Briefs December 1, 2004 Regular News Briefs McPherson to address military law symposium Rear Adm. James E. McPherson, the judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy, will be the keynote speaker for the 2005 Military Law and Legal Assistance Symposium January 22 in Miami.The Bar’s Military Affairs Committee will also present its 2005 Clayton B. Burton Award of Excellence at the event.The symposium includes a full program of Florida law CLE topics to help practitioners meet the challenge of providing legal service to Florida military personnel and their families. Special attention is given to the needs of military lawyers new to the state. The aim of the program is to bring civilian and military lawyers together to promote cooperation and exchange of information.On January 21, a cocktail reception is scheduled to offer attendees an opportunity to socialize with speakers, committee members, and other symposium attendees.The cost of attending the symposium, including lunch and course materials, is $100. For more information, call Maria Johnson at (800) 342-8060, ext. 5811 or e-mail [email protected] Court launches new Web site Starting in 1994 the Florida Supreme Court was among the very first courts in the world to use the World Wide Web as a communications medium, and November 19 it continued its pioneering tradition by launching two new Web sites at the direction of Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente.First, the Supreme Court now will have its own dedicated Web site at a new address, www.floridasupremecourt.org, making it easier for the press and the public to find material specifically about the court. Announcements of new developments in high-profile Supreme Court cases, for example, will move to the very front of the Web site for faster reference.Earlier “Press Page” information will now be available under the new “Public Information” tab on the front page. This will be the main source of news produced by the court as the state’s highest tribunal.Second, the Office of the State Courts Administrator will take sole possession of the previous site at www.flcourts.org with a completely new look and a site designed for easier navigation. This new Web site will be the main source of information about the state courts as a system, such as statewide statistical information gathered by the OSCA at the request of the legislature. $300,000 earmarked for representing kids Lawyers for Children America and collaborative partners, Florida Foster Care Review, Inc., Dade County Bar Legal Aid/Put Something Back Project, and Guardian Ad Litem Program/Voices for Children Foundation have been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County.The money will be used to increase the number of staffers whose job it is to recruit volunteer attorneys to represent abused and neglected children.“As a long-time supporter of Lawyers for Children America, I am excited that the Children’s Trust has recognized LFCA and its collaborative partners for their hard work,” said Janet Munn, a national LFCA board member. “The funding will allow us to increase the legal community’s involvement in its representation of abused, neglected and abandoned children, and to further engage the community in systemic change.” Court creates award honoring judges New to this year’s pro bono award lineup will be the Chief Justice’s Distinguished Judicial Service Award.Chief Justice Barbara Pariente created the award to recognizes an active or retired judge for outstanding and sustained service to the public whether through legal or civic service or a combination of them, including, but not limited to, support of pro bono legal services.To qualify, a nominee must have completed at least five years of judicial service on a state trial or appellate court created by Article V of the state Constitution. The award will be given to the judge that best exemplifies the ideals embodied in the commentary to Canon 4B of the Code of Judicial Conduct, especially as it relates to pro bono publico. The commentary to Canon 4B states, in part: “[A] judge is in a unique position to contribute to the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.. . To the extent that time permits, a judge is encouraged to do so, either independently or through a bar association, judicial conference or other organization dedicated to the improvement of the law. Support of pro bono legal services by members of the bench is an activity that relates to improvement of the administration of justice. Accordingly, a judge may engage in activities intended to encourage attorneys to perform pro bono services.. . . The deadline for nominations is January 7, 2005. Nomination forms and contact information for the circuit committee chairs are available on The Florida Bar Web site at www.flabar.org.If you have any questions, contact the circuit committee chair in your area or contact The Florida Bar’s Public Information Office, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300, or call (800) 342-8060, ext. 5669. Business section offers luncheon CLE seminars Brainstorming is a common way to come up with new ideas. But frequently there can be a significant lag between conception and reality.Apparently the Business Law Section doesn’t believe in such a “lag.” It took the section and its CLE Committee only two months from taking an idea from conception to fruition — and to the benefit of its members.Raised at the section’s August retreat, the CLE Committee, under Co-chairs Michael Higer and Stephen Nagin, has begun offering a series of free luncheon CLE seminars as a section benefit.The idea was raised by Alan Aronson, according to Higer, and as refined encompassed a number of goals.One was to make CLE courses convenient, both in location and timing. Rather than using a hotel or other facility, the courses are being scheduled in law offices easily accessible to a large number of lawyers. For those who can’t physically attend there is the option to attend by teleconference.Secondly, instead of having a day-long or half-day course, the seminars are an hour to an hour and a half, and at lunch-time, with the hosting law firm even chipping in and providing the meal.“We were looking for some creative way to provide CLE programming and at the same time provide member benefits,” Higer said. “We’re trying to give them something that’s a benefit for being a member of the Business Law Section.”Aronson got his law firm, Akerman Senterfitt, to sponsor the first seminar at its Miami office on October 22, he said. About 30 lawyers attended in person and another 20 by phone. Aronson spoke on “Understanding Restricted Stock: Basics of Rule 144.”The second course is planned at Kluger, Peretz, Kaplan & Berlin on December 8. The office is at the Miami Center, 201 S. Biscayne Blvd., 17th Floor, in Miami and runs from noon to 1 p.m.Steven Peretz will talk on “10 Steps to More Effective Legal Writing,” based on in-house training he has done for new lawyers hired by the firm.Members are being notified about the events via e-mail, and Higer said the CLE Committee welcomes suggestions for more courses and locations. He added that Aronson is already planning more seminars on corporate law topics.“We would look within or without the section from anyone who wants to host similar seminars without assistance, anywhere in the state of Florida,” Higer said. He noted the section is still looking into arrangements for nonsection members who want to attend.For more information about hosting or attending one of the CLE courses, contact section administrator Alina Cooper at The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Ste., Tallahassee 32399-2300, phone (850) 561-5621, or e-mail [email protected] LSNF gets grant for storm victims The Legal Services Corporation recently awarded Legal Services of North Florida a grant to assist hurricane victims in Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties.“Historically, clients in our service area are targets for consumer fraud and other illegal activity,” said Kris Knab, executive director of LSNF. “In fact, we have already been apprised of homes that lost roofing because the shingles were never appropriately attached and tenants who have been told their units would no longer be available to them.”Legal Services Corporation announced recently an award of $67,500 to support the cost of hiring an attorney for one year to devote time to legal aid assistance for eligible low income victims of Hurricane Ivan. LSNF plans to coordinate all services to disaster victims out of its program office located in Pensacola at 118 S. Baylen Street. Free homeless issues seminar set The Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness and the Public Interest Law Section will host a free CLE seminar titled “Uncharted Waters: Steering a Course for the Homeless through Florida’s New Habitual Misdemeanor Law” December 17 at the Stetson College of Law downtown law center at 1700 North Tampa St., in Tampa, beginning at 10:30 a.m.The program will deal with the laws affecting the homeless and disabled in Florida. The 2004 Legislature enacted a new law that creates a habitual misdemeanor offender status for multiple convictions of certain misdemeanor offenses — including trespassing, drunkenness, resisting arrest — and imposes a mandatory six-month jail sentence or alternative sentence. The seminar will explore the practical issues in implementation, from the perspective of the bench, the bar, law enforcement, and the service delivery system, including the impact on the service delivery system and the individuals affected, and constitutional issues.All levels and fields of practice are welcome to attend and the seminar is appropriate for practitioners likely to encounter this law in their practice and anyone who would like to know more about how attorneys can assist the homeless and prevent homelessness.While the program is free, there is a $10 charge for a boxed lunch (sandwich, fruit, chips and drink) or participants may bring their own brown bag lunch.For more information or to register contact Lisa DeVitto, 714 South Davis Blvd. Tampa 33606, phone (813) 259-9744 or e-mail [email protected] Make checks for lunch to DeVitto and indicate if a vegetarian selection is required.