
Our Fall Meeting was held at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach. In addition to our usual directors and executive council meetings, the Fall Meeting featured a CLE on advanced civil tax procedure, “Off the Beaten Path: The Roads Less Traveled in Advanced Civil Tax Procedure,” co-chaired by Michael Lampert and Charlotte Erdmann. Topics included unusual federal tax liens, peculiar and potent penalties, advanced tax litigation practice tips (with a fantastic discussion and debate between Tax Court Judge Patrick J. Urda and our own Brian Harris), and an enlightening presentation on the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility given by Karen L. Hawkins, the former director of the Office of Professional Responsibility, getting records and defense of getting records from the IRS presented by Brain Harris, Jeff Neiman, and Karen Hawkins, state tax civil procedure by French Brown, partnership audits under the new regime by Mitch Horowitz, Title 31 FBAR penalties with Jeff Neiman and Karen Lapekas, and procedural tax-related considerations for the estate administrator presented by Michael Lampert.
Our annual out-of-state director’s meeting was held in Austin, Texas. There was no shortage of bar-b-que and cowboy boots. A CLE presentation was given on the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty. Our director’s meeting was cut short due to a hotel employee suffering from a medical problem during our meeting. The paramedics asked us to clear the room so that the employee could be treated. Thankfully, the employee recovered and was back at work the next day. The remainder of our director’s meeting will be held at annual meeting in May.
Finally, the Tax Section-sponsored Tax Moot Court Competition had its first competition at the University of Miami law school campus. We had 12 law schools from across the country register and compete. It is quite a chore to change to a new venue, to engage in law schools to participate, to locate Tax Court judges as well as local lawyers to serve as judges of each team’s performance. Scott St. Amand chaired this year’s moot court competition, and it was a great success.
Mark Brown is the current chair-elect and Shawn Wolf is the chair-elect designee.
Harris L. Bonnette, Jr., Chair
The Trial Lawyers Section remains committed to professionalism, civility, and cooperation among attorneys while promoting efficiencies and discovery in trial practice. The current leadership of The Florida Bar has made the standards and methods of enforcement for professional conduct a primary focus of this term. This section continues to represent the finest trial lawyers from all areas of litigation practice, and we strive to support the interests of plaintiffs’ attorneys, defense lawyers, and commercial litigators that try cases in both state and federal courts while promoting trial advocacy and professionalism throughout Florida.
In January, the section hosted the annual Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition, as well as the Teachers Law Symposium in Orlando, and more recently presented the annual Civil Trial Update and Board Certification Review Program hosted by an all-star list of Florida trial attorneys. The section is proud to be able to again host the in-person Advanced Trial Advocacy Program in May at the University of Florida College of Law, designed to provide an intense, four-day interactive trial training seminar through lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and participatory exercises.
In addition to the publication and distribution of our quarterly newsletter, The Edge, and our monthly Case Law Updates to our members, and in response to the invitation from the President of The Florida Bar, the Trial Lawyers Section provided written comments on the recommendations contained in the “Final Report of the Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services” on issues relating to non-lawyer ownership of law firms and entity regulation, as well as fee-sharing between lawyers and non-lawyers. Moreover, the section has established a committee which is presently addressing and providing comment on the “Judicial Management Council’s Work Group on Improved Resolution of Civil Cases Report.”
The section is actively engaged when proposed legislation threatens the public’s access to courts, the independence of the judiciary, or the protection of the jury system. Members of our executive council travel to the Capitol each session to meet with our elected officials to discuss issues important to or that may otherwise affect the essential purposes of our section.
During the final quarter of 2021, the Trial Lawyers Section produced and distributed several webinars/podcasts, including stand-alone CLE courses and our more traditional CLE programs addressing implicit bias, professionalism, technology, and evidence. The webinars/podcasts have been very popular and well-received.
In addition to the foregoing, the section was honored to again publish the Florida Handbook on Civil Discovery, which was updated and delivered this term to approximately 1,300 members of the state and federal judiciary, and all members of the section may download the handbook from the section’s website and, if desired, have an opportunity to purchase a hard copy, as well.
The section continued with its effort to secure sponsorships in an effort to fund, at least in part, various initiatives. The contributions made to sponsorship this year have exceeded those financial commitments made during last year’s inaugural effort. We are grateful to all our sponsors, a full list of which are available on our website.
The section has successfully transitioned from the social limitations and professional restrictions brought about as a consequence of the pandemic and has largely returned to in-person participation as our members continue to represent our clients as trial lawyers. This year created many unique opportunities to transition from virtual participation to the more traditional live format that we, as trial lawyers, have enjoyed for centuries. We, as trial lawyers, as well as our clients and the judiciary, continue to be faced with a backlog of cases resulting from the restrictive effects of the pandemic; however, the section has accepted the responsibility to assist and cooperate in efforts to move cases through discovery, trial, and toward resolution.
Lewis W. Murphy, Jr., Chair
The Workers’ Compensation Section currently has over 1,200 members. Our continuing goal to increase involvement moved forward this year.
We continue to provide our members with educational programs that are targeted to the members’ practice area. Our Trial Advocacy workshop (May 13-14) is completely sold out. The Forum (board certification review seminar) which we present in cooperation with WCCP (Workers Compensation Claims Professionals) traditionally has over 400 attendees. This year it is anticipated to exceed 500. In addition to the in-person seminars, we have continued our successful series of Lunch and Learn Seminars coordinated by CLE chair, Dawn Traverso. Dawn has served as CLE chair since 2005. Dawn, thank you for your service and leadership.
Immediate Past Chair Philip Augustine has continued the Judicial Town Halls that he started and moderates. These town halls are a web-based format that allow practitioners throughout the state to participate in a town hall format with judges in each of the Office of Judge of Compensation Claims Districts.
Our Rules Committee was actively involved in the two Rule Development Workshops, which resulted in Amended Rules of Procedure for Workers’ Compensation Adjudications effective February 14.
Our quarterly publication, News and 440 Report was energized by Sean McCormack and Courtney Bahe. In addition to the great content, their team has broadened the reach of engagement. They have continued to inspire more people to contribute articles and share ideas. The budget was increased to allow more content to be included. Sean and Courtney, thank you. Technology Chair Richard Manno continues to serve in that role and our section’s website and social media presence flourishes under his leadership. Richard, thank you.
There are so many of our section members that have contributed for many years. This year we have also seen many new faces joining in. The upcoming election for the executive council is a clear example of this. We have more members seeking election than any time in the last decade.
I thank all the members who have dedicated their time and talent to making our section better. We would not have achieved the level of success without their service. I also thank Willie Mae Shepherd, our section program administrator. No one works harder for our section than she does — and always with a smile. Thank you, Willie Mae!
Last June we had hoped to end a stretch of several years since our section attended a Florida Bar annual or winter meeting. Unfortunately, that did not occur. This year, we plan on meeting at The Florida Bar Annual Convention in June and hope to make this an annual occurrence.
Mark A. Touby, Chair
What a year for the YLD it has been!
We launched the Council of Affiliates, which has been a tremendous success. It is always wonderful to hear from our affiliates about how we can help and work together to better our profession and our communities. Brandon Sapp and Charise Morgan-Joseph have done an incredible job galvanizing our statewide affiliates into a more cohesive group. This community building led to our most well-attended Affiliate Outreach Conference, which also included incredible programming capped off with Brian Ford, COO of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Giselle Gutierrez, Celeste Thacker, and the entire Affiliate Outreach Committee did such an incredible job. We already can’t wait to see what they can do for next year.
We have put on more programming through webinars to help young lawyers with their financial health and well-being, including YLD’s highest attended webinar focusing on the public service loan forgiveness program, put on by Christie Arkovich and hosted by Sarah Morris and Alexandria Nicodemi. We recently had a webinar, “Elevating Your Career in 2022,” that we hope will help young lawyers navigate through their career path towards even more success. Schulyer Smith and Dane Heptner have done an incredible job with our webinars. Our neurodiversity seminar with Governor Haley Moss and Scott M. Weinstein from Florida Lawyers Assistance was a huge success, and, last but not least, David W. Henry’s webinar, “Ten Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me 30 Years Ago,” gave young lawyers some great insight.
Our community outreach has been taken to new heights thanks to Thomas Graham and our #affiliatesassemble campaign. Our local communities need help now more than ever, and it is important for them to know their local young lawyers and their local bar associations are here to help. We’ve had a back to school drive, Pro Bono & Community Service Month, and holiday toy drive, and we’re not stopping there.
We also evolved our #YLDisMe to an affiliate edition, where we’ve showcased diverse affiliates from across the state. Thanks to Rebekah Taylor and Ciara Willis, who chair our Inclusion And Equality Committee, we’ve been able to raise awareness of some incredible organizations, such as F. Malcom Cunningham, Sr., Bar Association, Hillsborough County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Jacksonville Young Lawyers Section, Broward County Hispanic Bar Association, and the Cuban American Bar Association. These incredible organizations do so much for their communities that we wanted to make sure as many young lawyers as possible know about them and know that if they are looking to be part of a bigger community, there are organizations out there they should join. We also spotlighted some fantastic organizations during Women’s History Month with our #YLDWomensHistoryMonthSpotlight campaign, showcasing the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, the Tallahassee Women Lawyers, and the Polk Association for Women Lawyers.
We also recently launched our Live Yearbook, so if you want to learn more about our year, and trust me, there is so much more than I can put in a synopsis of our year, please check that out at https://flayld.org/yld-yearbook-2021-22/. If you have anything you’d like us to add to our yearbook, or if you’d like to sponsor one of our amazing events or programs, please reach out to me, President-elect Iris Elijah, President-elect Designate Anisha Patel, or any of our incredible governors. The YLD is here for you.
Todd Baker, President