Annual Reports of Sections and Divisions of The Florida Bar
Administrative Law Section
The primary goal for the Administrative Law Section’s 2016-2017 term was increasing our membership through a focus on recruitment, retention, and reclamation. Over the past several years, the Administrative Law Section, like many other smaller sections primarily comprised of public sector attorneys, has seen a decline in membership. In order to reverse this trend, the section established an ad hoc committee to develop a strategic plan. The committee, chaired by Judge Gar Chisenhall, created a plan that establishes priorities and focuses resources to ensure that the section’s leadership is working toward common goals for the next five years. The section will begin implementation of the strategic plan next year.
Additionally, the section’s membership efforts have included interacting with our members through social media. Without question, social media is an essential tool for marketing and reaching potential members. As such, the section has an active Facebook page and established a LinkedIn group this year. The section regularly updates its website and is currently in the process of revamping it in order to provide additional features of interest to administrative law practitioners.
This spring, the section continued its outreach to young lawyers through its ad hoc young lawyers committee, chaired by Christina Shideler. The committee sponsored its popular “Afternoon at DOAH” in April. The section is also working to provide services to more established lawyers through the efforts of Judge John Van Laningham’s committee, which is creating a study guide for the state and federal government administrative practice (SFGAP) examination.
The section’s continuing legal education (CLE) committee, chaired by Bruce Lamb, started the year off with the section’s signature event, the Pat Dore Administrative Law Conference. The conference was held on October 7, 2016, in Tallahassee. For the first time in many years the conference was a sold-out event. On October 28, 2016, the public utilities law committee put together an excellent CLE program on solar energy and renewables in Gainesville. On January 31, 2017, the section, in conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division (YLD), presented a webinar on basic administrative law. The section’s CLE Committee, in conjunction with the Environmental and Land Use Law and the Government Lawyer sections, presented an advanced-level CLE on April 21, 2017, in Tallahassee.
The section’s newsletter editors, Judge Elizabeth McArthur and Jowanna N. Oates, have produced the section’s quarterly newsletter, providing summaries of recent state appellate administrative law cases, summaries of DOAH cases, articles of interest to administrative practitioners, legislative updates, and announcements concerning section activities. Stephen Emmanuel, the Publications Committee co-chair, has actively recruited authors for the section’s submissions to The Florida Bar Journal ; this year, five articles were submitted.
For the past several years, the section has made a concerted effort to increase interest in administrative law by interacting with the state’s 12 law schools. The Law School Outreach Committee, chaired by Judge Lynne Quimby-Pennock, and co-chaired by Sharlee Edwards and Vilma Martinez, put together informative panel discussions at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Thomas M. Cooley School of Law, Barry University School of Law, University of Miami School of Law, St. Thomas University School of Law, Florida Coastal College of Law, Florida A&M University College of Law, and Florida State University College of Law.
September 17, 2016, marked the section’s annual “Day of Service.” For the second year in a row, the executive council volunteered at America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend. Second Harvest feeds the hungry in 11 counties in the Tallahassee area. One of Second Harvest’s specialized programs is the backpack program, which gives children a backpack of food each Friday to ensure that they have sufficient food over the week. Each week, approximately 700 children receive these food backpacks.
As the Administrative Law Section enters its 40th year, it remains focused on delivering exceptional educational and professional development programs to its members. For additional information about the section, please visit our website at www.flaadminlaw.org.
Jowanna Nicole Oates, Chair
Alternative Dispute Resolution
One of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section’s goals this year was to reach out to other Florida Bar sections to create programming that would be helpful to all members of The Florida Bar. Members of our executive council agreed to liaise with other sections, and we recorded two videos for the Young Lawyers’ Division website on “How to Prepare for and Successfully Advocate in Mediation” and “How to Prepare for Arbitration.” We cosponsored a seminar with the Trial Lawyers Section, and are cosponsoring a seminar at the 2017 Florida Bar Annual Convention with the International Law Section. We are working on co-sponsoring a seminar with the Animal Law Section and the Family Law Section. We have presented seminars on employment law and mediator engagement letters.
This year, for the third time, the ADR Section will present a three-hour program at the June Florida Bar convention. The first half will be an interactive program designed to elicit dialogue between mediators on current issues regarding mediation. The second half will update on developments in the field of arbitration in both the federal and the Florida courts. We have also been involved with local groups, such as the Hillsborough County Bar, the Broward County Bar, and the Association of South Florida Mediators and Arbitrators, to provide programming related to alternative dispute resolution.
We recognize that ADR means more than just mediation and arbitration, and our newsletter editor has been working to include articles on other forms of alternative dispute resolution in our newsletters. This year, we published two newsletters and are working on a third newsletter. All contributions are welcome and anyone interested in submitting an article should contact Gabrielle Tollok at [email protected] We have also decided to sponsor articles for The Florida Bar Journal, and two members of our executive council have volunteered to serve as editors. We can sponsor up to five articles per year.
The Florida Supreme Court ADR Rules and Policy Committee is a standing committee that recommends changes to Florida Supreme Court rules and legislation regarding ADR in Florida. We are working collaboratively with the Florida Supreme Court ADR Rules and Policy Committee and sent out a survey to our members regarding mediator ethics and certification. We received a large response and the executive council passed two motions, which were sent as recommendations to the ADR Rules and Policy Committee. The first would require all mediators mediating cases filed in the family and civil circuit divisions of the state court to adhere to the Florida Supreme Court’s Standards for Professional Conduct for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. The second would require them to be certified by the Florida Supreme Court as either family or civil mediators. The ADR Rules and Policy Committee has also reached out to us to get feedback regarding interpreters and ADR processes, and has asked if there are any rule changes or other areas of concern to ADR practitioners that should be considered by them.
The executive council provided comments to the Florida Supreme Court on the ADR Rules and Policy Committee’s proposed revisions to the Certification and Disciplinary Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. Although the ADR Section opposed these revisions, some of our comments were responded to favorably by the ADR Rules and Policy Committee and by the Florida Supreme Court. The new rules are effective January 1, 2017. The Florida Supreme Court proposed a revision to the Rules of Judicial Conduct regarding senior judges serving as trial resolution judges in the same county in which they are serving as senior judges. We commented on the proposed revision, and the Florida Supreme Court adopted our proposed revision. If you know of any proposed legislation or any proposed rule changes that affect alternative dispute resolution in the state of Florida, please let us know, so that we can provide input from our section.
We are working on revising our bylaws, and a committee is looking into Florida Bar board certification for ADR practitioners. It has been a busy year. Please consider contributing your talents to our section so that we can continue to improve all forms of alternative dispute resolution in Florida — for the benefit of lawyers and all participants in alternative dispute resolution processes.
Meah Rothman Tell, Chair
I am very pleased to report that 2016-2017 saw the former Animal Law Committee (ALC) transform into the new Animal Law Section of The Florida Bar (ALS). As of the writing of this report, ALS has over 450 active members and is growing. I invite everyone to join our new and exciting section and participate in the development of this diverse and interesting area of law. ALS is open to anyone interested in animal law, regardless of whether you practice animal law. ALS is also open to affiliate members, such as law students, paralegals, and others involved or interested in animal-related activities.
Since The Florida Bar Board of Governors gave final approval to ALS in 2015, our members and leaders have worked hard to make our inaugural year a great success, which it has been by any reasonable measure. There are many people to recognize and thank, especially our BOG liaison, Scott Westheimer, our Bar administrator, Jeremy Citron, and our ALS executive council members, Gregg Morton (chair-elect), Gil Panzer (secretary), Bonnie Malloy (treasurer), Sarah Taitt, Jennifer Dietz, Laura Triplett, Phyllis Coleman, Peggy Hoyt, and Aleksandra Sikorska for their efforts and dedication. Special thanks to Gil Panzer who stepped down recently as ALS secretary and executive committee member after many years of service to ALC and ALS; Jennifer Dietz replaced Gil as secretary and Renée Thompson, our prior BOG liaison, replaced Gil as executive committee member.
Many others contributed as ALS Committee and subcommittee chairs, including Aleksandra Sikorska, who chaired our outstanding CLE Committee and organized our well-attended seminars and webinars; Laura Triplett and Gretchen Myers, who co-chaired our Publications and Communications Committee, and were responsible for our eUpdates, social media, website, and other publications; Sarah Taitt and Rachel Shaffer, who helped produce our excellent Paw Review newsletters; David Brunell, who helped maintain our popular Twitter page and served as Diversity Committee chair; Debbie Brown, who edited our well-written Bar Journal column articles; and Diana Ferguson, who chaired our Legislative Committee and produced timely, informative Florida legislative reports. Very special thanks are extended to Chair-Elect Gregg Morton for his efforts in doing whatever is asked of him to keep the ALS running smoothly.
One of our goals in becoming a section was to reach a wider audience, and during our first year, ALS has published a number of articles in The Florida Bar Journal on a wide array of animal law topics. Additionally, ALS has expanded the number of seminars with a webinar on service and emotional support animals in February and a joint program with the Tax Section in April. We also are continuing the tradition started by the committee to hold a seminar in conjunction with the Bar annual convention in Boca Raton. The seminar will host a number of distinguished speakers on a variety of topics.
To highlight another unique ALS activity, the section, Florida State College of Law’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Tallahassee-based, not-for-profit Pets Ad Litem, Inc. (PAL), sponsored the fourth annual Student Animal Law Legal Writing Competition. The winning student received $1,000, and the honorable mention received $100 from ALS and PAL. Articles are being accepted for the fifth annual competition.
I invite everyone interested in the ALS or its animal law-related activities to contact us, and again invite everyone to join the ALS by signing up for membership on the annual fee statement. Members of the Bar interested in being added to the ALS email notification list should contact Jeremy Citron of The Florida Bar at [email protected]. Questions about the ALS should be directed to me at [email protected] or Gregg Morton at [email protected]. More information about ALS, including our publications, applications for membership, and links to our social media accounts can be found at our website www.flabaranimals.org.
Ralph A. DeMeo, Chair
The Appellate Practice Section had a productive year, with an emphasis on modernizing our approach to servicing our members, while actively planning for the future. The section started the year with a retreat and long-range planning meeting in Key West. This was the section’s first retreat in over a decade and included a full day of planning and introspection. Attendees set ambitious goals for the section, as well as for individual committees and projects. The event culminated in a group dinner at the world-famous Mallory Square with an unforgettable sunset celebration. Special thanks to Tom Hall, Hala Sandridge, and Nick Shannin for planning and hosting this incredible event.
One of the themes from the retreat was a need to modernize our approach to many aspects of the section’s work. Everyone agreed a social media presence was essential for both communicating with our membership and recruiting new members. Social media will become a primary way to deliver our section content to our existing members and to the legal community. As part of the process, our traditional section newsletter will be converted to a modern blog-style format, replacing a PDF document distributed by email. Our new social media platforms are expected to launch just prior to the 2017 annual meeting.
The section’s CLE Committee, led by Chris Donovan, Kansas Gooden, and Jared Krukar, is also modernizing our content delivery for CLE programs. Although the section continues to place emphasis on live in-person seminars, many of our members prefer the convenience of webcasts for later purchase. Our traditional monthly telephonic CLE series is now being offered, at least in part, in on-demand webcasts. The committee continues to diversify the content and format for aftermarket CLE, which is one of the section’s most valuable services to its members.
The section enjoyed strong attendance at live CLE events this year, including two full-day seminars, “The Hidden Essentials of Appellate Law,” chaired by Kansas Gooden in Tampa, and “Hot Topics in Appellate Law: Appellate Forces in the New Millennium,” co-chaired by Susan Fox, David Knapp, and Nick Shannin in Orlando. The section also offered 10 one-hour CLEs at low cost to our members. These lunchtime seminars covered timely advanced appellate topics and provided certification credit.
The section remains proud of its significant contribution to The Florida Bar Foundation last year and continues to evaluate the section’s reserves to formulate a plan to manage the reserves effectively, while still utilizing our resources to assist our membership and to benefit appellate practice in Florida.
The executive council voted unanimously to renew its legislative position in opposition to term limits for appellate judges. The Legislative Committee, chaired by Courtney Brewer, continues to monitor legislative developments and look for opportunities to educate lawyers and the voting public on these important issues.
Tom Ward again led the Outreach Committee, which devoted considerable time to communicating with other sections and local bar organizations to further the section’s goals. Kimberly Jones once again chaired the Publications Committee, which publishes in various forums; The Florida Bar Journal (Brandon Christian, editor); The Record (June Hoffman, editor); The Guide (Rebecca Creed, editor); and the Pro Se Appellate Handbook (Bretton Albrecht, editor). Carrie Ann Wozniak continued to lead the section’s Pro Bono Committee, coordinating with section members to address appellate pro bono needs.
Immediate Past Chair Chris Carlyle served as the section’s representative to the Council of Sections, and was recently appointed as liaison to the Constitution Revision Commission. Kimberly Kanoff Berman continued to chair the Programs Committee, which hosts the highly anticipated dessert reception at the annual Florida Bar convention. Jonathan Streisfeld carefully maintained the section’s website and coordinated our electronic communications.
Assisting with all these efforts were the section’s officers and core leadership team: Chair-Elect Kristin Norse, Vice Chair Sarah Lahlou-Amine, and Secretary-Treasurer Nick Shannin, who spent countless hours leading the section through a very busy year with the help of our Bar liaison, JoAnn
Shearer. The section looks forward to a productive new year and the continued implementation of innovative new programs and ideas.
Duane A. Daiker, Chair
The Florida Bar Business Law Section had another outstanding year due in no small part to the commitment and devotion exhibited by its members and leadership. In the constantly changing business world, the section has provided cutting-edge guidance through the laws and regulations governing business.
• Committees — Through the substantive committees in the section, members learned about changes to law governing and legislation affecting business. The section’s nonsubstantive committees continue to tackle challenges facing the section such as membership, continuing education, communication, and technology. But the persistent focus for the section is to improve diversity by the incredible work performed by the Inclusion, Mentoring, and Fellowship Committee. working together, these substantive and nonsubstantive committees strive to reach new heights; a true challenge because the section has continuously achieved great results for its members, the legal community, and the business community.
• CLE — The section delivered premier continuing legal education sessions for the legal community. It’s hard to single out any one program because the section has delivered 1) View from the Bench by its Bankruptcy/UCC Committee; 2) Business and Complex Litigation Courts Judicial Panel Discussion by the Business Litigation and State and Federal Court Liaison Committees; 3) the Intellectual Property Symposium by the Intellectual Property Committee; and 4) the E-Discovery Program by its E-Discovery Committee, as well as myriad other programs delivered throughout the year by the section’s members.
• Labor Day Weekend Retreat — The section returned to the Ritz Carlton in Naples for its showcase event, the Labor Day Retreat. Because this event is popular with the section members, it has attracted dozens of sponsors. Hundreds of members and guests shared dinner on Friday and Saturday, culminating with a family casino night with fun for everyone. During the day on Saturday, the committees met to address business, and the members attended several CLE programs in the afternoon. The attendees shared the rest of the weekend at the beach or pool enjoying the facilities and each other’s company.
• Midyear Meeting — This year, the section rejoined The Florida Bar for this meeting. The Inclusion, Mentoring, and Fellowship Committee delivered an eye-opening program during the section’s lunch that dealt with important challenges to achieving diversity.
• Spring Retreat — During the last week in April, about 40 members and their families met in Lisbon, Portugal, for a retreat to view the historic city, and the members discussed the legislative issues that the section faced during the 2017 legislative session.
• The Florida Bar Annual Convention — The section will meet at The Florida Bar Annual Convention on June 21-22 with all of its committees also meeting. A number of CLE programs will be presented. The section will hold its annual retreat during Labor Day weekend at the Eau in Palm Beach County.
• Legislation — One of the most important services the section performs for the Florida business community is its legislative efforts. This year, the section proposed bills that update and modernize Florida’s fictitious name statute and fraudulent transfer statute, as well as provided technical advice regarding various legislative initiatives and opposed other initiatives the section concluded would be inconsistent or incompatible with long-standing business law.
• Networking — At either the three meetings or the many CLE programs, there is ample networking opportunities. The friendships forged when members participate in the section activities last a lifetime.
The summary here does not do justice to the value of membership and the dedication of the members who make the section possible. Poised for the future, the section is ready to take on tomorrow’s challenges and issues. My confidence in the section’s future does not arise from its history, but instead, it stems from knowing the future leaders and members who give their time so generously in order to make the section better than it has been — and that is no easy task considering the section’s storied history. Although there are far too many people to thank in the limited space provided, I especially thank Melanie Damian (chair-elect) and Michael Chesal (treasurer-secretary) for their help this year, and particularly thank JoAnn Shearer for her work with the section, showing an uncanny ability to facilitate our work through the administrative processes of The Florida Bar.
Jon Polenberg, Chair
City, County and Local Government Law
The City, County and Local Government Law Section stands at the heart of the community. The section is comprised of nearly 1,700 lawyers committed to serving the public. Our members represent cities, counties, government districts, aviation authorities, school districts, and other local governments on various issues. Our clients are charged with maintaining and improving the health and safety of the community. The section strives to serve its members and the public to achieve this ultimate goal.
• Membership — This year, the section focused on bridging the gap to keep the various generations of local government lawyers connected. The section’s Young Lawyers Committee created a mentorship program to provide the opportunity for members to share life and work wisdom as well as information regarding newer technologies and fresh perspectives on the law. The program focuses on fostering mutually beneficial relationships. Section members were also encouraged to take advantage of the many benefits of the section, including the Local Government Law Desk Book, electronic mailing list (Listserv), Facebook page updates, the Stetson Law Review Local Government Symposium, articles in The Florida Bar Journal and the Agenda newsletter. I am grateful to Chelsea Hardy, Mark Moriarty, Amanda Coffey, David Miller, and Craig Leen for their work on these initiatives.
• CLEs — All members of the Bar were invited to participate in our wonderful CLE programming. The section cosponsored the Public Employment Labor Relations Forum with the Labor and Employment Law Section. The section also hosted the City, County and Local Government Law Certification Review, the Public Finance Seminar, and the Annual Local Government in Florida Seminar. All of the section’s programs provide networking and educational opportunities for all lawyers with a focus on lawyers practicing in the area of local government law, whether as in-house counsel, outside counsel representing governmental entities, or counsel to clients appearing before local governmental bodies. Thank you to Glenn Thomas, Herb Thiele, Sandy MacLennan, and Rob Teitler for organizing these CLEs.
• Legislative and Legal Positions — The section joined numerous other sections of The Florida Bar to oppose a bill aimed at limiting judicial terms. Additionally, the executive council, on behalf of the section, voted to support two amicus briefs, one concerning the validity of municipal code enforcement liens, and another involving the public employer’s right to discipline its employees. Thank you to Craig Leen and David Miller for their work in this area. Also, special thanks to Florida Bar General Counsel Booter Imhof for his assistance in seeking permission from the Bar.
• Outreach — The section takes a multi-faceted approach to reach out to the community as well as other members of the Bar. It provides grants for local government law offices to hire interns and awards scholarships to a law student interested in government law at each of Florida’s law schools. The section also sponsors the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Picnic as well as The Florida Bar’s Leadership Academy. Additionally, the section appointed a liaison, Craig Leen, to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Thank you to Danielle Martin, Don Crowell, Hans Ottinot, Craig Leen, and Victoria Mendez for efforts in this area.
• Ethics and Professionalism — Each spring, the section distributes a draft resolution regarding civility to local governing bodies, asking local governments to recognize the importance of civility. Local governments are given a proclamation that stresses and reminds all of the importance of civility. Additionally, the section appointed a liaison to join the Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy Committee. Thank you to Andy Lannon for taking up this charge.
• Leadership — The section has benefited from outstanding leadership of past chairs who remain involved in its work. Our executive council has dedicated many hours to the section. In addition to executive council members mentioned previously, I thank Paul Bangel, Hollie Hawn, David Migut, Nichole Shalley, and Kyle Shephard for their commitment this year. Joshua Chilson has been an outstanding Board of Governor’s liaison. As always, Ricky Libbert, section administrator, continues her instrumental role. Without Ricky, our leaders do not succeed. I am excited for the future of the section as Rob Teitler and Michele Lieberman assume their new leadership roles.
Jeannine S. Williams, Chair
Once again, the members of the Criminal Law Section (CLS) executive council and its committees were very busy pursuing our goals of making improvements to the practice of criminal law. In anticipation of changes in death penalty litigation by the Florida Legislature, the CLS renewed its position supporting a comprehensive review of the death penalty process and supporting a new position of a unanimous verdict in the penalty phase, should there be a death penalty in the state of Florida. Additionally, the executive council overwhelming approved a new position opposing term limits on judges.
With the very busy year of changes in the legislature, the Legislative Committee has kept up with tracking bills and keeping members of the CLS up to date with changes in the law. The Legislative Committee will continue to apprise members of changes from the Constitution Revision Commission. Special thanks to Chair-Elect Marty McDonnell and Bob Dillinger, who co-chair the Legislative Committee.
Thanks to the efforts of David Rothman, the bylaws of the CLS have changed so that former chairs of the section are ex officio voting members of the executive council. This important bylaw change allows for an increase in opportunities for members to become part of the executive council and improve the diversity of the executive council, while maintaining the institutional memory of the executive council.
The Membership Committee, chaired by Larry Turner, continues to explore methods to retain members and increase membership outreach, especially among young lawyers and law students. Toward this goal, the CLS sponsored and participated in both the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Picnic in Miami-Dade County and the Central Florida Diversity Mentoring Picnic in Orlando to reach out to law students interested in criminal law. Special thanks to those who participated at the Kozyak picnic and Warren Lindsey who led the efforts at the Central Florida Picnic. The Membership Committee is also actively working with the Young Lawyers Division to create new opportunities for members of both sections.
In continuing to provide educational opportunities to our members, the CLS sponsored the annual Gerald T. Bennett Prosecutor/Public Defender Training Program under the direction of Paul Zacks and Jennifer Zedalis. The P/PD program is unique in that it is one of the few programs nationally that brings prosecutors and public defenders together for training in litigation skills and trial advocacy. Since its inception in 1979, the program has trained over 2,000 government attorneys.
The CLE Committee, co-chaired by Judge Jeff Levenson and Susan Hugentugler, presented numerous CLE seminars. Presentations started at the 2016 Florida Bar Annual Convention, with the President’s Showcase on the 50th anniversary of the decision of Miranda v. Arizona. This seminar, chaired by George Tragos, featured Bob Jensen, who was one of the lawyers who worked on the Miranda case. Seminars continued throughout the year, including the Criminal Law Update 2017, chaired by Judge Richard Hersch; Advanced Federal Practice 2017, chaired by Ken Swartz; Masters of DUI 2017, chaired by Carlos Canet and Michael Catalano; and Hot Topics in Evidence 2016, cosponsored with the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee and the Trial Lawyers Section. Continuing legal education opportunities will expand in the coming year with webinars, and the section will work on presentations so that members can meet CLE requirements in ethics and technology.
The Communication Committee, chaired by Richard Polin, and the Website/Social Media Committee, chaired by Jason Blank, are working to expand communication with CLS members and other members of The Florida Bar. Toward the goal of keeping in touch with the over 2,500 members of the section, the CLS is providing weekly criminal law updates that have been posted on the CLS website. The CLS currently maintains a website as well as a Facebook page to keep its members informed of recent developments in the law and other matters affecting the criminal justice system. We continue to improve our website over the course of the coming year, including the addition of a “members only” portal, through which members access continuing legal education materials.
Supporting access to the judicial system for all Floridians is a goal of the CLS. To aid in this goal, the CLS contributed $25,000 to The Florida Bar Foundation earmarked to fund the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) in the coming year. These funds enhance the recruitment and retention of legal aid and legal services staff attorneys at organizations that receive general support funding from The Florida Bar Foundation.
The most prestigious award given by the CLS is the Selig I. Goldin Award. This year, the CLS recognized Judge Thomas K. Peterson and his 50 years as a member of The Florida Bar. His efforts as an assistant public defender, assistant state attorney, and as a circuit court judge in the 11th Judicial Circuit improved nearly every facet of the state’s criminal justice system.
As I finish this year as chair of the Criminal Law Section, I gratefully acknowledge and thank the members of the executive council, all section members serving on committees, and all persons who have contributed to the successes of the CLS this year. There have been several times over the course of the year when important votes needed to be conducted in a very short period of time, and the diligent efforts of executive council members in coming together resulted in a strong, united effort. I am particularly appreciative of the extraordinary efforts of the officers of the executive council, Judge Angélica Zayas (immediate past chair), Marty McDonnell (chair-elect), O. David Barksdale (secretary), and Jennifer Zedalis (treasurer) for their insight on all matters affecting the CLS, and personal advice to me, even if it required a swift kick in the shins. I also thank our Board of Governors liaison, Sam Masters, and former BOG liaison, and Bar President-Elect Designate Michelle Suskauer for keeping the CLS up to date with matters before the Board of Governors. Finally, I am truly grateful for the efforts of Florida Bar Program Administrator Chase Early, without whom the successful work of the section would not come to its fruition.
In conclusion, the success of the Criminal Law Section is due to its members and its leaders who compose the executive council. Regardless of the perspective of the member, the results of the work in 2016-2017 have resulted in a united position. Because of the dedication of the members of the section, especially the executive council, the Criminal Law Section will continue to thrive.
Joel M. Silvershein, Chair
The Elder Law Section had another fantastic and productive year and continues to serve the attorneys who protect our senior citizens and those with special needs. Our section now has 105 board certified members in elder law, an increase from 98 last year. Our section members diligently work for our clients, but the following committees and efforts deserve special recognition.
• Legislative Efforts — The section has established itself as an educational resource to legislators regarding all topics that affect seniors, incapacitated, or vulnerable persons, and persons with special needs. We work closely with legislators, appear at committee hearings, and educate them on any issue that affects our client population. The section expresses deep appreciation to its legislative co-chairs, William Johnson, Scott Selis, and Brian Jogerst, for their efforts and to all of our active participant members.
• Administrative Advocacy — The section monitors and participates in all administrative agency rulemaking that affects our client population. We work with the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Elder Affairs, the Agency for Health Care Administration, and the new Office of Public and Professional Guardians, to name a few. We have been successful in securing better and faster services for clients.
• Inclusion and Mentoring — The section holds mentoring CLE calls monthly. The calls and education are very well received and a great help to our members who are new to our practice areas.
• CLE Programs — The section continues to offer high-quality and in-depth CLE programs at regular and expected intervals, and has stepped up our webinar presence for our CLE programs as well as updated our technology for a website redesign this year.
• Substantive Committee Meetings — Every aspect of our substantive practice areas are assigned to a substantive committee. The committees hold CLE meetings and are very active in vetting or promoting legislation.
• Amicus — The section has filed amicus briefs as necessary in all issues of import to our client population.
• Joint Efforts with the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys — The section is fortunate to work closely with AFELA. Our Joint Public Policy Task Force meets weekly to review all issues affecting our client population and to help our members with any issue in their practice. The time commitment to the task force is huge and the individuals who serve do so selflessly, as their task force work is in addition to their section and AFELA board position requirements.
Our section has over 1,700 members, and we are growing. We will continue our yearly strategic planning meetings to effectively and productively guide the section as we grow and move forward. We are collaborative and cooperative as section members and as proud elder law attorneys in our communities.
Ellen S. Morris, Chair
Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law
The Florida Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section (EASL) had an incredibly productive year due to the hardworking, tight-knit group of people within this section.
Last summer, we held our annual retreat, “Soar with the Entertainment and Sports Legal ‘Double Eagles’: Topics to Keep You at the Top of Your Game,” at the new, modern Streamsong Golf Resort in Ft. Meade on June 17-19. The retreat weekend was filled with meetings, a CLE with four panels, meals, socializing, golf, lounging by the pool, archery, karaoke, and a talent show. It was one of the most well-attended EASL retreats in the history of the section. Our EASL retreat CLE panels were:
1) “Designing Your Course in Fashion Law: Overview of Obstacles, from Casual to Couture”;
2) “Reading the Green: Labor and Employment Tips and Traps for Sports and Entertainment Practitioners”;
3) “Getting Into the Swing of Things: Legal Issues Relating to Golf and Tennis”; and
4) “Perfecting Your Short Game: Nuanced Issues with Representing Entertainment Companies, Agents and Managers.” Speakers included Emily Patricia Graham, Elliot Zimmerman, Danielle Garno, Raquel Rodriguez-Albizu, Steven Eisenberg, Joseph Fleming, D. Marcus Braswell, Jr., Ruth Paul, Joe Lopez, Courtney McBride, Robert H. Moore, Johnny Williams, Robert McNeely, and Richard Wolfe.
On September 29, 2016, EASL filed an amicus curiae brief in the Florida Supreme Court in the case of Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM, Inc. The case arrived at the Florida Supreme Court this summer on four certified questions from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. EASL’s executive council agreed that two of those questions, dealing with Florida common law copyrights in sound recordings, were of specific interest and concern to EASL members and approved filing the brief in support of Flo & Eddie’s position. Rob McNeely and Stephan Carlisle authored the amicus brief with the assistance of Julee Milham and Charlotte Towne. The Florida Bar approved the filing of the brief. Here is a link to it on the docket: https://efactsscpublic.flcourts.org/casedocuments/2016/1161/2016-1161_brief_121988.pdf.
EASL accomplished the time-consuming, challenging feat of amending its bylaws, which were approved by The Florida Bar Board of Governors on September 30, 2016.
EASL presented a Fall 2016 CLE Webcast Series. The first webcast was on September 29, 2016, titled “Data Breach Litigation,” with Charlotte Towne as moderator and Adam C. Losey as speaker. The second webcast was on November 21, 2016, “Educating Your Client on the Legal and Ethical Pitfalls of Social Media,” with Kim Kolback as moderator and Joseph Z. Fleming as speaker.
EASL co-hosted a Halloween happy hour event for its members on October 26, 2016, at ROK:BRGR in Hallandale Beach, joined by members of other intellectual property and business law organizations: American Intellectual Property Law Association, Intellectual Property Law Association of Florida, The Copyright Society of the USA, The Patently Impossible Project, Dade County Bar Association, and The Florida Bar Business Law Section. Special thanks to Jamie Rich Vining for organizing this fun event.
This section also presented a Spring 2017 CLE webcast series. We had our first webcast on January 18, 2017, “Read Carefully! — Commonly Overlooked Provisions in SAG-AFTRA Agreements,” with Tania Williams as moderator and Ruth Paul from SAG-AFTRA as speaker. The second webcast, “If You Make It ‘Porn,’ Does That Make It a Parody?,” was on March 13 with Tania Williams as moderator and Stephen M. Carlisle as speaker. The last upcoming webcast in the series, “Winning an Award of Attorney’s Fees in Your Entertainment, Intellectual Property, and Other Commercial Cases,” was on May 8 with Kim Kolback as the moderator and Richard Wolfe as the speaker.
EASL hosted a CLE, “In-House Counsel for Professional Sports Team and Arena: Contracts, Conflicts and Ethics,” at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on January 26 with speaker Robert Karpeles, the Panthers’ associate general counsel. After the CLE, attendees dined, socialized, and watched the Florida Panthers Hockey game together in club seats.
EASL participated at the Annual Kozyak Minority Mentoring Picnic on February 4 in Miami. I give a huge thanks to Greenberg Traurig, Joe Fleming, and our amazing volunteers for making this a successful event: Porpoise Evans, Rian Kinney, Joshua Saval, David Rogero, Jessenia Canot, Peter Kelly, LaShawn Thomas, Ashley Mapp, and Kim Kolback.
On February 16, EASL hosted another hockey night CLE at the Amway Center in Orlando. Our speakers for this event were Joe Haleski (Orlando Solar Bears chair and CEO), Christopher Heller (Orlando Solar Bears president and legal counsel), and keynote speaker, sports attorney Gordon Kirke. After the CLE, attendees socialized and watched an Orlando Solar Bears hockey game.
Many of our EASL members joined the EASL Legislative Committee, which focused on assisting Film Florida (a statewide not-for-profit trade organization representing the interests of the film industry) with efforts in creating and passing a bill to bring more film production business to Florida.
Additionally, EASL sponsored several successful entertainment and sports law symposiums throughout the state. On November 30, we were a media sponsor for the Federal Bar Association’s 2016 Art Law and Litigation Conference in Miami. On March 29-31, we cosponsored the ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries’ “An International Legal Symposium on the World of Music, Film, Television, and Sports” at the University of Miami School of Law. On March 25, we sponsored the 10th annual Nova Southeastern University Sports & Entertainment Law Symposium, “A Decade of Legal Education.” On April 7, we sponsored the 10th annual FAMU Law EASLS Entertainment & Sports Law Symposium.
We are finalizing plans for a music royalties-focused CLE in Orlando at Full Sail University on May 12 with speakers Franklin Graves, Chrissie Scelsi, Davey Jay, and Tom Player.
Chair-Elect Davey Jay is planning our upcoming annual retreat NCLE at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel in Cocoa Beach on June 9-11.
I give many thanks to our officers for their hard work: Davey Jay (chair-elect), Chrissie Scelsi (immediate past chair), Marc Stollman (secretary), and Tom Dobbins (treasurer).
I thank the rest of our executive council: Kim Kolback, Serona Elton, Mark Ingram, Ashley Mapp, Julee Milham, Tom Player, Cassi Willard, Tim Warnock, Tania Williams, John Bradley, Alan Fertel, Serona Elton, Porpoise Evans, Alan Fertel, Richard Wolfe, and Renée Thompson, our board liaison. I also thank CLE Chair Kim Kolback, CLE Vice Chair Tania Williams, and Serona Elton for work on the EASL website, Ashley Mapp for her fantastic work as student liaison and assistance in planning and promoting EASL CLE events, Steven Eisenberg for his work on the EASL email Listserv; Porpoise Evans and Robert Stines for their participation on behalf of EASL on The Florida Bar Diversity & Inclusion Committee; Robert Stines for his assistance with social media; Angie Froelich, our section administrator; Brittney Trigg, our Social and Sponsorship Committee chair; Emily Graham, our Legislative Committee chair; and Kimra Major-Morris for representing EASL at The Florida Bar Leadership Academy meeting. I thank Bylaws Committee members Julee Milham, Cassi Willard, and Carolyn Herman; and EASL Amicus Brief Committee members Rob McNeely, Stephen Carlisle, and Julee Milham.
Special thanks to all our CLE speakers and moderators, listed above, for sharing their time and knowledge this past year.
Thanks to all the time, effort, dedication, and enthusiasm of our members. This has been an extraordinary year for EASL. If you are interested in joining EASL, please check our website, www.easl.info, for more information.
Charlotte Towne, Chair
Environmental and Land Use Law
At its September meeting, the Environmental and Land Use Law executive council voted to rename its Public Interest Attorney Award in memory and in honor of executive council member and public interest attorney, Christopher T. Byrd, whose fight against cancer and Fanconi anemia ended on September 8, 2016, at the age of 34. Chris was well-known and respected in the environmental and land use law community. On Friday, February 10, 2017, Professor Richard Grosso of Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law presented the Christopher T. Byrd Memorial Public Interest Attorney Award posthumously to Chris. The award was given during the Public Interest Environmental Conference, an annual conference at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, in which Chris had participated many times.
ELULS presented “Constant Change in Florida Land Use & Environmental Law” in January at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando. Topics included zoning overlays and vested rights, land-use issues involved in medical marijuana, climate-change justice, and new pollution reporting rules. FAMU Professor Randy Abate was one of the speakers, and FAMU students and professors attended the program. Included in the program was a tour of Orlando’s LEED gold-certified Amway Center. The day was finished by an ELULS social mixer event attended by seminar attendees, other local environmental and land use lawyers, and environmental and land use consultants, most of whom are affiliate members of our section.
The ELULS annual land use and environmental webcast series has become a popular way for both section members and nonsection members to obtain CLE either live or on demand. The one-hour lunchtime webcasts include “Litigation Advice for the Land Use Practitioner”; a legislative forecast for the 2017 legislative session; metadata, regulatory compliance, and public records, which satisfies an hour of the new technology requirement; algae blooms; and mitigation in environmental resource permitting.
ELULS partnered with the Broward County Bar Association in presenting “Coastal Living — An Evolving Horizon for South Florida,” a half-day CLE seminar on legal and technical issues involved in development along the coast in May.
In June, the section presents a half-day CLE program in conjunction with its annual meeting at The Florida Bar Annual Convention. The half-day program consists of administrative law and legislative updates and a general counsel’s roundtable moderated discussion with general counsels from government agencies involved in environmental and land use issues.
The section’s substantive law committees, Energy, Land Use, Natural Resources, and Pollution Assessment, Remediation, Management and Prevention assist the CLE Committee in providing topics and speakers for CLE programming, as does the Affiliate Membership Committee.
In addition to providing quality CLE programming for its members, ELULS publishes The Reporter on our website, http://eluls.org, a quarterly publication with regular columns on the status of appellate decisions of interest to section members and caselaw updates, updates from Florida law schools, and one or more substantive articles related to environmental or land use law. While The Reporter keeps our members informed of the latest developments in environmental and land use law, one of the most valued benefits of membership is access to the online Florida Environmental and Land Use Law Treatise, a general reference on land use and environmental law in the state of Florida, available to members on http://eluls.org/elul_treatise/.
ELULS reaches out to Florida law schools and their students through its Law School Liaison Committee. The committee administers the section’s grant program, which offers two different grants to law schools to support environmental and land use programs. The block grant program sets aside a grant in a predetermined amount for each law school, and awards to each and every law school that applies to use it for any activity relevant to environmental and land use law. The special request grant program is awarded to one or more law schools for events or programs with content relevant to environmental and land use law that benefits both law students and practitioners. The recipients of the grants report back to the section after the funded event has occurred.
The Law School Liaison Committee also administers the Dean Maloney Writing Contest, which honors the three top papers on an environmental or land use topic. In keeping with the section’s outreach to law students, students may join the section as an affiliate member, as can law school professors who are not members of The Florida Bar.
We communicate with section members through the section Listserv. Members should make sure they are subscribed to the Listserv, which can be can found on http://eluls.org. Now you can follow the section on Twitter by following @FLBarELULS, thanks to executive council member, Josh Coldiron, who set up and moderates the account.
Chair-Elect Janet Bowman hosted the executive council long-range planning retreat in Vilano Beach (St. Augustine), March 31-April 1. ELULS members can be confident that the section is in good hands as Janet takes over as chair following the annual convention.
Vivien J. Monaco, Chair
The 2016-2017 Bar year has been an exceedingly productive one for the section. With 29 committees, and almost 4,000 active members, there is always something happening in the section. The very first act of the section was to approve a donation of $25,000 to the One Orlando Fund in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shootings.
Members of the executive committee traveled to Tallahassee for the 2016 Section Leadership Conference in July. As a result of that conference, two ad hoc committees were established: the Ad Hoc Constitutional Revision Committee, chaired by Abigail Beebe, and the Ad Hoc Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, chaired by Sheena Benjamin-Wise.
Andrea Reid guided section members along the “Road to Leadership” in St. Augustine as part of the section’s biannual Leadership Retreat. Past Chairs Carin Porras, Elisha Roy, Jorge Cestero, Diane Kirigin, and Maria Gonzalez shared their insight, as did Nicole Goetz, chair-elect, Abigail Beebe, treasurer, and Amy Hamlin, secretary. The attendees participated in a team-building Amazing Race -type scavenger hunt through the winding streets of the historic city and dined at Columbia Restaurant. The section’s fall meetings were held in St. Augustine in conjunction with the retreat and were very well-attended.
In September, members and guests of the section traveled to Seattle, Washington, for the 2016 annual out-of-state retreat held jointly with the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and its president, Natalie Lemos. Organized by Douglas Greenbaum, the section’s Gabrielle Tollok, and the AAML’s Susan Stafford, the Seattle trip was an absolute success. The sun never stopped shining the entire time we Floridians were there, and everyone enjoyed the Space Needle, Pike’s Market, the CLE on the Hague Convention and International Child Abduction, and the harbor tour with views of Mount Ranier.
In January, Aimee Gross led the marital and family law review course with record-breaking attendance, once again. The speaker roster was spectacular and two new presenters, Reuben Doupe and Ron Kauffman, were superb.
The section’s midyear meetings took place in conjunction with the marital and family law review course. Each committee has worked diligently this year, and sincere gratitude goes to all: the Ad Hoc Access to Justice Committee, chaired by Sarah Sullivan; Ad Hoc Bounds of Advocacy Committee, chaired by Richard West and Melinda Gamot; Ad Hoc Bylaws Committee, chaired by Douglas Greenbaum; Ad Hoc Constitution Revision Committee, chaired by Abigail Beebe; Ad Hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Sheena Benjamin-Wise; Ad Hoc Mission Statement Committee, chaired by Amy Hamlin; Ad Hoc Nomenclature Committee, chaired by Douglas Greenbaum; Ad Hoc Parentage Committee, chaired by John Foster and Patricia Alexander; Ad Hoc Probate Jurisdictional Committee, chaired by Sheena Benjamin-Wise; Ad Hoc Public Relations, chaired by Lori Caldwell-Carr and Patricia Elizee; ADR Committee, chaired by Ron Bornstein; Amicus Curiae Committee, chaired by Cynthia Greene; Children’s Issues Committee, chaired by Sheena Benjamin Wise and Sonja Jean; Continuing Legal Education Committee, chaired by Andrea Reid and David Hirschberg; Domestic Violence Committee, chaired by Andrea Reid and Beth Luna; Equitable Distribution Committee, chaired by Joe Hunt and Aimee Gross; Finance Committee, chaired by Abigail Beebe; GM/HO Committee, chaired by Doug Greenbaum and Ron Kauffman; Legislation Committee, chaired by Philip Wartenberg and Bonnie Sockel-Stone; Litigation Support Committee, chaired by Cash Eaton and Matt Lundy; Long Range Planning, chaired by Nicole Goetz; Marital and Family Law Review Course, chaired by Aimee Gross; Membership Committee, chaired by Anthony Genova; Publications Committee, chaired by Julia Wyda; Rules and Forms Committee, chaired by Sarah Kay and C. Debra Welch; Sponsorship Committee, chaired by Matt Lundy and Beth Luna; Support Issues Committee, chaired by Ron Bornstein and Michelle Klinger Smith; and the Technology Committee, chaired by Sarah Kay and Eddie Stephens III.
In keeping with section tradition and practice, our lobbyists reviewed every bill presented to the 2017 legislature, and the Legislation Committee members monitored those bills that could possibly impact Florida’s families. The Legislation Committee’s co-chairs, Philip Wartenberg and Bonnie Sockel-Stone, did a tremendous job this year. At the date of this report, Elisha Roy and Norberto Katz (past chairs), Andrea Reid, Shannon Novey, Beth Luna, and Michelle Klinger Smith were leading the section’s vigorous opposition to a proposed bill that would allow for the establishment of timesharing plans — absent a finding of best interest of the child — by administrative hearing officers in Department of Revenue child support matters.
Also, as of this report, the alimony reform bill filed by Senator Kathleen Passidomo died. Amy Hickman’s expertise with the dependency system proved to be invaluable in our opposition to the temporary respite care bill. She single-handedly drafted 23 amendments to Senate Bill 200.
Jeffrey Weissman deserves special recognition for his willingness to spearhead (on very short notice) the Legislation Committee’s response to the Real Property Probate and Tax Law (RPPTL) Section’s request for support on their elective share legislation, resulting in the creation of a standing position in favor of the RPPTL’s proposed legislation.
Under the leadership of Julia Wyda, the Publications Committee printed the section’s quarterly Commentator magazine and periodic Florida Bar Journal articles. Because of Eddie Stephens III, the section’s newly redesigned monthly email newsletter, FAMSEG, hits the screens on the first business day of every month, without fail, providing the section’s members with the most recent news and notes. The section is so very grateful to Wyda, Stephens, and all of the editors and authors who worked to put out the best product in these publications.
The section expanded its scholarship number to include an additional 10 for the judiciary to expand the attendance of judges, general magistrates, and hearing officers at the annual marital and family law review course. The section contributed financially to The Florida Bar Foundation, the FLAFCC, and to the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Picnic. The section also voted to provide for telephonic attendance at section meetings for general magistrates and hearing officers to decrease the cost of attendance for that segment of our membership.
The last hurrah of the year prior to the annual convention is the in-state retreat to Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada. Focusing on family — the reason we all work as hard as we do and for whom we work so very hard (Florida’s families) — the retreat includes an educational component on crafting parenting plans for children with emotional or educational needs. Bonnie Sockel-Stone and Sonja Jean arranged a spectacular three-day relaxation remedy, complete with a snorkeling trip and a reception at the Keys home of our section liaison to the Board of Governors, Dori Foster-Morales. A section service presentation on institutional discrimination is scheduled thanks to Sonja Jean, Sheena Benjamin-Wise, and Judge Scott Bernstein. Thanks to the generosity of the section members and Matt Lundy’s creative sponsorship ideas, the cost of this retreat has been greatly reduced.
Gabrielle Tollok, our section administrator, is unparalleled in her enthusiasm and energy, and I am so very thankful for all of her support and good humor. I am also grateful to my two law partners, Cynthia Greene and Sonja Jean, for their support during this very demanding year. My sincere gratitude goes to the section’s incredible Executive committee: Nicole Goetz, Abigail Beebe, Amy Hamlin, and Maria Gonzalez, all of whom were at the ready to fulfill their duties. I am most grateful to my family — my husband, Mark Smith, and my sons, Connor and Brady Smith, who graciously and lovingly permitted me to take on the great responsibility of chair of the Family Law Section. In closing, it is with the greatest honor and confidence that I hand off the gavel to Nicole Goetz for 2017-2018.
Laura Davis Smith, Chair
Government lawyers continue to comprise the largest percentage of attorneys within The Florida Bar and serve a vital role in the overall success of the Bar. Over the past year, the Florida Bar Government Lawyer Section has continued to advance the goals of government lawyers while providing government lawyers with an opportunity to develop relationships with the section and the Bar.
The section held our annual long-rang planning retreat in Orlando where we planned future events and discussed future positions. The retreat allowed those who attended to renew old friendships and develop new ones. While some section members enjoyed time with family, others took the opportunity to enjoy some time away from family or work. No matter what, the section retreat continued to provide our members with the ability to participate within the Bar while enjoying some good food and friends.
In January, the section looks forward to bringing its members continued opportunities for CLEs, networking with other government and nongovernment attorneys, and future events when members will both learn and travel. The section is excited to provide is a trip to Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2017. Look for details in the near future. Prior trips to D.C. allowed section members to enjoy sightseeing and relaxation while also providing a great educational experience. Members who go may elect to be sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court.
At the time of this writing, nominations were underway for the annual Claude Pepper award to be presented at the Bar’s annual convention. Government lawyers have continued to be active in numerous sections and serve on committees within the Bar, but there is an incredible opportunity to do much more. Since government lawyers, yes, this includes judges, typically have to pay for travel and expenses on their own; those who are active in the Bar take participation seriously and are often leaders in sections and committees within the Bar. It is not the lack of desire, but often the financial constraints that make it difficult for the government lawyer to participate in the Bar. One example can be seen in the Bar’s Leadership Academy, where government lawyers make up the majority of applicants, in part on the reliance of financial scholarships. This shows that government lawyers want to participate in the Bar. However, many government lawyers are held back due to financial constraints. If the largest percentage of Bar members are going to participate, the Bar and the governmental agencies must find ways to encourage this. This is also a reality within the section where our average membership of 1,000 members is only a small percentage of government lawyers presence within the Bar (approximately 18,000 members within the Bar are government attorneys). To help ensure government lawyers’ voices are heard, the section will strive in the upcoming years to consider ways government lawyers’ participation within the Bar can be increased and help our profession understand that government lawyers are pivotal to the success of the Bar. Please consider joining our section and ensuring the continued success of The Florida Bar.
Michael W. Schmid, Chair
The Health Law Section of The Florida Bar is over 1,700 members strong, and represents those Bar members with an interest or practice in the dynamic, ever-changing field of health care law. Thanks in part to the significant contributions and hard work of the section’s executive council, 2017 was a banner year, marked by numerous accomplishments in educational programs, membership outreach, publications, and technology initiatives. Special thanks to the many chairs of the committees for their continued devotion and hard work and to Cynthia Mikos, the chair of our Nominating Committee, for ensuring that our leadership vacancies were timely and capably filled. They have made my term in office an easy one and have enhanced the quality of programs and resources for our members.
Following the Bar’s 2016 annual convention in Orlando, the executive council collaborated with the Young Lawyers Division to finalize the structure and details of the section’s mentoring program for new and established attorneys with an interest in health law. An application for mentors and mentees was developed as well as some working guidelines and procedures for implementation. The first round of mentees and mentors have been paired, and initial indications of the program’s success have been very positive. Special thanks to Adam Maingot, former chair, and Jennifer Simpson-Oliver, current chair, of the Young Lawyers Division.
In addition to the mentoring program, the section devoted a great deal of the last year to enhancing its relationship with law schools of the state and in collaborating with some of the student associations affiliated with these schools. Carole Becker, president of the University of Florida’s Health Care Law Society, and assistant managing editor of the university’s Journal of Law & Public Policy, presented to the executive council in September establishing various collaborative initiatives between the society and our section. Subsequently, the executive council agreed to consider publication of approved articles submitted by student authors in the section’s newsletters, and further established a funding program/student stipend for use by select students to offset the cost of attendance at section presentations and webinars. These considerations were warmly received and have been utilized by students for various CLE functions over the year. As a result of the successful implementation of this pilot project, the opportunities will be expanded to students in other law schools who are selected through an application process developed by council members, Maja Lacevic, Radha Bachman, and Jodi Laurence.
The popularity of our education programs continues to grow, largely as a result of the hard work of Myla Reizen, chair of continuing legal education and co-chair of the Health Care Regulatory and Compliance Program; Grant Dearborn, chair of the “Eat and Educate” Audio Webcasts, and co-chair of the Health Care Regulatory and Compliance Program; Kimberly Nowakowski and Amy Nath, administrators for the “Eat and Educate” webcasts; Barry Herrin, chair of the Health Law Fundamentals Program; Lester Perling and Alan Gassman, co-chairs of the Representing the Physician Program; and Robert Pelaia and Jodi Laurence, co-chairs of the Advanced Health Law Certification Program.
The section sponsored four live CLE programs over this last year: The seventh annual FUNdamentals of Health Law,
on September 16, offered an interesting and informative overview of health law issues. On November 4, the section continued its annual Health Care Regulatory and Compliance Program, which addresses timely developments in the areas of compliance, and state and federal regulation and oversight. This was followed on February 3, by the ever-popular Representing the Physician, which offers insight and observation on the difficulties often encountered with such representation. Finally, on March 2 and 3, the section hosted its annual Advanced Health Law Topics and Certification and Review . This year’s course continued the work of prior years in preparing health law practitioners to take the Health Law Certification Exam currently offered by The Florida Bar. This two-day course has been well attended and offers an in-depth review of areas likely to be tested, as well as offering advice and guidance on the structure and format of the exam. In addition to the four live presentations, the section continued to offer the ever-popular monthly audio webcast series. Notable programs included “BMW’s and FMV: The Latest in Physical Compensation Valuation Issues,” “Structuring Health Care Transactions-Avoiding Transactional Pitfalls,” “Meaningful Use Audits: Lessons Learned and What’s Coming,” “The Movement of Compliance from Reactive to Proactive,” “Regulatory Considerations for Physicians Regarding Off Label Use of Drug and Medical Devices,” and “EMTALA and Florida Statutes Section 395.1041.”
The section’s publications and media outlets have also been instrumental in the success of our education programs and initiatives for members. Our Health Law Section newsletters continue to be a source of information and guidance on recent health care developments of interest to our members. Special thanks to Shachi Makodi, editor in chief for the Health Law Section newsletters, and Malinda Lugo, editor in chief for the Health Law Section News Updates, as well as their quality team of co-editors, Kimberly S. Sullivan, Patricia A. Huie, and Rachic A. Wilson. This last year has seen the publication of a diverse range of topical and timely articles on subjects as far ranging as the materiality standard under the Escobar decision to HIPAA and computing under the “cloud.” Finally, I am pleased to recognize our website manager and administrator of social media initiatives, Brian Zargham, who has ensured that our newsletters, electronic updates, and scheduling announcements are timely and accurate.
This has been a year in which the council and officers have deliberated and debated issues of importance to our membership, including the retirement of The Florida Bar’s Executive Director Jack Harkness; the proposed state legislation calling for term limits of the judiciary; the focus of the upcoming Constitution Revision Commission; and the proposed Congressional repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
Over the last year, we have reviewed and added to formal positions adopted by the section, which were reviewed and accepted by the Bar. The most recent position added this last year supported an amendment to a physician licensing statute to allow for a greater degree of flexibility by the practitioner’s licensing board in determining eligibility for initial licensure and renewal.
Additional debate and discussion was also realized in various interactions at scheduled Bar meetings and conference calls with the Bar’s Board of Governors, President William Schifino, and President-Elect Michael Higer. It was my pleasure to attend on behalf of the Health Law Section in conference calls with Bar leadership and live presentations at the Section Leader Conference in Tallahassee and the Council of Sections Meeting at the 2017 Winter Meeting. Special thanks to Gary S. Lesser, board liaison, for his ardent and continuing support of the section. The section congratulates President William Schifino on his many successes during this last year and wish the very best to President-Elect Michael Higer as he takes the helm of The Florida Bar in June.
Lastly, I thank every member of the executive committee for their help and advice over this last year. I truly could not have done this without you, and I will be forever grateful for your support and friendship. I am especially grateful to Charmaine Chiu, immediate past chair, friend, and mentor to me in so many ways; to Gregory Chaires, treasurer, for ensuring that the section’s spending never exceeded its savings; and to Everett Wilson, for a masterful job of maintaining communications and knowing what I meant to say even when I didn’t; to Chair-Elect Nicholas Romanello for his friendship and suggestions, and who will continue the section’s record of achievement and excellence; and to Willie Mae Shepherd, the section’s program administrator, who has never failed to exceed expectations, and who has been a true friend and reliable resource for me. Thank you for all you have done for the Health Law Section. We are forever in your debt.
It has been a privilege and honor to serve the section.
Steven A. Grigas, Chair
The International Law Section (ILS) has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most active and effective international law organizations in the world. We welcome this opportunity to share some of our major projects and accomplishments during 2016-2017.
• ILS Annual Retreat — “Celebrating Our Past as We Lead Into the Future of International Law” was the theme of our retreat held at the beautiful Boca Raton Resort & Club. Some of the highlights included:
• An opening dinner celebrating our past leadership and attended by past chairs from around the state, including Bill Hill, Ed Davis, Brock McClane, Ed Mullins, Richard Lorenzo, and Peter Quinter;
• A plenary luncheon featuring Stephen Zack, the very first chair of this section and first Hispanic president of the ABA, who graciously came “home” to deliver a fantastic keynote address on the future of international law;
• The series of short, TED-inspired ILSTalks that educated, motivated, and inspired our members on the topics of international investigations from a former CIA officer’s perspective; the Trans Pacific Partnership; Florida’s new in-house counsel; GMOs in food; opportunities and threats of Brexit; tax effects of Brexit and lifting the Cuba embargo; and engaging with Cuba.
• Memorandum of Understanding with New York State Bar Association, International Section — This year, we continued to build our relationship with the New York State Bar Association’s Section on International Law. Both sections signed a memorandum of understanding this year, and have since have been actively working together by speaking at and attending each other’s conferences and functions, and working cooperatively for the future of international law. The section chair spoke, for example, at a NYSBA IS-sponsored CLE at Greenberg Traurig, while New York IS lawyers spoke on panels at the ILS iLaw2017 conference.
• Holiday Party Charity Clothing Drive — We held a beautiful Holiday Party hosted by Key Biscayne Mayor Mayra Peña Lindsay and honoring the Women in International Law Committee, chaired by Jacqueline Villalba, which oversaw a Dress for Success clothing drive at the party that resulted in 10 boxes of new and lightly worn clothes for underprivileged women entering the work force.
• iLaw2017: The ILS Global Forum on International Law — This year marked the 15th anniversary of the ILS’s conference, the one must-attend annual conference on international law in Miami. This year’s chair, Bob Becerra, did another outstanding job, shattering attendance records and raising the bar to extraordinary heights with panels of luminaries in international litigation, arbitration, and transactions from throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.
Perhaps even more exciting, iLaw2017 combined forces for the first time with the International Centre for Dispute Resolution to feature the ICDR International Arbitration Track that helped make our conference even more attractive to our Florida international lawyers, as well as lawyers from throughout the Americas.
• The Vis Pre-Moot — For over a decade, the section has hosted a moot arbitration competition to prepare law students for the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held each year in Vienna and Hong Kong. The section is the only state bar organization in the world that provides a financial stipend to each law school from its state that competes in the event. Under the leadership of Chair Cristina Vicens, this year’s competition was outstanding. JAMS again graciously hosted the competition at its beautiful arbitration center in Miami. For the first time this year, we had competing teams from as far away as Finland and California. Many top international arbitration practitioners gave their Saturday to judge rounds, which were followed by an award celebration hosted by Hogan Lovells, where the teams from the University of Florida won and the University of Miami placed second.
• International Law Quarterly — For over 33 years, the section has published the International Law Quarterly, which has grown from a short newsletter into a beautiful glossy magazine that we believe is The Florida Bar’s premier specialty periodical and certainly one of the world’s leading journals covering all areas of international law. Our new editor-in-chief, Rafael Ribeiro, has done a superb job this year, publishing special issues on Cuba and international investigations that will no doubt be the quintessential references on these subjects for some time to come.
• The ILS Gazette — Editor Fabio Giallanza keeps the entire membership up to date every week with the publication of the electronic newsletter, The Weekly Gazette. Quality continues to excel as the Gazette offers not only the opportunity to inform, but also to publicize our members’ achievements.
• Website — InternationalLawSection.org has always been a valuable resource for our members and international practitioners worldwide. This year, we hired a top web developer who, under Yara Lorenzo’s detailed eye, developed a world-class and ADA-compliant site where users can find back issues of all our publications and learn more about our section and its members.
• Social Media — Under Chair Kristin Drecktrah Paz, the section has caught up with the times on social media. Kristin regularly publishes section announcements, real-time reports, and legal updates on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. One terrific aspect has been the opportunity for law students interested in international law to become involved by writing short case notes that are now published in the “media of the millennials.”
• New Committees — This year, we added a number of successful committees. Three of the most notable have been the Arbitrators Committee, the International Construction Committee, and the Women in International Law Committee. The Arbitrators Committee, under Jim Leshaw, is now comprised of over a dozen former judges and current arbitrators who are lecturing and educating lawyers and judges on international arbitration under the ILS banner. The Construction Committee, under Mariela Malfeld, has succeeded in creating a home for many of the state’s top international construction practitioners, a number of whom were featured on a very well-attended panel at iLaw2017. Finally, our Women in International Law Committee, under Jacqueline Villalba, has become a real tool for the recognition and advancement of the women in the ILS who continually provide strong leadership in our section and the law in general.
• Lunch & Learn — Through the generosity of the Fiduciary Trust Company, and under the leadership of section Secretary Carlos Osorio, the new ILS 2017 Lunch & Learn Speaker Series has been an exceedingly successful and well attended program featuring top international speakers on topics from international trusts to asset recovery.
• Cuba Delegation — Cuba Committee Chair Jim Meyer and section Chair Al Lindsay recently led a delegation of 21 Florida lawyers on an incredible people-to-people visit to Havana, Cuba. For over three days, the group heard from speakers, including a former Cuba Supreme Court justice, a professor of economics at the University of Havana, a U.S. embassy diplomat, and the author of The History of Havana. The participants, over 80 percent of whom were Cuban American, unanimously found the trip to be “amazing.”
• Continuing Legal Education — In addition to the iLaw2017, the section sponsored other CLE opportunities, including Larry Rifkin’s webinar on L-1 visas, and Ricardo Cata’s upcoming panel on mediation in arbitration that will feature chief legal officers from Fluor and Bechtel Corporation, and will be presented at the Bar’s annual convention in Boca Raton.
These are just the highlights of our section’s projects and achievements this year. ILS membership is open and encouraged for all lawyers and law students interested in international law. In fact, we are proud that a number of our members hail from other states and countries but join as affiliates because they recognize that the ILS is one of the world’s premier international legal organizations.
Alvin Lindsay, Chair
Labor and Employment Law
This year has been an opportunity to showcase the Labor and Employment Section’s exemplary service to the Bar, its membership, the judiciary, and the public. The section’s primary goals continued to be the delivery of premier CLE and educational programs, publication of informative legal articles, implementation of technological changes in the means of delivery of services, and the mentorship and development of its members to assume key section roles.
As a prelude to the upcoming year, the section held a May 2016 long-range planning retreat when officers identified and prioritized activities and initiatives. Section leadership then attended the Bar’s leadership conference in Tallahassee to gain a better understanding of the Bar’s internal processes and hear Bar President Bill Schifino explain potential issues that may affect the Bar, its membership, and the judiciary during the tenure of the Constitution Revision Commission. The section appointed its former chair, Frank Brown, to serve as liaison to the Bar concerning issues before the Constitution Revision Commission.
CLE Director Ray Poole spearheaded the organization and presentation of four outstanding educational seminars, including the annual Public Employee Labor Relations seminar co-sponsored by the City, County and Local Government Section; a fall program, “Hot Topics in Employment Law”; the annual Update and Certification Review; and this year’s Advanced Labor Topics seminar, cosponsored by the ABA’s Commission on Disability Rights. CLE also included five lunchtime webinars. The quality and success of these programs was made possible by the hard work of their faculty and steering committees.
Our section enjoyed a “bumper crop” of published articles in the Bar Journal on such interesting topics as website accessibility under the ADA, collective bargaining over use of police body cameras, and the impact of medical marijuana on the workplace with others planned for the completion of the year. Three editions of the section’s internal publication, The Check-Off, provided analysis of trends and caselaw. E-alerts periodically were released via email and on the section’s website. Still young but growing in popularity is the LEstserve, which permits members to post online inquiries and discussions on particular topics facing practitioners. The LEstserve is hosted by member Brian Lerner who also oversees the section’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The section continued its outreach efforts to maintain links with the Bar, national and voluntary bar organizations, regulatory agencies, the judiciary, and law schools through its various committees and subcommittees. Scholarships were awarded to students of labor and employment law at each of the state’s law schools. The section participated in the Central Florida Mentoring Picnic. Our Local and Volunteer Bar and Law School Liaison committees continue to plan events that foster the section’s missions. Our section is proud of its members, Cynthia Sass, Marlene Quintana, Sherril Colombo, and Rob Eschenfelder, who serve the Bar on its various committees.
The section is particularly fortunate to enjoy a special relationship with the judiciary. First DCA Judge Stephanie Ray, Fourth DCA Judge Alan Forst, and Administrative Law Judge Robert Kilbride are members of our executive council and play an active role in activities and projects. Chair-Elect Zascha Blanco Abbott and member John Hoffman held a lunchtime CLE for Broward Circuit Court judges and are planning another. In June 2016, the section held a reception at The Florida Bar Annual Convention to honor Chief Justice Labarga. A similar reception for Florida District Court of Appeal judges is planned for the 2017 Bar convention.
Finally, our section continues its mission of community service and was honored by the National ARC to provide a speaker for its 2016 annual convention held in Orlando. Executive council member David Spalter volunteered his time to make the presentation. His contribution was but one of the many our members make to professional and community organizations both in Florida and nationally throughout the year.
On behalf of all of our officers and the executive council, I urge Bar members to consider the benefits and camaraderie of joining the Labor and Employment Section.
Leslie W. Langbein, Chair
The Out-of-State Division (OOSD) has had a terrific year. The number of out-of-state Bar members and official members of the OOSD is up. There are now 997 members of the OOSD among a total of 17,303 Florida Bar members who reside out of state.
The OOSD mission is to serve the varied needs of the Bar’s out-of-state members. The OOSD’s activities include networking among Florida lawyers nationwide; communicating with our members about Florida law issues, including via our State-to-State newsletter; helping out-of-state lawyers in administrative, educational, and practice development issues; recently promoting the new technology CLE requirement; assisting diversity opportunities for all lawyers; assisting pro bono activities by out-of-state members; providing a forum for the discussion of issues of common interest of particular interest of out-of-state lawyers; and seeking to improve the law and our legal system.
This year, the OOSD has been rather active. In October 2016, the OOSD met in conjunction with the Board of Governors in Nashville. In conjunction with that meeting, the OOSD executive council met at the Belmont College of Law thanks to OOSD executive council member and Associate Dean Tim Chinaris. The executive council had the opportunity to meet the dean, Alberto Gonzalez, former U.S. Attorney General.
In March 2017, the OOSD executive council met in Dallas, Texas, in conjunction with the Young Lawyer Division (YLD) Board of Governors. During that meeting, the OOSD and YLD were honored to host Franke Stevens, president of the Texas Bar, and Harriet Miers, first woman president of the Texas Bar and former staff secretary to President G.W. Bush. Secretary Miers was also a former Supreme Court nominee and was with President Bush in Florida on 9/11. Her story was quite interesting and chilling.
In keeping with its mission of serving the interests of Florida Bar members who reside out of state, the OOSD also has appointed a liaison to the Florida Constitution Revision Committee (CLC), which is Richard Lawson of New York.
Finally, the OOSD is planning a CLE in conjunction with the next out of-state Board of Governors meeting in Boston in October 2017.
The OOSD is always looking for more members and more attorneys interested in joining the executive council. Our next meeting is during the annual Florida Bar convention in Boca Raton in June 2017.
Open communication with our members is a high priority for the OOSD, and our State-to-State newsletter continues to be our most visible communication initiative. State-to-State is published three times per year and is sent to all out-of-state Florida Bar members (not just OOSD members) electronically and free of charge. Through the editorial leadership of OOSD executive council members Don Workman and Matt Kahl, the newsletter serves an important educational role. Articles published in the newsletter focus both on Florida law developments and implications of national legal developments on Florida practitioners. We consistently receive positive feedback from Bar leadership and our members about the quality of State-to-State.
Another highly important communications tool for our division is organized by our four out-of-state representatives to The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors. Shortly after each BOG meeting, our representatives circulate by email a summary of all the important developments that occurred at the meeting. These timely messages, which are sent to all Florida Bar members living outside Florida, allow the out-of-state practitioners to remain informed about the important work of the Bar and how it might impact us.
The division thanks its officers, executive council, the out-of-state representatives on the Bar’s BOG, our program coordinator, Willie Mae Shepherd, and the many others who have helped to make this year successful for the division and all out-of-state members of The Florida Bar.
Please visit our website for the contact information of our officers and executive council. We want your thoughts on how we can provide more opportunities and better serve you.
Larry H. Kunin, President
Public Interest Law
Small, mighty, and resilient are definitely three words to describe the spirit of the Public Interest Law Section this year. Many challenges face public interest lawyers this year, such as the threat of zero-funding the Legal Services Corporation. Additionally, shortly before the 2016 annual meeting, the section lost beloved Chair-Elect John Copelan. We created and gave an award to John Copelan in his name at the June meeting for his long and distinguished career in public service, his professionalism, and his impactful dedication to the greater good. His leadership, friendship, and devotion to PILS and our executive council are greatly missed.
Even with challenges, PILS continues to support our public interest lawyers as well as promote awareness of issues affecting the clients who we serve. With very tangible and daily experience with the justice gap in Florida, the PILS executive council approved an Ad Hoc Committee on Access to Justice to explore innovations in the delivery of no- and low-cost legal services, as well as identify ways in with The Florida Bar can support those innovations.
In August, PILS collaborated with other Florida consumer advocates to send a joint letter of support to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule on pre-dispute mandatory arbitration pursuant to §
1028(b) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
In December 2016, Chair-Elect Whitney Untiedt participated in oral argument on behalf of the Public Interest Law Section in favor of a proposed rules of Juvenile Procedure and Appellate Rules of Procedure in response to the decision in J.B. v. Florida Department of Children and Families, 170 So. 3d 780, 794-95 (Fla. 2015), concerning the parents’ rights in asserting ineffective assistance of counsel claims. On March 23, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court approved new rules in both the Juvenile Court Rules and the Appellate Court Rules laying a procedural framework for claiming ineffective assistance of counsel for both court-appointed counsel and privately retained counsel.
PILS published its first journal of the year in January 2017 just before our midyear meeting in Orlando. Additionally, with the leadership of our Homelessness Committee and Chair Lisa DeVitto, PILS awarded its biannual Jane Shaeffer Outstanding Homeless Advocate Award to member and attorney extraordinaire, Pamela Dubrule of St. Petersburg. At The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention in June, the Glickstein Award for Outstanding Child Advocacy and the Copelan Award for Public Interest Law will be conferred upon the 2017 recipients.
With the approval of juvenile certification by the Florida Supreme Court and the appointment of the first Certification Committee in 2016, PILS has remained involved in the support and advocacy for the success of juvenile certification. The first cohort of juvenile certification exam takers were notified in late March of their eligibility to sit for the exam in May. Since word of certification approval was granted, PILS has worked diligently in assessing and meeting the training needs to prepare test takers for this inaugural exam and planning the foundation for future exams.
PILS has always actively participated in the Florida Legislature, advocating for the issues we support and this year was no different. Our volunteer lobbyist and Past Chair Alice Vickers continued to support PILS and The Florida Bar’s positions with the legislature.
We are fortunate for our relationship with Nova Southeastern Law School in the publication of our Florida Public Interest Section Journal. This allows us to interact professionally with law students and nurture their interest in public interest law while they provide a great volunteer service to our section.
Plans for PILS’s future include restoration of public interest lunch and learn topics for our CLE programming as well as evaluation, planning, and support for the success of the juvenile certification training for attorneys focusing on juvenile law. With a large number of our members directly impacted by the potential loss of all federal Legal Services Corporation funding, PILS continues to provide technical support and organizing lobbying efforts to preserve legal services for the most vulnerable individuals and communities in need of access to justice.
Sarah R. Sullivan, Chair
Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
The Real Property, Probate and Trust Law (RPPTL) Section proudly carries on its long-standing tradition of serving our 10,700-plus members and fulfilling the three main purposes of our section as outlined in our bylaws:
1) Provide an organization within The Florida Bar open to persons having an interest in real property (including construction), probate, trust, or related fields of law, that furthers the knowledge and practices of members in those areas;
2) Inculcate in its members the principles of duty and service to the public; and
3) Serve the public and its members by improving the administration of justice and advancing jurisprudence in the fields of real property (including construction), probate, trust, and related fields of law, through all appropriate means, including the development and implementation of legislative, administrative, and judicial positions; continuing legal education programs; standards for ethical and competent practice by lawyers; and professional relationships between real property (including construction), probate, and trust lawyers, and other lawyer and nonlawyer groups.
• Furthering the Knowledge and Practice of our Members — Because our members practice in the diverse fields of real estate, construction law, estate planning, probate, trust law, and guardianship, our section is tasked with addressing issues and offering CLE over a wide variety of topics. We accomplish this through the hard work and dedication of hundreds of attorneys around the state who volunteer their time and talent to speak at our CLEs, write scholarly articles for The Florida Bar Journal, or for our quarterly publication, ActionLine, author chapters for one of several Florida Bar treatises, assist with legislative activities, participate in our committee meetings, or serve on our executive council. the end of this fiscal year, the CLE Coordination Committee led by executive committee members Bob Swaine and Shane Kelley will have offered more than 25 programs — including live, webcast, and audio only CLEs.
Our section is divided into three divisions (Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, and General Standing) with 60 active committees. The work of the committees is truly the fuel that runs our section. There are currently 17 committees dealing with real property led by division director, Rob Freedman. The Probate and Trust Law Division, headed by Director Deb Boje, is comprised of 20 committees. The 23 general standing committees are led by our chair-elect, Drew O’Malley. General standing committees include committees that involve both real property and probate and trust law, i.e. , amicus coordination, homestead issues, model and uniform acts, professionalism, and ethics as well as administrative and general service committees, such as membership and inclusion, CLE seminar coordination, and budget led by Treasurer Tae Kelley Bronner, to highlight just a few. It is impractical to list each of our committees here; however, any section member wishing to become more involved can find detailed information at www.rpptl.org. People have often commented that attending one of our substantive law committee meetings is as educational as going to a CLE. This is because the committees delve deeply into our existing statutes, current caselaw, and often work on drafting proposed legislation to address issues that have arisen.
We welcome the involvement of future lawyers, new lawyers, and mature lawyers. Our Membership and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Jason Ellison and Lynwood Arnold, has worked to reach out to law students interested in our practice area, young lawyers, and not-so-young lawyers looking to become more active in the section. We have hosted events at many Florida law schools and sponsored diversity mentoring events in Miami-Dade County, Hillsborough County, and Central Florida. Our executive council member, Brenda Ezell, was appointed to The Florida Bar Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Our Fellows Committee has had a momentous year. The section currently has eight active fellows who apply to be accepted to the two-year program that provides mentoring and financial support to defray the cost of attending our section meetings. The goal of the program is to encourage active participation by younger lawyers and those that might otherwise be financially unable to attend our four in-state meetings each year. Inspiring greatness, Fellows Committee Chair Ben Diamond was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, and recently-graduated fellow Melissa Van Sickle was elected to The Florida Bar Board of Governors, joining existing executive council members Laird Lile and Sandra Diamond.
Our Member Communication Committee, led by Bill Parady, and Publications Committees, directed by Cary Wright, Jeff Baskies, and Jeff Goethe, continue to lead the charge on effective communication with our members. Our quarterly publication, ActionLine, covers topics relevant to our members and includes reports of our RPPTL meetings. Our members regularly contribute articles to The Florida Bar Journal. The section has adopted the use of an app for each of our meetings and for some of our larger CLEs. We continue to explore options to enhance the RPPTL website and use social media and electronic newsletters.
Our at-large members, led by Katherine Frazier, ALMs director, continue to do great work by reaching out to those in their local communities to advise and inform of activities, opportunities, and relevant news. The ALMs have also been instrumental in our efforts to promote pro bono work.
• Duty and Service to the Public — The section has developed and implemented the “No Place Like Home” pro bono project in which section members represent low-income individuals with title issues affecting their residence that interfere with sale or financing. Frequently, these cases require the joint efforts of real estate and probate attorneys. Working initially with Bay Area Legal Services, Chair-Elect Drew O’Malley, Larry Miller, executive council member, and Katherine Frazier, ALMs director, this pilot program is one that has now been rolled out in four Florida circuits with a goal of having it available statewide and perhaps as a role model for other states. A recent study shows that every dollar spent on civil legal services for Florida low-income residents yields more than $7 in economic benefits. “No Place Like Home” is built on the sound economic principles of saving and protecting the assets of the low-income members of our Florida communities as a part of disaster recovery.
Once every 20 years, Florida’s Constitution provides for the creation of a 37-member revision commission to review Florida’s constitution and propose changes for voter consideration. The 2017-2018 year is once again the time for the Constitution Revision Commission to convene. CRC proposals are placed directly on the Florida election ballot for consideration by all Florida voters. Sandra Diamond,
former RPPTL Section chair and current Board of Governors member, has been appointed as the chair of the Special BOG Committee on the 2017 Constitution Revision. RPPTL Immediate Past Chair Michael Gelfand has been appointed as the section liaison to work with the BOG special committee to help identify issues of importance to the public in areas relating to real property, probate, and trust law. The section looks forward to assisting with public education and being a source of information on proposed constitutional changes that fall within the purview of our section.
• Improving Administration of Justice and Advancing Jurisprudence — Our Amicus Coordination Committee (Bob Goldman, John Little, Kenneth Bell, and Gerald Cope) has filed briefs in two cases this year — one dealing with the ward’s right to marry in the context of a guardianship ( Smith v. Smith ) and one addressing the issue of whether a notice of lis pendens filed in a foreclosure action remains in effect and discharges liens or interests that exist or arise prior to issuance of certificate of title following judicial sale ( Ober v. Town of Lauderdale by the Sea ). Amicus briefs filed by both the RPPTL Section and the Business Law Section in Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas v. Beauvais, 188 So. 3d, were praised by the Florida Supreme Court in a footnote in the case of Bartram v. U.S. Bank. The case dealt with the issue of whether the acceleration of payments due under a residential note and mortgage with a reinstatement provision in a foreclosure action that was dismissed triggers application of statute of limitations to prevent subsequent foreclosure based on defaults subsequent to dismissal of first foreclosure.
This year, our section also has been involved with some administrative rule making procedures. First, in a joint project with the Tax Law Section, we prepared and submitted comments to the IRS relating to the Proposed Treasury Regulations under code §
2704. More recently, we prepared and submitted comments to the IRS regarding the procedures for release of estate tax liens. We also participated in providing comments to the Office of Public & Professional Guardians regarding a proposed guardianship rule.
Our section continues to draft and promote proposed legislation in areas where we believe the law needs to be changed. We will also vigorously oppose proposed legislation when we believe the bill does not improve the administration of justice, advance jurisprudence, or protect and serve the public. Current Legislative Chairs Sarah Butters and Steve Mezer and Special Envoys Bill Hennessey and Bill Sklar have been invaluable in these efforts.
No annual report would be complete without giving very special thanks to our dedicated section administrator, Mary Ann Obos. The RPPTL Section benefits greatly from her knowledge, skills, and wonderful positive attitude.
Deborah Goodall, Chair
Solo and Small Firm
The Florida Bar Solo and Small Firm Section had an outstanding year due to the commitment and devotion of its members and leadership, especially its executive council. I thank Immediate Past Chair Damon Glisson and liaison to the section, Ricky Libbert, for their enthusiastic service to the section.
The Solo and Small Firm Section prides itself on educating members of The Florida Bar by providing substantive information to assist a lawyer’s technological edge, enhance law practice management skills, and improve client-service delivery. In an era when technology is critical to law firms of all sizes, the Solo and Small Firm Section has played an active role in presenting its technology CLE for several years. With the new CLE rule regarding technology credit, the section is ahead of the curve by having offered, and by continuing to offer, technology CLEs through The Florida Bar Tech Show, which is held in conjunction with the Bar’s winter meeting. Additionally, this year’s out-of-country trip, a river cruise down the Danube, includes a four-hour CLE seminar on the ethics of technology in a law firm setting.
• Role of The Florida Bar Solo and Small Firm Section — The Solo and Small Firm Section produces a significant number of much-needed CLEs each year. The following are all live CLEs, which are also recorded for other members of The Florida Bar: annual Ethics Update Seminar (presented each November); annual Florida Law Update Seminar (presented each year at the Annual Convention of The Florida Bar); Biannual Agricultural Law Update Seminar; Going Solo Seminar (presented every other November); The Florida Bar Tech Show (presented each year in conjunction with the winter meeting of The Florida Bar); and the Out-of-Country Seminar (this year’s topic is “The Ethical Dangers of Technology in the Legal Practice”).
Additionally, section members receive QuickLINK, a bimonthly electronic newsletter containing information important to a solo or small-firm practitioner. Section members also receive The Link, a more expansive newsletter covering real-life topics dedicated to solo and small firm practitioners. The Link is a quarterly online newsletter informing section members of resources, including feature articles and section news. Furthermore, section members also have access to a variety of benefits, including free and discounted CLEs, an informative website, the opportunity to author highly visible articles for publication in The Link, and to join executive council committees.
The Solo and Small Firm Section provides members with opportunities for personal and professional growth regardless of involvement level. For example, members serve on the executive council’s committees, present on panels, and participate in section initiatives. Committees are vital to the structure of the section and members are encouraged to join these committees: Membership Committee, Law Schools Committee, CLE Programs Committee, Publications Committee, Long Ranch Planning Committee, and Technology Committee.
• Section News — The section’s name was edited this year to Solo and Small Firm Section (the name of the section no longer contains “General Practice”). The name change reflects a trend in voluntary bar and ABA sections called “solo and small firm.” However, the section continues its mission to provide services and information to benefit solos, small firms, and general practitioners. The Solo and Small Firm Section also edited its website URL, www.FLSoloSmallFirm.org, and adopted a new logo reflecting its new name.
The section expanded its executive council committee structure to include the following committees: CLE Programs, Law Schools, Membership and Benefits, Newer Lawyers, Paralegals and Legal Assistants (affiliates), Publications, Long Range Planning, Constitutional Revision Commission, and Technology. The expansion of the committee structure encourages greater involvement by section members and offers leadership opportunities for members who are not on the executive council.
This year, the section also expanded its awards to include a Mentor of the Year Award, established in 2016 to recognize an outstanding Florida-licensed attorney who has shown remarkable achievements in mentorship to younger attorneys and law students in Florida. The inaugural award was presented to Dr. Michael T. Olexa, distinguished teaching scholar and professor, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and University of Florida Levin College of Law. The other awards given out by the section include:
1) Tradition of Excellence Award
2) Walter S. Crumbley Award
3) Paralegal of the Year
4) L. Michael Roffino Pro Bono Award Winner
5) SSF Grant to YLD AOC Award
Additionally, the executive council has assisted in the establishment of Solo and Small Firm Societies at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Stetson University College of Law. These societies offer law students venues where they can learn about the practice of law as solos or in small law firms. The societies also provide opportunities for the Solo and Small Firm Section to promote membership in the section. The executive council and section members regularly volunteer to make educational presentations at Florida law schools about solo and small firm law practice.
The section also provides networking opportunities within different geographical areas around the state throughout the year. Every time the executive council meets, it holds a post-meeting cocktail reception to which the lawyers, paralegals, and law students in the area are invited. Theses receptions are generally well-attended and help to promote the work of the section.
• Conclusion — The report fails to mention all of the dedicated members of the executive council who work diligently to make this section great. However, it is the membership of the Solo and Small Firm Section who really makes the section shine, and we thank all of our members for joining. The section is ready to take on all of the challenges that the years may bring and to assist our members in as many ways as possible, including webinars and audio casts in the very near future. I am confident that the future section leaders will give their time generously in order to make the section better than it has been. Although there are far too many people to thank in the limited space provided, I especially thank Sean Desmond (chair-elect), Jennifer Griffin (secretary), and Pete Muschott (treasurer) for their help this year. All the best to each member of The Florida Bar!
Jennifer A. Dietz, Chair
The Tax Section meets three times yearly. The section’s organizational meeting occurs within days of the start of the Bar’s fiscal year, and for the last 30-plus years, the vast majority of the organizational meetings have been held at Amelia Island Plantation, making this meeting a well-attended, family-themed event. Attendance at this meeting typically ranges between 150-250 section members and their families. The CLE program provided is the “Ullman Tax Year in Review.” It is named in honor of past Tax Section Chair Sam Ullman and is organized by the incoming chair-elect as a showcase for younger tax lawyers to present updates on a dozen or more tax-related topics. This is often the first opportunity for younger tax lawyers to teach a “live” Tax Section CLE program. Chair-Elect Joe Schimmel planned this year’s outstanding Ullman program.
The fall meeting was held in October in St. Petersburg. The CLE program, “Advanced Income Tax Planning for Family Businesses: The Ins, the Outs and the All Abouts,” was co-chaired by Jason Havens, Greg Marks, Steve Salley, and Shawn Wolf.
The annual meeting was held recently in Palm Beach at The Breakers, and the CLE program was an advanced-level program on civil tax controversies and procedure. The program honored the memory of late Tax Section Chair Frances D. Sheehy, and was co-chaired by Karen Lapekas, Past Chairs Mitch Horowitz and Michael Lampert, and Director Harris Bonnette.
Given the length of time between the section’s fall and annual meetings, the Tax Section’s Directors’ Committee typically convenes in the winter or early spring. This year’s Directors’ Committee meeting was held in March, in Yountville, California. A CLE program, “Community Property for Common Lawyers and Other Worrisome Things,” was produced in conjunction with this meeting. A highlight of the CLE program was a presentation by and ensuing conversation over lunch with Napa Valley winemaker Michael Keenan, president of Robert Keenan Winery, who told of his experiences with the IRS examination of his father’s estate tax return, including the valuation of the winery and related vineyards. That evening, the directors enjoyed “dinner in the caves” at the iconic Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.
• Recurring CLE Programs — In addition to the CLE programs presented concurrently with Tax Section meetings, the section also produces five annual federal and state tax law CLE programs. The two largest of which, both presented over three days, are programs of national scope. The Miami-based International Tax Conference (ITC), produced in partnership with the FICPA, drew over 560 attendees, and the Orlando-based Multi-State Tax Symposium (MSTS) produced in partnership with Deloitte, drew over 300 attendees. Shawn Wolf recently ended a long and successful run as chair of the ITC, and Steve Hadjilogiou led the ITC this year with nothing lost in the transition. Past Chair Bill Townsend has been an outstanding leader of the MSTS for many years.
• “Telephone CLEs” — The section produces annually between one and two dozen hour-long, phone-in CLE programs on both state and federal taxation topics, provided free to section members. This year’s schedule is 20 programs. This is another avenue to provide newer tax lawyers with CLE speaking opportunities. This year, our phone CLE programs have been particularly successful, with average attendance through March in excess of 128 listeners. Phone CLE “tsar” Mike O’Leary has done a wonderful job over the last several years. We are on track this year for attendance to exceed 2,500 for the phone CLEs and nearly 5,000 overall.
• Publications — The Federal Tax and State Tax Divisions produce short articles published within the Tax Section Bulletin, published three times annually, under the auspices of the Section Administration Division. Greg McLaughlin is the assistant director for the Bulletin, and is assisted editorially by Janette McCurley and past chair Guy Whitesman.
Mike Bruno, assistant director for The Florida Bar Journal (TFBJ), together with section TFBJ editors Christine Concepcion, Michael Miller, and Benjamin Jablow, has done outstanding work this year. TFBJ content is in-depth and fully footnoted. The Tax Section has TFBJ author commitments in place through March 2018.
• Support of Graduate Tax Students — The section annually supports students enrolled in Florida’s graduate tax programs by providing scholarships toward the University of Florida Tax Institute registration fees for law students who are enrolled in the graduate tax programs of the University of Florida College of Law and the University of Miami School of Law. The section also provides scholarship grants directly to these graduate tax programs.
• Undergraduate Law School Education — The section sponsors and produces annually a National Tax Moot Court Competition. Sixteen teams competed in February at the Trade Winds Resort in St. Pete Beach. Three U.S. Tax Court judges adjudicated the semifinal and final rounds. Brian Howsare and Justin Wallace are co-assistant directors for the moot court program.
The section also worked this year with Florida State University to initiate a scholarship fund at FSU in memory of late Tax Section Chair Nick Lioce. Past Chair Richie Comiter, with help from Past Chairs David Bowers, Guy Whitesman, and Joel Maser, led the effort to initiate this memorial for our friend, Nick.
• New Tax Lawyers Programs — The New Tax Lawyers Committee, co-chaired by Dana Apfelbaum and Mitch Goldberg, is tasked with finding avenues for newer tax lawyers to find meaningful volunteer opportunities in the Tax Section. The regional New Tax Lawyer (NTL) luncheon CLE programs provide an opportunity for new tax lawyers to network with “not so new” tax lawyers. The NTL luncheon in Tampa on February 22 featured former U.S. Senator Mel Martinez as speaker.
• Federal Tax Law Regulations Commentary — Over the years, the section has been a prolific commentator to the U.S. Treasury on proposed Treasury regulations and similar administrative pronouncements. Past Chair Jim Barrett serves as the “comments tsar.” Recently, for example, and under a tight deadline, the section partnered with the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section to co-produce comments on the Treasury’s proposed §
• Legislation and Regulations Committee — This year, the section has created a Legislation and Regulations Committee with officer-level leadership to consolidate the oversight of the section’s long-standing regulations commentary process with commentary and advocacy regarding state law legislative and administrative proposals that impact either tax practice, or raise or affect state tax or federal tax, issues impacting the state’s citizenry. Until this year, advocacy efforts did not have a “home” within the section. Long-time Tax Section members Russ Hale and J.J. Wehle serve as the founding directors of this new and already very active committee. The section recently engaged its first legislative lobbyist to address state law legislative proposals that affect tax practice in Florida.
• Securing Florida’s Fiscal Future/State Tax Policy Amidst Sea-level Rise — The Tax Section initiated an outreach to the state’s law schools to encourage research and writing on the state and local tax policy implications of sea-level rise, which may include loss of significant property tax and sales tax revenues resulting from property abandonment and population dispersal, abandoned infrastructure resulting from a “managed retreat” from flood-prone shoreline areas, and massive expenses to recreate and replace abandoned infrastructure. We hope this project will result in future recommendations to the state’s policymakers to restructure Florida’s state and local taxing systems in light of the public policy effects of this geographic phenomenon. Past Chair Dick Jacobs has inspired and is leading this effort under the auspices of the Tax Section’s State Tax Division led by Co-Directors French Brown and Steve Hogan.
• In Summary — The Tax Section, in its service to its members and to the community-at-large, punches well above its weight class. That is a tribute to the work ethic of the directors and members of the executive council. It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve as chair of such a collegial and giving organization during its 64th year. Each meeting has the feel of a family reunion. I particularly thank the many past chairs and others in section leadership too numerous to mention, together with my wife Sylvia and our children, who have been supportive of, and an inspiration to, my efforts. Finally, I congratulate Past Chair David Bowers, honored last month as the Tax Section’s Gerald T. Hart Outstanding Tax Attorney of the Year.
William R. Lane, Jr., Chair
The Trial Lawyers Section celebrates its 50th year, making it one of the oldest specialty sections in The Florida Bar. We continue our mission of enhancing excellence, ethics, and professionalism in the trial bar. This year was declared the year of the trial for the section, with recognition through all of our programs of the critical role of the trial in the judicial system, the government, and society. Our ranks include a diverse cross section of the profession, including personal injury, defense and plaintiff, commercial, construction, products liability, intellectual property, insurance, family law, probate, and construction trial lawyers.
Our annual Trial Summit took place in Jacksonville in January for the second year. The summit features two major programs. The Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition brought together the mock trial teams of 10 Florida law schools in one of the nation’s premiere events. The competition took place at the beautiful Duval County Courthouse with over 20 judges from the Fourth Circuit presiding over the mock trials. Judge Brian Davis of the U.S. district court presided over the final, with Stetson prevailing. At the same time, with help from ABOTA, the section put on the Teachers Law School. Seventy teachers of the subjects of history and government from Northeast Florida middle and high schools were hosted at the Downtown Doubletree, and participated in two days of lectures and programs on the constitution, and the role of the judicial branch and legal profession. The teachers also attended the mock trial competition final. The program provides teachers with tools to instruct their students about these critical subjects, and it again received rave reviews from attendees. The Duval County Schoolboard honored the section with an award thanking them for providing this outstanding program for Jacksonville teachers.
In May, the section put on the Advanced Trial Advocacy program at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. This program, one of the first of its kind when created 40 years ago, is an intensive trial advocacy training program for practicing lawyers. Approximately 60 lawyers attend training, with a faculty composed of more than 50 outstanding trial advocates and judges from around Florida. The program also hosts barristers from England, with a Queen’s counsel serving as guest faculty, and four junior barristers attending as students. The program sharpens trial skills and enhances ethics and professionalism in trial advocacy.
This year also featured the civil trial board certification review in Tampa, which not only provides excellent preparation for those seeking board certification, but also offers training and topics for those wanting to enhance their knowledge of litigation and trial advocacy. The section will also host a Medical Malpractice Seminar in September in Ft. Lauderdale.
The section continues to publish a periodic newsletter, The Edge, providing insights into developing law and new cases, the work of the section, and other topics of interest for trial advocates. The Discovery Handbook and Professionalism Guidelines have been updated and remain authoritative resources in Florida trial courts.
The section continued its efforts to monitor and assist with the legislative process consistent with pursuing its legislative goals. These included maintaining access to courts and the right to trial, and the independence of the judicial branch and the legal profession. Numerous bills were monitored, with the section most notably opposing term limits for Florida judges as damaging to the constitutional fabric of the state and a threat to the future quality and independence of the judiciary. The section continued to provide information and comment to the legislature on the potential impact of proposed legislation on the trial courts.
A 50th anniversary celebration of the section takes place during the Bar’s annual convention. During that time, the section cosponsors the Chester Bedell Memorial Lecture and Luncheon. The section is in the midst of another great and successful year and continues to grow in membership, quickly approaching 6,000. We are rightly proud of the section and its tradition of excellence and leadership.
Thomas Edward Bishop, Chair
The Workers’ Compensation Section has been very active over the last 12 months. There were several landmark decisions handed down by the First District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court, which have had a significant impact on the workers’ compensation industry involving all practitioners and those who provide various services within the workers’ compensation field.
In Miles v. City of Edgewater, 190 So. 3d 171 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016), the First DCA ruled that the restrictions imposed by §§
440.105 and 440.34, when applied to a claimant’s ability to retain counsel under a contract that provides for the payment of a reasonable fee by a claimant, are unconstitutional violations of a claimant’s rights to free speech.
In Castellanos v. Next Door Co., 192 So. 3d 431 (Fla. 2016), the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the fee schedule in §
440.34, which creates an irrebuttable presumption that precludes any consideration of whether the fee award is reasonable to compensate the attorney, is unconstitutional as a violation of due process.
Finally, in Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, 194 So. 3d 311 (Fla. 2016), the Florida Supreme Court also rendered its opinion and concluded that the portion of §440.15(2)(a), which terminated temporary disability benefits after 104 weeks to a worker who is totally disabled and incapable of working, but who has not yet reached maximum medical improvement, was also unconstitutional. These decisions have had great impact on the workers’ compensation system as a whole and are the subject of much discussion in the current legislative session.
• First District Court of Appeal — In August, the First District Court of Appeal traveled to Orlando to hold oral arguments on cases that were presented at the 71st Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference. In January, the section hosted a visit by the First DCA to Miami where oral arguments were held on two significant cases at the University of Miami Law School. The effort to coordinate this event has brought additional positive exposure to the appellate area of workers’ compensation practice and allowed for law students and other interested individuals to witness and participate in this aspect of the practice that typically cannot be experienced in person unless one travels to Tallahassee where all appellate arguments are normally held before the First DCA. Special thanks to Chief Judge L. Clayton Roberts, Judge James R. Wolf, Judge Bradford L. Thomas, and Clerk Jon Wheeler for coordinating and participating in this valuable contribution to the workers’ compensation practice.
• January Executive Council Meeting — In January, the executive council held a meeting at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach where all members of the section (and all lawyers in all areas of practice) were encouraged to elevate their professionalism and ethics in all their dealings with respective clients, litigants, and all of whom we are involved in our capacity as lawyers. This reflects an objective that has also been an area of focus by Florida Bar President Bill Schifino. At the meeting, the section recognized the importance of inclusion and diversity among the Bar and the judiciary by appointing Karen Cullen as section liaison to The Florida Bar on diversity. In addition, every 20 years, the Florida Constitution is required to be reviewed, and this year, a Constitution Revision Committee has been impaneled to review our constitution and make any recommendations for amendments and other changes. This is a significant undertaking that could have significant impact on the rights of Florida citizens, business owners, and visitors. The section appointed Robert Strunin to serve as section liaison to The Florida Bar’s CRC Committee.
• Continuing Legal Education — In February, the section held its annual winter conference in Snowmass, Colorado, which featured presentations made by many distinguished section members: Bill Rogner, Brian Karsen, Paolo Longo, Alan Kalinoski, Glen Wieland, William Wieland, Judge Neal Pitts, Gray Sanders, Mike Winer, Philip Augustine (accompanied by Dr. Stephen Weber), Chris Petruccelli, Jason Fox, Stephanie Vann Brown, and Manuel Franco. Special thanks to CLE Chair Dawn Traverso for coordinating such a wonderful seminar in such a beautiful location. Traverso has arranged a wide selection of educational programs throughout the year, including regular “learn at lunch” internet-based programs that have remained very popular and useful to section members.
• Workers’ Compensation Forum — The Workers’ Compensation Forum took place on April 6-7, 2017, at the Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate in Orlando. The forum has become the preeminent workers’ compensation seminar and features a diverse group of qualified speakers covering every essential area of workers’ compensation practice. The efforts of forum chair and section Chair-Elect Leopoldo Garcia cannot be highlighted enough, along with many others who volunteered their time to assure that the WC forum maintained its place as the premier workers’ compensation seminar of its kind.
• Frierson-Colling Professionalism Award — At the 2016 Workers’ Compensation Forum, the executive council awarded Tom Conroy, now retired in Las Vegas, the Frierson-Colling Professionalism Award for demonstrating outstanding leadership and professionalism during his career. He traveled to Florida to receive this award and provided a very inspiring acceptance speech that further exemplified the qualities that resulted in him receiving this well-deserved award.
• News and 440 Report — The section’s publication, the News and 440 Report, continues to be a tremendous source of information, commentary, analysis, and insight. The section is grateful to Geoffrey Bichler, Glen Wieland, David Wieland, and William Wieland who have served as guest editors of the most recent editions of this very useful, practical, and informative publication.
• The 2017 Legislative Session — At the time of this report, the 2017 Florida Legislature was in full swing and considering proposed bills that include anticipated reactions to the landmark decisions that were handed down last year by the district court of appeal and the Florida Supreme Court. It goes without saying that any substantive change to the workers’ compensation statutes (largely found at F.S. §440.01, et seq. ) could have significant impact as to benefits for injured workers and attorneys’ fees, which continue to be areas of interest to the legislature, the courts, and the numerous special interest groups in the workers’ compensation industry. Section lobbyist Fausto Gomez and Legislative Committee Chairs Rick Thompson and Richard Chait kept the section appraised of developments that have occurred during the session thus far, and section leadership has been present in Tallahassee to provide testimony and guidance to legislators as they consider various proposed changes to the workers’ compensation law.
• Annual Section Meeting — The section is also preparing for the 72nd Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference on August 6-9, 2017, at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The annual section meeting will be held during this conference on August 8.
Much credit is extended to section executive council members for volunteering their valuable time, effort, and expertise, including a special thanks to our officers. Past Chairs Bill Rogner and Mike Winer have been a tremendous support, as well as Chair-Elect Paul Anderson, who has taken on many significant assignments, including the tedious task of updating the section bylaws. Joanne Prescott has continued to serve faithfully as secretary and she has diligently maintained the minutes of all meetings. Philip Augustine has continued to keep the budget in order as section treasurer. Richard Manno has maintained the website and kept it user-friendly, as well as maintained the section’s presence on Facebook. Section Administrator Willie Mae Shepherd continues to be persistent in keeping all of the behind-the-scenes work on schedule, and our section is well-served by her organizational skills.
This is indeed an exciting time to be a workers’ compensation lawyer as we navigate through landmark decisions rendered by our judiciary, and as we look prospectively to the reaction that our legislature makes as the various stakeholders in the workers’ compensation system assess the impact of these recent key decisions. The members of the Workers’ Compensation Section and its executive council continue the promotion of education, professionalism, and independence of the workers’ compensation system. The section remains committed to maintaining a fair and balanced workers’ compensation law that will reasonably meet the interests of all system stakeholders. We look forward to what is sure to be an exciting remainder of what lies ahead during 2017.
Alan D. Kalinoski, Chair
Young Lawyers Division
It has been a wonderful and busy year for The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division (YLD). I would have an easier time writing about the things we did not accomplish this year — and that list might be shorter, too — but here we go! The YLD focused its efforts in four areas to provide the biggest benefit to our members: education, advocacy, service, and communication.
We fulfilled our mission to educate Florida’s young lawyers in a variety of ways. First, and most importantly, we created an online version of the Practicing with Professionalism (PWP) course, which every lawyer has to take in the first year of practicing law. The online PWP filmed in the fall and was available to download in the Spring. We hope that our newest lawyers find the online course convenient and engaging, and we thank the Florida Supreme Court, our other speakers, YLD Past President Gordon Glover, and especially Chairs Eric Elms and Cherine Valbrun, who made our online PWP so dynamic and relevant. The YLD also offered, and will continue to offer, live PWP courses around the state with local lawyers and judges as speakers for those who prefer to attend in person.
Our Continuing Legal Education Committee, chaired by Robert Batsel and Travis Santos, produced seven outstanding basic CLE courses, offered live and online on a wide variety of topics, including trial practice, appellate practice, ADR, bankruptcy, and criminal law. For the first time, we are offering a basic CLE at annual convention, and we hope that encourages young lawyers to attend the convention, which should be a great time with young lawyer events hosted by YLD Annual Convention Committee Chairs Karen Persis and Michael Lockamy. We also had monthly webinars that were produced by Chairs Santo DiGangi and Robert Wohn that were each seen by hundreds of young lawyers. Our webinars are also available on our website for anyone looking for good, free CLE credits. Thank you to the other sections of The Florida Bar whose leaders have been helpful with our CLEs, and we encourage young lawyers to join a section for more in-depth education.
Our educational efforts also included outreach to law schools, mainly overseeing our phenomenal Law School Division, led by Lolia Fernandez, a 3L at Florida State University College of Law, and YLD board members Michael Sasso and Paige Gillman. Our law student governors put on successful seminars, social events, and community service projects at all of Florida’s 12 law schools. We are also proud of the students who participate in the annual Robert Orseck Moot Court competition, and thankful to Moot Court Chairs Andrew Manko and Jason Lambert, as well as all the lawyers, judges, and justices who write the problem and judge the oral arguments. It was an honor to host our third annual Deans Summit, which provided a forum for the deans of all Florida’s law schools to meet together with representatives from the Bar, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.
We spent a lot of time this year advocating for the interests of Florida’s young lawyers. Advocacy includes monitoring legislation and the initial work of the Constitution Revision Commission by Chairs John Dicks and Nikki Fried, who worked hand-in-glove with Board of Governors members and Bar staff. Advocacy also includes promoting those issues that are important to our 25,000-plus members, including quality of life, technology, diversity, and women in the profession. Committee Chairs Sue-Ann Robinson, Ben Gibson, Brian Karpf, Dwayne Robinson, G.C. Murray, Jen Smith, Annika Ashton, and Stephanie Cagnet Myron have provided valuable information and programming on all of these topics. It has been humbling and encouraging to see the YLD start a dialogue on so many important issues that affect lawyers of all ages and backgrounds. Nothing makes me happier than to hear that a voluntary bar association is doing a program and using materials from the YLD.
We also provided advocacy, as well as guidance, for new lawyers in a couple of specific circumstances. First, for those lawyers hanging their own shingle, we continued to promote and improve our website on starting your own law firm, creatively named www.StartMyFloridaLawFirm.com. The website is a great resource to anyone contemplating starting their own solo or small firm practice. This year, the website won a national award from the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division for Most Outstanding Project: Service to the Bar, largely through the efforts of board members Zack Zuroweste, Paige Gillman, Jason Lambert, Christian George, and Andrew Pickett. Second, for those lawyers who have a question in a specific area of law and may need to ask another lawyer for practical advice, we worked with The Florida Bar to develop a website for the Lawyers Advising Lawyers program, the easy-to-find www.LawyersAdvisingLawyers.com. Chairs Jill Bell and Travis Mydock did a great job, and we had the privilege of working closely with the Board of Governors communications chairs on this important project.
Service in its many forms was and is important to the YLD. One big unanticipated area of service was the need to establish a hotline for those affected by natural disasters in the fall, hurricanes Hermine and Matthew. It was moving to see hundreds of young lawyers volunteer to assist storm victims. It was also moving to see YLD affiliates from around the state apply for our member and community service grants, reviewed by affiliates Chairs Margaret Good and Celia Thacker. Our affiliates also presented projects at the YLD’s Affiliate Outreach Conference at Walt Disney World, chaired by Valerie Barnhart and Alex Palermo. That conference is my favorite YLD event, and this year, it exceeded all expectations, drawing a large attendance from around the state, allowing lawyers and law students to network with one another, and featuring the theme “Florida’s Legal Community: A Small World After All.” With our capable awards chairs, Lara Bach and Schuyler Smith, we presented awards at that conference and at annual convention.
The YLD had mini community service projects or donation requests at each of its six in-state board meetings, and we encourage other sections of the Bar to take easy steps to promote community service, such as collecting hotel toiletries and donating them to homeless shelters near a meeting location. We also promoted pro bono legal service, encouraged young lawyers to sign up as Florida Bar Foundation fellows, awarded our Pro Bono Award to the very-deserving Jennifer Edwards, and initiated a statewide project called “Youth on Solid Ground.” This program provides CLE and connects young lawyers with their local legal aid organization to assist low-income families obtain a court order for temporary relative custody to provide care and basic parental functions for children who are being taken care of by relatives other than parents. I cannot say thank you enough to Chairs Web Melton and Stephanie Cagnet Myron for their work on a program that truly helps Florida’s families.
Finally, the secret ingredient to being successful on all our efforts this year was member communication. YLD board member Santo DiGangi oversaw all our communications, including our brand new “Who We Are” video, available on our website, www.flayld.org. It is amazing how many hours of work go into making a two-minute video. In addition to the video, our newsletters, meeting reports, blog, and especially social media all helped get the word out on projects designed to inspire and empower young lawyers. Thanks to board members Ethan Wall, John Miller, Estefania Nasielski, Joe Joyce, Adam White, Kristina Feher, and Nick Zbrzeznj for all the communication efforts. Also, a big thanks to The Florida Bar’s social media team and to the staff of The Florida Bar News who have highlighted so much of our work this year.
On a personal note, it was the honor of my professional life to lead the YLD. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my family and coworkers, who have made my Bar service possible. Thank you, YLD President-Elect Zack Zuroweste (and his family and coworkers), for being my right hand all year and for leading Florida’s young lawyer delegation at American Bar Association events with me. YLD Program Administrator Tom Miller has been a steadying influence in all the work we have done, and he deserves credit for all the accomplishments listed above and more. The Florida Bar Board of Governors and particularly its leaders, Bill Schifino, Michael Higer, and Michelle Suskauer, have been encouraging, inclusive, and supportive of all the crazy ideas and projects the YLD has brought to the table. All that is left to say is how much I look forward to seeing the YLD’s future successes under the leadership of President-Elect Zack Zuroweste, President-Elect Designate Christian George, and this very talented young lawyer board.
Katherine Hurst Miller, President