The US/Cuba Legal Forum, Inc., and La Unión Nacional de Juristas de Cuba will put on their third annual conference aimed at promoting discussions of different views, exchanges of experience and necessary reflections on the state of US/Cuba legal relations to be held in Havana, Cuba, May 25-28.On the first day of the conference there will be several panels of four attorneys each, two from the United States and two from Cuba. The panelists will discuss important topics central to the status of US/Cuba legal relations from the perspective of both nations. Discussions will be respectful, professional, and open. Simultaneous translation English/Spanish will be available. Law professors from the US and Cuba will participate in the conference. Active participation from the conference attendees will be encouraged by workshops discussions on the second and third day of the conference. The conference will be open to attorneys, law students and legal professionals.Included, as part of the conference will be a cocktail party, two lunches, and a farewell dinner. There will be opportunities to tour the University of Havana and other places of interest.The total cost of the conference, including airfare from Miami, hotel with breakfast from Sunday to Thursday morning will be no more than $2,000.Travel from other locations in the US, additional days in Cuba and special travel requirements can be arranged by the travel agency or the sponsors. CLE credit has been applied for.For more information, contact the US/Cuba Legal Forum at [email protected], or write to US/Cuba Legal Forum, 235 S.W. LeJeune Road, 2nd Floor, Miami 33134 or call (305) 303-0660.Russell-Brown to lead UF center Measure would make it harder to avoid jury duty Two bills promoted by the Bar’s Business Law Committee have cleared a key legislative committee.The House Judiciary Committee on April 2 approved an overhaul of the state’s corporation laws and a technical bill affecting the Uniform Commercial Code.Rep. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples, sponsored HB 1623 and said it was the product of work by the state Division of Corporations, the section, law professors, and other interested parties.It streamlines many operations for the state, helps companies reduce some administrative operations, and guarantees inspection rights for company directors, among other changes, Goodlette said.“In general, it enhances and modernizes Florida’s corporate laws, encourages businesses to incorporate here, and protects investors,” Goodlette said. “It will significantly improve our corporate chapter and significantly promotes Florida as a good place to do corporate business.”The second bill HB 283, sponsored by Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Pompano Beach, would modify the UCC by adding requirement to filing amendments to financing statements, and provide exceptions to requirements for filing termination financing statements.Both were unanimously approved.Foundation seeks new fellows It would be harder to avoid jury service, and judges and the governor would lose their automatic exemption from service under a bill making its way through the House of Representatives.HB 1441, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, D-Ft. Lauderdale, also creates a fund to compensate jurors for lost wages when they serve on a lengthy case. It was passed by the House Judiciary Committee April 2 but, at Bar News deadline had no companion bill in the Senate.Smith said the measure reduces circumstances that people can cite to be excused from jury duty. It also requires that if they are excused, they must set a time within six months when they can serve, unless a judge agrees there are extreme circumstances that justify a further delay. In addition, the bill strengthens job protections for people serving on juries.It would also impose a $20 surcharge on civil filing fees to go into a fund to compensate jurors up to $300 a day after the 10th day of a trial, if their employers do not pay their wages while they serve on jury duty. The bill requires the Supreme Court to set rules for administering that fund.Rep. Philip Brutus, D-Miami, asked Smith if he really wanted judges serving on juries, noting the state law that exempts judges, the governor, and some other public officials from jury duty was being struck in the bill. “In the real world,” Smith replied, “no lawyer is going to let a judge sit on their case [on the jury]. But if we’re going to be fair and take in everyone, then let’s take in everybody.”Rep. Holly Benson, R-Pensacola, chair of the Select Committee on Article V, noted that plans for the state taking over more funding of the trial courts next year have most fees paid to clerks, not the court, and said Smith might want to change his lengthy trial compensation fund to track that. Smith promised to consider that.Committee Chair Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, said the bill would provide more sophisticated jurors, who now have problems serving, and that would help in complex trials.“We need jurors who can understand a lot of the evidence,” agreed Rep Juan-Carlos Planas, R-Miami, a former prosecutor. “I ask you to work with the people to make sure this bill becomes law. The more people on this [juror] list that we can get on the jury, the better off we’re going to be.”Business law bills moved April 15, 2003 Regular News The Florida Bar Foundation has launched a drive in the Tallahassee area to recruit more fellows to boster the Foundation’s endowment.“As lawyers, we know that a helping hand — especially from a lawyer — can truly change someone’s life,” said William H. Davis, who is chairing the Tallahassee fellows campaign and serves as the Foundation’s secretary/treasurer. “The Florida Bar Foundation funds programs all over Florida, including in Tallahassee, that extend that hand to those who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance at justice or perhaps even peace of mind.”Davis said for decades the Foundation has been providing the leadership and funding necessary to help the legal system work for all Floridians and through its endowment, “is a sound and permanent expression of our sworn duty and of our desire to meet it.”“I hope that you will join me in sustaining the Foundation’s endowment by becoming a life member of The Florida Bar Foundation, through the Fellows program,” Davis said. “There are currently only 57 Fellows in Tallahassee, and our legal community clearly can and should be much better represented in this good work.”You can become a fellow by pledging a tax-deductible gift of $1,000 that is payable over five years or less. For more information about becoming a fellow, call the Foundation’s Amanda Styles at (800) 541-2195, or Davis at (850) 222-0720, or log on to the Foundation’s Web site at www.flabarfndn.org.Law Day event set for Tallahassee On May 1 The Florida Bar Foundation, Legal Services of North Florida, Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association and The Capital City Bar Presidents Council will celebrate Law Day with a reception and dinner at the president’s box and the University Club at Doak Campbell Stadium.The reception will run from 5- 7 p.m., and will be an opportunity to recognize all volunteer attorneys, fellows of The Florida Bar Foundation, and Bruce Conroy, the recipient of The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Second Judicial Circuit. The recognition program will be addressed by the Charlie Crist, Florida’s attorney general. The dinner follows the reception and will be on the third floor ballroom of the University Club at 7 p.m., with special guests and speakers Second Circuit Public Defender Nancy A. Daniels and Melanie Ann Hines, the former statewide prosecutor.Bill Davis, chair of The Florida Bar Foundation Tallahassee fellows campaign, will be recognizing local fellows of the Foundation. The Capital City Bar Presidents Council also will be presenting the second Richard W. Ervin Equal Justice Award to Public Defender Daniels. Daniels was selected in recognition of her significant contributions to Florida’s legal justice system.The reception is open to the public with the recognition program beginning at 6:15 p.m. General parking is available. Guests may use the elevator entrance left of Section C of Doak Campbell Stadium. Entertainment and refreshments will be served. Tickets for the dinner are available in advance by mailing $35 per person by check to the Tallahassee Bar Association at P.O. Box 813, Tallahassee 32302, by April 25.US/Cuba legal forum set for May 25-28 in Havana Briefs Katheryn Russell-Brown has been named director of the University of Florida Levin College of Law Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations.“We conducted a very thorough national search to find someone with Katheryn’s unique combination of scholarship and leadership,” said Dean Jon Mills. “She not only has strong academic credentials, she possesses the ability to foster unity and understanding across campus and throughout the state. I believe she will deepen our knowledge of racial issues and help us develop strategies for the future.”“This is a wonderful opportunity to continue and elevate the important but challenging local, national, and global conversation on race,” said Russell-Brown, who comes from the University of Maryland, where she was an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice. “UF’s law school offers an intellectually rigorous and welcoming environment for this work.”The Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations seeks to promote racial understanding, interracial dispute resolution, racial equality and racial healing, and to influence public policy through university, local, state, and national projects. It also brings guest speakers to campus and hosts state and national conferences.Russell-Brown is the author of two books, The Color of Crime and the forthcoming Underground Codes: Race, Crime, and Related Fires, both published by New York University Press. Her 1994 article, “The Constitutionality of Jury Override in Alabama Death Penalty Cases,” published in the Alabama Law Review, was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v. Alabama (1995).Broward Bar offers benefit The Broward County Bar Association has forged an agreement with DeskTop Business Solutions to provide its members with a technological benefit.DTBusiness, a Web-based technology company, has developed L.A.W.S./Pro, an application that provides attorneys with anytime, anywhere access to the functions needed to run their firm, including calendaring; case management; invoicing; back office accounting – accounts receivable, check writing, general ledger, trust processing; document management and storage; secure email; and legal research.For more information call the BCBA at (954) 764-8040.