Miami Legal Community Part Of National Education Project

, Daily Business Review

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Movers and shakers in Miami's legal community helped launch a national voter education project Wednesday to maintain fair and impartial courts.

The Informed Voters-Fair Judges project is being led by the National Association of Women Judges. It was launched in response to attacks on certain judges up for merit retention as well as a move in some states to overturn merit retention for judges in favor of direct elections.

Florida, where three Supreme Court justices were targeted unsuccessfully in 2012, has taken the lead on the project.

At Wednesday's kickoff event hosted by Akerman at its Miami office, Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente addressed a group of about 50 of Miami's legal power elite by videoconference.

"We knew attacks were real," Pariente said. "Although we successfully fought off attacks ... we saw others going on throughout the country. It's one thing to do something in Florida ... but it behooves us to have a national coalition fighting this."

The group will seek to partner with local legal groups like the Cuban American Bar Association, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers and the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association as well as civic organizations and corporations to increase voter education about the need for judicial independence. A social media campaign and public service announcements are planned.

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