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Tanner bestows Florida Bar President’s Awards of Merit

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The honors went to the Special Committee for the Review of Professionalism in Florida and The Florida Bar Covid-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force

Jay Kim, Mike Tanner and Sia Baker-Barnes

Outgoing President Mike Tanner, center, presents a President’s Award of Merit to Florida Bar Covid-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force Co-Chairs Jay Kim and Sia Baker-Barnes for the committee’s work this year in developing recommendations for an automated platform for the complete management and resolution of small value civil claims.

At the Bar Annual Convention’s General Assembly, outgoing Bar President Mike Tanner presented President’s Awards of Merit to the Special Committee for the Review of Professionalism in Florida and The Florida Bar Covid-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force.

“Each of these groups was asked by our Board of Governors at the end of the last Bar year to take on a special, and very important, and what turned out to be a very time-consuming project for the improvement of our profession and how we serve the public,” Tanner said. “Each group carried out it charge splendidly.”

Mike Tanner and Gary Lesser

Tanner said the Special Committee for the Review of Professionalism in Florida developed recommendations for improvements in how the Bar defines, teaches, and enforces professionalism standards in Florida. The Board of Governors granted preliminary approval of the sweeping plan and has sent to the Supreme Court to gauge its response.”

This committee was co-chaired by then President-elect Gary Lesser and Elizabeth Hunter from Palm City, who also served this year as chair of The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism.

Elizabeth Hunter

Elizabeth Hunter

Other members of special committee included: Ed Cheffy of Naples, Tim Chinaris of Nashville, Jeffrey Michael Cohen of Miami, Judge Jessica Costello of Tampa, Vincent Cuomo of West Palm Beach, Kirsten Davis of St Petersburg, Ashlea Edwards of Jacksonville, Jennifer Ficarrotta of Tampa, Ross Goodman of Pensacola, Judge Nelly Khouzam of St Petersburg, Jennifer Lester of Gainesville; Kara Rockenbach Link of West Palm Beach; Christine Michel of Jacksonville, Jennifer Mooney of Tampa, Jamie Billotte Moses of Orlando; David Rothman of Miami, Timothy VanderGiesen of Miami; Peter Webster of Tallahassee. The Florida Bar staff liaison was Alan Pascal from Tallahassee.

Among other things, the professionalism proposal includes a proposed Supreme Court administrative order that would establish a revised and updated “Code for Resolving Professionalism Referrals.” Another provision would require Bar members to complete additional professionalism credits every three-year CLE reporting cycle. The proposed code “establishes [more uniform] local professionalism panels in each judicial circuit that will receive, screen, and act on complaints of unprofessional conduct; and address those complaints informally, if possible.

The Florida Bar Covid-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force was honored for its work this year in developing recommendations for an automated platform for the complete management and resolution of small value civil claims.

The task force was chaired by Board of Governors members Sia Baker-Barnes and Jay Kim.

Other members of the task force included John Agnew of Ft Myers; Tom Bishop of Jacksonville; Cory Brandfon of Tampa; Judge Jay Brown of Jacksonville; Hilary Creary of Ft Lauderdale; Kevin Gay of Jacksonville; Stephanie Marchman of Gainesville; David Mica from Tallahassee; Masimba Mutamba of West Palm Beach; Jorge Piedra of Miami, Sandy Solomon of Tampa; Jason Stearns of Tampa; Kevin Stone of Mt Dora. The Florida Bar staff liaisons were Gypsy Bailey, Joni Hooks, and Jennifer Krell Davis.

The board recently voted to ask the Supreme Court to forward the proposal to the create a statewide, automated platform for resolving small-value civil disputes to its Florida Courts Technology Commission.

A “Turbo Court” platform developed by Matterhorn is already in use in some circuits in Florida and could be easily integrated with the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, Co-Chair Kim told the Board of Governors recently. Initially, the platform was envisioned to help resolve disputes worth less than $1,000, but the task force thought it worthwhile to raise the threshold to $8,000.

The Board of Governors has also agreed to extend the life of the COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force, but under a new name that reflects a changing mission — the “Special Committee on Changes to the Practice of Law.” In its new role, the committee will continue its work on the platform and monitor various Supreme Court task forces and committees, some of which are expected to produce sweeping proposals.

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