Friday, March 12, 2010

The Broward Bar Association has nothing better to do...

... than ask whether the JAABlog is acting professionally. From this morning's DBR:

A Broward County Bar Association committee will meet to determine whether the legal blog JAABlog — the premiere place for courthouse gossip — meets its professional standards. The professionalism committee plans to hold a closed-door meeting April 1 at the behest of association president Carlos Llorente.

Closed door? Really? I guess that they can regulate the internet or punish lawyers, right?

But the Broward County Bar Association does not have any authority to regulate or punish lawyers. Judges may have themselves to blame for some of the blog activity. Two Broward judges were charged by the state judicial watchdog with ethics violations in the past two weeks. Llorente said he has received a number of recent complaints after someone posted racial slurs on JAABlog. The comments have been removed, and the blog states the poster has been banned. “When I see lawyers in Broward County acting unprofessionally or complaints of lawyers acting unprofessionally, my obligation as president of the Broward County Bar Association is to act upon that,” Llorente said. “We’re all trying to figure out if there’s something that can or should be done. … We have no agenda, no plan. We’re just investigating it.” He said the committee will examine the blog as a whole, not just the derogatory comments. Gelin’s response? “Bring it on.” “I frankly welcome it as an opportunity to gain more exposure for the blog and our message,” he said. “This seems to be hugely ironic that they seem to have a problem with a communication medium that, despite the fact there’s a lot of negativity on there, has done more to reform this county than their organization has done since day one.” Gelin is not concerned about violating Florida Bar rules, saying he is cognizant about not crossing the line. The Florida Bar told the Review that Gelin does not face any complaints.

The Broward Blog has done an excellent job exposing serious problems in the justice system. So what's the problem?

Llorente insists the issue lies with Gelin’s extracurricular activities. “I have no problem with him being a journalist,” Llorente said. “If he wants to be an expose-type journalist, so be it. But do it as a journalist. Don’t pose as a lawyer with an inside knowledge.” When asked what is specifically offensive about the blog, Llorente said he would withhold comment until he hears from the professionalism committee.

Huh? Does that make any sense to anyone? Maybe the Broward Bar Association should be asking whether the judges and lawyers that the blog continues to expose are acting professionally....

UPDATE -- SFL weighs in here: "Let me offer a prediction: by convening such a panel the BCBA likely will do more to discredit and denigrate their own organization than anything some goofball could ever post anonymously on a blog."


South Florida Lawyers said...

I had the exact same reaction.

Anonymous said...

who you calling a goofball?

Rumpole said...