sunEthics 

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




The Fourth DCA reverses an order denying a charging lien but awarding some fees to a law firm that withdrew from a contingent fee case . . . (see more) [Added 1/18/22]


The Third DCA grants a writ of prohibition to disqualify a trial judge . . . (see more) [Added 1/14/22]


The dismissal of a law firm’s counterclaim in a legal malpractice case due to a forum selection provision in the retainer agreement is reversed . . . (see more) [Added 1/12/22]


A court erred in dismissing a petition for writ of mandamus seeking compelled disclosure of public records without holding evidentiary hearing , , , (see more) [Added 1/10/22]


A court properly awarded fees based on an offer of judgment made to a lawyer sued for legal malpractice, despite the fact that the lawyer’s firm paid his legal fees . . . (see more) [1/5/22]


Denial of a law firm’s charging lien is affirmed because of collateral estoppel from a federal court judgment finding that the firm voluntarily withdrew from contingent fee cases before the contingency occurred . . . (see more) [Added 1/3/22]


A postconviction claim judge is disqualified from presiding over a petitioner’s application for sentence review filed pursuant to Fla.R.Crim.P. 3.802 . . . (see more) [Added 12/31/21]


The Second DCA affirms an order denying a motion to disqualify because the movant lacked standing to seek disqualification of opposing counsel . . . (see more) [Added 12/29/21]


A grant of summary judgment on 4 of 5 counts on the final day of the 30-day window for acceptance of a proposal for settlement did not terminate the proposal, thus entitling the offeror to fees . . . (see more) [Added 12/24/21]


An order requiring production of an incident report and accident scene photos is upheld as to the report, but quashed as to the photos due to failure to satisfy the requirements of Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.280(b)(4) . . . (see more) [Added 12/23/21]


A trial court departed from the essential requirements of law in ruling that parties waived attorney-client privilege by failing to file a privilege log . . . (see more) [Added 12/20/21]


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 Third DCA concludes that the actions of a client’s lawyer were insufficient to demonstrate that the client had waived attorney-client privilege . . . (see more) [Added 12/16/21]


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]


The Supreme Court fines, reprimands, and suspends a judge for failing to devote full time to her judicial duties . . . (see more) [Added 12/13/21]


A judge correctly denied a party’s motion for fees based on an unaccepted proposal for settlement that was ambiguous . . . (see more) [Added 12/12/21]


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]


Appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to file a rule 3.800(b)(2) motion to challenge costs that were not orally pronounced at the hearing . . . (see more) [Added 12/9/21]


Application of a multiplier to the insureds’ fee award in a coverage dispute is reversed due to lack of evidence to satisfy the Quanstrom requirements . . . (see more) [Added 12/6/21]


A trial court erred in denying prevailing party fees to a homeowners association that obtained the relief it sought and then agreed to dismiss the suit . . . (see more) [Added 12/3/21]


The Fifth DCA affirms a fee award in small claims case, rejecting the argument that the proposal for settlement was invalid because offeror did not specifically invoke Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.442 . . . (see more) [Added 12/1/21]


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]


The Second DCA reverses a criminal conviction on direct appeal due to ineffective assistance apparent on the face of the record
. . . (see more) [Added 11/28/21]


The Supreme Court determines that a sixth appellate district should be created and that 6 new appellate judgeships are needed . . . (see more) [Added 11/26/21]


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]

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