Recognizing the looming issue of the “greying” of the legal profession (first noted in the 2007 NOBC-APRL report on aging), and the host of problems that may raise, FLA, the Florida Bar Center for Professionalism, the Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism, the Bar’s Legal Division, and the University of Miami Schools of Medicine and Law have embarked on an ambitious joint project to address the issues. FLA will be developing presentations and seminars to educate the bench and bar about the signs of cognitive decline, the extent of the problem, and the resources available. FLA, working with UF and the Alzheimer’s Association, will develop a screening process to determine if a legal professional may be displaying symptoms of cognitive decline and, if so, what interventions might be employed to treat, arrest, or slow the progress of the illness and what monitoring procedures may be used to protect the public, while the Bar will look at current disciplinary rules to determine how best to allow attorneys dealing with cognitive decline and dementia to retire with dignity. The Standing Committee on Professionalism and the Center for Professionalism are developing methods to utilize the resource represented by retiring attorneys, including video archives, so that years of experience and skills will not be lost through retirement or discontinuation of practice. It is hoped the joint project can produce a model that will be used by other states dealing with the issue of aging in the legal profession.
Archive for October, 2012
I had the pleasure of speaking at the Clay County Bar Association luncheon on September 27th, and as I’ve written before, these are my favorite presentations, especially when they’re held in a venue as lovely as the Continental Club in Orange Park (which I was informed was the old Palmolive vacation home). As I told the bar association members, just the fact they’re willing to give up a few hours on a workday afternoon to meet, greet, and network with their colleagues puts them in the category of lawyers who understand that legal fellowship is one of the hallmarks of professionalism. I was accompanied to the luncheon by Grier Wells, the former President of the Jacksonville Bar Association, of Gray, Robinson. Grier is the Florida Bar Board of Governors liaison to FLA, and has worked passionately on FLA’s behalf – it was a pleasure to have him at the luncheon. The representation at the luncheon of judges, experienced lawyers, and new members was truly impressive, and I really want to thank bar association President John Fagan and his staff for the invitation and lovely afternoon.