Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Future Is Now: Law Meets Technology At The HCBA's Bench Bar Conference

Digging up evidence on Instagram. Discovering sensitive case information being shared on Twitter. Researching jurors through Facebook. Technology provides both opportunities and challenges for those who work in the field of law, but one thing is for sure: The legal landscape is changing.     

The Hillsborough County Bar Association is looking to the future with the 18th Annual Bench Bar Conference & Judicial Reception. This year’s theme, "The Future is Now: Law Meets Technology," centers on the technological advancements that have affected the courts and the field of law. The conference will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Hilton Tampa Downtown, with a Membership Luncheon at noon and a Judicial Reception starting at 5:30 p.m.

All sessions will touch on the technology theme. To register, go to Here is an outline of the day's agenda:

From 8:30 to 9:20 a.m.: 

There will be a plenary session titled "Ethics Breakfast: Navigating Ethical Entanglements." The objective of this session will be to educate courtroom litigators about potential issues that may result in disciplinary proceedings by The Florida Bar. Ethical and professional conduct will be emphasized as it relates to possible sanctions and disbarment proceedings. The speaker for this session will be Caroline Johnson Levine.

From 9:30 to 10:20 a.m.:

There will be three sections for attendees to choose from. One of the sessions is titled "JAWS vs. E-filing and a Perspective from the Judiciary." The objective of this session will be to provide information on the court’s E-filing system versus JAWS and an overview of judicial preferences and perspectives through a question-and-answer/open panel discussion. The speakers for this session will be Doug Bakke, Tonya GrimesDavid Nickels, Linda Williamson.

The second session to choose from is the "U.S. Supreme Court Term in Review and a Preview." The objective of this session will be to provide an overview of the Supreme Court's October 2013 term, including a discussion of the court’s major decisions as well as trends that can be discerned from the court’s recently concluded term. In addition, the session will consider some of the cases the court has accepted for decision in the October 2014 term. The speaker for this session is Michael P. Allen.

The third option during this time slot is the "View Towards the Bench – Probate" session. View Towards the Bench sessions allow participants to (anonymously and otherwise) discuss relevant issues/topics that they have always wanted to say to the court but perhaps have never had the opportunity to do so. Instead of the traditional “pet peeves” of the judiciary, our judiciary is interested in the “pet peeves” of the litigants, with the ultimate goal to improve Bench-Bar relations in and out of the courtroom. Judge Herbert J. Baumann Jr. and other judges will be the moderators for this session. 

From 10:30 to 11:20 a.m.:

There will be three more sessions for attendees to chose from. The "Weapons of Mass Discovery: Hot Topics in E-Discovery Law and Litigation" session will cover topics such as proposed amendments to the federal rules of civil procedure, litigation holds and preservation, discovery on discovery, and social media evidence. Mac R. McCoy will be the speaker for this session.

The session titled "Kids Are the Future: Help Wanted; Advocates Needed" will cover topics on the history of attorneys ad litem in Hillsborough County, Guardian ad litem advocacy for children, the need for pro bono attorneys to advocate for children, and technology for children in foster care. The speakers for this section will be Judge Ralph C. Stoddard, Rosemary E. Armstrong, Elizabeth L. Hapner, Liza Ricci, and Robin L. Rosenberg.

The "View Towards the Bench – Appellate" session will also occur from 10:30 to 11:20 a.m., and Judge Patricia J. Kelly will be the moderator for this session.

From 1:30 to 2:20 p.m.:

The final set of breakout sessions will be four "View Towards the Bench" sessions for attendees to choose from:

The "View Towards the Bench - Civil" session will be moderated by Judges Herbert M. Berkowitz, William P. Levens, and  Bernard C. Silver.

The "View Towards the Bench - Unified Family" session will be moderated by Judges Catherine M. Catlin, Ashley B. Moody, Nick Nazaretian, and Emily A. Peacock.

The "View Towards the Bench - Criminal" session will be moderated by the Judges Lisa D. Campbell, Kimberly K. Fernandez, Lawrence M. Lefler, and Christopher C. Sabella.

The "View Towards the Bench - Federal" session will be moderated by Judges Caryl E. Delano, Richard A.  Lazzara, and Anthony Porcelli

From 2:30 to 3:50 p.m.:

The plenary session "Social Media and Electronic Information: Sources and Evidentiary Foundation" will explore the increased use of social media information in civil and criminal cases, as well as the evidentiary foundations for admission of this evidence. The speakers for this session are Todd Foster, Tom Palermo, and David A. Thomas.

From 4 to 5 p.m.:

Professor Charles W. Ehrhardt will discuss "Evolving Evidentiary Issues." He will cover the implications of Daubert, admissibility and inadmissibility of expert testimony, admissibility of basis of opinion testimony, and issues in motion practice.

From 5 to 7:30 p.m.:

The conference will conclude with a special presentation for retiring judges from 5 to 5:30 p.m. and the Judicial Reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

We look forward to an insightful and fun conference with all of our HCBA members. Don't forget to register for the Bench Bar online. We hope to see you all there!