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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Oct. 18, 201805:20 AM EST

The Marbut Report: High court justices attend FAWL summit

State Supreme Court Associate Justices Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince share advice for success.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The Florida Association for Women Lawyers convened its annual summit Oct. 11-13 at the One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach.

The association presented CLE programs on business development, parental leave issues, achieving confidence and exploring the experiences of women of color in the legal profession.

The summit also celebrated the careers of women on the state Supreme Court with guests Associate Justices Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.

Along with Associate Justice Rosemary Barkett, they are the only women to serve on the state’s highest court in its 170-year history.

In the past 20 years, seven justices have been appointed, all of them men, and Pariente and Quince are retiring in January.

The association has set a goal of maintaining or increasing the number of women on the court.

“Our battle is not one that can be won overnight, or even this year, and we must remain vigilant,” FAWL President Jennifer Shoaf Richardson said in a news release.

Pariente and Quince talked about their “top 10 pieces of advice for women lawyers in Florida,” including being the best lawyer or judge you can be and devoting time and resources to community causes.

Founded in 1951, FAWL has 3,500 members in 35 chapters, making it one of the largest voluntary Bar associations in the state.

Court rules against Gov. Rick Scott

Speaking of retiring justices, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday that the next governor of Florida, not Gov. Rick Scott, will appoint the justices to replace jurists Pariente, Quince  and R. Fred Lewis.

They have reached the mandatory retirement age and will leave the bench Jan. 7, when Scott leaves the state’s chief executive office to the governor who will be elected Nov. 6, either Republican Ron DeSantis or Democrat Andrew Gillum.

After Scott said in 2016 that he planned to appoint replacements for the three retiring justices, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida asked the state Supreme Court to prevent Scott from making the appointments.

Their argument was that the vacancies would not exist until after Scott’s term in office, and the court agreed.

The court also pointed out in its opinion that the 60-day period required by state law for making appointments does not begin until a governor with the authority to make the appointments takes office.

Federal Bar Veterans Day luncheon Nov. 1

The Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association annual Veterans Day Luncheon is noon Nov. 1 in the jury assembly room at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse.

The keynote speaker will be Rear Adm. Matthew O’Keefe, reserve deputy commander of the Navy Installations Command, who also serves as an assistant state attorney for the 4th Circuit.

The event is free for members, veterans and attorneys serving in the reserves or on active duty.

RSVP to Maria Daniels at [email protected] or by visiting the event page on the website.

Also from the federal Bar, U.S. District Judge Brian Davis has a vacancy for a judicial law clerk beginning in August 2019. The salary range is $61,218 to $109,105.

Details are at

Samantha Prokop

Samantha Prokop joins Gunster

Samantha Prokop joined Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart’s Jacksonville office as a shareholder in the firm’s health care law practice.

She will focus on regulatory compliance matters and compliance, providing HIPAA assistance and defense of providers undergoing health care regulatory audits.

Additionally, her practice will aid health care and corporate clients in transactional matters, from starting new businesses to mergers and acquisitions to dissolution of partnerships.

Last year, EPI Compliance named Prokop the Top Health Care Legal Professional for 2017. She is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the North Florida Medical Group Management Association.

Melissa Nelson named to national crime board

State Attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit Melissa Nelson is the newest member of the Crime Gun Intelligence Governing Board, an initiative of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Established in 2016, the 23-member board uses the experience of federal, state and local experts in the fields of forensics, law enforcement and criminal law to ensure the ATF receives input on national programs related to Crime Gun Intelligence.

Members serve three-year terms and are eligible for reappointment. It meets biannually in cities across the U.S.

Construction is underway on the Crime Gun Intelligence Center in the State Attorney’s Office building that will be used by area law enforcement partners to investigate gun crimes.

Agencies will utilize the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, ShotSpotter and other technologies to establish investigative leads, identify shooters and prosecute those responsible for committing violent gun crimes.

FCSL competes in moot court

Teams from Florida Coastal School of Law recently participated in national moot court competitions.

Team manager Heather Masse led the teams of AJ Hernandez and Jose Cruz-Pagan; and Blair Butler and Justice Elvish to New York City on Oct. 4 for the National Latina/o Law Student Association National Moot Court Competition.

Both teams advanced out of the preliminary rounds, with Hernandez and Cruz-Pagan making it to the quarterfinals and Butler and Elvish making it to the semifinal round.

In addition, Elvish won the Best Oralist award for the competition and Hernandez and Cruz-Pagan won the Best Petitioner’s Brief award.

With team manager Ashley Armstrong, Mikaela Kadriu and Lindsey Wofford; and Ciara Henderson, Matt Letteri and Jelisa Hall traveled Oct. 6 to Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia to compete in the Leroy R. Hassell Sr. Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition.

Both Florida Coastal teams performed well over three preliminary rounds with Kadriu and Wofford advancing to the semifinals.

Wofford won the Fifth Best Oralist award.

The Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association participated Saturday in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.


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