NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .


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


On rehearing, the Third DCA concludes that a proposal for settlement served on 2 parties was invalid and unenforceable because it did not permit both offerees to independently evaluate or settle their respective claims . . . (see more) [Added 10/19/18]

A trial court erred in denying motions for fees against an indispensable party that was added to a suit against its will and rejected proposals for settlement made under F.S. 768.79 and Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.442 . . . (see more) [Added 10/9/18]

The Third DCA orders a lawyer to show cause why he should not be sanctioned for filing briefs that violate rules regarding candor to the court, attacks on the integrity of the judiciary, and frivolous filings . . . (see more) [Added 10/5/18]

The Supreme Court disbars a lawyer who failed to notify clients of her suspension as ordered and continued to practice law while suspended . . . (see more) [Added 10/3/18]

In answering a certified question arising from a county court order, the Second DCA rules that the reciprocity provision of F.S. 57.105 applies to an action for account stated brought to collect an amount due under a credit card agreement . . . (see more) [Added 10/1/18]

The Fourth DCA upholds a prevailing party fee award to a borrower whose argument that the foreclosing bank lacked standing was not adjudicated on the merits because the bank voluntarily dismissed the suit . . . (see more) [Added 9/28/18]

The First DCA declines to disturb an order disqualifying a lawyer because the trial court “did not disregard any clearly established principle of law” . . . (see more) [Added 9/26/18]

A conviction is reversed because the trial court impermissibly permitted the prosecution to suggest that defense counsel influenced the victim to change his story between the incident and the trial . . . (see more) [Added 9/24/18]

The Fourth DCA addresses the proper method of handling a F.S. 768.79 fee award in an insurance case where execution on a large part of the judgment was stayed pending the outcome of a bad faith claim . . . (see more) [Added 9/20/18]

Florida International leads the state in first-time-taker pass rate for the July 2018 general bar examination . . .  (see more[Added 9/17/18]

A trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding a 2.0 multiplier in a first-party, late notice insurance claim case where “minimal” evidence supported the finding that the relevant market required a multiplier
. . . (see more) [Added 9/17/18]

A trial court has broad discretion to award temporary fees in family matters under F.S. Chapter 61, as well as “matters which are intricately intertwined with those matters" . . . (see more) [Added 9/14/18]

The Supreme Court removes a judge for “egregious misconduct” during his campaign and other misconduct while in office . . . (see more) [Added 9/10/18]

Orders imposing F.S. 57.105 sanctions against party and counsel are reversed due to the lack of required factual findings, failure to properly apportion the award, and lack of proper notice to those sought to be sanctioned . . . (see more) [Added 9/7/18]

Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to introduce into evidence the alleged victim’s school attendance records, where the victim claimed to have skipped school as a result of the crime . . . (see more) [Added 9/4/18]

A court erred in denying a motion for fees pursuant to an unaccepted proposal for settlement solely because the certificate of service was not signed by counsel . . . (see more) [Added 8/31/18]

Mandamus lies to compel a public defender to provide a former client with copies of documents, including recordings, that were prepared at public expense . . . (see more) [Added 8/29/18]

A court’s award of an “equitable lien” that indirectly awarded attorney’s fees to an unsuccessful party is reversed . . . (see more) [Added 8/27/18]

The litigation privilege does not apply to conduct that meets the statutory definition of stalking or cyberstalking, per the Third DCA . . . (see more) [Added 8/22/18]

The Third DCA affirms the denial of an anti-stalking injunction sought by one lawyer against another, determining that the allegations presented professionalism issues best addressed under the Florida Bar disciplinary system . . . (see more) [Added 8/22/18]

A lawyer who was a material witness to events underlying an indirect criminal contempt proceedings may not assist the court as prosecutor in those proceedings . . . (see more) [Added 8/20/18]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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 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]