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36 Fla. B. News 1 (2009)

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Downis named president-elect


By Gary.Blankenship
Sni1r Editor
   Mayanne Downs of Orlando has become president-elect designate
of The Florida Bar after being elected without opposition. Her election
became official December 15 with the close of filing.
   Downs will be sworn in as president-elect in June 2009, when current
President-elect Jesse H. Diner of Ft. Lauderdale becomes president, for
the 2009-10 Bar year. Downs will be sworn in as president of the 86,000-
member Bar in June 2010. She will be the organization's fourth woman
president since its founding in 1950.
   She has served on the Bar Board of Governors since 2(t02.
   I'm not sure it has sunk in. It's hard to imagine that any person would
have an honor like this. It's an extraordinary opportunity and honor,
Downs said of being elected. I'm very proud to be a lawyer and very
proud of this profession, and I'm happy for the opportunity to do some


things I'm interested in doing.
   That includes, she said, traveling the state and meeting Bar members,
   Downs shared her thoughts about her decision to run for president.
   After spending a couple of years doing thework olthe board, I decided
I wanted to be a more meaningful'part of that.... I had been so impressed
by this group and the commitment this board has to the profession and.the
administration ofjustice.
   Two years ago, Downs was critically ill with sepsis and she was asked
if that near-death.experience made a difterence in her plans. She said it
had. because of the support from the board throughout her illness and
conversations with board members who had seen similar situations whtch
had profoundly influenced their lives and convinced them not to defer their
dreams.
   It was the complete embodiment of that saying, 'that which does not
                                         See Downs, page 5


R     7                                                                                                           .est 197-I




                      The Florida Bar News


Volume 36, Number 1                                               FloridaBar.org                                                        January 1, 2009


                                                                                              Lawyers sound off on

Pro bono goes stagnant impact of budget cuts


Report sets goals to revitalize the profession 's 'The public is angry. Very angry'


By Kim MacQueen                 good on the mandatory reporting
Associate Editor                requirement, either.
    On starting a new career in   To.find out why, the Florida
 the law, every Florida attorney Supreme Court/The Florida Bar'
 takes an oath that includes the Standing Committee on Pro Bono PI
 following:                     Legal Services commissioned a
    I will never reject, from any study from Kelly Carmody &
 consideration personal to myself, . ,AssociateS, a.n..Uona consultant
 the cause of the'defenseless or ':to civillegal aid fimders paid for
 oppressed, or delay anyone'scause  by a grant from lXhc Flrda Bar
 for lucre or mnalice, Sohelp me Foundation.
 God,                            We had, strong indiations, of
   'In keing with that promise, some severe drops in pro bono
 the Florida Supreme Court has  activity in terms of number of hours  :.4'
 set an aspirational goal of having  and number ofcases- the statistics  8
 every Florida lawyer annually . were a little spotty, but it was pretty
 contribute either 20 hours of  evident, says Paul Doyle, who
 volunteer legal service to the directs the Foundation's Legal
 poor or make a $350 donation to Services for the Poor grant funding
 a legal aid organization. While program. There was a growing
 performing the work is voluntkry,  concern that we were not paying  'R
 lawyers must report annually on enough attention to the pro bono
 their fee statements whether they  delivery system - that we were
 met the pro bono goal.         failing to keep it vibrant and alive
   If you're not exactly paid down  -just by what I would call benign  sh
 on that commitment, you're not neglect.                       ex
 alone. Only 52 percent of Florida Florida was the first state in the  a
 attomeysare, orhavebeen, meeting  nation to adopt IOTA and the first  pe
 the aspirational goals since 2000.  to adopt mandatory state reporting.
 During the same time period,   The report credits the Florida  far
 Florida's legal services providers  Supreme Court, The Florida Bar,  en
 report a 30 percent decline in the  the Standing Committee on Pro  as
 numbers of lawyers providing   Bono Legal Services, The Florida pr
 pro bono services through their Bar Foundation, and Florida Legal  sta
 organizations. And an increasing.  Services for building a number
 number of lawyers aren't making of successful pro bono programs,


Quince briefs legislators. on thq


   Florida's court system has already
seen its budget reduced by $44
million over the past two years and
              the elimination
              of 282 positions.
              Having to absorb
              another It percent
              cut would cost
              hundreds of more
              jobs and seriously
              coMprnise the
              courts' ability to
              efficiently carrTy
         QUNE out its mission.
      QUINC    :fht'ts   the
niessage (hicf Justice Peyu
Quince had for Ileislative leaders
in December. as they gathercd
in Tallahassee to begin looking
for ways to plug a more thatn $2
billion hole in the state's budget
and address a projected delicit that


Primary reasons
awyers give for not
providing pro bono:

Lack of time

Family:obligations



Perform( other- cmmunity
service
B ilabl hour rqulremnents

      Not~~~o o la~nwehr

rovid   pobl0C


towing strong commitment to
xpanding access to the poor, and
general participation rate of 50
,rcent per year.
Unfortunately, 50 percent is
r below what these institutions
avisioned, far 'below the
spirational goal of the Florida
•o bono rule, below what other.
ates have achieved, and far
   See Pro Bono, page 6


By Mark D. Killian
Managing Editor
   People used to say that justice
delayed was justice denied. Now
they say that justice delayed is
exactly what we expect.
   That's the message Tanner
Andrews of DeLand left on the
bulletin board created on the Bar's
Web site where Florida lawyers are
being asked to leave accounts of
how the state court system budget
crisis is affecting their ability to
have cases heard and disputes
resolved.
   Have you tried to get hearing
time recently? Andrews asked.
The courts are buried in cases, and
while the judges are making valiant
efforts to move them, the sheer
numbers are overwhelming.
   Lawmakers slashed court
spending by '$44 million in the last
two years, resulting in the loss of
280 positions out of the judiciary's
3,100-member workforce. Now
faced with an additional $2
billion shortfall, lawmakersre
contemplating more cuts to plug that
hole in the state budget. Looking for
ways to bolster grassroots support
for putting the court system on
fiscally sound footing, the Bar's
Judicial Independence Committee
created the online bulletin board to
get a feel for how the budget losses
are impacting the everyday practice
of law.


e impact of budget cuts


                                                                Administrator Lisa Goodner.
                                                                and Ninth Circuit Chief
                                                                Judge Belvin Perry. chair
                                                                of the Trial Court Budget
                                                                'Commission. set out the
                                                                cold, hard numbhcrs the third
                                                                branch of' government is
                                                                dealing with.
                                                                   I lere are. thc highlights:
                                                                   Ilaving to ablsorb a 1I0
                                                                percent cut il, FY 2008-09
                                                                VOtlwold tIlel a reduction of
                                                                $40.i million resulting in
                                                                the loss ofl 556 poSlisl1S
                                                                and iculllI  23 day., (1
                                                             Sfurloug[clt I i courit. 'ihe
is expected to grow evenlargerncx t  off i  overtinl t. Quince told ln ber of t j lost woulil
year.                           lawmakers.                      be'staorine., etaus{ S 7
   'The Court systeo  budget       Appearing before the lousec percent C    o . c urt system,.s
is nly0 1.7 percent of the state C)riniiial and Civil Justice   budgct gocs tosalarics. and


MIYA       ToNoraEnTalepettOR IAM Ince-SatPCursGEuncpae1


               p ra-c tit ione r
               Dorothy Easley
               of Miami wrote
               that staffing
               shortages are
               taking a toll on
               the courts' ability
               to process cases.
               For instance,

    EASLEY     she said, some
               files have gone
 missing in their entirety because the'
 trimmed workforce is not available
 to locate them.
   The documents, though filed,
 did not make it into the court file
 and, were it not for stamped copies
 and the agreement of opposing
 counsel, they would be recorded
 as never having been filed, said
 Easley, adding information requests
 are impossible to obtain and the
 citizens can spend hours making
 call after call to obtain court
 information on where to file and
 how to file documents.
   In the final analysis, attorneys
are resourceful and will find ways
to struggle through this quagmire.
Florida citizens cannot, Easley
said.
   Stephen Cobb of Crestview put it
more bluntly: The public is angry.
Very angry.
   Witnesses, crime victims, law
enforcement officers, defendants,
         See Budget, page 4


DOWNS


provision of free services to the poor


i\ppropruitions  , oninimec, t- i iici
JIU56CC QLlillCe, StatC COUrts


miugci. a sillaii.amount io oc paici
to lionor funaamental expectations


See Quince, page 18 1

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