The Florida Bar

Florida Bar News

Presidential Perspectives: Alan Bookman — 2005-06

Columns

Alan BookmanAs part of a project to document the history of The Florida Bar, the former presidents were asked to comment on the same three questions. In this series, the News will share their answers, some of which were edited or condensed.

Q: How would you like to be remembered as a lawyer and a former Bar president?

Alan B. Bookman: I would like to be remembered as a good lawyer who practiced with civility and professionalism and one who ably represented his clients. As a former Bar president I would like to be remembered for raising to the forefront of the legislative mind the issue of the lack of civic education in schools and the adoption of the Florida Registered Paralegal Program as set forth in Chapter 20 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar by the Florida Supreme Court.

Q: How do you think the legal profession has changed over the years?

Bookman: I have practiced in Florida since 1975 and have seen a tremendous change in the legal profession during that time. One can no longer be a “general” practitioner because of complexity of the practice and requirement of the clients. Whether or not you are board certified you do have to concentrate in certain areas of practice to the exclusion of others. Additionally, technology has been both good and bad for the practice. When I first started practicing you had time to think about an issue before you responded. Now you are dealing with others on a real-time basis.

I am concerned that the practice of law is no longer a profession and is now a business. Too many lawyers are concerned with the bottom line, take shortcuts, and are putting their own self interests above that of their clients. Civility must be restored and the only way to accomplish this is to have the judiciary take a strong proactive approach by sanctioning those lawyers who are not practicing with professionalism nor who are civil.

Q: What suggestions do you have for improving the profession or for young lawyers?

Bookman: I would suggest that The Florida Bar petition the Florida Supreme Court to mandate that after graduation from law school, and before practice, each lawyer be required to have a one- to two-year internship. The Bar simply cmmot absorb all of the law graduates which results in too many solo practitioners who do not know what they are doing.