Covering legal ethics, judicial ethics, bar admissions in Florida, Tennessee, and nationally.  See our Subject Index to past postings.

NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .

Trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to advise the defendant of the impact of his guilty plea on his future employment . . . (see more) [Added 8/17/18]

A trial court did not err in rejecting a former client’s claim that the law firm had a “continuing duty” that tolled the fraud statute of repose . . . (see more) [Added 8/15/18]

A court erred in ordering enforcement of a purported settlement agreement in the absence of competent, substantial evidence that the party’s lawyer had clear and unequivocal authority to enter the agreement . . . (see more) [Added 8/13/18]

Video footage of a school shooting was properly released as a public record . . . (see more) [Added 8/10/18]

A court erred in entering a judgment for fees in favor of a party’s lawyer rather than the party . . . (see more) [Added 8/9/18]

A trial court erred in awarding a law firm the expenses it incurred in prosecuting a charging lien against a former client . . . (see more) [Added 8/7/18]

The Fifth DCA rules that a motion for sanctions served under section 57.105 must be served in compliance with Fla.R.Jud.Admin. 2.516 even though the motion may not be filed until after the safe harbor period expires . . . (see more) [Added 8/6/18]

Although a court may be able to sanction an insurer for egregious or bad-faith conduct that the lawyer hired by the insurer commits while defending its insured, it would have to make detailed factual findings describing the offending conduct by the insurer . . . (see more) [Added 8/3/18]

In reversing an order granting a motion to strike a charging lien, the appeals court addresses which court is the proper forum on remand and whether an evidentiary hearing is required . . . (see more) [Added 8/2/18]

The Fourth DCA reaffirms that a prevailing party fee provision in a contract can be broad enough to include entitlement to fees related to execution on the judgment . . . (see more) [Added 7/31/18]

Failure to file a privilege log does not waive the privilege where assertion of the privilege is not document-specific, but category-specific and the category is plainly protected" . . . (see more) [Added 7/30/18]

The Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 18 months, rather than the recommended one year, for misconduct in the course of his own dissolution of marriage case . . . (see more) [Added 7/25/18]

A single order granting one party entitlement to fees and denying fee entitlement to the other party is an appealable final order . . . (see more) [Added 7/24/18]

The Supreme Court approves rules allowing temporary authorization for spouses of active duty military personnel to practice law in Florida . . . (see more) [Added 7/20/18]

A trial court erred in denying prevailing party fees on the ground that the fee provision was in the same paragraph as an invalid provision regarding injunctive relief without posting a bond . . . (see more) [Added 7/19/18]

The attorney-client relationship requirement that is an element of a legal malpractice claim can be satisfied when the putative client consults with the lawyer through an agent . . . (see more) [Added 7/13/18]

In a legal malpractice case, the Fourth DCA holds that an arbitration clause in an attorney-client retainer agreement is unenforceable because it did not comply with Rule 4-1.5(i) . . . (see more) [Added 7/10/18]

The Supreme Court amends the Rules of Judicial Administration to emphasize that no judge, Supreme Court-created entity, or conference of judges may recommend to the other branches of government any budget or other policy inconsistent with a position adopted by the Supreme Court . . . (see more) [Added 7/9/18]

Rejecting a recommended 91-day suspension, the Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 3 years for multiple rules violations including fee contract modifications that did not comply with the rule governing business transactions with clients . . . (see more) [Added 7/6/18]

The Professional Ethics Committee considers issues relating to charging interest on cost advances in contingent fee cases, use of the title “doctor” by retired lawyers, disclosure of improper acts by a client who is a guardian, responding to negative online reviews, and representation in juvenile matters . . . (see more) [Added 6/18/18]

Following the Supreme Court’s directive, the Florida Bar petitions for a rule change that would prohibit lawyers from accepting referrals from “qualifying providers” that refer to more than one profession for the same incident . . . (see more) [Added 6/5/18]

The Supreme Court amends the Code of Judicial Conduct to clarify judges’ obligations regarding reporting expenses of permissible quasi- or extra-judicial activities that are reimbursed or paid by a state government entity . . . (see more) [Added 5/18/18]

The Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 3 years instead of the recommended 1 year for violating business transaction with clients rule, charging prohibited fees, attempting to assume co-equal decision making authority with a client, providing indirect financial assistance to a client, and taking an interest in the subject matter of litigation . . . (see more) [Added 5/16/18]

Florida International posts the top first-time-taker pass rate for the February 2018 general bar examination . . . (see more) [Added 4/16/18]

The Supreme Court amends rules regulating referral services to expressly recognize their applicability to all client-lawyer matching services, and further orders the Bar to prepare rules restricting services that refer to more than one professional service . . . (see more) [Added 3/9/18]

The Supreme Court amends the Evidence Code, recognizing that communications between a lawyer and a client acting as a fiduciary are protected by the attorney-client privilege . . . (see more) [Added 2/20/18]

The Board of Governors approves a proposed rule change to increase the CLE requirements in “professionalism” . . . (see more) [Added 2/14/18]

The Board of Governors decides that it is permissible for a lawyer to ask a client to pay the premium on a “litigation cost protection” insurance policy in the event of a recovery for the client in a contingent fee case . . .  (see more[Added 2/12/18]

The Board of Governors determines that the “Avvo Advisor” program is considered a “lawyer referral service” under Bar rules . . . (see more) [Added 1/2/18]

The Board of Governors approves Florida Ethics Opinion 17-1 regarding fee-sharing with law firms in jurisdictions with rules that permit non-lawyer ownership in law firms . . . (see more) [Added 12/24/17]

The Supreme Court approves a change to the bar admission rules designed to make it easier to transfer bar exam scores from other states to Florida . . . (see more) [Added 12/5/17]

The Supreme Court approves rule amendments regarding soliciting gifts or fiduciary appointments from clients, notifying clients when leaving a law firm, contacting prospective clients, settling malpractice claims with unrepresented clients, holding trust funds in credit unions, protecting trust funds when third parties claim an interest, emeritus attorneys, authorized house counsel, and foreign legal consultants; the Court rejects proposed change to rules on using “specialist” or “expert” in advertising . . . (see more) [Added 11/21/17]

Hoping to increase access to justice, the Supreme Court approves relaxed conflict of interest rules to apply in short-term, limited representation carried out through non-profit organization programs . . . (see more) [Added 10/23/17]

The Supreme Court rejects proposed changes to rules that would recognize 3 types of representation (lead counsel, additional counsel, and limited representation counsel), without prejudice to submission of “more individualized and refined proposals”  . . . (see more) [Added 9/15/17]

The Supreme rejects proposed amendments to the rules regarding character and fitness evaluations of students who apply for the Law School Practice Program . . . (see more) [Added 4/14/17]

The Supreme Court rejects a third Florida Bar proposal to authorize lawyers to handle “extraordinary” lien resolution services on a referral from a personal injury lawyer . . . (see more) [Added 10/7/16]

The Supreme Court approves a rule defining retainers, flat fees, and advance fees and specifying how they should be handled for trust accounting purposes . . . (see more) [Added 9/19/15]