sunEthics 

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


​​​​​​


The Florida Supreme Court rules that a harmless error test applies when a convicted criminal defendant claims on appeal that the trial court erroneously denied a motion to disqualify the judge . . . (see more) [Added 10/2/22]


A defendant who was dismissed without prejudice after serving an offer of judgment, and not named when the plaintiff filed a second complaint, was not entitled to fees under F.S. 768.79 . . . (see more) [Added 9/30/22]


A non-party succeeds in obtaining certiorari relief to quash an order finding the names of parties to a dismissed eviction action confidential . . . (see more) [Added 9/28/22]


A condo unit owned who voluntarily dismissed his suit against the association is awarded prevailing party fees based on the circumstances . . . (see more) [Added 9/26/22]


The Second DCA addresses an order requiring production of documents an insurer contended were privileged or work product in connection with an anticipated bad faith claim . . . (see more) [Added 9/22/22]


Florida International sets the pace for first-time bar passage results for the July 2022 general bar examination . . . (see more) [Added 9/19/22]


Reversing an attorney’s fee sanction order, the Fourth DCA concludes that the trial court’s application of F.S. 57.105(8) would take the statute down “Swearing Match Lane" . . . (see more) [Added 9/18/22]


A lawyer who chose to go forward with a fee sanctions hearing despite the unavailability of his expert witness is denied fees and not given a “second bite at the apple" . . . (see more) [Added 9/15/22]


A trial court’s imposition of a fee award as a sanction on its own motion, after denying both parties’ cross-motions for sanctions, is reversed due to failure to provide notice and an evidentiary hearing . . . (see more) [Added 9/12/22]


The Third DCA dismisses a petition for prohibition seeking disqualification of a trial judge based on the judge’s tone of voice and manner . . . (see more) [Added 9/6/22]


A trial court erred in disqualifying a party’s counsel for reviewing allegedly privileged documents, where the documents were not privileged because the party was a participant in the communications . . . (see more) [Added 9/1/22]


An allegation that the opposing law firm co-hosted a judicial fundraiser for the judge during a contested re-election campaign, coupled with adverse rulings in the case, are not legally sufficient to warrant the judge’s disqualification . . . (see more) [Added 8/30/22]


Summary judgment for 2 legal malpractice defendant law firms is reversed due to disputed issues of fact regarding the defendants’ ability to rectify mistakes made by prior counsel . . . (see more) [Added 8/25/22]


In 2 unrelated cases lawyers who repeatedly ignored Second DCA’s orders are referred to the Florida Bar for investigation . . . (see more) [Added 8/23/22]


Concluding that the attorney-client privilege had not been waived, the Fifth DCA quashes an order compelling a client’s corporate representative to testify to privileged communications
. . . (see more) [Added 8/17/22]


Communications between two school district employees and the district’s lawyer were not privileged, per the Second DCA . . . (see more) [Added 8/10/22]


Citing to the Rolling Stones, the Third DCA quashes an order requiring production for in camera inspection of a party’s communications with his lawyer . . . (see more) [Added 7/8/22]


Responding to a petition from the Bar, the Supreme Court amends bar rules various subjects including lawyer advertising, dealing with clients with diminished capacity, inventory attorneys, and confidentiality in the disciplinary system . . . (see more) [Added 3/4/22]


The Supreme Court amends Rule 4-5.5 to conform to the UPL advisory opinion permitting lawyers licensed in other states to work remotely from Florida for extended time periods on matters not involving Florida . . . (see more) [Added 2/18/22]


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 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]


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]


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]

NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .