January 1, 2005 Regular News briefs BriefsPANZA, MAURER & MAYNARD are shown here with many of the gifts contributed by attorneys and staff to benefit foster children of Broward County. The firm provided gifts to Childnet, an organization that oversees the needs and wishes of foster children and their families during the holiday season. HACKETT AND CARR celebrated its 80th anniversary by giving 80 new, classic hardbound books to each of the 10 elementary schools in Charlotte County. The 800 books were hand-delivered to schools in December and volunteers from the firm read their personal favorites to classes throughout each elementary school. The county’s elementary schools alone lost roughly $800,000 worth of books to this year’s hurricanes. CORAL GABLES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CEO/president and Army Reserve Col. Lettie J. Bien recently returned to Miami after a year serving in Baghdad. Col. Bien, a University of Miami law graduate, is a civil affairs officer and was assigned as the U.S. Government’s senior advisor/consultant to the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Minerals, which is responsible for the majority of Iraq’s state owned enterprises. Col. Bien was also appointed by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to the Iraqi Privatization Commission, a national level organization formed to review and advise on the transition toward privatization of the over 200 state owned enterprises. The Coral Gables Chamber is hosting an official welcome home gala for her January 22 at the Country Club of Coral Gables, which is open to the public. Bien is pictured in Iraq with U.S. Ambassador John Dimitri Negroponte. THE FLORIDA BAR’S Tallahassee staff again donated hundreds of toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, one of the nation’s flagship Christmas charitable endeavors and the U.S. Marine Corps’ premier community action program. Over the past 56 years, U.S. Marines have distributed more than 15 million new toys to 6.6 million needy youngsters throughout the nation. The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help needy children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable natural resources — our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future. THE CUBAN AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION recently presented Leonard P. Strickman, dean of Florida International University College of Law, with a check for $30,000 to endow a Cuban American Bar Merit Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to Cuban American law students who distinguish themselves through outstanding academic achievement or any law students who distinguish themselves through outstanding academic achievement and scholarship on the subject of human rights violations in Cuba or the re-establishment of a democratic rule of law in Cuba. Jennifer Remy was selected as the 2004 recipient. Last year, CABF created a similar merit scholarship at FIU in honor of Mario Goderich, retiring member of the Third District Court of Appeal and the first Cuban American circuit court judge in Florida. “We are very excited to be able to provide FIU with two merit scholarships in order to assist in their efforts to make legal education available to a broader cross-section of our community,” said Victor M. Diaz, Jr., CABF’s president. “Our goal is to raise sufficient funds to create merit scholarships at every public law school throughout Florida.” CABF endowed the first Cuban American Bar Scholarship at the University of Miami School of Law in 2002. Pictured from the left are Ramon A. Abadin, president of CABA; Remy; Strickman; and Diaz.Hillsborough Bar gets $1.5 million gift The family of Chester H. Ferguson has contributed $1.5 million to help fund a permanent home for the Hillsborough County Bar Association and HCBA Foundation. The two-story Mediterranean-revival building will be located on North Tampa Street, just north of Interstate 275, adjacent to the new Stetson University College of Law, Tampa Campus. The 17,000 sq. ft. facility will provide administrative offices for the HCBA and foundation, meeting rooms, a small pub, and a great hall complete with catering facilities. Materials for the exterior will be similar to and compatible with the Stetson architecture, which includes a barrel-tile roof, second-story balustrades and columns, arched windows, and a rusticated stone base.FSU gets $700,000 endowment gift Florida State University College of Law alum Jeff Stoops and his wife Aggie Stoops have made a commitment of $700,000 to fund the Jeffrey A. Stoops and Agnes Flaherty Stoops Endowment at the school. Once the commitment is fulfilled, the gift will be eligible for a 70 percent match from the state, bringing the total endowment to almost $2.2 million. One half of the earnings from the endowment will go toward the Jeffrey A. Stoops Professorship at the college of law, designed to attract or to retain a highly productive professor specializing in the areas of corporate, business, or securities law. The other half will fund the Agnes Flaherty Stoops Professorship at the School of Social Work and will be awarded to a professor whose focus is in the area of child welfare. Aggie Stoops received her master’s degree in social work from FSU in 1983. Jeff Stoops, who graduated from law school in 1984, said the gift, which will be made over a period of time, is a way to express appreciation for the “wonderful and enriching experiences” he and his wife had at Florida State. Jeff Stoops is president of SBA Communications Corporation in Boca Raton. As a Florida businessman, Stoops said he is keenly aware of the need for quality business lawyers. “As a former practicing corporate and securities lawyer, I was thrilled with the opportunities but also witnessed at times a large amount of work from Florida corporations going to out-of-state lawyers,” he said. “making this gift, we hope to facilitate the further development of the corporate and securities bar within Florida.”Jacksonville Legal Aid gets $50,000 Jacksonville Area Legal Aid has received a $50,000 grant from Wayne and Patricia Hogan through The Hogan Foundation to fund the Hogan Fellowship in Children’s Advocacy and Mental Health. The fellowship provides salary, benefits, and related expenses for an attorney dedicated to preserving the rights of the Jacksonville’s emotionally and mentally ill. The agency will provide to the mentally ill a dedicated advocate to assist in cases of neglect, discrimination, and dependency. Effective immediately, JALA is accepting applications for the fellowship by mail. “This project, which to my knowledge is the first of its kind in Florida and possibly the nation, will allow us to specifically serve mentally ill adults and children with a dedicated attorney who can offer quality representation for a variety of legal situations,”said JALA Executive Director Michael Figgins. Those interested in the one-year Hogan Fellowship in Children’s Advocacy and Mental Health position must submit a cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation, and a 500-word essay explaining his or her interest in the position by January 8 to be considered for the fellowship. Applicants, including recent law school graduates, must be licensed to practice law in the state of Florida or, if from out of state, be willing to sit for the next Florida bar exam. Candidates should be high-energy, self-motivated individuals who can demonstrate a commitment to working with economically disadvantaged people. More information is available by contacting the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid office at (904) 356-8371.St. Thomas U. law school to honor Chief Judge Levy St. Thomas University School of Law will host a reception January 7 honoring Third District Court of Appeal Chief Judge-elect David L. Levy, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Third DCA’s Miami courthouse at 2001 S.W. 117th Ave. Judge Levy is also an adjunct professor of law at St. Thomas University and the recipient of the school’s 2003 Jurist of the Year Award given by the law school alumni.Dirmann to lead ABOTA chapter The Sarasota/Bradenton Chapter of ABOTA recently held its annual Christmas party and installation its new officers, including President Jim Dirmann. Other officers include President-elect Bob Lyons, FLABOTA and National Board Representative Gary Wilkins, Treasurer Teresa Jones, Secretary/Historian Steve Brannan, and Membership Chair Geoffrey Morris.