Florida Bar

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A Tallahassee attorney has received an award for his efforts to help the victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre, the worst mass shooting in modern American history. He was nominated by Florida’s Attorney General.

The Florida Bar has just released the 2016 judicial voter guide, all in an effort to familiarize voters with candidates who wear robes.

Florida Bar News

Florida Bar President Ramon Abadin wants to allow “paraprofessionals,” in the state, a method he says would give more people easier access to the courts. His proposal comes at a time when studies show 60 to 80 percent of Floridians avoid hiring an attorney when they need one.

Florida needs 35 new judges next year to deal with a chronic backlog in the courts. That’s according to a report issued by the state supreme court. New judges are needed even though some of the workload is easing, including a 7-percent decline in felony juvenile delinquency cases.

The Legislature hasn’t funded any new trial court judges in seven years, justices say. The report recommends creating the bulk of the new judges, 32, in county courts.

Florida Bar president Greg Coleman agrees.

Capital Report: 06-13-2014

Jun 13, 2014

Governor Rick Scott recently signed the so-called Immigrant Tuition bill into law that would grant in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants. Since near the end of Session, Scott has been touting the legislation and even did a week-long tour this week. While it’s publicized more as a Hispanic win, Sascha Cordner reports on other segments of the immigrant population who will be also affected by the new law.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Florida lawyers agree there’s a funding crisis that threatens legal service for the poor. But there’s disagreement among them on how to fix the problem. The Florida Bar opposes a proposal by hundreds of attorneys to raise Bar membership dues to cover the cost.

For people under a certain income level, legal aid can help with issues spanning from scams to juvenile justice. But in Florida, there’s only about one legal aid lawyer for every 20,000 eligible clients, according to state administrators.

Jose Godinez-Samperio passed the Bar exam, but under current state law, since he's not a U.S. citizen, he can't get admitted to the Florida Bar.
Kathleen Flynn

A non-citizen Florida State University law school graduate is just steps away from earning the right to practice law in the state.

When  Jose Godinez-Samperio was 9-years old, he came to the U.S.  from Mexico with his parents on a tourist visa. When the visa expired he and his parents legal infraction. But since then, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) says Godinez-Samperio has been a model Floridian. He became an Eagle Scout and graduated Valedictorian from his high school

Rene Garcia
Florida Senate / FLSenate.gov

Non-citizens brought to Florida illegally as children could get the chance to practice law under a measure the Senate passed today. A recent Florida Supreme Court opinion urged the Legislature to allow leeway for undocumented immigrants applying to the Florida Bar.

The Florida Bar

With more than 50 vacancies on the boards that nominate Florida judges, a task force is trying to answer the question of how to make the judiciary more diverse. The group aims to help reverse what the Florida Bar calls a “concerning” recent trend: that the state’s judicial nominators have been looking less and less like the overall population.

More than 7,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Annual Florida Bar Convention in Boca Raton. The four-day convention, which started Wednesday, will also include the induction of the group’s first African American president.

This year’s theme for the Florida Bar’s Annual Convention is “Inclusion: The Path to Unity.” And, Convention Chair Michelle Suskauer says it’s very relevant and reflects the diversity of current and incoming leadership.

An alimony reform measure that made it through the legislature is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. But, opponents of the bill seem undeterred in their fight against it; they stormed Rick Scott’s office demanding he veto the bill.

Florida lawmakers are looking to streamline the death penalty process to avoid the lengthy appeals they say are currently plaguing the system. Two measures aiming to do just that cleared another committee Thursday, and are one step closer to coming up for a vote by the full Legislature.

Most states in the nation impose the death penalty. Florida is one of them, but it’s also a state that’s known for its lengthy death penalty process. It’s behind only California, the state in the nation with the most number of people facing the death penalty.

Alimony Reform Bill Passes First Subcommittee

Feb 14, 2013

A push to overhaul Florida’s alimony system cleared its first subcommittee on Wednesday. The bill passed through overwhelmingly, despite strong objections from the Florida Bar Family Law Section.

Permanent alimony payer, 62-year-old Tarie MacMillan testified, she cannot afford to retire because she has to pay her ex-husband 65 percent of every paycheck, even though he refuses to work, until the day one of them dies.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners wants the state's highest court to weigh in on whether it should waive its rules and allow an undocumented immigrant to become a lawyer. The Florida Supreme Court took up the case Tuesday, but appeared skeptical about claims that it has the authority to admit Jose Godinez-Samperio to the Florida Bar.

Perspectives: Merit Retention

Jun 14, 2012

Besides all those federal, state and local political races this year, Florida voters will also determine the fate of three state supreme court justices and a multitude of appeal court judges. Those are called “merit retention” votes and we get an explanation of what that means from the outgoing and incoming presidents of the Florida Bar, Scott Hawkins and Gwynne Young.

The Florida Bar launched a $300,000 campaign Monday to educate voters about what role they play in determining whether state Supreme Court Justices and appellate judges stay in office. As Sascha Cordner reports, the effort comes amid questions about the retention of three justices.