This year added luster to the ongoing accomplishments of the Administrative Law Section. The section's always excellent CLE programs were carried forward by CLE Chair Andy Bertron. Andy oversaw our second annual Practice Before DOAH program and new executive council member Cindy Miller followed, executing the well-received half-day Public Utility Law Seminar. We partnered with the Appellate Practice Section to jointly present a seminar on administrative appeals in early April. Finally, the CLE Committee is in the planning mode for our every year-and-a-half Pat Dore Conference to be held this fall. This day and a half seminar is the foundation of our educational efforts.
The section has had two ongoing projects extending over a number of terms. A select committee on the Uniform Rules of Administrative Procedure, chaired by Chris Moore, undertook a top to bottom review of the rules. There has not been a routine review or update of the rules since they were adopted in 1997. We completed a comprehensive report of recommended changes and supporting rationale during this term. We then submitted them to the governor's office for consideration by the governor and cabinet (sitting as the Administration Commission).
This year, the section struggled with issues surrounding a certification program recommended by the Government Lawyer Section for certification in state and federal government and administrative practice. There was much spirited debate on the subject. Ultimately, we reached a compromise with the Government Lawyer Section to modify the program, which has now moved beyond the section level. It was approved by the Board of Governors and is currently under final consideration by the Supreme Court.
The Legislative Committee of Bill Williams and ALJ Linda Rigot has done an excellent job of culling through the thousands of bills filed in the House and Senate to advise us of those that impact administrative law. This long-serving duo has gained an excellent reputation in assisting the legislature and its staff in understanding the intricacies of administrative law and administrative procedure.
Executive council member Cathy Sellers has brought spirit and a new focus to our law school outreach program. Our former (flagging) efforts to reach law students through a writing contest was abandoned this year and funds were reassigned to reach students through a variety of methods: Student meetings and receptions with administrative law judges; providing guest lecturers for law school classes; and inviting small groups of students to attend DOAH hearings. Since Cathy is an adjunct professor of administrative law at both FSU and UF, she is in an excellent position to further these programs. With her committee of Scan Frazier and Mary Ellen Clark, law school outreach promises to be an area of greater success.
Elizabeth MacArthur has continued to make the section proud as the editor of the newsletter with the assistance of Mary Smallwood contributing the Appellate Case Notes and Mary Ellen Clark compiling our Agency Snapshots.
Finally, the section took the opportunity for some introspection at its long-range planning retreat. Discussions included the mission of the section, its level of accomplishment, and barriers to movement. Members took a fresh look at the bylaws and recommended a number of changes which are pending approval by the Board of Governors. The changes emphasize executive council participation and greater flexibility in calling necessary meetings. The new Nominating Committee is designed to ensure that executive council members are selected based on their participation and contributions, and also to reach new members who add fresh ideas and energy to the executive council.
DEBORAH K. KEARNEY, Chair
The Business Law Section, with nearly 4,800 members, had another full and productive year thanks to its active committees, legislative agenda, CLE, and special projects.
Committees: The substantive law committees and chairs of the section are antitrust, franchise and trade (David Beyer); bankruptcy/Uniform Commercial Code (Lisa Schiller); business litigation (Kacy Lake); computer law (Thomas Sadaka); corporations, securities & financial services (Karen Orlin); and intellectual property (Jeanne Seawall). The committees review, draft, and provide technical input on pending business legislation; sponsor CLE programs and incorporate CLE into their meetings; and publish articles and practice materials in their specialized practice areas, both in Florida Bar publications and on the Business Law Section's improved Web site, www.flabuslaw.org.
CLE: November's annual "View From the Bench," organized by Judge J. Michael Williamson and the Bankruptcy/UCC Committee, continues to be the section's flagship CLE program. That committee also worked with Stetson Law School to sponsor the first CLE program in Florida on the new bankruptcy law amendments, most of which became effective October 2005. We continued the section's highly successful series of Lunch'n'CLE programs, hosted by members' law firms. The business litigation committee sponsored the annual "Advice from the Experts: Winning a Commercial Case in Federal Court" in May.
In December 2005, the committee held a seminar on the New Florida Limited Partnership Act Revisited, and at the midyear meeting, the Computer/Cyber Law Committee sponsored "Electronic Discovery: Everything You Always Wanted to Know Before It's Too Late."
Special Projects: In addition to board certifications in business litigation and antitrust and trade regulation, the Board of Legal Specialization and Education has approved intellectual property certification--thanks to the extremely hard work of the IP Committee and its subcommittee on specialization. I have also formed a special committee to study Ch. 517. That committee, co-chaired by Professor Stu Cohen of the University of Florida Levin School of Law and past Chair Greg Yadley, has commenced its assignment with the involvement of experienced lawyers representing all aspects of the affected interests.
The section, with the assistance of former Chair Jim Murphy, successfully argued before the Florida Supreme Court for the adoption of the ABA model rule to permit screening of attorneys within a law firm for conflicts under proper conditions for purposes of retention where a firm lawyer has made an unsuccessful "beauty contest" presentation involving a possible adverse party.
The business or complex litigation court in Orlando, whose establishment was due in part to the efforts of the section, added a second division to supplement the great work being done by Judge Renee Roche. The section is working with other Florida courts to create complex case divisions within its existing structure.
The section's State and Federal Court Judicial Liaison Committee, co-chaired by Judge J. William Van Nortwick of the First DCA and attorney Michael Higer, again cosponsored with the National Association for State Courts, a full-day conference at the Supreme Court in Tallahassee. It was attended by more than a dozen general counsel and resulted in a great deal of exchange of information and ideas about potential improvements to the administration of justice in Florida. Five of the justices attended, including Chief Justice Barbara Pariente, and the general counsel of General Motors.
The section also took an active role in the debate before the Bar's Ethics Committee about whether bankruptcy lawyers should be able to act as mortgage brokers in situations where his or her Ch. 13 clients are seeking to refinance a home.
I am pleased to report that our Membership/Student Relations Committee, with the support of our members' law firms, sponsored receptions between law school students and our members so the students could learn about the section and becoming a business lawyer.
Legislation: The section supports a full legislative agenda. This year's projects included supporting clarifying amendments to art. 9 of the UCC; technical assistance on amendments to the Florida Trademark Act; and the adoption of proposed uniform changes to art. 1 of the UCC.
Retreat and Major Meetings: An annual highlight for many members of the Business Law Section and their families was the section's annual retreat in August 2005 at the Ritz Carlton Manalapan. The retreat combined family fun with committee meetings, many CLE opportunities, and outstanding speakers. The keynote speaker at the welcome dinner was Congressman James "Jim" Davis of Tampa, and we were honored to have Florida Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead as our luncheon speaker. Professor Lyrissa C. Barnett Lidsky of the University of Florida Levin School of Law presented an interactive ethics workshop, and the section's committee meetings on Friday were filled with attendees. We were pleased that Board of Governors member and Section Liaison Murray Silverstein attended. Our section had productive meetings at the Bar's January Midyear Meeting. The highlight was the entertaining talk by former Bar President and U.S. District Judge Pat Seitz.
In conclusion, it has been my extreme honor to serve as chair of the Business Law Section. I soon pass the mantle to Diane Noller Wells, who will be followed by Rick Gross. Of course, my year could not have been successful without our former section coordinator Alina Cooper and her successor Austin Newberry, who hit the ground running.
MARK J. WOLFSON, Chair
City, County and Local Government Law
The City, County and Local Government Law Section represents the interests of those lawyers, both in-house government practitioners and private practitioners, who concentrate in the area of local government law. The section has approximately 1,600 members.
The section's annual meeting is held each May in conjunction with its certification review course and annual local government law seminar. The 2006 seminar was held in Bonita Springs on May 11-13. Many...