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

NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .

A judge is disqualified from a case in which a lawyer on the judge’s on-going campaign committee is representing a party . . . (see more) [Added 11/28/15]

An offer made by DOT under its “Early Acquisition Program” is an offer made outside the eminent domain power and thus cannot be used as the basis for calculating fees under F.S. 73.092 . . . (see more) [Added 11/25/15]

A trial court did not err in awarding attorney’s fees to insureds who prevailed against an insurer’s counterclaim despite losing on their breach of contract claim . . . (see more) [Added 11/25/15]

A law firm was properly disqualified from 2 cases involving former clients despite delay by the former clients in moving for disqualification . . . (see more) [Added 11/24/15]

A judge was disqualified for commenting on the merits of the movant’s allegations in open court, despite entering a written order that simply denied the motion as legally insufficient without comment . . . (see more) [Added 11/21/15]

A trial court erred in ordering production of photos over work product objections without holding an evidentiary hearing . . . (see more) [Added 11/20/15]

The Supreme Court certifies the need for 24 additional trial court judges throughout the state . . . (see more) [Added 110/19/15]

In dismissing an appeal, the Third DCA cautions the lawyer and his law firm regarding the ethical obligations of diligence and candor to the court . . . (see more) [Added 11/17/15]

A trial court erred in denying fees in a dissolution case on the ground that the party seeking fees did not introduce testimony from the lawyer who actually performed the services . . . (see more) [Added 11/12/15]

The Fourth DCA addresses the definition of a “contingency fee” in rejecting an argument that no fee was due a law firm under an agreement for payment of earned fees . . . (see more) [Added 11/11/15]

A trial court erred in granting a motion for post-trial juror interviews, where the information in question was immaterial and irrelevant to jury service in the case . . . (see more) [Added 11/11/15]

A defendant who successfully defeated a claim on the ground that she had no contract with the plaintiff cannot claim attorney’s fees based on the contract . . . (see more) [Added 11/9/15]

A trial court departed from the essential requirements of law by ordering production of certain documents based on the crime-fraud exception without holding an evidentiary hearing . . . (see more) [Added 11/2/15]

A Judge of Compensation Claims erred in denying a motion to strike an employer/carrier’s response to a claimant’s motion fees and thus had no basis on which to reduce the amount of fees awarded . . . (see more) [Added 11/2/15]

A lawyer whose failure to timely file an appellate brief (apparently due to non-payment) resulted in the court dismissing the appeal is referred by the Third DCA to the Local Professionalism Panel . . . (see more) [Added 10/27/15]

A motion to disqualify a judge does not require sworn affidavits by a party having personal knowledge of the facts alleged . . . (see more) [Added 10/26/15]

On its own motion, the Supreme Court amends Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 10-9.1 regarding advisory opinions in connection with civil suits alleging the unlicensed practice of law . . . (see more) [Added 10/23/15]

The Supreme Court rejects a Florida Bar proposed advisory opinion filed by the Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee because it did not address “specified conduct” as required by the Court’s Goldberg decision . . . (see more) [Added 10/22/15]

The Florida Bar Board of Governors affirms Florida Ethics Opinion 14-1 regarding duties of lawyers in advising clients to “clean up” their social media pages before litigation is filed . . . (see more) [Added 10/19/15]

The Florida Supreme Court disbars a lawyer who had prior discipline for unprofessional conduct . . . (see more) [Added 10/17/15]

The Florida Bar Board of Governors unanimously rejects admission to the Florida Bar on motion, with or without reciprocity . . . (see more) [Added 10/16/15]

A federal court strikes down a Florida Bar rule prohibiting non-certified lawyers from claiming specialization or expertise in particular areas of the law . . . (see more) [Added 10/13/15]

The Florida Supreme Court rejects proposed changes to the lawyer referral service rules, instead directing the Florida Bar to develop a proposal that would effectively ban for-profit referral services unless they are lawyer owned or operated . . . (see more) [Added 9/27/15]

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners releases the results of the July 2015 general bar examination; Florida International tops the list . . . (see more) [Added 9/26/15]

In a postconviction proceeding appeal, the Florida Supreme Court rules that the lower court did not err in refusing to admit trial counsel’s disciplinary record as support for the defendant’s allegations of ineffective assistance . . . (see more) [Added 9/25/15]

The Florida Supreme Court approves a stay and directs the Florida Bar to submit a new proposal for a rule regarding fees for extraordinary lien resolution services . . . (see more) [Added 9/21/15]

The Florida 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]

The Florida Supreme Court disciplines a judge for “rude and intemperate interaction” with a citizen during a contested judicial election, as well as improper use of authority while presiding over a case . . . (see more) [Added 9/16/15]

On its own motion, the Florida Supreme Court amends the Rules of Judicial Administration to prescribe proper attire for judges during court proceedings . . . (see more) [Added 9/12/15]

The Florida Supreme Court amends the “Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints” on its own motion . . . (see more) [Added 9/11/15]

The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee issues an opinion addressing whether a judge may accept a referral fee for a case the judge referred before going on the bench . . . (see more) [Added 9/4/15]

Certifying conflict, the First DCA rules that an offer of judgment was ambiguous because it failed to state whether it included attorneys’ fees, even though attorney’s fees were not sought in the complaint . . . (see more) [Added 8/20/15]

The Florida Bar Board of Governors concludes that text messaging to prospective clients is permitted as advertising rather than a type of prohibited solicitation . . . (see more) [Added 8/13/15]

A trial court erred in dismissing tort claims against a law firm on the basis of the economic loss rule . . . (see more) [Added 8/5/15]

The Florida Bar Board of Governors votes to add technology-related amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct and to adopt CLE requirements in technology . . . (see more) [Added 7/30/15]

Per the Fourth DCA, the litigation privilege cannot be used to bar a claim of malicious prosecution that is otherwise viable . . . (see more) [Added 7/23/15]

The Fourth DCA rejects a law firm’s contention that a $100,000 fee limitation in a $10 million claims bill for its client was an unconstitutional impairment of the attorney-client contract . . . (see more) [Added 7/22/15]

A judge’s hostility toward a lawyer arising from the lawyer’s opposition to the judge’s appointment to the federal bench warrants disqualification of the judge in post-trial proceedings . . . (see more) [Added 7/19/15]

Per the Fourth DCA, a trial court erred in holding that, as a matter of law, a lawyer representing a ward’s court-appointed emergency temporary guardian owed the ward no duty under a third-party beneficiary theory . . . (see more) [Added 7/12/15]

The Florida Supreme Court holds that a trial court is not required to obtain a conflict of interest waiver when criminal codefendants are represented by the same lawyer but there is no actual conflict of interest between them
. . . (see more) [Added 7/11/15]

The Florida Supreme Court denies a petition to authorize the Florida Bar to raise membership fees by up to $100 per year to be used for legal aid to the poor
. . . (see more) [Added 7/9/15]

The Florida Supreme Court removes a judge from the bench due to her misconduct as a lawyer before being elected to judicial office . . . (see more) [Added 6/20/15]

A lawyer need not research a particular issue in order to successfully defend a legal malpractice case on the ground of judgmental immunity . . . (see more) [Added 6/19/15]

The Florida Supreme Court amends Rules Regulating The Florida Bar on lawyer discipline, confidentiality, trust accounting, professionalism, and others . . . (see more) [Added 6/12/15]

The Florida Supreme Court suspends a judge for 30 days for using social media for her husband’s judicial campaign . . . (see more) [Added 6/5/15]

The Florida Supreme Court approves “housekeeping” changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding duties to prospective clients, misdirected electronic communications, and unauthorized practice of law . . . (see more) [Added 5/21/15]

The Second DCA imposes sanctions on a lawyer, refers her to the Bar, and orders her to self-report to the local Circuit Professionalism Panel for failure to follow proper appellate procedures . . . (see more) [Added 5/13/15]

A law firm is disqualified for opposing a former client in a substantially related matter despite the passage of 10 years . . . (see more) [Added 4/30/15]

A lawyer hired to represent a trustee does not owe a fiduciary duty to the trust beneficiaries, per the Eleventh Circuit . . . (see more) [Added 3/30/15]

The Florida Bar Board of Governors adopts “Professionalism Expectations” for Florida lawyers . . . (see more) [Added 2/3/15]

The Supreme Court amends the Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints to grant immunity from civil liability to persons on Local Professionalism Panels and Circuit Committees on Professionalism . . . (see more) [Added 2/2/15]

The Florida Bar withdraws its “Guidelines for Advertising Past Results” after a federal court finds them unconstitutional
. . . (see more) [Added 12/22/14]

Rejecting the recommendation of the Board of Bar Examiners, the Supreme Court permanently denies admission to an applicant who “has demonstrated a lifetime of dealing in falsehoods” . . . (see more) [Added 12/3/14]

The Florida Bar asks the Supreme Court to approve proposed rules on diversion in discipline cases, attorney’s fees, confidentiality obligations and exceptions, duties to prospective clients, supervision of nonlawyer assistants, unauthorized practice of law, lawyer referral services, and others . . .  (see more[Added 11/18/14]

A court erred in ordering production of a law firm’s file to its former client despite the firm’s assertion of a retaining lien . . .  (see more[Added 8/19/14]

The Florida Supreme Court approves multiple rule changes requested by the Florida Bar, including revisions to rules governing conflicts and paying witnesses, but rejects a proposal to restrict activities of suspended and disbarred lawyers . . .  (see more) [Added 3/29/14]