49 percent of all respondents said there were too many attorneys — up from 33 percent two years ago. (BROWARD IS THE SANDWICH)
Thirty-one percent citied difficult economic times, (FLORIDA IS GROUND ZERO)
26 percent listed poor public perception. (ROTHSTEIN)
Almost one quarter (24 percent) cited affordability of legal services (FAMILY LAW --NOT BY CHOICE—ONLY TIME IN COURT)
and lack of ethics/professionalism (23 percent). (LAWYER TO LAWYER STRANGER)
Still Very Satisfied
While 78 percent of respondents report that the legal profession has become less desirable as a career over the past few years, 71 percent of respondents also said they are either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their legal careers.
Only 7 percent say they are “very unsatisfied” with their careers, down from 9 percent two years ago.
Garcia said 39 percent of all respondents say theoversaturation oflawyers will have the greatest impact onthe profession over the next five years — up from 23 percent two years ago; (DISTINGUISH YOURSELF FROM THE PACK)
followed by technology, 14 percent;
access/affordability of legal resources, 10 percent;
competition from nonattorneys, 9 percent; lack of appropriate judicial system funding, 8 percent; the economy,
6 percent; public perception, 5 percent;
threat to judicial independence, 5 percent; and tort reform, 3 percent.
Income Themedian income for those polled was $100,000. That figure has not changed in six years.“Over two-fifths — or 45 percent — of all respondents earned more than $100,000 before taxes from legal work last year,” Garcia said.
Here’s a breakdown of median income before taxes ofthe respondents:
corporate counsel, $120,000;
sole practitioners, $95,000;
state government attorneys, $55,000.
Male lawyers report a higher median income ($120,000) than female lawyers ($75,000).
Garcia notes that theaverage years of experience for a male lawyer in this survey is 20 years, compared to 12 years of experience for the average female attorney.
II. Florida Bar Acts
Vision 2016 commission. The Vision 2016 commission will perform an in-depth review of four general areas that will impact the future practice of law in Florida:
and delivery of legal services/pro bono.
The commission will look at the current impact, as well as the long-term challenges that the legal profession will face.
This comprehensive study will provide the foundation to “prepare today’s lawyer for tomorrow’s practice.”
Jay Cohen, Ft. Lauderdale, overall administrator FROM PRESIDENT EUGENE PETTIS: Appointing the new Commission 2016, which, over the next three years, will perform a comprehensive study of the future practice of law. President-elect Greg Coleman will chair the technology subcommittee; Board of Governors member Ray Abadin will study the future of legal education; BoG member Lanse Scriven will chair the Bar admissions subcommittee; and former BoG member Adele Stone will lead the review of the delivery of pro bono/legal services. BoG member Jay Cohen will serve as the commission’s administrator.
November 15, 2014 Bar News:
Bar President-elect Ramón Abadin spurred on the Board of Governors to debate issues the Vision 2016 Commission is tackling.
“I don’t think we have a choice anymore in how we practice law. I think that choice is being taken away from us, and it’s going to be taken away from us, if we don’t act,” Abadin said.
November 1, 2013 Bar News: Bar President Gene Pettis, “ . . . the true drivers of the ongoing changes in society and the legal profession in particular are technology and the Internet, and consumer’s attitudes of wanting more for less. . . .all want to get their services at a cheaper price. . .Lawyers must identify how to deliver their services more effectively, efficiently, and, more importantly, in the way the public wants to receive them.”
Bar President Elect Coleman: “In the past, clients would walk through the door wholly uneducated about issues they were consulting lawyers about. Today, a client that walks into your office has, in all likelihood, Googled just about everything having to do with their claim,” he said. “Our rules are antiquated. They were created in a much different time, and as technology is changing and evolving, we as a Bar have to keep our rules relevant to the technology that is in existence and the technology that is coming.”
He also foresees more legal work shifted to nonlawyers or performed through automation, such as the form-generation software available today.”
Jordan Furlong, lawyer, consultant, and legal industry analyst: “The dinosaurs existed for 200 million years. How did they do that? They were masters as adaptation. They evolved perfectly to fit the environment of their time. But when that environment changed very suddenly, very severely, they could not adapt fast enough. . . . .The difficulties dinosaurs encountered with the cataclysmic impact of an asteroid that dramatically altered their environment is analogous to what lawyers are currently facing.”
“We are going to need to find a way to educate people about the value of human lawyers.” FAMILY LAWYERS SEE GOOD PEOPLE AT THEIR WORST
FAMILY LAWYERS AND FAMILY LAW ARE AT GROUND ZERO Raising the Bar
April 17, 2015
“The Professional Insights Gained by Over Forty Years Experience with Children and Families: What You Don’t Know in the New Practice of Florida Family Law and Once You Know It You will Wonder How You Ever Lived Without It”
Judge Renee Goldenberg
Family Lawyers and Family Law at the Forefront
EVOLUTION OF JUDGE GOLDENBERG’S GUIDING PRINCIPLES: first rule of three
FAMILIES AND CHILDREN LEAVE SYSTEM BETTER THAN WHEN THEY ENTERED (therapeutic jurisprudence evolution)
TRIAL IS A LAST RESORT
ONE STOP SHOP
CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES: Due Process and Justice for All; Public trust and confidence in Florida State Courts: second rule of three: BOUNDARIES, FORMALITY AND CLOSURE
Family court may be only contact with the court system in Florida
Perceptions of procedural fairness are significantly affected by the quality of treatment that the public receives during every interaction with the court.
Family Court “Self Represented”: their truth and the impact on the system: emotional stages of dissolution of marriage /disability
Be mindful of bias, boundaries and formality
Treat all with respect, fairness and dignity
Strive to be fair and accurate.
Life Passage Events: emotional dissolution of marriage
(lawyer selection-hiring and firing, client selection, process and procedure, war or peace, domestic violence, settlement, courtroom entering and leaving and everything inbetween, DISCOVERY, DEFAULT, high conflict child issues (equal timesharing) and relocation, job loss, compliance and enforcement, power and control; mediation)
Legal family division proceedings. The Holmes –Rahe Social Adjustment Stress Rating Scale
[Kunzweiler v. Kunzweiler, 698 So. 2d 1251 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997)(only death of a spouse is generally reported to be more stressful for adults than divorce; more stressful than going to jail, losing job, personal injury, illness, mortgage foreclosure; for even healthy personalities, divorce is severe challenge; for persons with significant pathology, stress of divorce can cause emotional crisis; divorce causes, exacerbates or unleashes host of serious psychological problems.)]
[Nateman v. Greenbaum, 582 So. 2d 643 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991)It is recognized that a judicial officer is the sum of his past, who is expected to be influenced by real life experiences . . .Application of that experience in weighing the facts and credibility of witnesses is not inappropriate conduct in a nonjury trial . . .it is the judge’s duty, while listening and watching them, to form attitudes toward them. He must do his best to ascertain their motives, their biases, their dominating passions and interests, for only so he can judge the accuracy of their narrations. . . He must cannily penetrate through the surface of their remarks to their real purposes and motives. Impartiality is not gullibility. Disinterestedness does not make child-like innocence. If the judge did not form judgments of the actors in those court-house dramas called trials, he could never render decisions.).]
FAMILY COURT DEALS IN VOLUME: Over-saturation: paralegals or self help units = Millions of Dollars
EVOLUTION TO REVOLUTION: 15-20% of the population can afford lawyers: pro se or ‘self represented”
65% self represented
15% lawyer on one side
20% lawyers on both sides
80% pro se at end of case
927 pages of Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure and Florida Family Law Forms since 1992-1998 [revised and updated—713 So. 2d 1 (Fla. 1998)
What ‘system” has set up, including limited representation 2001-2004
Present Family Court: Expect a self represented party on approximately 50% of your cases and maybe up to 80% close to trial!
Perception of Self Represented
Who are they: all families are unique--rich and poor and everyone inbetween
What is asked for most frequently by Self-represented
APPOINTMENT OF A FREE LAWYER
What is wanted by lawyers with a self represented party on one side:
To require representation
To follow Law and Rules
To get self represented party to comply
To Sanction and Restrict
Dismiss their case
EVOLUTION TO REVOLUTION of LIBERALIZATION OF PROCEDURE with Self Represented Which Frustrates Lawyers on One Side
Strict view of Self Represented:
1925: Any person, whether an attorney or not. . ., may conduct his or her own cause in any court of this state. . . subject to the lawful rules and discipline of such court. [Section 454.18, FL ST]
1975: Self represented must comply with rules [Carr v. Grace, 321 So. 2d 618 (Fla. 3d DCA 1975)]
1992: Mistake to hold a self represented party to a lesser standard than a reasonably competent attorney. [Kohn v. City of Miami Beach, 611 So. 2d 538 (Fla. 3d DCA 1992)]
1993: Self represented pleadings are entitled to liberal construction and petition will not be dismissed simply because it is mislabeled. [Eichelberger v. Brueckheimer, 613 So. 2d 1372 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993]
1993: While it appears that amended complaint. . . contained lengthy narrative allegations, and voluminous and extraneous exhibits, dismissal is the ultimate sanction in the adversarial system and should be reserved for those aggravating circumstances in which a lesser sanction would fail to achieve a just result. [Kozel v. Ostendorf, 629 So. 2d 817 (Fla. 1993)]
1994: No strike pleadings unless noncompliance with discovery extreme. [Neal v. Neal, 636 So. 2d 810 (Fla. 1st DCA 1994)]
1995: Litigant’s right to access to the courts may be restricted upon a showing of egregiousabuse of the legal system. Attwood v. Singletary, 661 So. 2d 1216 (Fla. 1995)]
1996: Self represented letter to be read as whole and construed liberally as a pleading. [(Maritinez v. Fraxedas, 678 So. 2d 489 (Fla. 3d DC 1996)]
1999: Vacate default where respondent thought his counsel had been simultaneously served with petition. [Apple Premium Finance v. Teachers Ins., 727 So. 2d 1089)]
1999: Finding requirement: “contain an express finding of deliberate and contumacious disregard of the court’s authority.” [Spencer v. State, 751 So. 2d 47 (Fla. 1999).]
2004: Relief from judgment on colorable claim. [Chancey v. Chancey, 880 So. 2d 1281 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004).]
2004: Set aside default, general rules 1.540 insufficient where child’s wellbeing is at issue; court must receive testimony and evidence from both parents. [Causin v. Leal, 881 So. 2d 20 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004).]
2007: Self represented are given substantial leeway in litigation. [Stokes v. Dept. of Corr., 948 So. 2d 75 (Fla. 1st DCA 2007).]
2010 to present: Judge Shall Liberalize Hearing Procedure.
Sanctioning of judges: Judge violated RJC by employing an unduly rigid process in dealing with pro se petitioners for domestic violence injunctions impeding their ability to obtain relief and protection [In re Eriksson, 36 So. 3d 580 (Fla. 2010).]
Appellate Court Construing Self Represented Pleadings. Plain reading of jailed father’s pro se pleading, though poorly or inartfully drafted, shows that he was seeking a prospective modification. “We read appellant’s pro se pleading seeking abatement and modification as a request for the court to enter a subsequent, superseding order.” [Faulk v. DOR, 40 FLW D447 (Fla. 1st DCA February 18, 2015).]
Access to the Courts: PRESENT JUDICIAL PROCESS AND PROCEDURE
Florida Constitution Article 1 section 21: Access to the Court.
Judicial Education, Fairness and Procedural accommodations for self represented litigants [AJS Course on Fairness and Diversity, June 2014]
“Fairness and the Pro Se Litigant”: “to afford fairness to self represented litigants procedural accommodations are required. Cynthia Gray, “Reaching Out or Overreaching: Judicial Ethics and Self Represented Litigants State Justice Initiate” page 5, 2005 (“Some of these practices—treating litigants courteously, liberally construing pleadings, liberally allowing amendments, and asking questions to clarify evidence—cannot be considered accommodations for self represented litigants; they are requirements in all cases and for all litigants although they take on greater urgency in cases involving self represented litigants.”)]
Procedural Accommodations [(“. . . under the code of judicial conduct, no reasonable question is raised about a judge’s impartiality when the judge, in an exercise of discretion, makes procedural accommodations that will provide a diligent self represented litigant acting in good faith the opportunity to have his or her case fairly heard—and, therefore, that a judge should do so.”)
Domestic Violence Court similar to Small Claims Court rules: “In an effort to further the proceeding and in the interest of securing substantial justice, the court shall assist any any party not represented by an attorney on: (1) courtroom decorum; (2) order of presentation of material evidence; and (3) handling private information (added in 2011)
“Procedural accommodations do not change facts, law, burden of proof, or ensure victory for unrepresented litigants.