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Lawyers, judges honored for public service

December 19, 2020

first_img Lawyers, judges honored for public service July 15, 2002 Regular News The General Assembly ceremony was awash in awards and applause. Here are the highlights of the honors bestowed upon lawyers that day: G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award to Larry S. Stewart. This award “recognizes the unique human qualities that all strive to attain but very few achieve. These include an abiding respect and caring for others, coupled with the ongoing demonstration of actual deeds of legal service with no reward beyond that of the deed itself. “Larry S. Stewart is one of those rare individuals who possesses those special qualities, and by the award, he is so honored.”Outgoing Bar President Terry Russell said: “This one was not tough at all to choose. In response to the September 11 tragedy, Larry launched a monumental project called ‘Trial Lawyers Care,’ which was created by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America to provide free legal services to the families of thousands of victims of the terrorist attacks who would receive compensation through an expedited federal fund.“This project set up a brand new law office in New York: renting space and equipment, hiring support staff, and rallying enough volunteer lawyers from around the country to take on potentially thousands of clients. ATLA and Mr. Stewart worked with the New York Trial Lawyers to help set up a finance committee to raise money for office expenses.“The fund compensates ‘any individual (or relative of a deceased individual) who was physically injured or killed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001,’ who opt into the program.“Claimants do not have to prove negligence or any other theory of liability. If they choose not to participate in the fund, victims may still pursue traditional remedies through the civil justice system.“Larry Stewart, himself, was quoted as saying, ‘In the nearly 40 years that I have practiced law, I have never witnessed such an overwhelming response by trial lawyers to answer the call to help their fellow Americans. All over the country, lawyers put their practices on hold so that they could put the interests of injured people first.’”Russell concluded: “I observed, and I credit much to his program, a four-point statistical increase in the positive image of the profession after the Trial Lawyers Care program. I think it had a tremendously dramatic impact on the good positive image of our profession.” President’s Award of Merit to 11th Circuit Judge Sandy Karlan, chair, The Florida Bar Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, 1999-2002. “In recognition of dedication and distinguished service to the Bar and to the public we serve, especially all of Florida’s children who appear in our courtrooms, and for your sincere commitment to lead this commission in developing a vision and recommendations so that children can be assured the right to be represented, defended, protected, served, and heard. Our system of justice and the futures of our children will benefit greatly from your work.”As Russell said: “Led by Judge Karlan, The Florida Bar Commission on the Legal Needs of Children is composed of diverse members who care deeply about what happens to children in Florida’s courts.“Since October 29, 1999, the panel’s mission has been to help children who appear in Florida’s courtrooms in any capacity, whether as victims, witnesses, defendants, or respondents.“Commissioners determined early on in their work that they must seek answers from the children involved in the legal system. They listened to the children, to experts, and to each other to discover ways to leave behind the current system where too often children’s legal needs go unmet.“After three years of extensive study, recommendations for a comprehensive model of representation for children — which I predict will become a model for the nation — have now been published.” President’s Award of Merit to Adele I. Stone, chair, Ethics 2000 Review Panel, member and past chair, Professional Ethics Committee. “In recognition of your meritorious leadership as Chair of the Ethics 2000 Review Panel, created for the analysis and comparison of Florida’s Rules of Professional Conduct and proposed changes to ABA model rules — a huge task completed in a short amount of time — and in appreciation for your dedicated efforts resulting in the issuance of formal ethics advisory opinions on law practice over the Internet and in trust accounts, and for your generous sharing of expertise in a seminar on current ethics issues.”Russell said: “Adele has been extensively involved in revising the Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Ethics while leading The Florida Bar’s Ethics 2000 Review Panel, which made recommendations to the Board of Governors after doing an in-depth analysis and comparison between Florida’s Rules and proposed changes to the ABA model rules by the ABA Ethics Commission 2000.“Adele also currently chairs the Special Committee on Unbundled Legal Services.” President’s Award of Merit to Michael P. McMahon, chair, The Florida Bar Special Commission on Insurance Practices II, 2001-2002. “For extraordinary service and leadership in the study of policyholder and representation by insurance company staff attorneys in Florida and in identifying the potential ethics dilemmas and the responsibilities for these members of the Bar. As a result of the diligent and laborious efforts of your committee, The Florida Bar Board of Governors will file recommended rule changes with the Florida Supreme Court in an effort to benefit all lawyers and citizens of this state. You are a credit to our profession.”Said Russell: “Mike was instrumental in leading the commission in its study of the practices of property and casualty underwriters in using insurance company staff attorneys to represent policyholders and identifying where staff attorneys who represent policyholders need ethical guidance.“Mike worked extremely hard to keep the commission on track and to build consensus with regard to the commission’s recommendations. He drafted large portions of the report and redrafted it, when necessary.” President’s Award of Merit to First District Court of Appeal Judge William A. Van Nortwick, Jr., chair, steering committee of “Access to Justice: It Affects Us All,” August 25, 2001. “In grateful recognition of and with deep appreciation for your diligence and commitment to assembling an outstanding program to afford Bar leaders an opportunity to study and develop recommendations regarding equal access to justice by all. As a result of your efforts and those of the participants, the citizens of Florida will benefit from additional legal aid funding appropriated for the first time by the state, and by a number of other measures that will increase their access to legal assistance, representation, and justice.”Said Russell: “The Florida Bar Board of Governors was very fortunate to have First District Court of Appeal Judge William Van Nortwick chair the steering committee that organized our board retreat, which was also attended by The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division board, the Foundation board, legal aid organization representatives, and the Bar’s Citizens Forum.“Not only did Judge Van Nortwick lead in all of the planning of the retreat, he also presided over the final session when the breakout groups reported their recommendations. He noted that recommendations seemed to fall into five general areas:• Providing a mechanism for citizens to obtain quick answers to basic legal questions;• Expanding alternative dispute resolution techniques;• Educating the public about resources to solve their legal problems;• Continued study to improve access to the legal system; and• Finding more funding for legal aid in Florida, including looking to the state for assistance.“From the consensus of this group, the Florida Access to Civil Legal Assistance Act was developed and introduced in the 2002 legislature. The bill unanimously passed all committees in both state houses, was unanimously passed by the Florida Senate and was passed by the House, 114 to 1. Prior to this bill’s passage, Florida was one of only 11 states that provided no state funding for civil legal assistance.” President’s Award of Merit to Kirk N. Kirkconnell, chair, All Judicial Nominating Screening Committees; vice chair, Program Evaluation Committee, The Florida Bar Board of Governors, 2001-2002. “For exemplary service to The Florida Bar in developing and implementing uniform procedures for screening JNC applicants, and for providing outstanding leadership in the recruitment and screening of more than 600 applications and selection of 234 attorney nominees to send to the governor for Florida’s 26 JNCs, and in recognition of your simultaneous outstanding service to the ongoing program evaluation process of the Bar over the past year.” S aid Russell: “Florida’s new JNC law was a particular challenge to The Florida Bar. We had to very quickly enact a new process for recruiting, screening, and recommending lawyer members for all 26 judicial nominating commissions. Three names must now be submitted to the governor for each attorney position on each JNC that he is required to appoint from the Bar’s recommendations, which required many, many hours of additional work by all of the screening committees under Kirk’s leadership.“Kirk also served on the Program Evaluation Committee, which prepares in-depth evaluation reports on Bar programs and submits a report to the Board. The committee is also sometimes called on to interpret the Rulings Regulating The Florida Bar, bylaws, or standing board policies, and to review proposed amendments to sections’ bylaws. No small task!” Special Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Government Lawyers Section to Attorney General Bob Butterworth. Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince reeled back to 1986 to recall “a younger, dark-haired, smartly-dressed, soft-spoken gentleman who came to the Attorney General’s Office in Tampa and told those of us who worked there that he wanted to succeed Jim Smith as attorney general in Florida and he wanted to become our boss.“The only things we knew about this man were those that we had read in the newspaper. We had read that Bob Butterworth was a former prosecutor, a former judge, and former Broward County sheriff. He seemed qualified to become attorney general,” Justice Quince said.“What we didn’t know about Bob Butterworth was that under that navy-blue suit was a super hero’s cape which read, ‘Super Hero for the People of Florida.’“For that is what he has been to the state. For orchestrating the single state record of $34.5 million from milk companies for bid-rigging to working with Gov. Lawton Chiles to recover $13 billion from the tobacco industry for public health costs associated with smoke-related illnesses, to going after price-gougers after Hurricane Andrew and other storms, Robert Butterworth has proven himself to be a people’s attorney general.“For 16 years, he has advocated for every segment of our state, defending the constitutionality of hate-crime statutes, getting refunds for consumers for deceptive auto-leasing practices, targeting unlawful buyers’ clubs and pyramid schemes, and helping to preserve the environment.. . . You have made us proud to be government lawyers.”When Butterworth came to the podium, he returned the compliment.“When I went to the Tampa office in 1986 asking for their vote, I met a charming young lady there who I just knew someday would be a woman of greatness. And Justice Quince, you are a woman of greatness,” Butterworth said.“I can honestly say I am very proud to be a lawyer. I am very proud of The Florida Bar and the good it has done over the years. I am very proud to be a government lawyer.. . . Really, there is no greater satisfaction that can be had than knowing you had a lasting, positive impact on the lives of people. And you can do that in public service.”center_img Lawyers, judges honored for public servicelast_img

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