Board of Governors candidates present their views, qualifications

first_imgBar Leadership: There are many other issues that challenge our profession. Many are difficult and controversial, and it will require strong leadership and communication skills to effectively engage in the resolution of such problems. Some of the Bar leadership positions I have held are: • ABA, General Practice Section, Non-Profit Organizations Committee chair (1995-96). • Florida Association of Attorney-CPAs vice president (1997 to 2000). • Florida Bar Legal Needs of Children Committee, chair (1993). • Florida Bar, Public Interest Law Section, newsletter editor (1993). • Orange County Bar Law-Related Education Committee, chair (1998 and 1999). I would greatly appreciate your vote. You may contact me at [email protected] Thank you. 11th Circuit, Seat 3 Jerald S. Beer Your Board of Governors representative is your link to the organized Bar. Palm Beach County has three votes out of 52. Make sure your representative has the training and ability to represent your interests with The Florida Bar. My 20 years of practice has encompassed a small firm (two lawyers), a large firm (110 lawyers) and sizes in between (presently 30 lawyers). I have experience as an assistant state attorney as well as significant civil litigation and business experience. I am proud to be a Florida Bar Board Certified tax lawyer. I also serve on various boards of directors, some law related and others community based. I bring a myriad of experiences to draw upon, allowing me to represent all the practicing lawyers in Palm Beach County. In addition to having served in every elected position of the 2,300-member Palm Beach County Bar Association, including president, I served on many Florida Bar committees before I became your elected Board of Governors representative. I have chaired the 15th Judicial Circuit Fee Arbitration Committee, served on the grievance committee (including one term as chair), served three times as an All Bar Conference delegate and as one of your Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors representatives. It has been a privilege to have represented the lawyers of the 15th Judicial Circuit on the Board of Governors since 1997. I have spent a great deal of time traveling around the county to be at meetings of various groups. As my second term as your representative comes to a close, there are still many pervasive issues affecting you through The Florida Bar. We have led the nation in preventing the erosion of core values that the proposal to allow multidisciplinary practices would have allowed, although we have provided some relief to transactional lawyers by allowing ancillary services. Other far-reaching issues remain. How will we handle multijurisdictional issues? Will The Florida Bar continue to remain independent of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation? Is your Board of Governors representative experienced in handling these types of complex issues that affect your livelihood? The practice continues to change as we start the new millennium. The Florida Bar needs visionaries who can deal with these issues, not the old policies of my opponent who has run for the Board of Governors seat seven times on his old-fashioned policies that do not begin to address the serious issues we face. The key to being an effective Board of Governors representative is to be able to think and act responsibly to provide clear and concise analyses of the issues that are presented through the Board of Governors on a wide range of subjects, and to help and protect the members of The Florida Bar. As many of you well know, one of the issues near and dear to my heart has always been fiscal conservatism. To that end, I am the immediate past chair of the Investment Committee of The Florida Bar and continue to serve on that committee, as well as serving on the Budget Committee. While The Florida Bar does a good job in managing its resources, there is always room to make sure our members are getting the best possible service for the lowest possible cost. An annual membership fee increase for the first time since 1991 has been proposed. The increase is mostly a catch-up to the cost of living index. The “real” increase as proposed is $13 per year, which funds many new programs designed to help lawyers. After a lengthy review and analysis, I supported that increase. I will continue to closely monitor the fiscal policies of The Florida Bar to ensure continued good economic performance for our members. It is important that someone who can combine broad life and legal experiences be the one to provide a balanced, focused approach to achieve those goals and have the background and commitment to continue to represent all of your interests. I think I am that person. Ask yourself who has prepared himself to lead and represent the 4,700 Palm Beach County Florida Bar members, not only by words, but by deeds. Whoever you view as best qualified, the recent presidential election has shown that your vote does count. It is most important that you cast your vote when the ballots are sent out. Please make your voice heard in this election. February 15, 2001 Regular News James S. Lupino We, as members of The Florida Bar, want and need experienced and qualified leadership on the Board of Governors. The practice of law has undergone changes in the 23 years since I have been admitted to The Florida Bar, but in the last several years, we have all witnessed significant new challenges to our profession. The Bar is currently facing unprecedented challenges. Among other things, these challenges include multidisciplinary practices which are changing the face of the legal profession, legislative efforts to place regulation of The Florida Bar under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the rights of insureds in insurer-paid representations, and efforts to establish multi-jurisdictional admissions. In the next two years, your leadership will be addressing these issues. I believe it is important that you have an effective Board of Governors representative with the experience necessary to represent your interest on all the important issues we face. My Qualifications: I have the experience and the character to be an effective and respected representative. I have been a member of the Board of Governors for the last two years. During that time, I have served on the Disciplinary Review Committee (for two years), the Disciplinary Procedure Committee (as vice-chair this year), the Investment Committee (which I have been appointed to until the year 2002) and the Member Benefits Committee (as chair this year). I have also been assigned as liaison to the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section and to the Quality of Life/Stress Management Committee. I have previously served a full term on the Grievance Committee for the 16th Judicial Circuit. Like most of the lawyers in the 16th Judicial Circuit, my practice has been primarily with small firms. Five years ago, I entered into a partnership with Jay Hershoff, Allison DeFoor and Mark Gregg. That firm has evolved to the Hershoff, Lupino and Mulick firm which has a general practice. My Commitment: I will perform my responsibilities honestly, fairly and with common sense. That is the way I run my practice and my life. For the past two years I have been present, active and involved in the meetings of the Board of Governors as well as the Annual, Midyear and General meetings of the Bar and the committees to which I have been assigned. I will continue to participate in that manner. I know and understand the issues we have before us as lawyers. I have attempted over the past two years to keep you informed of the actions taken at the Board of Governors meetings by letters and e-mails to those who requested ongoing updates. I will continue to provide that information by e-mail to anyone who requests same. I am committed to represent the interests of all the lawyers in the 16th Judicial Circuit, both in the private and public sectors, wherever they may practice, be it in Key West and the Lower Keys, the Middle Keys or the Upper Keys. I would greatly appreciate your support and vote, as I believe I have made a valuable contribution to the Board of Governors in the past two years and would like to carry on the efforts that have been initiated. I would consider it a great honor to be elected by you, my colleagues, as your representative to The Florida Bar Board of Governors for the 16th Judicial Circuit. Jiulio Margalli I was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1993 and currently run a small firm with my wife, Andrea Shaye Margalli. As a private practitioner, I keenly understand the pressure on each and every one of us to provide quality service at a competitive price. I believe that one of the most important responsibilities of The Florida Bar is to support each member as we seek to provide quality legal services to our clients, maintain appropriate levels of income for our firms and assist our communities in providing a system of justice. Too often, the Board of Governors has been dominated by representatives of large corporate law firms with little interest in solo practitioners or small firms. If you choose me as your representative, I will seek to change the Bar’s focus in a positive direction. In addition, I will also seek to: (1) allow Florida Bar members flexibility in forming professional relationships with nonlawyers; (2) maintain public control over judicial selection by opposing efforts to expand the merit-retention selection system to the circuit and county bench; and (3) encourage aggressive prosecution of the unlicensed practice of law. In times of increasing competition, rising costs, and greater client demands, it is increasingly important for the Bar to be supportive of solo practitioners and small law firms. I pledge my unwavering support to assist all lawyers in maintaining productive and high quality practices. I greatly appreciate your support. 17th Circuit, Seat 5 (Editor’s Note: This race is to fill the one year left on President-elect Designate Tod Aronovitz’ term. Two other candidates — Amy Furness, Ervin A. Gonzalez, and Michael J. Higer— have filed, but their platform statements had not been received as this Bar News went to press. Filing for this seat closes February 13 and any additional platform statements for this seat will appear in the March 1 News, as well as on the Bar’s website.) John F. Rudy II I would consider it an honor and privilege to be elected by you, my colleagues, as your representative member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors for the 13th Judicial Circuit. Professional Practice I have been a practicing attorney in Hillsborough County for more than 26 years. My legal practice in Florida began with a large Tampa law firm of more than 70 lawyers, MacFarlane, Ferguson, Allison & Kelly. After seven years, I joined with three other like-minded lawyers to form a business and commercial law firm in Tampa, now with more than 32 lawyers, Bush, Ross, Gardner, Warren & Rudy. My practice has focused on the areas of civil and commercial litigation, mediation, and white-collar criminal defense. I have served in the firm as a member of its board of directors, president and chairman of the Trial Practice Section. During my practice, I have also given extensive service to the lawyers of Hillsborough County through the Hillsborough County Bar Association, as a member of its Board of Directors and most recently, as its president-elect and then president. I have also had the pleasure of serving as a member and then chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee, Judicial Preference Poll Committee, Trial Lawyers Section, Trial by Jury Committee and Military Affairs Committee. I served two terms as a member of the 13th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee, including one term as its chair. I was one of the founders of the Trial Lawyers Committee, served on its board of directors for four years and was also president. Our bar is in the process of acquiring property to construct its own law center and I am presently the chair of its Building Committee. In July 2000, I was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, after the untimely demise of our state attorney, to serve as interim state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit until my elected successor was sworn in on January 2, 2001. Through my extensive service with the HCBA and Florida Bar, as well as my professional practice, I believe I have gained the knowledge, ability and skills to effectively represent your interests with The Florida Bar. As we continue into the new millennium, there are numerous issues that lawyers will face and which will have a significant, immediate and long lasting impact on our various and diverse practices. Professionalism, integrity, commitment to excellence and service to our profession above our own self-interests must be our goals in improving the public’s image and its perception of attorneys. I am committed to represent and present the interests of all lawyers of the 13th Judicial Circuit. I believe that my actions on your behalf in the past speak louder than any words I may phrase and would thus greatly appreciate your vote. Timon V. Sullivan Circuit Represented: Thirteenth (Hillsborough County). Practice Experience: Civil trial practice involving litigation and trial of personal injury and commercial cases (products liability; life, health and disability insurance; professional negligence). Years of Practice: 21. Firm: Ogden & Sullivan, P.A., 12 lawyer Tampa firm. Personal Data: Born 1954. Attended Jesuit High School, Vanderbilt University (B.A. 1976) and University of Florida, Holland Law Center (J.D. 1979). Married to Diana (Olmo) Sullivan; three sons: Chris (16), David (14), Kevin (11). Bar Experience: Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA), 1979-present; HCBA Young Lawyers Board, 1981-84; HCBA Young Lawyers President, 1985-86; Florida Bar Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors, 1986-89; Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section Executive Council, 1990-93; HCBA Lawyer Magazine Editor, 1991-92; HCBA Board of Directors, 1989-95; HCBA President, 1993-94; 13th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, 1995-97, chair, 1997. Objectives for Board Service: To represent all the lawyers of the 13th Circuit and their diverse interests on the Board of Governors. To provide the lawyers of the 13th Circuit with access to and a voice in the governance of their profession. I have no “agenda” for service on the Board of Governors other than to work hard to see that the best interests of lawyers in our circuit are protected. My principal concerns include the Bar’s continuing effort to deal with multidisciplinary practice issues. MDP is a fact of life in Europe. Soon that may be the case in Florida and the United States unless we continue to be vigilant in protecting our independence as lawyers. Additionally, I am concerned that we have a lack of diversity in the leadership of The Florida Bar. To truly represent and protect the interests of all Florida lawyers, our Bar leadership must more closely mirror that constituency to the extent possible. I will work to give leadership opportunities to women and minority lawyers who have the time and interest to become involved. After serving as local bar president in 1993-94, I stepped back from the organized Bar for a few years while I built a practice and learned more about the business of law. This perspective will help me, I believe, be a more effective voice for the lawyers of the 13th Circuit on the Board of Governors. 15th Circuit, Seat 2 Jennifer Coberly Background and Type of Practice: Emphasis on employment, international, environmental, and criminal litigation, including numerous trials. Practicing 11 years at Zuckerman, Spaeder, Taylor and Evans; partner since 1998. Graduate of Florida State University (Summa Cum Laude) and Yale Law School. Native of Jacksonville. Goal for Board Service: To provide 11th Circuit members with an active voice that brings the concerns of our many cultures, as well as our many practice areas, to the Board of Governors. To advocate aggressively on the issues of Judicial Selection, Public Image, Diversity, online CLE training and the prevention of jury system destruction through tort reform. Experience: As current chair of The Florida Bar’s Judicial Evaluation Committee, and as a practicing litigator, I recognize the importance of providing judges with feedback from those who appear before them. Initially, evaluation forms were only available through the judges and were only sent out about 20 percent of the time. In order to increase the use of the evaluation process and to make it easier for attorneys to provide such feedback, the committee, under my leadership, has made it possible for Bar members to obtain the evaluation forms over the Internet or by calling The Florida Bar. We have arranged for this availability to be publicized in the Bar News. I obtained valuable experience with The Florida Bar Board of Governors as the liaison to the board while I served as statewide president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) from 1997 to 1998. Not only did I gain a thorough knowledge of the issues facing the board and the board’s procedures, I actively negotiated and built coalitions with other board members. As an advocate in the passage of Revision 9 to the Florida Constitution, I gained valuable experience on how to create effective policy and gather the support of multiple coalitions. Agenda Prevention of Tort Reform: Tort reform continues to be actively discussed in the Florida Legislature. The Florida Bar needs to take an aggressive stand to prevent the legislature from decreasing access to the courts and further weakening our jury system. Judicial Selection: Currently pending in the Florida House is a bill that would reconfigure judicial nominating commissions to allow more members appointed by the governor and leaders of the House and Senate, thereby diluting The Florida Bar’s participation in the selection process. I am committed to maintaining the current make-up of the JNCs. Public Image: The Florida Bar needs to take the initiative to improve the public image of lawyers, including publicizing the effectiveness of the Bar’s self-regulation, in order to defeat the continuing campaign of the Florida Legislature to have the Bar regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Online CLE: The Florida Bar has increased online access to assist members more effectively; this trend needs to continue. I will actively pursue the creation of Internet-based CLE courses and the reporting of out-of-state CLE credits to the Bar over the Internet. David L. Deehl We must restore the bonds of trust between lawyers and clients. The Florida Bar should be our partner for professionalism to assist us in developing the skills, support and tools we need to be more effective. We need to publicize the inspiring good deeds lawyers do. A practicing trial lawyer since 1982, I’m Florida Bar Board Certified in Civil Trial and also in Business Litigation Law, and rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell. I know the concerns of lawyers. I have worked in larger firms, and started my own firm. I know the practical aspects of the practice of law. On the Professional Ethics Committee since 1994, I worked to make e-mailed Ethics Hot Line questions and answers available. In addition to the telephone hot line, staff attorneys can now respond efficiently by computer: try e-mailing to [email protected] with your ethics questions. Threats to the independence of the Bar and judiciary are real and must be addressed now, and that is why I am running for the board. Our courts and lawyers have been unfairly attacked. There are plans afoot to remove control of the Bar from the Supreme Court; multidisciplinary practices are growing and evading regulation; and the right to jury trial is being restricted. Our board needs courageous leadership to fight for us. The Bar must address core issues, promoting the independence of courts and lawyers. Merit selection and the elective process need improvement. Barriers to areas of practice for minorities must be removed. I believe I am qualified to serve on the Board of Governors through my past service as: • President of the Dade County Trial Lawyers Association. • Director and Executive Committee member of the Dade County Bar Association. • President of the South Florida Interprofessional Council. • Adjunct professor for over 10 years at the University of Miami School of Law. I earned a diploma in Teaching Advocacy Skills from the NITA Harvard Law School program and was awarded the Excellence in Education Award by Professional Education Systems, Inc., in 1998. I have lectured on trial skills, personal injury, civil procedure, insurance, commercial litigation, and ethics. I’ve lectured first-year medical students at the UM Medical School. I have coached the UM Law School and the Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School mock trial teams, and have often spoken at public schools on career days. As a special master, member of foster care review panels and as a guardian ad litem, I have served the courts and children in need. My community work has included pro bono cases and volunteer work with community organizations. For more information see my website, or call me. I would be honored to receive your vote and promise to work hard for you. Valerie Tompkins If elected to the Board of Governors, I will do my best to serve all Bar members. I will seek input from you and do my utmost to satisfy all reasonable and prudent requests quickly and efficiently. I was admitted to the practice of law in both Florida and Georgia in 1985. Since my admission, I have practiced in small firms, my own firm and for the state of Florida. Currently, I am working as a staff attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami. My staff position provides a unique opportunity for an attorney not advocating either side. This is a neutral position, where the facts are weighed and law applied without bias for or against the plaintiff or defendant. The last few years have provided me with a solid foundation for objective analysis of legal matters. Objectivity is a trait that will benefit the board, which has an ample supply of active advocates. Neutral individuals, such as myself, will round out the current board and provide an additional, much-needed perspective to its decision-making. As a working parent, I am sensitive to the needs and concerns of those of you who are similarly situated. Hard-working, professional attorneys should not be forced to choose between parenting and working. I will work toward making lawyering one of the top 10 professions for working parents. To further this goal, I will encourage development of job-sharing, telecommuting, part-time positions and on-site daycare. Working parents are a valuable resource which enhance our profession. We can be examples for our children by showing them how to balance time spent between home and work. Their future, as well as ours, hangs in the balance. In my 15 years of practice, I have not overlooked the small minority of lawyers who give our profession a bad name. We have all heard the lawyer jokes, and, unfortunately, most of us have been able to think of a lawyer or two for whom the jokes are appropriate. I will continue to work toward eliminating unprofessional lawyers through the various opportunities and means available to the board. The task of promoting professionalism is one we all share and should teach by example: by demonstrating our respect for the dignity and esteem of the law, the judicial system and the legal profession at all times. Please remember to vote in March. The deadline for receiving ballots is midnight, March 21, 2001. As demonstrated by the last presidential election, every vote counts! 13th Circuit, Seat 2 Richard B. Kay The world is full of educated derelicts; the unsuccessful genius is almost a proverb. The one thing that’s omnipotent is persistence. This is my seventh time as a candidate for the Board of Governors. Each time I have received about 27 percent of the vote. Four thousand seven hundred attorneys in the 15th Judicial Circuit, but only about 1,600 bother to vote. WHY? My conclusion is that so many solos and small law firms feel that it is a futile exercise; large law firms, government attorneys and other controlled organizations like the Legal Aid Society control the outcome by making sure their control is not placed in jeopardy. The leadership of the state Bar lost its direction by the many things they have done and not done. One example is they misjudged public reaction to their attempt to take complete control of the judicial system with the idea of so-called merit selection of all trial judges. In the 15th Judicial Circuit, their plan was soundly defeated by the voters. We do need changes in how we pick and retain judges, but taking away the right of the voters to elect their trial judges was the wrong solution. We must renew efforts to do away with per curiam affirmed decisions in the district courts of appeal. The recent tragedy in the state of Florida, during the recent election, has sent the public’s perception of attorneys and judges to the lowest level in my lifetime. We need attorneys to serve on the Board of Governors because they will back programs that will restore public confidence in both the Bar and the judicial system. Some ideas are as follows: 1. Find out why the public dislikes attorneys and the judicial system. Do this before we spend another $100,000 telling the public how great we are. 2. Encourage the solo practitioners to serve the public efficiently with real programs that will cut their costs and make it easier for them to deliver legal services to the public. 3. Have the county pay for court reporters to cover proceedings in court, at county expense, or have an electronic system in each court to record all proceedings. 4. We encourage attorneys to specialize; why shouldn’t the judges do the same? It is difficult for an attorney who specializes in criminal law to appear before a judge when the judge has just spent the last few years in the juvenile and civil divisions. Judges should serve in a division who are experts in that division’s law. 5. Each trial judge needs a judicial assistant to research law and assist the judge in the drafting of orders and judgments so we have more legal and just decisions. I would urge all attorneys in the 15th Judicial Circuit to contact me, if I am elected, and give me any and all ideas to make the Bar and judicial system better and help me build and restore confidence in the legal system. My qualifications include admission to the Ohio bar (1948), The Florida Bar (1977), the U.S. Supreme Court (1964), the Southern District U.S. District Court, and organizer and first president of the North Palm Beach County Bar Association. 16th Circuit, Seat 1 Board of Governors candidates present their views, qualifications Edward M. Joffe My Platform: Develop an Election Omnibus Worker Program. In some jurisdictions, attorneys and law students volunteer during elections to act as omnibus workers at polling places to assist in disputes and assure that the individual’s right to vote is protected. Such a program in Florida, along with updated county election procedures, would raise the caliber of the election process and help correct certain of the perceived and real problems with the recent election. Develop a Policy on the Multijurisdictional Practice of Law. Many out-of-state attorneys not admitted to our Bar represent their clients in Florida. Alan Dimond, a past president of The Florida Bar, is sitting on an ABA committee studying this issue. The ABA may take a position on this issue at its annual meeting this summer. It is important that our state Bar monitors these issues and be prepared to consider changes in policy to protect the public interest. Expand the Bar’s Technology Task Force. Presently, a Florida Bar-sponsored technology task force is compiling information on the use of technology to help Bar members better access Bar resources. The scope of this task force should be expanded. Many of the Bar’s members do not have access to the information or resources to enable them to take full advantage of the new technologies. This task force can also develop the technical expertise and develop the Bar’s purchasing power needed to ensure that Bar members will become educated about the latest technologies, and, also, giving them the access to acquire these technologies. Help Defend the Independence of the Judiciary. The recent controversy in the presidential election has caused certain groups to attack the traditional independence of the judiciary. The Bar should participate in educating the public on the importance of protecting the judiciary from political demagoguery and special interests. Likewise, the Bar should be prepared to take public positions against legislative encroachment on the judiciary’s independence. Professional EmploymentSandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., Miami; head of Litigation Department. Commercial Litigation: concentrations International and Intellectual Property. American Arbitration Association Panel Member Commercial and International. Martindale Hubbell Rating: av. Admissions: Georgia (1974); Florida (1981); Board Certified: International Law. Bar Activities:Initial Chair International Law Certification Committee, Florida Bar (1998-2000). • Chair International Law Section, Florida Bar (1997-98). • Editor, International Law Quarterly (1991-1996). • Member Grievance Committee 11M (1998-present). Community Activities: Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Europe-Pacific Rim Business Opportunities Committee Founder and Chair (1992-1998). • Bet Shira Synagogue Past Member of the Board of Directors. Education: University of Michigan, BBA with honors, 1970. New York University School of Law, J.D., 1974. Robert D. Peltz This is an important time for The Florida Bar and its members. In the upcoming year we will face many significant issues and challenges together, including: • Preserving our independent judiciary and Bar from attempts at regulation by the legislature and the continued encroachment of multidisciplinary practices. • Continuing to improve attorney professionalism, which will require the combined efforts of both lawyers and judges; • Improving the public’s perception of attorneys and continuing to regulate lawyer advertising consistent with permissible constitutional guidelines; • Promoting new technologies which improve the quality of legal practice, while at the same time recognizing their impact upon existing ethical and practice requirements; • Continuing to address ongoing issues, such as mandatory pro bono and CLE requirements and the use of Bar dues. During the 25 years I have been practicing in this legal community, I have been fortunate to represent a broad spectrum of clients in many different fields, including personal injury, maritime, commercial, banking and corporate litigation. As a result I have extensively represented both plaintiffs and defendants, individuals, small businesses, domestic corporations and international entities in both the trial and appellate courts. This wide range of experiences has provided me with additional insights into the different roles which The Florida Bar plays for the diverse segments that comprise it. These differing experiences also greatly help in providing different perspectives in analyzing the many issues which our legal community will face. Qualifications: Throughout my legal career, I have attempted to contribute to the development of our legal system and the public’s perception of it through active participation in various professional and Bar organizations, law school teaching, CLE lecturing, amicus curiae work, pro bono service, extensive legal writing, lobbying and community service. Some of the professional experiences which I have had in the past that will help provide a better understanding of many of the issues which will face the Board of Governors in the upcoming year include: • Dade County Trial Lawyers Association (president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer). • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (College of Diplomates, Amicus Curiae and other committees, CLE lecturer). • Florida Bar (chairman, Standing Committee on Advertising; Admiralty Committee; Advertising Task Force; Review Panel, Board of Legal Specialization, CLE lecturer). • American Board of Trial Advocates (charter member, Amicus Curiae Committee). • Maritime Law Association (proctor). • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute (port director, Seminar Committee). • University of Miami Trial Advocacy Program (instructor). As an AV-rated and Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, I have also served extensively in the trenches, which has provided the necessary practical experience to understand and appreciate the issues that attorneys face on a daily basis. Commitment: While the Bar must strive to promote the common interests of all of its members, its responsibilities extend beyond just lawyers. An independent and responsible Bar is absolutely essential to the proper operation of our legal system and its guarantees of equality, fundamental fairness and due process for all citizens. In order to properly serve all of these functions, both the Bar and its leadership must be constantly accessible and responsive to the concerns, thoughts and interests of all of its members. 11th Circuit, Seat 4 Board of Governors candidates present their views, qualifications Twenty-two Bar members are seeking eight seats in this year’s Board of Governors elections. Ballots are scheduled to be mailed February 26, and must be received by the Bar’s elections company no later than midnight, March 21. This is the first Bar election where members may vote online or cast a traditional paper ballot. See story, page 8. Below are the platform statements of the candidates. If a runoff is necessary in the races with more than two candidates, those ballots will be mailed March 30. Ninth Circuit, Seat 2 Russell W. Divine I believe that my background provides me with the experience needed to effectively represent you. I grew up in the Orlando area and have lived here for 43 years. In 1980, I graduated from the University of Florida Law School and began my practice in Orlando. Although I have worked in many commercial areas of the law, my practice is now concentrated in the area of real property. I have been Board Certified in Real Estate Law since 1990. I currently practice in the firm of Divine & Estes, P.A. During the last 20 years, I have been very active in Orange County Bar Association and other professional activities. I chaired the OCBA’s Continuing Education Committee for two years, served on the Executive Council from 1989 to 1994 and was OCBA’s president for 1994-1995. During my tenure as president, I played a major role in the creation of the Teen Court program and helped to begin the summer internship program. In addition to my OCBA activities, I have also served on and chaired a Florida Bar grievance committee and served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Society. During most of my legal career, I have had significant responsibilities for the management of the firms with which I practiced. Because of that, I believe I have gained valuable insight into the economics of practicing law and the mounting pressures we all face from advancing technology, increased competition and clients who demand that we keep pace and maximize efficiency (i.e., keep fees down). I believe that our profession, and therefore The Florida Bar, faces several significant issues in the coming years: Competition: These days, competition comes not only from other lawyers, but also from a variety of other industries seeking to invade what has traditionally been the domain of lawyers. The Florida Bar must continue to study this trend. Lawyers must be able to compete effectively in today’s marketplace and the Bar should aggressively assist its members in that regard. The Florida Bar should continue to analyze the possibility of alliances with other businesses and look for ways for lawyers to leverage their position as providers of traditional legal services. Obviously, this must be done without compromising ethical standards, but those standards must be evaluated and applied in the context of today’s legal services environment. Technology: Rapid changes in technology continue to challenge our profession. While new technology has helped us practice law more efficiently, it has also created new demands and pressures in the delivery of our services. The Florida Bar should continue to assist us in meeting those challenges by continuing to provide information and assistance on the latest law office technology and software. Professionalism and Diversity: The rapid growth of our profession makes it more difficult to develop any sense of collegiality or community among lawyers. E-mail and other electronic media also limit personal contact and meaningful interaction between lawyers. The Bar should continue to be proactive in the area of professionalism and the training of young lawyers in order to maintain a high level of mutual respect and civility among lawyers. This will also be important in the area of diversity. Our Bar has made great strides in this area, but still has a long way to go. It is important to bring more minority members into active participation in the Bar, not only by increasing opportunities for involvement, but also by providing training and mentoring programs for young lawyers. As the Bar grows and personal interaction decreases, these efforts will become even more important. We cannot allow ourselves to become fragmented into numerous disenfranchised groups. The Bar must strive to be inclusive and to represent the interests of all its members. That is the only way The Florida Bar can be an effective advocate for our interests. It is a privilege to practice in the Ninth Circuit and I would very much like to represent you on the Board of Governors. Silvia S. Ibanez You will understandably want to know what motivates my candidacy for Ninth Circuit, Seat 2, Florida Bar Board of Governors. I love my profession but it was not my first one. My background consists of 26 years of business and tax transactional practice, some of these in the CPA and CFP worlds. As an attorney, I have practiced in state and federal court, briefly and successfully. Moreover, I had a brief appellate stint, due to my stand on truthful use of my professional credentials, before the U.S. Supreme Court, which I was privileged to argue and win. Ibanez v. State of Florida, Dept of Prof. Reg., Bd. Of Acct., 512 U.S. 136 (1994). You may not know that The Florida Bar filed an amicus brief in support of my lawyer advertising possibly the first time that The Florida Bar has supported an attorney’s advertising on First Amendment grounds. The case also dealt with regulatory and ethical concerns and has shaped my life. Future of the Legal Profession: I strongly believe in maintaining the integrity and independence of the legal profession, but I do not hide my head in the sand to blind myself from the windstorm that is brewing. Some would say the storm consists of the MDP advocates and all we have to do is say “NO” to them. I disagree because consumers of services are easily convinced in these highly complex times that “simple is better.” As you know the large CPA firms are proposing one-stop shopping for professional services. Many of the services attorneys offer can be rendered by nonlawyers, as I was recently reminded by a Tallahassee attorney who practices in the administrative arena. Suggestion: Let us work together to redefine what constitutes the practice of law and how to best preserve our legal profession for the benefit of society. Let us be proactive not reactive. Bar Dues Prioritization and Accountability: Due to my strong fiscal background, one of my responsibilities as your circuit representative would be to ensure that the Bar’s budget reflects the will of its members. Consequently, this requires setting priorities and employing our membership fees wisely. One of my priorities is educating the public about Florida’s legal profession. I don’t know of any one industry or profession in Florida which performs more pro bono and public service than attorneys. Why not spend part of our fees to enlighten them? This is not a strictly self-serving idea. Whenever we face the public to speak on any issue of importance, the reputation and integrity of the speaker and his profession are as important as the message itself. Suggestion: Let us work to restore the dignity that our profession deserves. Alfreda D. Coward Are you ready for a candidate who has a proven track record for getting the job done? Are you ready for a candidate who is committed to your future, your issues, your concerns…committed to you? Are you ready for a candidate who has the power, perseverance, patience and proficiency to affect change? Are you ready for a candidate who exemplifies leadership, sincerity, devotion, experience, hard work, awareness and fortitude? Then you are ready for Alfreda D. Coward, Esquire. Allow me to steer you into the millennium where the focus is on “change”. As a strong and active member of The Florida Bar, I look forward to serving my fellow colleagues as a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors. I have upheld the ideals, commitment and oath of The Florida Bar and will continue to do so. Throughout my years as a dedicated bar member, I have wrestled with the concerns of colleagues and the public ranging from continuing legal education courses, unauthorized practice of law, pro bono services, Bar admissions, proposed increase in Bar dues, attorney “help” programs, mentor/mentee programs within The Florida Bar and improving the public perception of the profession. We need stronger support for both our beginning attorneys as well as seasoned attorneys. I plan to initiate more volunteer programs, including, but not limited to, seminars which demonstrate the legal profession is motivated by equal justice and equal access. I am confident I have the passion, knowledge, skills and motivation to serve the public and my fellow colleagues. My experience in working with different organizations and The Florida Bar, coupled with my commitment to service, give me an edge to addressing and handling the concerns of vast groups. I look forward to meeting the needs of my colleagues. I look forward to your input and suggestions. Above all, I look forward to being your voice as a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors. James B. Davis It is both an honor and a duty to be of service to The Florida Bar, the Broward County and other voluntary bar associations with whom I have been associated for the last 25 years. In those years, I have learned that part of being a lawyer is the obligation to give back to society. I have been fortunate throughout my professional career to have received guidance and training from some of this state’s finest lawyers. They have taught me the importance of integrity, education and adaptability. My service to the Bar is but the fulfillment of my obligation to ensure these goals are achieved. A fundamental purpose in representing Broward County on the Board of Governors is to continue my service to the Bar, which began in 1977 when I was elected as a representative on the Board of Governors of the Young Lawyers Section (now Division) from Broward County. Since that time I have also served as president of the Broward County Young Lawyers Section. I became a Board Certified Tax Lawyer in 1983 and later served a three-year term on the Tax Certification Committee. The millennium marks my fifth year as a member of the Board of Legal Specialization and Education and my second term as statewide director of Educational Programs for the Tax Section of The Florida Bar. Dedication to the promotion of lawyer excellence and academics is a driving force that has motivated my candidacy for the Board of Governors. My 25 years of service to the Bar have given me the unique opportunity to actually participate in enhancing lawyer excellence as well as the opportunity to have met and served with Florida attorneys of all practice areas. This experience and the exchange of ideas, concerns and thoughts about long term objectives has broadened my perspective of the varied demands of the practice of law throughout the state. The practice of law has changed over the last 25 years, and it will continue to do so. And it is our response to change that will be the ultimate measure of our excellence as lawyers. I believe that our profession has made great advances in improving the quality of legal services offered to the public; however, if we as practicing lawyers fail to adapt to prospective changes which affect each area of legal practice in different ways, these advances may be lost and ultimately we may find ourselves relegated to managed practices like our physician counterparts or, worse yet, regulation by other than an integrated Bar. We need to address these concerns with one voice while continuing to increase our profession’s quality of practice and public image. My objectives in serving as a representative from the 17th Judicial Circuit on the Board of Governors are simply to further those goals. Jerome Ira Solkoff A candidate for the Board of Governors must have a reputation for honesty, integrity and ethical conduct, be aware of the major challenges facing the Bar, exhibit a willingness to make decisions for the long range and not merely react to events, and offer genuine advocacy for law firms and individual practitioners. I believe that I meet those criteria. I am an active member of The Florida Bar’s Council of Sections, the Elder Law Section (a founder and past chair), the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the American Bar Association and the Broward County Bar Association. My two-volume book, “Florida Elder Law,” published by West Group, has been the principal desk reference for attorneys in that field for the past six years. I am certified in Elder Law by The Florida Bar and the national Elder Law Foundation. I have also been elected a member of Scribes, the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects. We face critical issues to protect the rule of law and enhance our profession. The Bar must take a proactive position to do so. I would like to be a part of that process and would appreciate your vote. Frank C. Walker I am honored to be a candidate for the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar from the 17th Circuit, Seat 5. My goal will be to represent the interests of all attorneys in Broward County and to promote professionalism in our profession. My diverse background while practicing law and involvement in Bar work provides me with the experience and knowledge necessary to effectively represent the attorneys of Broward County. I have practiced law as a sole practitioner or in a small firm in Broward County for 30 years. I have been involved in every aspect of the practice of law and pride myself on the fact that I can draw a will, handle a real estate closing or try a case. I understand the practice of law, the challenges facing the practice and today’s challenges from a transactional attorney’s standpoint and a trial attorney’s standpoint. I describe my practice as a “people’s practice” and therefore, I understand the needs and desires of attorneys and the obligation to and expectations of clients. I have been active in Bar activities during my entire legal career. As to the Broward County Bar, for the last seven years I have served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Broward County Bar Association and currently serve as its president. I have also served as chairman of the Judicial Tenure and Selection Committee, the Trial Lawyers Section, the Bench and Bar Committee and president of the Broward County Trial Lawyers Association. I have served on several Florida Bar committees, including the 17th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, a special committee on court costs and delays and presently as a member of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee. I have also been very active in the legislative program of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers and understand completely the threat to the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers. As we move into the year 2001, there are many changes that attorneys will face which will have a significant impact on our practice. These issues include, but certainly are not limited to, the independence of the judiciary and the Bar, the unauthorized practice of law and preserving our core professional duties of independence, loyalty and confidentiality. It is important to have effective members on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar with the necessary understanding of these and all issues facing the Bar. In the past, I have found time in my practice to dedicate service to the attorneys of Broward County and I pledge to continue to do so in the future. I will work honestly, diligently and enthusiastically on your behalf. Call me concerning my qualifications or positions at (954) 764-7677 or e-mail me at [email protected] I would greatly appreciate your vote. 19th Circuit, Seat 1 Gean Cary Junginger For the 16 years that I have been practicing law, I have seen a rise in professionalism among lawyers, but a decrease in their ability to make a living and in their treatment by the courts and the public. I feel that The Florida Bar has not done enough to improve the lives of the individual lawyers. I think that The Florida Bar has failed the individual lawyers and in many circumstances either acquiesced to or even contributed to the erosion of general perceptions of the profession. I feel that we can correct this. This is why I need your vote, so I may represent you on the Board of Governors. I oppose: 1) any increase in Bar dues; 2) the Bar taking on political causes and campaigning for them with Bar monies (i.e. the election of judges); 3) the Bar transfer of CLE publications to book companies when it would be cheaper to electronically publish them. We need closer scrutiny as to where the Bar is spending its money. With the increase in information technology, it should be cheaper and not more expensive to manage the business of the Bar. There is no conflict in being a good lawyer and a good businessman, and the public should not be encouraged to think otherwise. While people are being encouraged to represent themselves, the Bar should suggest the benefits of having a lawyer. If the Bar is going to become involved in legislation, it should be to protect the profession and make it easier for lawyers to make a living. If we are to put our client’s interests ahead of our own, the Bar should put our interests first. The Florida Bar should be more like a union. Most of us became a lawyer to help people, and that is what we do. Outside of our practices, we volunteer our time in our churches, synagogues and mosques; we work in public service organizations; we do charity work; we set examples for youth and we make a difference. We are the most highly educated people in our communities. We do not deserve the bad reputation and stigma that has been inflicted upon us. We deserve respect, recognition and appropriate compensation for our efforts and the Bar should promote this. I am a sole practitioner in Ft. Pierce. I am a certified mediator in Family and Dependency law and a civil arbitrator. I have served on numerous Bar committees over the past few years and currently serve on the Family Law Rules Committee. I am a member of the St. Lucie County Bar Association and the Catholic Lawyers Guild. I feel as lawyers we do not abandon our faith to go to work and if we integrate our faith into our practices, we will be better lawyers. I would appreciate your vote. For further information or if you have questions, I am building a web page at Louis B. (Buck) Vocelle, Jr. I am very pleased to have represented the lawyers of the 19th Judicial Circuit as their representative on The Florida Bar Board of Governors. This year I have drawn opposition. Over the past 18 years, I have had substantial involvement in trying cases in all four counties in our circuit Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee. I am extremely proud of our profession as lawyers and have attempted to use my experience to best represent and voice the views of lawyers on the Treasure Coast. I have been fortunate to serve in many Bar positions, including chair of the Professional Ethics Committee of The Florida Bar and chair of the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 19th Circuit, before being elected to the Board of Governors. As both a board certified civil trial lawyer and board certified business litigation lawyer, my trial practice has enabled me to meet and try cases with nearly all of our circuit and county judges. I have also been fortunate to have interacted with many lawyers from Vero Beach south to Stuart and west to Okeechobee. Not only have I learned from lawyers and judges in this circuit, but I have also had the opportunity to interact with a great many people and businesses in all four counties. I have attempted to use the knowledge that I have gained from speaking with you, the lawyers, to best represent your views before the Board of Governors. I don’t have a specific platform, other than to promise you that I will continue to use my best efforts and abilities to make sure that your views are heard. We in the 19th Judicial Circuit are faced with issues which affect our many solo practitioners and small firms that are far different from those issues facing large firms in metropolitan areas. I believe that my practice has enabled me to not only hear your views on these issues, but to present them to the board, along with other board members representing similar-size counties with similar problems. Many of you may not realize that service on the Board of Governors, including travel expenses, are not reimbursed by the Bar in any way, shape or form. I will continue to devote approximately four to five days every two months in preparing for and attending board meetings in my effort to make sure that your voices and views are heard. I can think of no honor greater than that which you have given me to continue to serve you as your representative. I would be proud to continue to represent all of you on the Board of Governors and would ask that you re-elect me to another term.last_img

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