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Legal Briefs (Tampa edition)

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  • | 6:00 p.m. February 11, 2005
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Legal Briefs (Tampa edition)

Debate simmers over

out-of-state attorneys

Nearly a year ago John Yanchunis responded to the criticism over the Florida Bar plan to amend the rules that govern the practice of out-of-state attorneys. Opposition to some of the proposed rule changes thrust the Tampa Bay area attorney into a larger leadership role because of his work as chairman of the bar's Special Commission on the Multijurisdictional Practice of Law.

Clearwater attorney Stephen Krosschell, for instance, claims the proposed rules change would penalize out-of-state arbitration practitioners. The Goddman & Nekvasil PA attorney argues the rules would invalidate decades of established practice.

The proposed changes also elicited concerns over perceived limitations and restrictions from industry groups such as the Association of Corporate Counsel, National Association for the Advancement of Multijurisdictional Practice, Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and the Securities Industry Association.

It also pits Yanchunis, a partner at Tampa's James Hoyer Newcomer & Smiljanich PA, against Stanford "Sandy" Solomon in his role as chairman of the bar's Rules of Judicial Administration Committee.

Comments from Solomon, a partner at Tampa's Solomon Tropp Law Group, reveal infighting among the bar leadership. For instance, Solomon accuses the bar's Board of Governors of not following procedures by adopting some of the changes proposed by Yanchunis' commission.

Solomon took exception to the board's decision to adopt commission recommendations without input from his committee. That's a claim Yanchunis denies.

On Feb. 10, the Florida Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments from Yanchunis, Solomon and others over the proposed rule changes. It's uncertain when the court will issue its final ruling on petition No. SC04-135. The petition and responses are available in digital form at the court's Web site (

Practice leader resigns

from Trenam Kemker

The lure of corporate law practice apparently enticed Liz Pascale Francis to abandon her job as head of the environmental law practice at Trenam Kemker Scharf Barkin Frye O'Neill & Mullis PA.

Francis, 46, recently left the Tampa firm for a job as in-house counsel at J.T. Walker Industries Inc., a Clearwater-based provider of corrugated and custom boxes and recycling services. Francis would not comment, but a source tells GCBR she left the firm on good terms for a good opportunity.

Admitted to the Florida Bar in 1989, Francis graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned a law degree from the Stetson University College of Law.

Court disciplines three

Tampa Bay area lawyers

The Florida Supreme Court recently suspended David Vazquez of Tampa and Kathryn Lynn Schoen and Frederick James Bischoff IV, both of St. Petersburg

The court suspended Vazquez for 30 months and put him on two years probation. It accused him of failing to disclose to the buyer in a real estate deal that the seller traditionally pays for title insurance. Bischoff happened to have a personal relationship with the female seller.

Schoen received a 91-day suspension on a charge she failed to appear for a client's probation evidentiary hearing.

Bischoff received a 30-day suspension on charges he failed a drug test while participating in the Florida Bar-affiliated lawyer substance abuse rehabilitation program.

Rally for cause

2 lines

Peter Richard had just joined the Hillsborough County Bar Association when President Bush activated his military reserve unit and sent it to Iraq.

However, it didn't stop the young lawyer - he was admitted to the Florida Bar in September - from getting involved with the association's community liaison committee.

From Iraq, Richard has spearheaded a used-clothing drive for a group of impoverished Iraqi children.

This is just one of the projects adopted this year by the community liaison committee. Committee co-chairs are Glen Katon of Bush Ross Gardner & Rudy PA and Kelly Bopp Cone of Williams Schifino Mangione & Steady PA.

Under their leadership, the committee also has staged a fundraiser for victims of the Southeast Asian tsunami. So far, the committee has raised $10,000, with Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid contributing $5,000 in matching donations.

New digs

About three years ago, the partners at Tampa's Wetherington Hamilton & Harrison PA invested in an aging commercial building at the southwest corner of Florida Avenue and Harrison Street. Now the firm is doubling its size.

The firm razed the property and then broke ground Feb. 7 on what will become a 9,500-square-foot headquarters. Including the land, the partners expect to invest about $2 million.

Announcement of the construction follows a decision by lawyers Wade Wetherington, Ted Hamilton and Shawn Harrison to promote Andrea Fair to partner and rename the firm as Wetherington Hamilton Harrison & Fair PA.

Harrison says the new building will contains space for 15 lawyers. The firm now employs seven.

Wetherington, Hamilton and Harrison purchased the site as individual investors. They'll lease the site to the law firm.

Judicial investitures

The courts in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties officially invested three county judges whose six-year terms began Jan. 4.

In Pinellas, judges Kathleen Hessinger and John Carballo took the ceremonial oath of office during Jan. 31 ceremonies. Chief Judge David Demers has assigned Hessinger to the criminal court and Carballo to traffic court.

In Hillsborough, County Judge Tom Barber took the oath of office at a Feb. 4 ceremony. Chief Judge Manuel Menendez Jr. has assigned Barber to the criminal court.


David Adams promoted

Broad & Cassel has promoted David Adams to partner in the Tampa office.

Adams, who joined the firm in 2002, is a member of the commercial litigation, labor-employment and intellectual property practice groups. A University of Central Florida graduate, he earned a law degree in 1991 from the Florida State University College of Law. He also is a certified public accountant.

Nancy Paikoff promoted

The shareholders at Tampa's Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen PA promoted Nancy Paikoff to shareholder.

Paikoff practices in the areas of health care, medical malpractice defense and business and corporate law. She earned a law degree in 1990 from Stetson University College of Law.

Luis Martinez-Monfort promoted

The partners at Tampa's Mills Paskert Divers PA recently elected Luis Martinez-Monfort as a shareholder. He chairs the firm's bankruptcy and creditors' rights practice group.

A graduate of Emory University, he earned a law degree from Stetson University College of Law and a master of laws in taxation from the University of Miami School of Law.

Allen Dell hires Gary Walker

Gary Walker has joined Tampa's Allen Dell PA, where he focuses on health care law.

Walker was one of about 10 attorneys who have left the Tampa office of Akerman Senterfitt PA over the past several months.

Besides his law practice, Walker serves as treasurer and director of the Hillsborough County Bar Association. He earned a law degree in 1978 from the Florida State University College of Law.

Fowler White hires associates

Jennifer G. Roeper and Sally T. Woodward are new associates at Tampa's Fowler White Boggs Banker PA.

Roeper concentrates on immigration and naturalization law. A graduate of Long Island University, she earned a law degree from the American University Washington College of Law.

Woodward practices in the area of general business, corporations, limited liability companies, limited and general partnerships, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and transactional law. A graduate of Florida State University, she earned a law degree from Stetson University College of Law.

Send legal news to David R. Corder, associate editor, 408 E. Madison St., Tampa 33602, or call (813) 221-9505, ext. 314, or send e-mail to [email protected]


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