sunEthics 

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

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The Florida Supreme Court disbars instead of suspends a lawyer who caused “extremely serious” harm to clients in cannabis-related representations . . . (see more) [Added 2/16/18]


The Board of Governors approves a proposed rule change to increase the CLE requirements in “professionalism” . . . (see more) [Added 2/14/18]


Resolving a conflict among DCAs, the Supreme Court holds that a 57.105 fee award is permissible in dating, repeat, and sexual violence injunction actions filed under F.S. 784.046 . . . (see more) [Added 2/13/18]


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]


Where the “true relief sought” is money damages, a party cannot escape a fee award under the offer of judgment rule merely by adding a declaratory judgment count to its complaint . . . (see more) [Added 2/8/18]


The Bar and the Board of Bar Examiners file a revised petition asking the Supreme Court to adopt rules providing for temporary authorization for spouses of active duty military personnel to practice law in Florida . . . (see more) [Added 2/7/18]


Aligning with the Second and Fourth DCAs, the First DCA rules that a proposal for settlement need not be served in compliance with Fla.R.Jud.Admin. 2.516
. . . (see more) [Added 2/5/18]


The Third DCA disqualifies a law firm that had employed a lawyer who had previously represented its client’s opponent, despite the firm’s termination of the conflicted lawyer . . . (see more) [Added 1/30/18]


The “malpractice exception” to the attorney-client privilege applies only to communications between the client and the lawyer being sued, not to communications between the client and other counsel . . . (see more) [Added 1/29/18]


The First DCA emphasizes that there are no “magic words” required in order for a court to conduct a sufficient Faretta self-representation inquiry, but certifies a question to the Supreme Court . . . (see more) [Added 1/22/18]


Florida Coastal tops the state in pass rate for the November 2017 Multi-state Professional Responsibility Exam . . . (see more) [Added 1/19/18]


A law firm and its client may not be held jointly and severally liable for a fee award ordered as a sanction under F.S. 57.105(1) . . . (see more) [Added 1/17/18]


A denial of a motion to withdraw guilty plea is reversed because the defendant was denied appointed counsel at the hearing on the motion . . . (see more) [Added 1/16/18]


The Fourth DCA sanctions a lawyer and his client for pursuing a frivolous appeal . . . (see more) [Added 1/12/18]


A trial court erred in ordering disclosure of public records in a city’s risk management claims file on the basis that release of the records, though protected by statute, would not prejudice the city . . . (see more) [Added 1/10/18]


Rejecting the federal courts’ approach, the Florida Supreme Court reaffirms that under Florida law there is not a “rare” and “exceptional” circumstances exception to application of a contingency fee multiplier to a prevailing party fee award . . . (see more) [Added 1/9/18]


The statute of limitations for legal malpractice in a domestic case began to run upon the issuance of the amended final judgment, despite the fact that the issues relating to the malpractice claim had been resolved earlier in the case . . . (see more) [Added 1/8/18]


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]


A bankruptcy trustee may sue the debtor’s lawyer for legal malpractice, per the Second DCA . . . (see more) [Added 12/31/17]


The litigation privilege does not protect defendant’s “noncommunicative” conduct in accessing their opponents’ password-protected computer account, and statements made during an examination under oath are subject only to a qualified, not absolute, privilege . . . (see more) [Added 12/28/17]


The Supreme Court rejects proposed rules for temporary authorization to practice law in Florida for spouses of active duty military personnel . . . (see more) [Added 12/26/17]


The Board of Governors approves Florida Ethics Opinion 17-1 regarding fee-sharing with law firms in jurisdictions with rules that permit non-lawyer ownership in law firms . . . (see more) [Added 12/24/17]


The Professional Ethics Committee concludes that it is unethical for a lawyer to require a client to pay the cost of the lawyer’s insurance to cover litigation costs in contingent fee cases . . . (see more) [Added 12/20/17]


The Supreme Court dismisses the petition for writ of quo warranto seeking to prohibit the governor from appointing replacements for 3 justices whose terms end in January 2019 . . . (see more) [Added 12/14/17]


The Supreme Court approves a change to the bar admission rules designed to make it easier to transfer bar exam scores from other states to Florida . . . (see more) [Added 12/5/17]


Despite affirming a substantial verdict in a tobacco case, the Third DCA criticizes argument by Plaintiff’s counsel as “ill-conceived and improper” . . . (see more) [Added 12/4/17]


The Supreme Court broadly construes Amendment 7 to protect external peer review reports of a hospital’s adverse medical incidents that were created by an outside retained expert . . . (see more) [Added 11/28/17]


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]


The Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for one year instead of the recommended 60 days for violating the rule against solicitation of clients
. . . (see more) [Added 11/6/17]


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


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]


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]


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 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]

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