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Board of Governors to meet remotely in July

Senior Editor Top Stories

Florida Bar Building Flag FlyingThe Board of Governors is scheduled to weigh a host of issues when it convenes July 17, including proposed amendments to a standing board policy that is designed to promote more diversity in Bar leadership.

The first meeting during President Dori Foster-Morales’ tenure will be conducted via video conference to limit exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic — in keeping with a recent trend that saw the Bar’s first Virtual Annual Convention in June.

A handful of newly elected and appointed board members will be taking their seats for the first time. They are Kris B. Robinson, Third Circuit; W. Braxton Gillam IV, Fourth Circuit; Philip J. Bonamo, Seventh Circuit; Tad A. Yates, Ninth Circuit; Alice Sum, 11th Circuit; Kenneth G. Turkel, 13th Circuit; Linda Goldstein, Public Member; and Todd Baker, YLD President-elect.

Foster-Morales’ non-voting board liaison appointments include A. Dax Bello, president of the Cuban American Bar Association; Kimberly E. Hosley, president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers; Karen J. Ladis of Dade Legal Aid; Altanese P. Phenelus, of the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office; Vivian Cortes Hodz, chair of the Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee; and Kevin C. Allen Nash, president of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter, National Bar Association.

Board members are scheduled to weigh final action on proposed amendments to Standing Board Policy 1.20, as recommended by the Special Committee on Non-Voting Board Appointments.

The amendments, which were unanimously approved by the Rules Committee on May 27, would give presidents-elect the authority each year to appoint up to six non-voting board liaisons to allow Bar presidents to appoint non-voting liaisons to the board to ensure diverse perspective from all parts of the Bar.

Former President John Stewart appointed the special committee to review SBP 1.20(d) State, Voluntary or Local Bar Associations or Groups, to “ensure diverse representation and inclusion in the board’s deliberations from all groups of which The Florida Bar could benefit.”

Special committee Chair Eugene Pettis told board members that the policy, which had not been reviewed in more than a decade, had morphed over the years into fixed expectations.

The current tradition is to have non-voting representatives from the Cuban American Bar Association, the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.

After the special committee reported a series of recommendations to the board, Stewart ordered a further review by the Rules Committee.

“I know there will be more discussion on this because it is critically important,” Stewart said. “Our goal is not to exclude anybody…but to be as inclusive as possible.”

Standing Board Policy 1.20(d) reads: “The Bar president may invite representatives of state, voluntary or local bar associations or groups to attend board meetings and may provide them with pertinent portions of the agenda and relevant backup. Representatives of state, voluntary and local bar associations and groups may not attend executive sessions.”

The amendments proposed by the Rules Committee retain the existing language but add the following: “The bar president-elect may invite, at the bar president-elect’s discretion, up to 3 representatives of state-wide and up to 3 representatives of regional or local organizations or individuals as non-voting liaisons to the board of governors for the year the bar president-elect will be bar president.  Any non-voting liaisons to the board of governors may not attend any meeting or portion of a meeting held in executive session.”   In other business, the board is scheduled to receive a report from new Board Technology Committee Chair Jay Kim. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the committee into the spotlight as the courts and the legal community make greater use of remote technology.

In other business, the board is scheduled to receive a report from new Board Technology Committee Chair Jay Kim. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the committee into the spotlight as the courts and the legal community make greater use of remote technology.

At a June meeting, committee members discussed ways to promote more uniformity in remote proceedings.

“This is one of those situations where you take a bad thing and you see opportunities,” Kim said. “The Florida Bar has been a good leader in technology and we should take this opportunity to continue to lead in this area.”

In other action, the board is expected to:

  • Weigh acceptance of a series of proposed amendments to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. Approved by the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee, the amendments were initially part of the 2021 cycle report that was compiled over the past three years, before the Supreme Court eliminated cycle reports. The amendments would ultimately require Supreme Court approval.
  • Weigh final action on proposed amendments to Rule 6-3.3 Jurisdiction of Certification Committee. The proposal by the Program Evaluation Committee would require the Board of Legal Specialization and Education to petition the Supreme Court to close a certification area if there have not been any applicants in five consecutive years. The recertification standards of the certification area would remain in effect. According to a staff analysis, the lack of applications would “demonstrate a clear lack of interest in a certification area and make it difficult to maintain a certification committee.”
  • Weigh reactivation of 2018-20 Section and Division Legislative Position Requests for the 2020-2022 Biennium.


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