Law school debt on the rise January 1, 2003 Regular News Law school debt on the rise Results of a recent nationwide survey conducted among third year law students reveals that 94 percent of respondents have financed their studies through school loans and 50 percent graduated this year with law school loan debts of $75,000 or more.“Debt levels like these have to produce enormous pressure on graduates to seek higher salaries,” said Sheila Siegel Ketcham, of Equal Justice Works (formerly the National Association for Public Interest Law), which conducted the survey to determine obstacles and enticements to public interest and government legal careers. “The results clearly indicate that salary is edging out type of work as the key factor in legal career choices.”Nearly 5 percent (1,622) of all graduating law students, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, responded voluntarily to the online, Web-based survey. Of those, 66 percent of respondents indicated that law school debt is the reason they currently are not considering lower-paying public interest or government jobs, according to Ketcham. More than one-third (39 percent) of respondents showed significant interest in federal employment, but fewer than 3 percent found they could afford to accept federal positions, the study found. Nearly one-half (46 percent) said they would be more interested in federal employment if employee benefits included loan repayment assistance programs.Ketcham said another survey conducted among public interest employers supported the employment recruitment value of loan repayment programs. Among the 326 public interest and government employers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who responded to the survey, 82 percent reported LRAPs are an effective recruiting tool and 67 percent said the programs aid in retention of employees.“Although loan repayment assistance programs are key to ensuring that the next generation of lawyers will include law school graduates who are able to pursue and to afford public service careers, solving the law school debt will require the contributions of many stakeholders, including policymakers, law schools, employers and students,” according to David Stern, Equal Justice Works chief executive officer. “If in the future a law school education is not equally attainable at all economic levels, we will find that justice is not equally attainable at all economic levels.”The educational debt and public interest employers surveys were conducted during the spring of 2002 and are part of a nationwide study of law students, public interest law employers, and law schools being conducted by Equal Justice Works, the National Association for Law Placement, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the Partnership for Public Service. Through more than $8 million dollars in annual donations from law firms, corporations, and foundations, Equal Justice Works funds law students and lawyers in programs that bring justice to millions of low-income persons and families.
July 1, 2003 News and Notes Charles Reynolds, of Butler Pappas, Tampa, was named chair of DRI’s Mold/IAQ subcommittee. Daniel P. Mitchell, of GrayHarris, spoke about defending causation cases with orthopedic damages, at a statewide specialty claims conference for Progressive Insurance Company. Daniel S. Pearson, a partner at Holland & Knight LLP, was presented the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Founders Award in Miami. Linda Spaulding White, a partner with Conrad & Scherer, Ft. Lauderdale, has been elected to serve on the board of directors and appointed vice chair of the appellate practice section of the Broward County Bar Association. Francis X. Rapprich III, of Fisher, Rushmer, Werrenrath, Dickson, Talley & Dunlap, P.A., has received the Legal Aid Orange County Bar Association’s New Lawyer Award. Alice Reiter Feld presented on Elder Law at the Tamarac Community Center and the Broward County Bar Association. William Andrew Haggard, partner with Haggard, Parks, Haggard & Bologna, Coral Gables, was presented the Circle of Gold Award from the Florida State University Alumni Association. He also served as a guest speaker at the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers’ Jury Selection Seminar in Ft. Lauderdale, addressing the proper ways to select a jury in a premises liability case. In addition, he spoke at a symposium hosted by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers in Orlando. The symposium was an analysis and study of the delivery of an effective opening statement in tort cases. Ervin A. Gonzalez, of Colson Hicks Eidson et al, Coral Gables, has been elected to the board of trustees for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Cathy R. LeBeau, of Fowler White Boggs Banker, has been elected to the board of directors of Life Path Hospice. Garrett J. Biondo, of Goldfarb, Gold, Gonzalez & Wald, P.A., was awarded the 2003 Hon. Marvin H. Gillman Small Claims Clinic Award by Put Something Back, a joint pro bono project of the 11th Judicial Circuit and the Dade County Bar Association. Kristen M. Lynch, of Elk, Bankier, Christu and Bakst, LLP, spoke at the annual probate seminar for the Broward County Bar Association, titled Practical Problems for the Probate Lawyer. She presented a lecture titled Avoiding Common Mistakes in Estate Planning with IRAs. She also participated in the annual estate planning seminar for the estate planning council of Broward County, presenting a lecture titled IRAs: Beyond the IRS: New Regulations, State Law, and Other Issues. Theresa M.B. Van Vliet, a partner with Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, has been appointed the representative on the Task Force on Professional Services by the ABA Section of Taxation, Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties for the year 2003-04. Chris M. Ballentine, of Fisher, Rushmer, Werrenrath, Dickson, Talley & Dunlap, P.A., has received the Judge J.C. Stone Distinguished Service Award presented by the Legal Aid Orange County Bar Association for demonstrating a career to pro bono service. Carol M. Lynch, assistant counsel for the Naval Education and Training Command, has been selected for promotion to the rank of captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve. Jorge L. Freeland, of White & Case, LLP, Miami, spoke on Due Diligence in Mergers and Acquisitions to a local education forum for Financial Executives International, held in Ft. Lauderdale. John Arthur Jones, of Holland & Knight, LLP, was presented the first William S. Belcher Lifetime Professionalism Award at the annual luncheon of the Real Property, Probate, & Trust Law section of The Florida Bar. Thomas A. Snow, president and CEO of Carlton Fields, has been elected to the board of regents and as secretary of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers at the college’s spring meeting. Pat Muldowney, of Akerman Senterfitt, Orlando, spoke on recent developments under the Fair Labor Standards Act at the Orange County Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Committee’s seminar on Trends in Employment Law and a View from the Bench. Brian P. Trauman, of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, Washington, D.C., has been appointed chair of the ABA Young Lawyer’s Division Tax Law Committee for 2003-04. He has also been appointed to serve on the ABA Tax Section as secretary of the Transfer Pricing Committee, and chair of the Pro Bono Committee’s VITA subcommittee. Bradley P. Blystone, a shareholder with Mateer Harbert, was named a member of the board of directors at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida. Jeffrey M. Adams, a partner of Abbey, Adams, Byelick, Kiernan, Mueller & Lancaster, LLP, lectured on Direct Examination, Comprehensive Cross-Examination and Putting Together a Powerful Closing Argument, during the National Business Institute’s Advanced Trial Advocacy in Florida seminar. Patrick A. Moran, of Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., was elected to the board of directors of the Ft. Lauderdale Children’s Theatre. Diane J. Geller, of Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., addressed staffing professionals at the 2003 Florida Staffing Services Association Annual Conference in Tampa. Her topic was titled Legally Fit or Injury Prone? In addition, she spoke on Involuntary Terminations at a human resources seminar hosted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. Kenneth B. Jacobs, of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Jacksonville, has been installed as president of the Jewish Community Alliance of Jacksonville. Cynthia C. Spall, of Gunster Yoakley, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition. Richard Milstein, of Akerman Senterfitt, was awarded The Professional Advisor of the Year Award by Leave a Legacy, a program of the Planned Giving Council of Miami-Dade County. Merrick L. Gross, a shareholder with Akerman Senterfitt, Miami, has been appointed to the Impact Council of The United Way of Miami-Dade County. Alan C. Sheppard, Jr., of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & McRae, L.L.P., Jacksonville, has become president-elect of the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties. He also presented a paper at a symposium sponsored by Jacksonville’s Chinese Businesss Education Center, explaining new Chinese insurance regulations that permit foreign-owned insurance companies to do business in China. Vivian Arenas, associate at de la Parte and Gilbert, P.A., Tampa, has been elected to the board of directors for Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc., which leads Tampa’s Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Howard D. Rosen, of Donlevy-Rosen & Rosen, P.A., Coral Gables, made presentations to the tax section of the Utah State Bar, the Essex County (NJ) Bar Tax Section, and the Santa Clara County (CA) Bar Association on asset protection and offshore trust planning topics. William E. Curphey, of William E. Curphey & Associates, Clearwater, spoke in Cambridge, England, before an international group on collaborative negotiations, and how to be a principal negotiator to an international group of business managers. Jerry M. Markowitz and Thomas Ringel, founding shareholders of Markowitz, Davis, Ringel & Trusty, P.A., Miami, have been elected to the board of directors of the University of Miami School of Law Alumni Association. Thomas M. Farrell IV, of Farrell & Gasparo, P.A., Jacksonville, spoke on Benefits Available Under the Workers’ Compensation System, as part of a seminar on workers’ compensation in Florida. Randee S. Schatz, of Randee S. Schatz, P.A., Palm Beach, was re-elected chair of the health care district of Palm Beach County. Ira H. Leesfield, of Leesfield Leighton Rubio Mahfood & Boyers, P.A., spoke at the Trial Master’s Seminar in Orlano, sponsored by the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association. He talked on the topic of How to Select the Right Jurors. In addition, he was the keynote speaker at the Justices Teaching Institute held in Tallahassee, in which he presented the topic of Justice in the Law. Kimberly Bonder Rezanka, of Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth, Capuano & Bozarth, P.A., Brevard County, was elected secretary of the Brevard County Bar Association. Paul Steven Sing-erman, of Berger Singerman, gave a speech titled Can an Asset Protection Plan Survive in Bankruptcy? at the Annual Wealth Protection Conference of The Florida Bar’s Tax Section, held in Miami. Walter J. Harvey, a partner with Steel Hector & Davis LLP, Miami, has been appointed to the City of Miami Homeland Defense/Neighborhood Improvement Bond Oversight Board. Jamie Finizio-Bascombe, of The Finizio Law Offices, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, was a keynote speaker at St. Thomas University’s Women’s Fair, sponsored by Women United for Human Rights Organization. She spoke on the many ways that women can become involved in the community to advance women’s rights and to assist other women in all fields. She has also been elected president of the Nova Law Alumni Association for the years 2003-05. Harvey J. Sepler was elected to be a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers of the 11th Circuit Public Defender’s Office Brendon M. Lee, of MacFarlane Ferguson & McMullen, Tampa, spoke at a seminar titled How to Champion Your Labor Law Issues on the topic of Using Independent Contractors to Field Your Team. Kimberly Kolback, Miami, lectured on Managing the Relationship & Structuring the Deal–Common Ground in the Sports and Entertainment Industries, held by the University of Miami, School of Law Entertainment & Sports Law Society in Miami Beach. She also served as CLE chair for The Florida Bar Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section’s Fifth Annual Legal Symposium on the world of music, film, and television. Robert W. Boos, of Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., addressed civil litigators and other attorneys at a seminar on Motion Practice in Florida. Sponsored by Lorman Education Services, Inc., he spoke about Injunctions and Temporary Restraining Orders. Michael Okaty, an associate with Foley & Lardner, Orlando, was elected president of the Metro-Orlando University of Central Florida Alumni Chapter. Ken Wright, partner with Baker & Hostetler, LLP, Orlando, has been elected to the board of directors of the American Red Cross of Central Florida. Patricia H. Thompson, of Carlton Fields, Miami, spoke at the American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s 2003 workshop in Chicago, IL, titled Preventing and Recovering Losses: Litigation and Financing Strategies for the Contract Surety. She spoke at the Women’s Division Luncheon, addressing women’s participation in the construction and surety industry. Sangita Patel, of Baker & Hostetler, LLP, Orlando, has been elected to the board of directors of the Golden Rule Foundation. Henry M. Cooper, of Fogel & Cohen, L.L.P., Boca Raton, has published an article on the use of data retention policies to minimize an employer’s liability exposure, which was featured in Document Magazine. Jason M. Murray, of Carlton Fields, has been selected as the 2003 recipient of the Young Lawyers Division Diversity Award. Deborah B. Talenfeld, Kluger, Peretz, Kaplan & Berlin, P.L., has been appointed to the Panel of Chapter 7 Trustees for the Southern District of Florida. July 1, 2003 Regular News
Court acts on Bar rules amendment package Court acts on Bar rules amendment package Senior Editor Bar members will have to designate an inventory attorney, and lawyers who give up their law licenses while facing disciplinary problems will soon be designated as disbarred.Those and other changes were approved by the Florida Supreme Court October 6 as part of the Bar’s 2005 rules amendment package. Other changes affect whether attorneys can characterize an opposing witness as a liar in closing statements, contacting clients when a lawyer leaves a firm or a firm breaks up, and unlicensed practice of law issues.Most of the changes were routine or minor procedural or housekeeping matters. But one that could affect most Bar members was to Rule 1-3.8 (Right to Inventory). Inventory attorneys are appointed to close out a practice when an attorney dies or becomes incapacitated.New subsection (e) to that rule provides: “ Designation of Inventory Attorney. Each member of the Bar who practices law in Florida shall designate another member of The Florida Bar who has agreed to serve as inventory attorney under this rule. When the services of an inventory attorney become necessary, an authorized representative of The Florida Bar shall contact the designated member and determine the member’s current willingness to serve. The designated member shall not be under any obligation to serve as inventory attorney.”“The amendment is intended to get members thinking about what happens to their clients if they die or become disabled and to take some reasonable steps to put into place procedures that will protect their clients. The Bar does not anticipate enforcement of the rule as a primary or sole basis for discipline,” said Tony Boggs, director of the Bar’s legal division for lawyer regulation. “It is difficult for the Bar to step in when an inventory attorney is needed and find volunteers.“This amendment involves Bar members in better preparing everyone for a potential need,” Boggs added. “The rule does not bind the named member to service as inventory attorney, but merely states the member’s current willingness to serve. Bar counsel will contact the nominee at the time of need to ascertain current willingness to serve and assist in securing judicial appointment of the inventory attorney.”In the discipline rules, the rules have been amended to drop the category of disciplinary resignation for attorneys who resign during a grievance investigation. Instead, consistent with several other bar jurisdictions, those will be called disbarment on consent.Board of Governors members, when they approved this rule, said they wanted to avoid confusion that a lawyer might be able to say he or she resigned without revealing it was grievance related and the functional equivalent of disbarment. Bar press releases would be clearer by indicating that the affected attorneys hadn’t just resigned but were actually disbarred.The Supreme Court has wrestled with the distinction between disciplinary resignation and disbarment for several years and has previously amended the rules to say: “Disciplinary resignation is the functional equivalent of disbarment in that both sanctions terminate the license and privilege to practice law and both require readmission to practice under the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar.”The court also in past orders has said that disciplinary resignation is “tantamount” to disbarment.Part of the new rule reads, “Disbarment on consent shall have the same effect as and shall be governed by the same rules as provided for disbarment elsewhere in these Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.”Another change to Rule 1-3.6 clarified that attorneys could be found delinquent if they failed to pay costs and restitution ordered as part of a grievance case. That change also added that an attorney could be held delinquent for failing to pay the cost of a disciplinary diversion course or to pay a judgment from a Bar fee arbitration case.Rule 3-4.3(e), which covers fairness to other parties, was amended to add language that an attorney may not “state a personal opinion about the credibility of a witness unless the statement is authorized by current rule or case law.. . . ”An addition to the comment for that rule explained the change: “Previously, subdivision (e) also proscribed statements about the credibility of witnesses. However, in 2000, the Supreme Court of Florida entered an opinion in Murphy v. International Robotic Systems, Inc., 766 So. 2d 1010 (Fla. 2000), wherein the court allowed counsel in closing argument to call a witness a ‘liar’ or to state that the witness ‘lied.’“There the court stated: ‘First, it is not improper for counsel to state during closing argument that a witness “lied” or is a “liar,” provided such characterizations are supported by the record.’ Murphy, at 1028. Members of the Bar are advised to check the status of the law in this area.”A new section 4-5.8 governs what happens to clients and files when a law firm breaks up, or a lawyer leaves a law firm. Among its provisions are statements that the client with few exceptions has the right to choose counsel of his or her choice and that lawyers leaving a firm may not unilaterally contact clients unless a good faith effort has been made with the firm on a joint communication.An amendment to Bar Rule 4-8.4 clarifies that lawyers with law enforcement or regulatory agencies can supervise undercover investigations without violating the prohibition against lawyers’ engaging in “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. . . . ”Rule 6-3.8 was amended to provide that the Board of Legal Specialization and Education can revoke a certification withouta hearing in certain circumstances. Those include if the certification area is terminated or the lawyer is found guilty of a disciplinary violation or criminal charge.In unlicensed practice of law rules (Ch. 10 of Bar rules), the court clarified forms that are considered Supreme Court approved forms.“Legal forms approved by the Supreme Court of Florida which may be completed as set forth herein shall only include and are limited to forms approved by the Supreme Court of Florida pursuant to rule 10-2.1(a) (formerly rule 10-1.1(b)) of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, the Family Law Forms contained in the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, and the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms contained in the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.”In the disclosure that those assisting with legal forms must provide, and which must be signed by both the client and the one providing assistance, the rules now require the nonlawyer assistant to explain that he or she is not a paralegal, unless working under the supervision of an attorney. The disclosure must be signed by both, the client must be given a copy, and the assistance provider must keep a copy for six years. The complete opinion and amendment rules can be found at the court’s Web site at http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2005/sc05-206.pdf.The new rules and amendments become effective January 1. November 1, 2005 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News