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48 Fla. B. News 1 (2021)

handle is hein.barjournals/flabn0048 and id is 1 raw text is: There is Still Time to Apply for Bar Committees - wwwfloridabar. org
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Volume 48, Number 1

FloridaBar.org/Covid-19

January 2021

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MIAMI LAWYER MATTHEW DIETZ of the Disability Independence
Group, Inc., is a proud member of the Public Interest Law Section and
immediate past chair of the Animal Law Section. Dietz is also a firm 9
believer in the healing power of whimsy. Whenever he sees a lawyer
friend post a pet photo, he, and his dog Lucy, snags a screen shot-
and creates a Florida Bar(k) Card - a mock Florida Bar ID replete
with animal name and mug shot. Then he mails it to the owner, just  AnmLaw section
for fun. I designed the Bar(k) Cards using the same font that I have
for my Bar card that I have had since 1996 - and comes out only  ,.
when I need to go into federal court;' he said. Naturally, the cards
contain a disclaimer. I am a lawyer; he said. It says this card gives  V
you no privileges and benefits of The Florida Bar, and this card does
not make your animal an emotional support animal The effort is less
time-consuming than it may appear. Dietz simply reconfigures a printer
that his group uses to create wallet cards - free of charge - for people  Lyla
with autism. We print out autism cards to disclose their disability to
the police, so it avoids dangerous interactions, Dietz said. People with autism are unable to
effectively express what their needs are or what the indicia of their autism is. Bar(k) Cards are
decidedly less serious, but a sincere effort to spread some badly needed sunshine, Dietz said.

Davis, Lesser vie
for Bar presidency

By Gary Blankenship
Senior Editor
Board of Governors
members Steve Davis of
Miami and Gary Lesser
of West Palm Beach have
qualified to run for Florida
Bar president-elect in the
Bar's 2021 elections.
The two candidates
submitted the required
petitions by the December
15 filing deadline. Voting in
this race and for Board of
Governors elections will be
in March.
The winner will be
sworn in as president-elect
at the Bar's June Annual
Convention    when current
President-elect Michael
Tanner becomes Bar president
and then will become Bar
president in June 2022.
I am running for president
because I have a passion for
our profession....It is my
genuine and deep desire to
work to improve how The
Florida Bar helps all Florida
lawyers succeed, Davis said.
The Bar must serve all of
our members: government
lawyers, solo practitioners,
small firm lawyers, larger
firm lawyers, and in-house
lawyers. This is truly a critical
time for all of us, and we
must consider what happens
to our profession after we get
through the pandemic. The
Bar needs strong leaders as
we navigate the post-COVID
world to take advantage of
the real opportunities for the
Bar to do more to help our
members.
I'm a big believer in
service to the legal profession
and have been involved for
over 20 years, Lesser said.
I've been very involved
with The Florida Bar's efforts

DAVIS        LESSER
to protect the independent
judiciary and the independent
legal profession. But what
especially motivated me to
run for Florida Bar president is
the role The Florida Bar plays
in providing resources and
services to help our lawyers
with their daily practice. I
especially understand this as

a small-firm lawyer myself.
It's important as 60% of our
lawyers are in small finns and
solo practitioners. I want to
see more interaction with The
Florida Bar and our lawyer
members and this will be a
major focus for me should I
get elected.
Davis cited access
to justice, diversity and
inclusion, and improving
professionalism as his top
goals.
Access, he said, includes
necessary funding for the
judiciary and building on
the greater use of technology
See Candidates, page 4

The Supreme Court
is asking for one new 14th
Circuit judge and two
new Hillsborough County
judgeships in its annual
certification opinion. The court
also asked for funding for 10
trial judgeships authorized by
the Legislature earlier this year
that were left vacant when the
accompanying appropriation
was vetoed because of the
COVID-19 pandemic.
The court released its
annual certification opinion
on December 3. The Florida
Constitution requires the court
to set a procedure to detennine
the need for new judges or
decertifying existing seats.
The ten new judgeships
authorized during the 2020
legislative session, but for
which the funding was
vetoed, were considered to
be in existence for purposes
of conducting the analysis
in support of this year's

certification
opinion, the
court wrote in
the unanimous
p er cur iam    1u     
opinion. In
this opinion we
are certifying
the need for    C   DY
one additional
circuit court judgeship in the
Fourteenth Judicial Circuit,
two additional county court
judgeships in Hillsborough
County, and no additional
judgeships in the district
courts of appeal. We decertify
no district court, circuit court,
or county court judgeships.
The requested    new
unfunded judgeships approved
earlier this year included a
new circuit post in the 14th
Circuit and four Hillsborough
County court seats. Other
new unfunded judgeships
See Judges, page 7

Lawyer's guardian ad
litem work helps two
children find a home
By Gary Blankenship
Senior Editor
Rhonda can brag about her kids like any mom.
Nine-year-old Cylie likes math and art, particularly
drawing. She recently learned to swim and enjoys that. She's
a budding authority on film, particularly Disney pictures,
and can tell you when the movies were made, including both
animated and human versions.
She has a great imagination and can entertain herself for
hours with toys and dolls.
Her brother, Cayden, 2, has such an extensive vocabulary
that people often ask how old he is. Cayden is into anything
and everything, whatever his sister has got, he's into, Rhonda
said.
Sound normal? Not when you consider this family didn't
exist until this year. It came about with the help of Jacksonville
attorney Alan Pickert, who got involved in his first case as a
guardian ad litem. For Rhonda, a retired single woman in her
50s, it was her first time as a foster parent and when it became
obvious they weren't going back to their birth mother, she
adopted both in October.
I heard these two needed a mama, that their mama was
having a problem, so I said they could come and stay with me,
recalled Rhonda, who asked that her last name not be used.
For Pickert, it was his first time as a GAL, a task he
See GALs, page 6

JACKSONVILLE'S ALAN PICKERT with adoptive mom
Rhonda and her children, Cylie and Cayden. The final adop-
tion hearing was held on Zoom because of the coronavirus,
so Pickert, the guardian ad litem for the children, brought cake
and balloons to the new family's home to celebrate.

Justices ask for three new
judges, funding for 10 others

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