Bar Examiners’ staff recognized for safeguarding the profession

first_img June 15, 2005 Regular News Bar Examiners’ staff recognized for safeguarding the profession Bar Examiners’ staff recognized for safeguarding the professioncenter_img “It blows my mind what we are letting into some of the law schools these days,” Florida Supreme Court Justice Fred Lewis said.“Excuse me, but I am not bashful commenting on something that troubles me. As more and more we go to a bottom line and big business for education, you’re going to see more and more your importance in this system. Without you, I don’t know where we would be.”His audience was the employees of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and several members of the board, gathering May 19 at a Tallahassee restaurant for an awards luncheon.Justice Lewis seized the moment to express “great gratitude from the entire court. All of them would be here cheering and giving you a standing ovation for the job that you do.”If anyone in the room thought their job was thankless, Justice Lewis dispelled that notion when he said, “Virtually everyone who maintains this third branch of government and supports this democracy comes through your hands.”Justice Lewis relayed that he recently asked a law school dean: “‘What is your role in character and fitness?’ And the response, to my amazement, was: ‘We have no role in character and fitness. We’re just providing a legal education.’”When he travels the state and talks to representatives of major universities, Justice Lewis said, they “are not the ones that are absolutely concerned with the competency for the practicing law of our lawyers, nor are they concerned with the character and fitness issues that all of you take care of. Without you, my friends, and without a board that serves the people of Florida, I dare think where we might be.”Paul Schwiep, chair of the Board of Bar Examiners, told employees: “You provide an incredible public service and you treat people with class and dignity, and that’s important. It is with great pride that I introduce myself as a member of the Board of Bar Examiners, because of the dedication and professionalism and quality that I know is instilled in everyone that’s here today.” A record number of board members present stood to give the employees a standing ovation.“We enjoy what we do. We try to be thorough and we try to be efficient,” said Executive Director Eleanor Hunter. “For me personally, most of all, I enjoy the people I work with. So thank you very much for being a hardworking group and my friends.”Among the many awards presented, General Counsel Thomas Pobjecky was honored for 20 years of service.And Robert Blythe, deputy general counsel, was recognized for 10 years of service, as well as honored with the Brandi Cawthon Alvarado Award, presented annually to an employee who best exemplifies the ideals and high standards of the Board of Bar Examiners.The award was created in memory of Alvarado, a 24-year-old analyst IV who did background investigations of Bar applicants. She was murdered July 9, 1999, by her brother who also killed their mother, their 3-year-old step-brother and then himself. Promoted four times in little over two years, Alvarado was remembered at the luncheon as “a remarkable young woman who pushed herself for excellence in everything she did.”last_img