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Jax Daily Record Monday, Sep. 3, 200712:00 PM EST

Judiciary and Bar join forces in the name of professionalism

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

A phalanx of Federal, Circuit and County Court judges joined more than 400 members of the Jacksonville Bar Association last Thursday for a symposium to study ways to work together to maintain professionalism.

The afternoon-long program began with an address by Florida Supreme Court Justice and Chair of the Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism Raoul Cantero who shared his thoughts on professionalism as well as several of his personal experiences throughout his career relating to issues of professional conduct.

“I haven’t seen so many people in a room talking about professionalism in a long time. It’s very gratifying to see so many people interested in the issue,” he said.

Cantero also said when he went before the Judicial Nominating Commission in 2002, he talked about three things he wanted to accomplish while on the court and the first was professionalism.

“Professionalism does exist. Bar associations such as this promote it by fostering social relationships among lawyers who may one day be adversaries.

“As a lawyer I found that developing relationships with opposing counsel changed the way we dealt with each other. Settlements were more common and even when we could not settle, the case was less stressful.”

First District Court of Appeals Chief Judge Edwin Browning also addressed his colleagues and JBA members and said, “Professionalism is everyone’s responsibility” and encouraged the “more mature” attorneys to mentor younger members of the Bar.

“When a young lawyer asks you a question, take the time to answer. You’re going to be able to pay your bills at the end of the month,” he added.

“We understand our responsibility in teaching future lawyers the importance of professionalism. It is a foundation of our curriculum. We include ethics in all of our courses,” said Peter Goplerud, dean of Florida Coastal School of Law.

Court Counsel and Jacksonville Bar Association President Caroline Emery said the large panel of distinguished judges who contributed to the symposium was “Due to Chief Judge Moran encouraging them to participate.”

“It’s impossible to have professionalism without having the judiciary involved,“ said Moran.

Emery also pointed out participants were eligible for a total of 6.5 CLE credits, including 5.5 for Ethics. In addition, the members of the judiciary are eligible for 3.75 CJE in Ethics.

“That’s unusually high. I guess the Florida Bar liked our agenda and presenters,” she said.

Emery also said there was a reason behind the post-symposium reception that went beyond the social aspect.

“It’s an opportunity for the people who are here today to form lasting relationships. Hopefully that will help us continue the work we began here today.”

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