Hawkins hones lawyer discipline
By Richard Goldstein
The 2011-2012 administration of Florida Bar President Scott Hawkins has concentrated on making sure the machinery of lawyer discipline operate effectively.
Hawkins cited the Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme that came to light in the fall of 2009. Hawkins noted that the scandal, in which the Fort Lauderdale lawyer pleaded guilty to running a $1.2 billion fraud and is now serving a 50-year prison sentence, cast the legal profession in a negative light. The practice of robosigning — approving real estate documents without proper review — which surfaced as the foreclosure crisis g athered steam, also spurred Hawkins to action.
“People often forget that one of our primary purposes is to regulate lawyers’ behavior.” Hawkins said his goal is to fi nd out: “Are there things that we can do better?”
Part of his administration’s work has been to explore whether to form a division for senior lawyers, noting that as lawyers get older their mental acuity may decline resulting in harm to clients. Instituting a support system could forestall such problems.
Hawkins is a Florida Bar board certifi ed business litigation lawyer at Jones, Foster, Johnston & Stubbs and vice chairman of the board of directors. Like many bar leaders, Hawkins got active in the local bar at the local level and was elected to the Board of Governors. His deep ties to the University of Florida where he is a double Gator, currently serves on the UF Law Board of Trustees and is a former president of the Alumni Association, have aided him in his rise.
“A lot of older leaders, older lawyers in Florida have graduated from (the University of) Florida or have ties to Florida, so often there’s an immediate bond or an immediate familiarity that arises,’‘ Hawkins said.
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