December 15, 2002 Letters

first_imgLetters Dignity in LawI am writing to support Tod Aronovitz and the Dignity in Law program. As a former prosecutor, public defender, judge of industrial claims, a partner with former Florida Bar President Bill Blews, and now as a tenured full professor of law, I have seen in my 30 years of being in the practice of law a lot of unwarranted attacks on a profession I still find to be noble and inspirational.I am proud to be a lawyer, and I want everybody to know the whole story about our great profession, and I want someone to respond to the unjustified attacks on our profession. Tod is doing that, but he needs our help. We lawyers need to stand together in this campaign and put aside provincial interests. It’s not about civil trial lawyers versus criminal trial lawyers and trial lawyers versus transactional lawyers. It’s about defending who and what we are. And if you are anything like me, I sometimes forget who we are and what we do. So I pull out any Bar Journal and reread the “Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar” (found this year on page 831of the Journal’s directory issue).I first “took” the “Oath” in the well of the Florida Supreme Court in the spring of 1972. It gave me goose-bumps then and it still does. I read it again before writing this letter. And when I read about “justice” and “honesty,” and “truth and honor,” “maintaining confidences,” and “preserving inviolate the secrets of my client,” and about honor and reputation, and about “never rejecting from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless and the oppressed,” I realize why I became a lawyer and how my brothers and sisters at the Bar are “living” that “Oath.” Why shouldn’t we defend ourselves when we are attacked unjustifiably? Why shouldn’t we point out to our critics the greatness of our profession?Sure we have shortcomings, and things to do to make the justice system fairer, and we need to work harder in those areas, but what other profession polices itself as much and as openly as we do? Sure, I am ashamed of the things some of us do, but I am also extremely proud of what others do. We publish the shameful stuff and our shortcomings in our own publications.Why can’t we publish the good stuff, the rest of our story? I say, ‘Keep it up, Tod.’ I am a lawyer, and I am proud of what we do.Steve Everhart Criminal Law Section chairFoster KidsI was thrilled to read the article in the November 1 News about the Summer Fun For Kids Program in Miami, which was organized by several local lawyers to provide summer camp and other fun experiences for foster children. As a foster parent of two teenagers, and the treasurer of our local (Pinellas) foster parent association, I have seen firsthand what a huge difference such opportunities can make in the life of a foster child.In Florida, about 46,500 children are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Children and Families. Of these, almost 20,000 are in foster care. Many others live with their parents or relatives, under DCF supervision. The average length of stay in foster care is 33 months; and 18 percent of foster children have been in care for five years or longer.All of these children are at risk, and all of them have had to face very difficult circumstances in their young lives. Some have been shuffled from family to family for years. Some have suffered physical abuse, some emotional abuse, and neglect. The amazing thing is that each of these children has tremendous potential to grow and develop into a caring, productive adult. But each needs good role models to teach them how. Summer camps and other such activities, where responsible, caring adults show an interest, are a huge influence and give these kids the hope and skills they need.I would like to thank the attorneys who organized the program in Dade. Also, if any others would be interested in participating by starting start a similar program in the Pinellas County area, please contact me.Uta Grove ClearwaterLawyers and AlcoholI read with interest the November 15 full page “In Practice” article by Timothy J. Sweeney titled “A Clinical Look at the Chemically Dependant Lawyer.”Isn’t it a little inconsistent that lawyers would spend so much time and money and even have a staff attorney for and director of a “Recovering Attorneys’ Program,” when in fact we base every meeting we have on a cocktail reception? Can you think of a time when lawyers got together other than in a courtroom or at a closing without prefacing or completing their meeting with alcohol? Just scan the agenda for the Midyear Meeting.Maybe we should re-examine how we do things and then we can spend a little less time and money on recovery.William C. Davell Ft. Lauderdale December 15, 2002 Letters December 15, 2002 Letterslast_img

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