Why go it all alone?

first_imgFirm Section is always available to help Associate EditorIt seems too pat to say that one of the perks of working in a solo or small firm is that you might get to take your dog to work. But it’s true in Peggy Hoyt’s case, at least. Hoyt is co-owner of The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan and chair-elect of The Florida Bar’s General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section. And the dog is Leiden, a Papillon, who greets clients before settling down in the chair behind Hoyt. “She has to be center of attention for just a few minutes, and then she calms down. It’s great for the clients” who come to Hoyt’s firm for wills, trusts, and estates matters as well as elder law. “She really relaxes them.”Leiden’s laid-back vibe must help a lot, because Hoyt’s practice also at times personifies what’s not so great about solo and small firm practice: a lot of work to do and very few hands around to help. Hoyt & Bryan’s small team got smaller this summer when partner Randy Bryan and funding paralegal Sandra Gfell were deployed to Iraq.“We’re down to three full-time people right now,” Hoyt said. “We’re a very busy little practice.”Contrasted with attorneys at medium-sized or large firms, lawyers hanging out their own shingles have always had to do a lot of their own heavy lifting. So the section has traditionally focused on providing as much education and support as possible.“One thing that sets us apart from other sections is that we’re not focused on any one specific area of practice. We have members who do general practice, where you work on everything that walks in the door, all the way to a specialized practice,” said Theresa Morgan, a private practitioner who serves as the section’s 2008-09 CLE chair. “Our goal is to meet most, if not all, of our attorneys’ needs. We’re really focused on making sure that each presentation during our conference is something that can help everyone.”Section leadership has focused on making sure members have the necessary education and tools at their disposal to get the job done — because law school alone often doesn’t.The General Practice, Solo and Small Law Firm Section’s central goal is to enhance the quality of practice for the solo and small firm lawyer as well as the lawyer who has interests beyond the bounds of a single professional specialty.“The section does so by providing creative and effective member services,” said Chair Ana M. Veliz of Miami, in her chair’s message on the section’s Web site. “Some of these member services include offering quality CLE courses and pro bono CLEs to section members prior to meetings of the section’s executive council.”Veliz said other membership services include informative and pragmatic articles in the section’s quarterly newsletter LINK ; providing networking and informational opportunities through its new Web site — www.gpssf.org — and membership roster; mentoring young attorneys; law school outreach programs; supporting pro bono legal services throughout Florida and recognizing outstanding service to the legal profession through its Tradition of Excellence Award.“I would never, ever in a million years, recommend just hanging out a shingle when you’re fresh out of law school,” Morgan said. “I think that people are doing themselves and their clients a disservice if they don’t get the training they need. You have got to have some heavy-duty experience when you go out to practice law.”One effort that got underway at its first convention this spring was an interview session, where small practice firms looking to hire were invited to interview graduating law students from all over the state. Half of those interviewed got jobs, says organizer Linda Calvert Hanson, assistant dean for career services at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.“This kind of interview process was something that wasn’t all that familiar to smaller firm practitioners – it’s a model that has historically been used for large firms,” Hanson said. “We’re trying to help them realize that we have a wide range of very well-qualified, talented students, and helping to provide an opportunity for everyone to get together.”“Often we tend to think that the big law firms represent everyone, but they’re really the minority,” Hoyt adds. “We wanted to provide a better base of education and networking, and the interview session worked out well.”Morgan says she enjoys having a hand in choosing topics for the section’s conference, which will take place for only the second time in Spring 2009. One representative conference topic focuses on finding balance between practice management and law practice.“I’m really interested in how you can manage your overhead while you’re in small practice and still find time to practice law,” Morgan said. “It’s hard to find time even to go home at night when you’ve got all these balls in the air.”The section also completed a move in its 2006-07 year to merge with the Practice Management and Development Section, to better help attorneys of every stripe manage their practices.“We decided we could be stronger together than apart, and provide a better service to bar members,” says Camille Iurillo, former chair of the Practice Management and Development Section. “We focus on helping lawyers run their offices as successful businesses, but at the same time being successful, professional lawyers.” The General Practice, Solo and Small Why go it all alone? Why go it all alone? September 1, 2008 Kim MacQueen Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

‘Flagship’ court plan for City of London

first_imgA multi-purpose high technology court complex will replace all of the City of London’s courts apart from the Old Bailey under plans announced by HM Courts and Tribunals Service and the City of London Corporation today.The aim, part of the City’s programme to preserve its position as an international dispute resolution centre, is to set up a high technology centre specialising in fraud, economic and cyber-crime. The 18-court complex, likely to be in the traditional heart of legal London, will also take on the work of the City of London Magistrates’ Court and City of London County Court. According to a City of London announcement today, ‘the court’s close proximity to some of the world’s leading technology, financial and professional services firms in the Square Mile will enable the judiciary to be at the forefront of tackling criminal activity and resolving disputes. It would also benefit from its position near the Rolls Building, the Royal Courts of Justice, Old Bailey and Inns of Court.’The emphasis on location is an attempt by the City to counter recent moves towards regionalisation, such as the opening of regional centres of the new Business and Property Courts. The corporation pointed out that employment in legal services currently accounts for 9.1% of the Square Mile’s workforce.’This interconnectedness between financial and legal services is demonstrated by the fact that financial services firms makes up 17% of the total demand for legal services in the UK or £2.8bn,’ the announcement stated.The corporation said it would carry out a feasibility study to analyse the cost implications and identify possible sources of funding. This is expected to be completed early next year. ‘The exact location of the court will be announced in due course,’ it said. Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: ’Our legal system has been an example to the rest of the world. Playing host to some of the world’s leading regulators, financial services and tech firms, the City is a natural choice to house this modern judicial centre. This proposal will make sure London continues to set the highest legal standards domestically and internationally. Our rule of law is one of the many reasons why London is the number one financial centre in the world and this new court will add to our many existing strengths.’Justice minister Dominic Raab said: ‘This new flagship court will build on UK legal services’ unique comparative advantage, by leading the drive to tackle fraud and crack down on cyber-crime. By reinforcing the City’s world-leading reputation as the number one place to do business and resolve disputes, it’s a terrific advert for post-Brexit Britain.’Susan Acland-Hood, chief executive, HM Courts & Tribunals Service, said: ‘The development of a state of the art court in the City of London will represent a major step forward in our wider programme of reform to deliver a modern justice system. The court will be fully equipped with 21st century technology, and will be a world-leading centre for economic and cybercrime, as well as working across other activity and jurisdictions. HMCTS looks forward to working in partnership with the City of London Corporation to make these plans a reality.’last_img read more

Cliff Ellis returns to the Plains as a visitor

first_imgAUBURN – It took over 10 years for Cliff Ellis to return to Auburn’s campus.He didn’t miss much in his time away as far as basketball goes.Ever since his firing in March 2004, Auburn has been unable to replicate the success it saw under Ellis, the second-winningest coach in program history who led the Tigers to the 1999 SEC Championship and three NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Sweet 16s. Auburn has failed to make it to the Big Dance ever since.Ellis will get to see firsthand what he believes is the beginning of a resurgence of the Auburn basketball program under coach Bruce Pearl Friday night as he brings his Coastal Carolina team to the Plains.“It’s a different feeling when you come in as an opposing coach on a sideline at Auburn,” said Ellis, who went 186-125 overall and 73-87 in SEC play from 1994-2004. “It’s really unusual. It’s a strange feeling, is the best way that I can describe it but I’m glad to be back.”Pearl engineered Ellis’ return, which is part of a three-game deal between the teams with Auburn playing at Coastal Carolina in 2015 and the Chanticleers returning to the Plains in 2016. After gaining the support of Ellis’ former players during a letterman’s reunion over the summer, Pearl got the reluctant Ellis, who turns 69 Friday, to come around to the “win-win” idea.“Let us honor him, and let us remember all the good that was done. Let his former players that played for him kind of relish a little bit,” Pearl said. “I’m glad that Cliff was able to come back and play in a game. We wouldn’t play a 2-for-1 very often against (the Big South) conference, but we would for Cliff because he was a former coach here.”The 1998-99 Tigers, who Ellis led to a 29-4 record, SEC Championship and Sweet 16 appearance, will hold a private reunion after tonight’s game. Ellis described the “euphoria” of winning the 1999 conference title and the Cliff Dwellers at the old Beard-Eaves Coliseum.“Without question, it’s the most powerful team that Auburn has ever had,” Ellis said. “I will say this, and I hope it’s Bruce, the next guy who wins the regular-season championship, I will kiss his ring because I know how hard it is, and I think people associated with the program know how hard it is.”Ellis never imagined the program would see such dire times in the decade-long “slide” after his firing, though he acknowledged it’s a “hard job” for an array of reasons.“That’s surprised me,” Ellis said. “It’s a very difficult program to (make it to the NCAA Tournament) every single year here. Until the Auburn people realize that, if they ever get it going again, and I think they will, they need to understand that. They didn’t understand it at the time. It’s apparent. The next time around, I hope they learn from it.”After millions of dollars on facilities, including the $86 million Auburn Arena, and coaching staffs over the last 10 years, Ellis firmly believes Pearl is going to turn the program around.“He’s got a lot of energy, I can see it when I talk to him and visit with him,” Ellis said of Pearl. “He plays a style of game that we used to play when those championships were here. He’s pressing, he’s doing things to try to get possessions from those teams like Kentucky and people like that that are going to come in here and have all the All-Americans.“So he’s going to bring that style of play that fans like, fans are going to like him, and he’s going to get people involved and he’s going to recruit. If you do that, it’s good. I want to see it turned back.”For Auburn (3-3) to continue the turnaround this season it’ll have to get through Ellis’ Chanticleers before a nine-day break for final exams.The Tigers, who are 2-0 at home this season, are coming off a heart-breaking 46-44 loss at Texas Tech and can’t allow any carryover from Wednesday’s defeat in the closing seconds to affect Friday night’s game against a Coastal Carolina (5-2) squad that didn’t come to the Plains to lie down.“I’m here for Bruce, I’m here for Auburn, I’m here to come back but I’m here to win,” Ellis said. “and very thankful for the 10 years that I had the opportunity to coach Auburn.”Auburn vs. Coastal CarolinaWHEN: 8 p.m. todayWHERE: Auburn Arena, AuburnRECORDS: Auburn 3-3, Coastal Carolina 5-2ON THE AIR: TV – Fox Sports South. Radio – WMSP-AM 740, WLWI-FM 92.3AUBURN LINEUP: G K.C. Ross-Miller, 6-0, GS., 7.7 ppg., 2.0 apg.; G Tahj Shamsid-Deen, 5-9, So., 7.7 ppg.; G K.T. Harrell, 6-4, Sr., 17.2 ppg.; F Jordon Granger, 6-5, Jr., 5.3 ppg., 4.0 rpg.; F Cinmeon Bowers, 6-7, Jr., 13.3 ppg., 12.2 rpg.COASTAL CAROLINA LINEUP: G Warren Gillis, 6-3, Sr., 12.0 ppg., 2.8 apg.; G Shivaughn Wiggins, 5-11, So., 10.4 ppg., 3.9 rpg., 3.0 apg.; G Elijah Wilson, 6-4, So., 8.0 ppg., 3.7 rpg.; F Badou Diagne, 6-7, Jr., 7.4 ppg., 7.3 rpg.; F Tristian Curtis, 6-7, Jr., 3.2 ppg., 4.5 rpg.NOTEWORTHY: Former Auburn coach Cliff Ellis is returning to the Plains as part of a three-game deal between the programs, with Auburn going to Coastal Carolina in 2015 and the Chanticleers returning in 2016. Ellis’ 1998-99 Auburn team, which he led to a 29-4 record, SEC Championship and Sweet 16 appearance, will hold a private reunion after the game. … K.C. Ross-Miller has nine steals in the last two games. …. Graduate student Antoine Mason could miss his sixth straight game due to a sprained ankle. There is no clear timetable for the return of the nation’s leading returning scorer. … Chanticleers guard Warren Gillis had a 27-game streak of scoring in double-figures snapped on Tuesday. … Auburn is 2-0 at home and has alternated wins and losses thus far this season. … Auburn won the only previous meeting of the school, an 82-66 win in 1995, and is 14-6 all-time against Big South teams while Coastal Carolina is 3-12 all-time against SEC schools.last_img read more