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June 1, 2024 Letters

Letters

CLE

I just read that the Board of Governors proudly voted to keep our annual Bar fees the same, without increase. While that is greatly appreciated, might I suggest an alternative.

What if our fees were increased by a modest amount, in exchange for the ability to enroll in an unlimited number of CLE programs, free?

If I am reading the budget correctly, the Bar brings in approximately $2.5 million in revenue from CLE programs. And, we have approximately 110,000 members paying Bar fees. If we increased the annual fees by just $25, we should be able to cover all the lost revenue from those programs, while at the same time provide our members unlimited learning opportunities, without charge.

Many of the Zoom presented CLE programs are $125 or more. For many of you, this is a non-issue. The firm picks up the costs. But, if you practice in a small firm where you are responsible for your own CLE requirements and tuition charges, this is huge. Wouldn’t it make financial sense to raise your Bar fees by just $25 in exchange for unlimited CLE attendance/viewing? If just one program were covered free, as part of the annual membership, it would result in a net cost-savings of $150 (for a $175 program). Imagine the benefit of being able to attend any program (within or outside your practice specialty), free, because you increased your Bar fees by a mere $25.

I believe the overall benefit in knowledge opportunities individually, and as a group, would be enormous. For those that still work in an office, away from home, you’d be able to stay current on your specific practice specialty, in the car, while suffering thru morning and evening rush-hour traffic, without charge. Do we really want to make staying current on statutory or case law changes in our practice areas accessible to only those that can afford it or those whose firm covers the costs? And, wouldn’t the board love to be able to brag that we have the most progressive and knowledgeable Bar in the country?

Isn’t that one of the goals of The Florida Bar? To improve the knowledge base of all Florida lawyers, directly, while indirectly improving the quality of services to the public?

Perhaps the Board of Governors would consider taking a poll to gauge membership opinion.

Stuart F. Suskin
Gainesville

Holidays

Recently I had reason to know if Good Friday was a legal holiday for the purpose of timely filing a notice of appeal in a Duval County Court case. That turned out to be quite an exercise; only lawyers could create such a morass.

F.S. §683.01 says it is. But then Fla. R. App. P. 9.420(e) provides that Fla. R. Gen. Prac. and Jud. Admin. 2.514 governs computation of time. Rule 2.514 defines a legal holiday as the days listed in F.S. §110.117 or “any day observed as a holiday by the clerk’s office or as designated by the chief judge.” Appellate rules define “clerk” as the clerk of the lower tribunal.

There is no mention of Good Friday in §110.117, so now I had to find what our local clerk, or maybe the chief judge of the circuit had to say. I found online a “Court Holiday Schedule” for 2024 for “Courts in the Fourth Judicial Circuit.” I guess this came from the chief judge of the circuit and not the local clerk, but that is just a guess. Good Friday is on the list.

To appreciate the morass, next door to Duval County is Baker County, in which Juneteenth (June 19) is not a holiday, though it is in Duval, and Rosh Hashanah is although that one isn’t in Duval where — being one — there are more Jews than in Baker County. Go figure.

I have to revisit §683.01. Why are Robert E. Lee’s and Jefferson Davis’s birthdays legal holidays? Same question as to Confederate Memorial Day. I think I’ve recently heard of movements that seek to end the glorification of the Lost Cause and its major actors.

William Nussbaum
Jacksonville

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