Message from the Chair, Nicolas Swerdloff

Dear Section Member:

On behalf of the International Law Section of the Florida Bar, it is my pleasure to introduce the Section’s Officers for the 2011-2012 Bar year:

Chair: Nicolas Swerdloff
Treasurer: Peter A. Quinter
Secretary: C. Ryan Reetz
Chair Elect: Richard C. Lorenzo
Immediate Past Chair: Edward M. Mullins

On behalf of the Section, I also want to extend my gratitude to our Immediate Past Chair, Ed Mullins. Ed’s service and dedication to the Section during the past year has been immeasurable. Through his hard work and effort, we are a much stronger Section.

ILS Opposes Florida Legislation House (HB 1273) and Senate (SB 1294)

VERY IMPORANT MESSAGE 
from the Chair, Edward M. Mullins

A few weeks back I mentioned a piece of legislation moving though the Florida House (HB 1273) and Senate (SB 1294) that threatened to radically change international law in this state. In a nutshell that Bill seeks to ban the use of foreign law in Florida’s courts and in arbitration. It purports to prohibit the enforcement of arbitration clauses, forum non conveniens, choice of forum and choice of law which would require the application of foreign laws that do not mirror the fundamental rights of the U.S.

Unfortunately, on Monday the Florida Senate version of the bill passed in the Florida Judiciary Committee on a 5-2 vote.

Your Leadership and your Legislation Chair, Eduardo “Eddie” Palmer, have put together a great team which wrote the Section’s position paper (click here to view the attached PDF) explaining why this Bill should not become law and received emergency approval this morning from the Florida Bar to lobby our state legislators to oppose the Bill. Special thanks to Members Carlos Osorio, Henk Milne, and Sean Santini for their assistance in making this happen.

With the legislative session ending at the end of this month (yes, you read that right, it ends in three weeks), there is much that needs to be done in a very short time to ensure that Florida remains a viable forum for international business. If this bill passes either chamber, even if it eventually does not become law, our state’s reputation of being open to international issues could be irrevocably harmed. This bill has failed in many states, it cannot pass here.

We are convinced that supporters do not understand all the issues here:

·Passage will be devastating to business, including international business by creating unnecessary litigation and uncertainty with business dealings.

·Passage will burden the beleaguered court system, which is at a critical funding level.

·The statute is much broader than necessary to meet the supporters’ goals and it does not accomplish them in any event.
oSharia law is the issue under debate, but it is not an issue here, never has been, and this bill would not address it anyway.

·The current system is not broken — questionable foreign judgments are not being enforced and those rulings are affirmed, including this month.

Bottom line: The state is in a crisis level o­n budgeting issues, including lack of funding for the courts and a lowered tax basis due to the Great Recession. Now is not the time to do anything that will put a larger burden o­n the courts and that will dissuade business and jobs.

As for our Section, the bill goes against our core principles of what we are trying to promote as a Section and the interests of all our clients.
I cannot raise the Def-con level any higher. This is the biggest threat to our livelihoods and our clients’ interests since MJP. We won there. We will win here.
If this passes, do you want to ask yourself what did you do to prevent it? What did your firm do?

We got a great team, but it is small and all have burdens. But there is strength in numbers.

If you are doing things already, tell Eddie so we can make sure we do not step over ourselves. The message needs to be consistent- this bill goes down, no compromise.

The support of each Section Member is critical to defeating this Bill. To that end, the Executive Committee is calling o­n Section Members to contact Florida Legislators in select committees that may soon be considering this Bill.
Below is a list of the Senate and House Members who are members of the Committees that are most likely to be hearing the Bill soon. If you have the opportunity please contact them to defeat the bill.

Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee
Members:

1.Sen. Detert (R) (Chair), detert.nancy.web@flsenate.gov, (850) 487-5081
2.Sen. Dockery (R) (Vice Chair),dockery.paula.web@flsenate.gov, (850) 487-5040

3.Sen. Anitere Flores (R), flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov, (850) 487-5130
4.Sen. Gaetz (R), gaetz.don.web@flsenate.gov, (850) 487-5009
5.Sen. Lyn (R), lynn.evelyn.web@flsenate.gov, (850) 487-5033
6.Sen. Montford (D), montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov, (850) 487-5004
7.Sen. Ring (D), ring.jeremy.web@flsenate.gov, (850) 487-5094
House Civil Justice Sub-Committee

Key Members:

1. Rep. Eisnaugler (R) (Chair); Eric.eisnaugle@myfloriahouse.gov,(850) 488-9770
2. Rep. Ford (Vice Chair) (R), clay.ford@myfloridahouse.gov, (850) 488-0895.
For ease, we suggest that you attach the Section’s Position Paper on the Bill (which is attached).

Please contact Eddie Palmer (ep@epalmerlaw.com), Carlos Osorio(cosorio@aballi.com), or Henk Milne (hmilne@aballi.com) for information o­n how you otherwise can become involved in this critical effort.

Now is the time to step up and help your Section, your clients, and your practice!

Barcelona Bar Association Seeks Internship Opportunities for Spanish Lawyers in Florida

The Barcelona Bar Association which has a cooperation agreement with the Florida Bar International Law Section seeks two short-term, paid, internship opportunities for two young Spanish lawyers in Florida. Start dates, duration and pay are flexible. If you are interested in hosting an intern please contact Arnie Lacayo at alacayo@astidavis.com for additional details.

Volunteer to Speak to UF Students on Behalf of ILS!

ILS Membership Committee Co-Chair, Veronica Lacayo, is looking for speakers for ILS presentations at UF o­n “International Careers: Where are the jobs in today’s economy”? UF has given the Section the following dates for the presentation: Wednesday 4/6 from 12-12:50; Thursday 4/7 either 10-10:50 or 1-1:50; Monday 4/11 from 1-1:50; Tuesday 4/12 from 12-12:50; Wednesday 4/13 from 12-12:50. If you are interested in participating at any of these times, please contact Veronica at vlacayo@yoss.com.

Florida a Recognised Foreign Jurisdiction with the UK

Section Members may be interested to know that Florida is now a “Recognised Foreign Jurisdiction” with the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales (“SRA”). As a recognized foreign jurisdiction, members of the Florida Bar are now eligible to become registered foreign lawyers in the U.K. Registration information is available here.

Speak to Future Section Members at Stetson School of Law!

The Membership Committee needs speakers for our presentation at Stetson on “Careers in International Law: Where the Jobs are in Today’s Legal Economy.” The presentation can be done any day, except Friday during the first two weeks of February and it will be from 12-1 p.m.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Membership Co-Chair Veronica Lacayo at vlacayo@yoss.com.

ILS Pre-Moot VIS Competition Needs Volunteer Arbitrators

The ILS Pre-Moot VIS Competition is looking for volunteer arbitrators to serve as judges for 2011.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 26, 2011 and join us at the University of Miami.  For more information please contact Quinn Smith at Quinn.smith@smintlaw.com or Clarissa Rodriguez at Clarissa.rodriguez@smintlaw.com.