Greetings members and friends of FAWL,
I am honored to be representing FAWL for the 2019 – 2020 year as your president. We have a busy year planned, and our committees have some very exciting projects in the works! If you have not already done so, please complete your
form to get involved.
Thank you to all that helped plan the Annual Awards and Installation Celebration. It was very well-attended by our members across the state, several of our past presidents, and many members of our Florida Bar Board of Governors. We received positive feedback, and a great time was had by all!
It was lovely to see several of our local FAWL chapter leaders at the Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference in Tampa. The conference provides a wealth of information to our leadership and allows us to mix-and-mingle with other voluntary bars around the state. It is designed for all levels of leadership, but we encourage our chapters to send their president-elect and president to the conference that takes place every July. The conference is put on by the Florida Bar’s Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee, and is hosted in the hometown of the conference chair each year.
The Board of Governors also held their first meeting of the year in July. The Bar President appoints the FAWL President to serve as a non-voting liaison to the board each year. This provides us the opportunity to address our concerns and share our opinions with the BOG on issues that fit into our mission. This coveted liaison seat is priceless, and FAWL does not squander the opportunity. The FAWL President attends all six BOG meetings annually, and participates in committees. We have been informed that the BOG will be auditing all the liaison seats this year in a special committee. We will cooperate with the BOG in this process, and are hopeful that due to our statewide status and consistent engagement, our liaison seat will remain intact next year.
On behalf of the FAWL Executive Committee and committee chairs, thank you for the support, and we look forward to hearing from each of you with your ideas this year.
Recap of the Board of Governors’ July 2019 Meeting:
The Board of Governors discussed whether it is misleading and otherwise a violation of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar for a lawyer to continue to use a birth surname, which was the advertising lawyer’s original official bar name, as part of the law firm when the lawyer’s current official bar name is the hyphenated birth name and married name of the lawyer. The relevant rules (4-7.21(b) and 1-3.3(b)) essentially say that advertising cannot be deceptive or inherently misleading information about the law. The Board of Governors found in this particular instance wherein the lawyer’s maiden and married names are unique that the use of the maiden name only in the firm name was not deceptive. The board did not go as far to say that law firm name changes would not be required in similar situations in the future; however, this review by the BOG will give bar staff guidance when faced with similar situations. Thank you for the chapters that provided feedback on this issue on very short notice.
Past Bar President, Greg Coleman, has requested that we download and share the app “Access to Courts” that is available in the App store for free, on our websites and on social media. The app is a project of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, and aids pro bono litigants in the process of litigation. Please direct any questions regarding this project to me, and I will direct you to the proper parties (
Update on last name search on Florida Bar Website: The request to allow Bar members to be searched by maiden, hyphenated and married names is in the que. The bar has heard our repeated requests to update the database and make it easier to locate attorneys that change their names. The delay is due to a five-year project to update all databases, including the grievance cases database, which ends in 2020. The bar has expressed that due to this all-encompassing project, they do not have the IT Staff to address expanding the search options until completion of the database updates. They anticipate being able to address our request in the in six to 12 months. We will continue to follow up on progress.