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Hillsborough County Family Law Judges Begin Utilizing Skype

As a family law attorney, I often have clients in a Florida matter that reside outside of the state.  I recommend that clients attend their hearings in person, as it gives the judge a face to match with a voice (humanizing the client) and it allows the client to see non-verbal cues from the judge, opposing counsel, or myself.  However, there are times when an out-of-state client cannot make it to a hearing; for these times I often request that the client appear by telephone, and the judge usually grants the request.

Some of the family law judges of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (covering Hillsborough County) have announced that they are now equipped and prepared to use Skype in the Courtroom for those clients who cannot appear in person.  This program allows the client to participate in a hearing via webcam.  Though I still recommend that clients appear in person whenever possible, this technology gives a great alternative.

The following family law judges have posted procedures for Skype:

Below is an announcement for the technology posted on Judge Ward’s profile:

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Press Release: The Family Law Inn of Court of Tampa Receives National Recognition at the Supreme Court of the United States

Press Release from the Administrative Office of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Hillsborough County, Florida.

Released November 7, 2011.

Front Row, Seated L - R: Associate Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, and Judge Caroline Tesche; Standing L- R: Julia Best Chase, Judge Paul Glenn, Russell Blaine, Susan Whitaker, Judge Bernard Silver

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recognized the Family Law Inn of Court of Tampa on November 5, 2011, at an annual event that celebrated the accomplishments of several giants in the legal professions whose achievements epitomize the ideals of the American Inns of Court.  This was no small feat as the Inn launched a campaign to become a Platinum Inn within a single year.

Judge Caroline Tesche, President of the Family Law Inn of Court of Tampa, 2010, perceives this achievement as one that is of great benefit to the parties who appear before her on the bench, asserting that “family law is a contentious area of the law so anytime you have lawyers and judge participating in Inns of Court, it’s of great benefit because it raises the level of the practice of law;” adding, “we apply what we learn.”  Monthly programs generally focus on practical legal skills with an emphasis on ethics, civility and professionalism in the practice of law.  They may include demonstrations, presentations of principles, techniques, as well as relationships involved in the practice of law.  According to the judge, she can often see a difference in lawyers who have participated in Inns of Court because they are not just focused on results for their client but the family, which is contrary to what an attorney would be focused on in a civil proceeding.

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Video: What does the Clerk of the Court do?

Have you ever wondered what the clerk of the court does?  The following video from the Florida Association of Court Clerks describes the clerk’s role:

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