sunEthics 

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



A trial judge is disqualified for making comments indicating that she prejudged the case . . . (see more)  [Added 8/15/22]


Appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that the defendant had been convicted of an uncharged offense . . . (see more) [Added 8/12/22]


Communications between two school district employees and the district’s lawyer were not privileged, per the Second DCA . . . (see more) [Added 8/10/22]


A judge is disqualified for statements raising a reasonable belief that he prejudged the parties’ entitlement to attorney’s fees . . . (see more) [Added 8/8/22]


An award of attorney’s fees against a tobacco company as a sanction under F.S. 57.105 is reversed because the fee award was for the entire trial but the bad faith finding related only to statements during opening . . . (see more) [Added 8/1/22]


After denying a lawyer’s motion, the Third DCA issues an order to show cause why the lawyer should not be sanctioned for violations of appellate procedure rules and “recklessly impugn[ing] and disparage[ing]” multiple judges . . . (see more) [Added 7/23/22]


The Fifth DCA denies a certiorari petition by a party seeking to quash an order compelling production of billing records received from its lawyer . . . (see more) [Added 7/21/22]


In a public records case, the trial court properly declined to award “fees for fees” or fees attributable to non-testifying associates of the fee expert . . . (see more) [Added 7/18/22]


The prosecution’s comments regarding the defendant’s country of origin and its legal system were improper and condemned by the Florida Supreme Court, but did not rise to the level of fundamental error . . . (see more) [Added 7/14/22]


The Third DCA orders a judge disqualified due to ex parte communication . . . (see more) [Added 7/12/22]


Citing to the Rolling Stones, the Third DCA quashes an order requiring production for in camera inspection of a party’s communications with his lawyer . . . (see more) [Added 7/8/22]


In a public records case, a lawyer may recover fees for the time spent assisting a pro se litigant before entering his appearance in the case, provided the pro se complaint requested fees and stated that it was prepared with the assistance of counsel . . . (see more) [Added 7/6/22]


Lawyers representing a 2-member LLC and one member in a derivative action brought by the second member was properly disqualified from representing the LLC without the second member’s consent . . . (see more) [Added 7/5/22]


The Supreme Court amends disciplinary rules to clarify that civil mediation is not available in grievance or reinstatement proceedings . . . (see more) [Added 6/8/22]


On its own motion, the Supreme Court amends Rule 4-5.4 to permit not-for-profit legal services providers to organize as corporations with non-lawyers on their boards of directors . . . (see more) [Added 6/6/22]


Although setoff statutes do not apply to fee awards under a proposal for settlement, the “reasonableness” requirement in F.S. 768.79 calls for a reduction for fees previously paid by settling co-defendant . . . (see more) [Added 6/3/22]


A judge’s referral of a litigant’s lawyer to a Local Professionalism Panel did not disqualify the judge from the case . . . (see more) [Added 6/1/22]


The Fifth DCA declines to jump on the “litigation roundabout” and rules that F.S. 607.1604(1) does not authorize an award of fees incurred in collecting a fee judgment . . . (see more) [Added 5/31/22]


The Supreme Court amends Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.442 on its own motion to align the rule with settlement proposal statutes . . . (see more) [Added 5/27/22]


The Supreme Court disciplines a judge for ethical violations with a reprimand, a 60-day unpaid suspension, and a $30,000 fine . . . (see more) [Added 5/25/22]


On its own motion, the Supreme Court amends rules regarding appointment of postconviction counsel and dismissal of postconviction proceedings . . . (see more) [Added 5/16/22]


FSU leads the state in first-time pass rate for the February 2022 general bar examination . . . (see more[Added 4/11/22]


Responding to a petition from the Bar, the Supreme Court amends bar rules various subjects including lawyer advertising, dealing with clients with diminished capacity, inventory attorneys, and confidentiality in the disciplinary system . . . (see more) [Added 3/4/22]


The Supreme Court amends Rule 4-5.5 to conform to the UPL advisory opinion permitting lawyers licensed in other states to work remotely from Florida for extended time periods on matters not involving Florida . . . (see more) [Added 2/18/22]


Orders declining to impute a former public defender’s disqualification to the entire state attorney’s office are quashed and the cases remanded for an evidentiary hearing . . . (see more) [Added 2/9/22]


The Supreme Court finalizes its amendment to rule 6-10.3 to preclude the granting of CLE credit for any courses that use “quotas based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation in the selection of course faculty or participants” . . . (see more) [Added 12/17/21]


The Board of Governors approves an advisory ethics opinion addressing the ethical obligations of lawyers in responding to negative online reviews posted by someone who is not a client or former client . . . (see more) [Added 12/15/21]


The Supreme Court amends rules regarding pro hac vice admission in Florida . . . (see more) [Added 12/14/21]


Rejecting a lesser sanction, the Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 2 years for making unfounded accusations of racial bias and failing to properly handle a misdelivered fax . . . (see more) [Added 12/10/21]


Exercising its conflict jurisdiction, the Supreme Court rules that F.S. 924.051(3) precludes appellate review of unpreserved claims of ineffective assistance on direct appeal, absent an allegation of fundamental error . . . (see more) [Added 11/29/21]


Rejecting the referee’s recommendation, the Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 91 days for surreptitiously texting a client during a telephonic deposition and then misrepresenting what he did . . . (see more) [Added 11/23/21]


A law firm’s contingent fee agreement arbitration clause did not violate Bar rules . . . (see more) [Added 11/22/21]


The Board of Governors votes to reject recommendations made by the Special Committee to Improve Delivery of Legal Services concerning non-lawyer ownership of law firms, fee sharing, and changes to advertising rules . . . (see more) [Added 11/8/21]


A trial court did not abuse its discretion in disqualifying a law firm from representing a new client in “attack[ing] its prior work” done for a former client in a substantially related matter . . . (see more) [Added 11/7/21]


​​The Supreme Court rejects a referee’s recommendation for reinstatement of a suspended lawyer and asks the Bar to study whether civil mediation should be prohibited in Bar case . . . (see more) [Added 10/27/21]


The Supreme Court approves a unique rule creating a special disciplinary process for complaints against lawyers that were instigated by a judge’s complaint or comment . . . (see more) [Added 10/25/21]


The Supreme Court clarifies the scope of Worley and declines to apply it to permit discovery regarding the financial relationship between a defendant’s nonparty insurer and a defense expert witness . . . (see more) [Added 10/19/21]


A narrow Supreme Court majority rules that a company connecting drivers who get traffic tickets with lawyers who will defend the tickets engaged in the unauthorized practice of law . . . (see more) [Added 10/15/21]


Resolving a conflict between DCAs, the Florida Supreme Court rules that section 57.105(7) did not apply to a fee provision in a domestic relations property settlement agreement . . . (see more) [Added 10/12/21]


Florida International leads the state of Florida in first-time pass rate for the July 2021 general bar examination . . . (see more) [Added 9/20/21]


The Supreme Court approves a rule change designed to allow the Bar to implement electronic filing of lawyer ads . . . (see more) [Added 9/13/21]


The Supreme Court denies a claim of ineffective assistance based on alleged “disarray and division” among the defense team . . . (see more) [Added 8/30/21]


The Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services recommends sweeping changes to the regulation of legal services in Florida, including permitting nonlawyer ownership of law firms, allowing fee-sharing with nonlawyers, having paralegals engage in limited practice, authorizing not-for-profit law firms, and streamlining the lawyer advertising rules (including eliminating the ad filing requirement) . . . (see more) [Added 7/2/21]


The Supreme Court amends the IOTA rules, adopting proposals of the Task Force on the Distribution of IOTA Funds with modifications
. . . (see more) [Added 6/21/21]


The Professional Ethics Committee approves for publication a proposed advisory opinion addressing the ethical obligations of a lawyer in responding to negative online reviews posted by someone who is not the lawyer's client or former client . . . (see more) [Added 6/11/21]


A unanimous Florida Supreme Court rules that an insurer has standing to bring a legal malpractice action against counsel it hired to represent its insured, based on the policy’s subrogation provision . . . (see more) [Added 6/4/21]


The Supreme Court approves an advisory opinion concluding that it is not the unlicensed practice of law for a lawyer licensed in other states but not in Florida to work remotely from his home in Florida on federal intellectual property matters . . . (see more) [Added 5/21/21]


The Supreme Court approves rule changes regarding appointments to Bar ethics and advertising committees, and expands electronic signatures to more aspects of Bar functions . . . (see more) [Added 5/14/21]


The Professional Ethics Committee approves a proposed confidentiality rule amendment to authorize limited responses to negative online reviews, adopts new proposed advisory opinions on using web-based payment processing services and the obligations of a lawyer appointed to represent an alleged incapacitated person in an emergency guardianship proceeding, and modifies a long-standing opinion on providing case file materials to clients and former clients . . . (see more) [Added 3/26/21]


The Supreme Court amends and renames the Rules of Judicial Administration, addressing judicial disqualification, creating disqualification through adding counsel, and appearance of “stand-in counsel” . . . (see more) [Added 1/27/21]


The Supreme Court rules that a unilateral attorney’s fee provision in a credit card contract is made reciprocal when the debtor prevails in an account stated action to collect unpaid debt . . . (see more) [Added 1/18/21]


The Florida Bar files its biennial rule change petition with the Supreme Court, seeking rule amendments relating to fees, clients with diminished capacity, client files, advertising, solicitation, and other topics . . . (more) [Added 10/8/20]


The Supreme Court remands a disciplinary case for further proceedings after clarifying that an “advice of counsel” defense may be available in limited circumstances . . . (see more) [Added 6/26/20]


The Supreme Court approves a rule permitting spouses of military service members to practice as certified legal interns while undergoing the character and fitness review pending authorization to practice in Florida . . . (see more) [Added 5/26/20]


The Florida Bar petitions the Supreme Court for approval of new rules creating a “Registered Online Service Provider” program . . . (see more) [Added 1/3/20]


The Supreme Court approves amendments to Rule 4-7.14 to permit non-certified lawyers, and law firms, to advertise that they specialize or have expertise in areas of practice . . . (see more) [Added 7/1/19]

NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .