Bar’s future to be shaped by technology

first_img February 15, 2009 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Bar’s future to be shaped by technology Bar’s future to be shaped by technology Senior EditorLawyers and The Florida Bar will face tough economic conditions for the next few years, even as the Bar grows to around 100,000 members.More lawyers will hang out their own shingles, but Florida residents will find it harder to afford legal services and the need for pro bono work will rise. The Bar will have to help address these matters, and increasing the use of technology is likely to be one approach. Those are some of the findings of the recent Board Strategic Planning Committee’s annual workshop.The Bar Board of Governors, at its January 30 meeting in Tallahassee, ratified the Bar’s strategic plan for 2009-12. The goals remain the same as with the previous plan but, as Bar President-elect Jesse Diner reported, the ways of obtaining those objectives have dramatically changed.“Because of the economic conditions in this country, because of the economic conditions in Florida, because we perceive our lawyers will be severely affected by it. . . we really took a look at it in another way,” Diner told the board. “The economic conditions really changed our entire perspective.”The four goals of the plan remain unchanged: ensuring that the judicial system is fair, impartial, independent, and adequately funded; promoting the legal profession and improving the public perception of the judicial system; ensuring access to the courts and the availability of legal services; and enhancing and improving the value of Bar membership and improving the Bar’s relationship with its members.But there’s a sense that the goals have taken on more urgency and that there will be support for finding innovative ways to achieve them, Diner said.He added, “There’s going to be a lot of change and technology is going to be at the root of all of it.”As an example, Diner cited the Bar Journal directory issue. He said the Bar loses around $140,000 annually printing the directory and all of the information it contains is available online. Further, because of the lag time in publishing the directory, “By the time it’s printed, it’s out of date,” he said.Other potential changes include beefing up the Bar’s Web site to improve communications and services for Bar members, perhaps printing fewer issues of the Bar News, and a Supreme Court-requested review of Bar advertising rules.The Bar also may help lawyers retrain for new practice areas and to deal with new technologies that impact their practices, he said.Board member Ian Comisky noted that the Bar spends around $200,000 a year printing materials for CLE courses, and that expense can be reduced by posting the material online so attendees can download it electronically.“There is a lot about the way we do business that is going to have to change,” Diner replied. “With hard economic times comes opportunity.. . . There is an appetite for change because there is a necessity for change.”The strategic report contains extensive lists of goals, findings, problems, and issues facing the Bar and Florida lawyers. Those include:• With membership growing by 2,500 to 3,000 annually, the Bar’s current 85,000 membership will almost certainly grow to 95,000 to 100,000 in the next five years. Augmenting that trend is that more people tend to go to law school in poor economic times, plus an 11th law school is making plans to open in Florida.• The current severe recession will greatly impact the practice of law. “The status of the economy is already having a very strong effect on various different types of attorneys ( e.g. , transaction attorneys, real property attorneys, public defenders, state prosecutors, other government attorneys, and younger attorneys just out of law school) as well as the legal profession as a whole,” the report said. It also noted, “There are increased demands from clients and the marketplace for more value and efficiency, with additional increasing pressure regarding attorney rates and collections.”• Court efficiency has been reduced because of budget cuts made by the state, which overall has lost $12 billion in revenues in the past three years. In addition, inadequate judicial compensation may affect the quality of the judiciary.• One positive development is relations have improved with the executive and legislative branches of government and “there has been some compromise reached regarding a fair, impartial, and independent judiciary,” the report said.• Despite the increasing number of lawyers in Florida, the amount of pro bono provided has been flat or declining. In addition, the report said, “There is potential for pro bono to drop even more significantly over the next few years as more and more attorneys face difficult times.” That development comes as budget cuts have decreased legal services funding, and “it is becoming more difficult for the average citizen in Florida to be able to afford an attorney.”• While the Bar itself remains on good financial footing, it will face challenges. The report noted that the Clients’ Security Fund is underfunded and a large number of claims are anticipated soon, necessitating a review of that program. And while a membership dues increase has been considered it is “not likely at the moment due to the status of the economy.. . . If The Florida Bar leadership does not decide to apply a dues increase, priorities will need to be set as to how the Bar spends its money.”In addressing the four strategic plan goals, the report said progress had been made on ensuring an adequately funded judiciary that is fair and impartial. It specifically noted that the relationship with the Florida Legislature has improved and progress has been made on budget cuts to the third branch.“There may also be an opportunity to secure permanent, dedicated funding either through legislation or through a constitutional amendment,” the report said. It added that the challenge is too great for the court alone and the Bar must be actively involved in funding efforts.The report concluded on court financing, “This situation is much bigger than The Florida Bar. On a scale of 1 to 10, it is a 10 and the situation will continue to get worse unless some short-term and long-term solutions are developed.”On improving the public perception of the profession and the judiciary, the report noted that can be very difficult to measure and recommended limited resources be expended in this area. “The Bar should examine whether there are innovative, yet economical, technological ways to get the Bar’s message out to the public.”On access to courts and legal services, the report noted pro bono hours are unchanged or declining and there will be further pressure on those services because of the poor economy. In addition, The Florida Bar Foundation is seeing its revenues fall because of the economy.On enhancing the value of Bar membership and the Bar’s relationship with its members, the report noted increased use of the Bar’s Web site. It also said technology offers a way to improve services even more, concluding, “The 85,000 [Bar] members represent a critical resource. Because of the judicial funding crisis, coupled with the status of the economy, more members than ever before will rely on The Florida Bar for assistance.” A full copy of the strategic report is posted on the Bar’s Web site, read more

SRS Real Estate Partners hires new senior vice president

first_imgSRS Real Estate Partners has welcomed Brad Balbo as senior vice president in the Phoenix office. A well-known individual in the Phoenix industry with an established reputation, he specializes in the leasing, valuation, and operations of retail shopping centers and excels in all things restaurant related. He will focus primarily on landlord and tenant representation and investment sales alongside the Phoenix team.Balbo brings more than 21 years of experience to SRS and started his career with Trammell Crow Company in in early 1990s. Balbo was a top producer and launched that into a successful career of leasing, development, and investment sales. During the 2000s, he joined Pacific Capital Investments as Director of Leasing and Principal. Based in California at that time, he helped grow the investment portfolio to more than $800 million, and managed a team of brokers across the Western U.S.He most recently worked with a boutique firm in Scottsdale, where he was a top producer. Balbo comes highly recommended by individuals in the industry and is known for his integrity, passion, positive attitude, leadership and creative marketing strategies.Balbo has a pre-law degree from the University of North Texas. He is an avid golfer and sports fan. He enjoys traveling, reading and traveling with his wife, Julie.“Brad is a highly respected and well-established professional in the Phoenix retail real estate industry,” said Ed Beeh, EVP and market leader in the Phoenix office. “We are very lucky to have him join us in Phoenix.”last_img read more

Samaritans, Wildlife Trooper Save Stranded Seal

first_imgFacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享When a seal pup turned up alone and in harm’s way on a beach near Ninilchik on Saturday, good Samaritans stepped in and called Alaska Wildlife Troopers. NOTE from ASLC: In most cases, young wildlife found alone are not abandoned. Normally their mothers are out of sight, but nearby. If you see a young animal you believe to be orphaned, report your concerns to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office or Alaska Wildlife Troopers post nearest you. Responding Wildlife Trooper  Cassandra Hajicek of the Soldotna Post: “Eagles were attacking (the pup) and he was unable to fend them off.” According to Troopers: “Last we heard, the little fella was looking healthy, eating, and settling into a safe and nurturing environment.”center_img For a listing of AWT posts, visit The Samaritans snatched the seal pup and cared for it until Wildlife Trooper Hajicek arrived, according to Troopers.The seal was transported to Soldotna where Alaska Sealife Center staff were waiting to take him to their rehabilitation facility in Seward.last_img read more

Champs debut means a lot to Denham Town

first_imgDenham Town High School coach Junior Forbes says that he is expecting outstanding performances from the institution’s two representatives at this year’s ISSA/Gracekennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.The west Kingston-based institution, which is competing at the Championships for the first time in its history, is being represented by Rodaine Ascot in the boys’ Class One 400m and Tyrese Green in the boys’ Class One 200m event. Forbes told The Gleaner that both athletes have made the school community very proud and that they are expecting great things from them at the Championships.“This is historic for Denham Town because this is the first time for us at Boys’ Championships after all these years,” said Forbes.“I have trained four boys from Denham Town, three qualified for Champs, but I have only taken two because these qualified with the A standard,” he added.The coach, who is expecting at least one of his athletes to qualify for a final, shared that the boys’ achievements have also given hope to the community. “These boys have given the school a lot of hope coming into Champs because I am sure that Ascot will make it into the Class One 400m final,” Forbes said.He added that both athletes have become role models for their peers, and a lot more kids at the school are now getting involved in track and field. BIG ACHIEVEMENT “I feel great about this because it brings new life to this area where the school is located,” said Forbes. “It is not just about Manning Cup for Denham Town any more. It is also track and field now, and competing at a big events like Boys and Girls’ Championships is a tremendous achievement for Denham Town.”The veteran coach noted that despite the limited resources, both athletes are determined to make the school community and their family proud.“The community is feeling great about these kids, and I tell you, I not only coached them, but I also sponsored them with the little help that we get from the school. We appreciate it,” said Forbes.“Going forward for 2020, we are looking to have a better team and better effort with both Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town because I train both schools together,” he said.last_img read more