The Docket April 2020 - Page 11

SOUTH COUNTY DIVISION Annual Clay Shoot well attended M arch 6 marked the South County Division annual Clay Shoot at the Sarasota Gun Club. This year we had 125 participants (only 10 less than last year) that were spread out over three courses. The weather for the event could not have been better, with lots of Florida sunshine throughout the event. The Clay Shoot would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsor, Englewood Bank and Trust. For the second year in a row, Village on the Isle catered the event with delicious barbeque and desert. I would be remiss if I failed to thank Skip Berg for all of his efforts in putting together the Clay Shoot. Our participants included several dignitaries including State Attorney Ed Brodsky, Circuit Court Judge Maria Ruhl, County Court Judge Dana Moss, Colonel (and soon to be Sheriff) Kurt Hoffman of the Sarasota County SOUTH COUNTY PRESIDENT’S COLUMN Sheriff’s Office, and Chief Tom Matmuller of the Venice Police Department. Thank you to all who chose to take the afternoon off and spend it with us having a grand ole time. I Bryan Kessler, Esq. Berg and Kessler n 1974, Congress, recognizing that a need existed to provide financial support to aid low-income individuals in civil cases, established the Legal Services Corporation. For fiscal year 2019, the Legal Services Corporation was appropriated $415 million, equal to $1.26 per United States citizen, in the federal budget to fund civil legal aid. To put into perspective how little that is, Michael Bloomberg just spent $500 million on a failed bid for the presidency. Personally, I would like to see more money devoted to providing legal assistance to our low-income citizens who may not otherwise be able to receive legal advice. Locally, the Legal Aid of Manasota provides support to low-income individuals in their civil cases. It serves the residents of Manatee and Sarasota County. Its ability to support individuals is dependent, in part, upon donations and support from local attorneys who provide their services pro bono. I have had the pleasure of working with Pamela Fields on several pro bono cases and can attest to the wonderful benefit of having a local legal aid organization. I would like to take a minute and thank our staff at the Legal Aid of Manasota for their hard work and dedication to helping those low-income individuals who sometimes find themselves in need of some legal guidance. Further, I encourage everyone of the bar to, at a minimum, donate either financially or their time to the Legal Aid of Manasota. That is all from South County. I hope everyone has a great April! MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION STUDENTS Continued from Page 3 A large team of volunteers comes together each year along with gener- ous sponsors to make this event possible, something for which we are tremendously grateful. A sincere thank you goes out to the volun- teers who presided over the trials: the Honorable Judge Frederick P. Mercurio, the Honorable Judge Hunter W. Carroll, the Honorable Judge Lee E. Haworth, the Honor- able Stephen Walker, the Honorable Diana Moreland, the Honorable Andrea McHugh, the Honorable Chief Judge Kimberly Bonner, the Honorable Erika Quartermaine, and City Commissioner Hagen Brody. We also thank the many Sarasota County Bar Association members who volunteered time from their weekend to act as scoring judges and sit as the jury for the trials. We are grateful for the teachers and attorney coaches who took the time from their busy schedules to coach the teams, beginning their preparation many months ahead of the compe- tition. We would like to extend our The 12th Circuit High School Mock Trial Competition took place on Saturday, February 8, 2020. appreciation for the amazing para- legals from the local chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida, including Matthews Eastmoore paralegals Brenda Guilinger, FRP, and Marcia Muldoon, CP, FRP, who acted as timekeepers and other- wise ensured the competition ran smoothly. This year’s gracious sponsors consisted of the law firms of Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A.; Farr, Farr, Emerich, Hackett, Carr and Holmes, P.A.; and Bentley & Bruning, P.A. Finally yet importantly, we also thank Sarasota County court administration and the jury office, the Sheriff’s Department, and the attending Sheriff’s Deputies, who all make it possible to hold this event in our wonderful Judge Lynn N. Silvertooth Judicial Center, giving the students a real courtroom expe- rience. Please consider being a part of this event in future years to come. It is a truly rewarding experience for everyone who attends. We also welcome participation by new schools, who are encouraged to seek an attorney-coach and teacher willing to participate. We urge teams to begin preparation in the fall once the case packet is released by the Justice Teaching Center for Civic Learning. Patrick McArdle of McArdle Law, P.A., will be organizing 2021’s mock trial. Please contact Mr. McArdle with any questions or for information. The Docket · April 2020 11