sunEthics 

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

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NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .




A law firm had a duty to have sufficient procedures to ensure timely receipt of orders, and in using email system without safeguards or oversight firm could not claim excusable neglect under Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.540 when it failed to timely appeal an emailed order it allegedly did not receive . . . (see more) [Added 10/18/17]


A trial court’s failure to conduct a Faretta hearing before allowing a defendant to represent himself at a pre-trial Williams rule hearing constitutes per se reversible error . . . (see more) [Added 10/16/17]


The Florida Supreme Court changes the name of its Commission on Professionalism by adding the word “civility” to the name . . . (see more) [Added 10/12/17]


An amendment to the Public Records Act applies retroactively and prevents disclosure of the identity of witnesses to a murder who could also be considered victims of a crime . . . (see more) [Added 10/5/17]


In upholding the denial of a motion to disqualify a lawyer, the Third DCA does not extend the duty of loyalty to former clients beyond that expressed in Rule 4-1.9(a) . . . (see more) [Added 9/28/17]


A trial court may consider a party’s litigation conduct in awarding fees in a domestic case under F.S. 61.16, even if the party that benefits has the superior financial position . . . (see more) [Added 9/27/17]


A trial court abused its discretion by sua sponte reducing the hourly fee for a prevailing party’s counsel based on the judge’s personal opinion of what an appropriate rate was . . . (see more) [Added 9/25/17]


FSU leads state law schools in pass rate for the July 2017 Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam . . . (see more) [Added 9/21/17]


The July 2017 Florida Bar Exam results are released, and Florida International tops the state in bar passage . . . (see more) [Added 9/18/17]


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]


Appellate counsel’s failure to raise an issue that was dispositive in the co-defendant’s appeal resulted in “manifest injustice” warranting reversal for a new trial . . . (see more) [Added 9/12/17]


A trial judge who is Facebook “friends” with a lawyer who representing someone who is a potential witness and potential party is not disqualified . . . (see more) [Added 9/8/17]


Although it affirmed prevailing party fees, the Fourth DCA reduces the amount awarded due to the prevailing party’s “limited success" . . . (see more) [Added 9/6/17]


The Fourth DCA rejects the argument that a former client could not prove redressable harm in a malpractice suit arising from a family law case because the marital settlement agreement is always subject to modification . . . (see more) [Added 9/4/17]


The Third DCA rejects the argument that the principals of a law firm’s former corporate client should not be held liable for the firm’s unpaid fees . . . (see more) [Added 8/30/17]


Defendant’s trial counsel was ineffective for failing to inform him that he qualified for sentencing as a habitual felony offender (HFO) even though the state did not file its intent to seek an HFO sentence until after trial . . . (see more) [Added 8/23/17]


A Judge of Compensation Claims is disqualified because, in another case, the judge stated that the claimant’s lawyer was not credible and disqualified himself
. . .  (see more[Added 8/11/17]


A court erred in awarding the fee in a wrongful death case entirely to the law firm that represented the survivors, but did not represent the personal representative
. . . (see more) [Added 8/10/17]


A trial judge is disqualified from presiding over a contempt proceeding that arose from a lawyer’s alleged disrespect to the judge in open court . . . (see more) [Added 7/28/17]


Per the Florida Supreme Court, denial of postconviction counsel’s motion to withdraw did not violate defendant’s right to conflict-free counsel, even though counsel supervised prosecution of a prior conviction that was used as an aggravator in the present case . . . (see more) [Added 7/26/17]


The Third DCA upholds a trial court’s sanction order imposing waiver of a party’s work product privilege as to certain emails based “serious and intentional” discovery violations by the party rather than its counsel . . . (see more) [Added 7/25/17]


The Florida Supreme Court vacates a death sentence conviction and remands for a new penalty phase based on counsel’s ineffective assistance in conducting an unreasonable mitigation investigation . . . (see more) [Added 7/21/17]


The Second DCA removes a lawyer from a case and refers him to the Florida Bar for failing to comply with court orders and the attendant delays . . . (see more) [Added 7/20/17]


Finding ambiguity in a defendant’s auto insurance policy, the Florida Supreme Court rules that the insurer is responsible for paying the plaintiff’s fees and costs resulting from an unaccepted offer of judgment . . . (see more) [Added 7/19/17]


A trial court erred in disqualifying the movant’s opposing counsel because the lawyer never actually represented the movant nor did he participate in confidential communications with the movant . . . (see more) [Added 7/12/17]


A court erred by ordering production of public records in a time frame that did not allow redaction of exempt information and without requiring payment from the requesting law firm . . . (see more) [Added 7/11/17]


The Professional Ethics Committee publishes a proposed advisory opinion addressing dividing fees with out-of-state lawyers who work in firms that have non-lawyer partners . . . (see more) [Added 7/1/17]


The Supreme Court suspends and publicly reprimands a judge as a result of allegedly misleading and deceptive campaign advertising . . . (see more) [Added 6/5/17]


The Supreme Court amends the Code of Judicial Conduct to address financial and gift disclosure requirements for judges . . . (see more) [Added 5/31/17]


The Supreme Court adopts rules of professional conduct and family law procedure to facilitate use of the collaborative law process in family law cases . . . (see more) [Added 5/19/17]


The Supreme Court rejects a referee’s recommended sanction and imposes a longer suspension on a lawyer found guilty of disbursing trust funds without court approval and negligence in managing his trust account . . . (see more) [Added 5/8/17]


The Supreme Court dismisses without prejudice the Bar’s petition to amend the rules regulating lawyer referral services . . . (see more) [Added 5/3/17]


The Florida 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 Florida Bar asks the Supreme Court to approve amendments to relax conflict rules when lawyers provide short-term, limited representation through non-profit organization, court, agency, bar association, and law school programs . . . (see more) [Added 4/13/17]


The Florida Bar petitions the Supreme Court for approval of rules that would allow lawyer spouses of active duty military personnel to practice in Florida for limited time under certain conditions . . . (see more) [Added 4/12/17]


The Florida Bar petitions the Supreme Court for amendments to rules regarding soliciting gifts or fiduciary appointments from clients, settling malpractice claims with unrepresented clients, notifying clients when leaving a law firm, using “specialist” or “expert” in advertising, contacting prospective clients, keeping trust funds in credit unions, and protecting trust funds when third parties claim an interest in them . . . (see more) [Added 11/23/16]


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]