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Florida winter bar exam passage rate now at lowest point in 8 years

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bar exam failure

How low can we go: The number of first-time Florida Bar takers who pass the February administration of the exam has plummeted to its lowest level in eight years. Of 751 first-time takers, 433 passed the bar, or 57.7 percent, according to a Monday release from the state’s Board of Bar Examiners. That’s down from the high pass rate of 80.2 percent in February 2013, when there were 819 first-timers, and the lowest passing percentage for the February exam since 2009. “Save for…

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Florida Bar to honor St. Petersburg lawyer

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Jennifer Edwards has been named the recipient of the 2017 Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Service Award. The award recognizes public service or legal aid performed by a lawyer who is younger than 36 and who has not practiced for more than five years. It will be presented at a Jan. 19 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida in Tallahassee. The awards ceremony will also honor individual, circuit, law firm, voluntary bar, state judicial and federal judicial…

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Martin Dyckman: Pam Bondi’s mess too pungent to ignore

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Assume that Pam Bondi were a judge. That’s a dismal prospect but bear with it. Assume further that she asked for a campaign contribution from a big shot businessman who was being sued in her court — and that after getting the money, she dismissed the case. If she was a judge, instead of Florida’s attorney general, she could be kicked out of office simply for asking anyone for a campaign contribution, even without a pending case being involved. The…

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Justices consider change to lawyer-pay rules

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The Florida Supreme Court took a look at the high cost of lawyering on Wednesday. The justices considered a change to the rules governing the state’s attorneys on how they can get paid. Specifically at issue are “the legal needs of people who win settlements in personal injury or wrongful death cases but then find themselves faced with medical liens,” the court’s press summary said. Such plaintiffs may get settlements or verdicts of large cash awards, then are faced with…

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Did suspended attorney steal funds from disabled girl?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa attorney David Whigham made a career setting up special needs trusts for his clients, acting as a guardian of such trusts in at least dozens — and possibly hundreds — of cases. However, Whigham’s law license was suspended in March 2016 after the Florida Bar accused him of stealing at least $899,431 from the Joseph E. Steurlein Revocable Living Trust. According to court documents, the Bar accused Whigham, 48, of “causing great public harm by misappropriating client funds to be…

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Miami attorney to become Florida Bar president in 2017

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Miami attorney Michael J. Higer has been chosen to become president of the Florida Bar in 2017. Bar officials say Higer’s term will begin after Tampa lawyer William J. Schifino Jr. serves in the post next year. Both will be sworn in at the Florida Bar convention in June 2016. Higer has been a member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors since 2008. He is a Miami Beach native with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and…

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Group launches education and outreach campaign gearing up for 2017/2018 Florida Constitution Review

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Every 20 years, a group convenes to review the Florida Constitution and recommend changes to go before voters for approval. The LeRoy Collins Institute is launching an education and outreach effort aimed at getting ready for that process. The 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission will consist of 37 appointees. In all, 18 groups from across the state are coming together to form the Partnership for Revising Florida’s Constitution. The partnership will oversee a public education outreach campaign aimed at outlining the…

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