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Board briefed on COVID-19 communications plan, YLD’s efforts to assist law grads

Senior Editor Top Stories

Mike TannerBar members will see the first tangible results of the COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force with the anticipated August 26 launch of a new webpage.

Task force chair Michael Tanner told the Board of Governors at an August 24 meeting that the redesigned COVID-19 page will be the centerpiece of the Bar’s COVID-related communications.

“We’re still working on it,” Tanner told board members. “It’s going to have a lot [of] information on it.”

In addition to links to various court websites and the latest news, the page will include remarketing of all free COVID-related CLE programs produced by the Bar and its constituent groups to date.

The page will also feature:

• The remarketing of the LegalFuel COVID-19 seminar series produced in April and May.

• Remarketing of available member benefits and marketing of new benefits as they become available.

• Reemphasis on the Bar’s career center network, attorneys exchange, and classified ads for employment opportunities.

• Reemphasis on job resources and on the ethics and wellness help lines.

Meanwhile, the task force has formed three subcommittees to monitor COVID-19 information from public health sources, from the Florida courts and from various professional groups, including constituent groups of The Florida Bar.

The task force will review the information for “possible responsive action” and/or posting on the COVID-19 webpage, according to the latest task force report.

The report also lists a number of ongoing task force projects, including, “the promotion of financial assistance resources for our members, childcare/daycare as potential member benefits, and the production of COVID-19 specific videos.”

Another project involves advocating for “the use of senior judges, county judges and specially-appointed ‘trial masters’ to help dispose of the backlog…after regular jury trials recommence.”

The task force also will begin studying the results of anonymous surveys that President Dori Foster-Morales has been conducting during her 20-circuit listening tour of virtual town halls.

The town halls feature panels of local judges, as well as local Bar, voluntary bar and community leaders and are open forums for collecting information and ideas from Bar members.

Foster-Morales told board members that the first eight virtual meetings have gone well.

“We’ve been getting some really great data and information,” Foster-Morales said.

The meetings will run through September and a schedule is available here.

YLD to Assist Graduates

In other action, board members heard YLD President Adam White report that the division plans to launch a webpage to help an estimated 3,000 recent law school graduates who have been unable to take the July bar exam due to the pandemic, and technical difficulties with a vendor’s software that forced the Florida Board of Bar Examiners to cancel a virtual attempt.

The website, White said, will link Bar applicants with attorneys who are willing to participate in a supervised practiced program that the Florida Supreme Court approved August 24.

In other action, the board voted unanimously to approve a new law-related education program that will be offered to Florida middle- and high-school students.

The proposal, which originated with the Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, will feature a traveling student art exhibit depicting five Florida lawyers who correspond with the committee’s core mission areas — race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities.

The costs are expected to be covered by donations, which already total more than $15,000, according to the committee.

“Through the story, they will tell the history of how our profession has contributed to the advancement of diversity issues throughout our state,” said Program Evaluation Committee Chair Brian Burgoon.

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