sunEthics 

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



A party to a paternity action may not waive temporary attorney’s fees prior to final judgment, per the Second DCA . . . (see more)  [Added 5/29/20]


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 First DCA affirms a conviction, rejecting the argument that criminal defense counsel was ineffective as a result of a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship engineered by the defendant
. . . (see more)[Added 5/22/20]


An order granting a motion to enforce a purported settlement is reversed in the absence of proof that the lawyer had settlement authority from the client . . . (see more) [Added 5/20/20]

In two cases, the Supreme Court criticizes prosecution comments and arguments in voir dire and closing argument . . . (see more) [Added 5/18/20]


A lawyer who repeatedly failed to respond to Bar inquiries and made a misrepresentation to a grievance committee is given a 3-year suspension by the Supreme Court, rather than the recommended reprimand . . . (see more) [Added 5/14/20]


Expert testimony is not needed to support an award of fees as compensatory damages in a suit by a law firm against a client for breach of contract . . . (see more) [Added 5/12/20]


The Third DCA orders a judge disqualified after the judge had denied a motion to disqualify as legally insufficient . . . (see more) [Added 5/7/20]


Following contentious litigation involving discovery objections, the Second DCA criticizes the “shenanigans” displayed by counsel for both parties . . . (see more) [Added 5/5/20]


A party claiming work product protection for photos had no obligation to file a privilege log until the trial court had ruled on its non-privilege objections to production . . . (see more) [Added 5/1/20]


A court erred in granting postconviction relief to a criminal defendant on a ground not raised by the defendant in his Fla.R.Crim.P. 3.850 motion . . . (see more) [Added 4/28/20]


A probate court has discretion to award attorney’s fees from the corpus of an estate under F.S. 733.1061 . . . (see more) [Added 4/24/20]


A trial court erred in not awarding fees to a former wife who prevailed in a marital settlement agreement enforcement action . . . (see more) [Added 4/23/20]


F.S. 57.105 authorizes consideration of the non-movant’s counsel’s hours in determining the amount of fees to award the movant, but does not authorize use of that information to award fees against the non-movant as a sanction
. . . (see more) [Added 4/21/20]


An administrative law judge erred in applying a statutory fee cap to multiple petitioners that prevailed on separate rule change petitions that were consolidated . . . (see more) [Added 4/17/20]


On its own motion, the Supreme Court amends the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar to provide a new procedure for responding to future public health and other emergency situations . . . (see more) [Added 4/15/20]


University of Florida has the state's highest pass rate for the February 2020 general bar exam . . . (see more) [Added 4/13/20]


Defense counsel was not ineffective for failing to file a motion that was meritless under existing law, even though the Supreme Court had accepted review of the controlling case​ . . . (see more) [Added 4/13/20]


A motion to disqualify a judge should have been granted even though the movant’s opponent strongly objected to the facts alleged in the motion . . . (see more) [Added 4/9/20]


Appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to present a novel legal argument on direct appeal, per the Florida Supreme Court . . . (see more) [Added 4/7/20]


The Florida Supreme Court reprimands 5 judges for sending a letter to a Florida agency urging award of a contract to a particular vendor
. . . (see more) [Added 4/3/20]


A probate court erred in imposing a charging lien and awarding personal representative’s former lawyer fees to be partly paid by the former personal representative personally . . . (see more) [Added 3/31/20]


A judge who had disqualified himself from all of a lawyer’s cases is disqualified from presiding over a post-conviction hearing at which that lawyer will testify . . . (see more) [Added 3/26/20]


Prevailing party fees should not have been awarded against plaintiffs that voluntarily dismissed the  suit because the dismissal did not make the defendants “prevailing” parties under the facts of the case . . . (see more) [Added 3/24/20]


Work product privilege may attach to an insurer’s claim file even where that claim was settled without litigation, per the Second DCA . . . (see more) [Added 3/16/20]


The Fourth DCA reverses an order requiring a law firm to hold funds in its trust account until the firm’s dispute with a lender to which the firm had pledged fees as collateral was resolved . . . (see more) [Added 3/10/20]


The Supreme Court approves changes to the rules setting the qualifications for lawyer and non-lawyer members of the Board of Bar Examiners . . . (see more) [Added 2/19/20]


The Second DCA indicates that the practice of subpoenaing a party’s law firm, rather than the party, for non-party trust records is “not prohibited” but should not be employed without safeguards . . . (see more) [Added 2/17/20]


The Professional Ethics Committee addresses interstate law firms that operate in Florida, lawyers working with public adjusters, a former court employee’s access to court documents, lawyers’ responses to negative online reviews, and proposed amendments to the client-with-diminished-capacity rule . . . (see more) [Added 2/11/20]


On its own motion, the Supreme Court removes two subjects from the list of subjects tested on the Florida bar exam . . . (see more) [Added 1/27/20]


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 rules that a public defender’s office did not provide ineffective assistance by representing the defendant despite one of its lawyers being precluded from the case due to an acquaintance with the victim and her family . . . (see more) [Added 12/11/19]


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]


The Board of Governors approves a rule change proposal that would prohibit advertising lawyers from using the names of other lawyers or law firms in a misleading way that states or implies that the other lawyer is part of the advertising lawyer’s firm . . . (see more) [Added 6/3/19]


The Supreme Court withdraws its prior opinion (which ruled that prevailing party fees are recoverable under the reciprocal provisions of F.S. 57.105 by a borrower who succeeded in having plaintiff’s mortgage foreclosure suit dismissed on grounds including lack of standing), concluding that it had improvidently granted review . . . (see more) [Added 4/18/19]


The Supreme Court declines to adopt a proposed rule that would bar lawyers from accepting referrals from any entity that refers to more than one type of professional for the same incident or transaction
. . . (see more) [Added 4/15/19]


The Supreme Court acts on the Bar’s biennial rules proposals, including proposed amendments relating to self-reporting criminal charges and convictions to the Bar, the Bar’s duty to notify the Court of a lawyer’s felony adjudication, client payments by credit card, imputed disqualification, collaborative law, CLE “professionalism” requirements, and electronic meetings
. . . (see more) [Added 1/14/19]


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]

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