sunEthics 

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


NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .

A conviction is reversed because the trial court prohibited the defendant from conferring with his lawyer during a recess while he was on the witness stand . . . (see more) [Added 2/3/16]


The Professional Ethics Committee votes to pursue adoption of an advisory opinion regarding a lawyer lobbying the legislature when the lawyer’s partner is an elected legislator . . . (see more) [Added 1/26/16]


A court erred in imputing statements of counsel to the client and finding a fraud on the court based on those statements . . . (see more) [Added 1/18/16]


A judge who previously represented the criminal defendant and thus acquired confidential information, coupled with the judge’s prior representation of the police department to which the defendant is adverse, would have required disqualification if the motion had been timely filed . . . (see more) [Added 1/15/16]


A judgment for a lawyer in her suit against a former client for posting defamatory online reviews is affirmed on appeal . . . (see more) [Added 1/8/16]


In a workers' compensation case, the claimant was entitled to appellate fees after the E/C filed an appeal, obtained an extension to file the initial brief, then dismissed the appeal without filing a brief . . . (see more) [Added 1/4/16]


Trial counsel was ineffective because he incorrectly advised the defendant regarding the proper way to challenge the court’s ruling that defendant was competent to stand trial . . . (see more) [Added 12/31/15]


The Second DCA criticizes counsel for not doing the “professional and civil thing to do” and simply stipulating to entry of an order rather than litigating . . . (see more) [Added 12/30/15]


A charging lien does not apply to an award of past due undifferentiated support accruing during the pendency of divorce proceedings . . . (see more) [Added 12/29/15]


A court erred in granting a former client’s motion to strike a law firm’s charging and retaining lien without holding an evidentiary hearing . . . (see more) [Added 12/28/15]


A lawyer’s failure to file a proper notice of withdrawal eventually mushrooms into potential sanctions and a referral to the Florida Bar for not maintaining a reliable address . . . (see more) [Added 12/27/15]


A trial court erred ruling that a corporation waived its attorney-client privilege by disclosing documents to the corporation’s agents, where the court failed to conduct an in camera inspection of the documents . . . (see more) [Added 12/24/15]


There is a presumption that a lawyer is duly authorized to act for the client and accept service on the client’s behalf . . . (see more) [Added 12/21/15]


The Fourth DCA questions the professionalism of two lawyers who litigated and appealed an award of fees arising from the failure of one lawyer to remove the other from a service list . . . (see more) [Added 12/21/15]


The Supreme Court removes a judge from office for conduct relating to a physical altercation with an assistant public defender . . . (see more) [Added/12/21/15]


A lawyer who was added as co-counsel in a contingent fee case fails in his claim for a portion of the fee, which is awarded in full to the first lawyer because the first lawyer’s contract was never modified . . . (see more) [Added 12/10/15]


In probate litigation involving undue influence on the party of a lawyer, the Second DCA observes that “the repercussions from a single ethical lapse may carry far beyond a lawyer’s license to practice law" . . . (see more) [Added 12/9/15]


The Supreme Court addresses calculation of attorney’s fees in eminent domain cases where the condemning authority causes excessive litigation, ruling that application of the formula in F.S. 73.092(1) is constitutionally deficient . . . (see more) [Added 12/2/15]


The Fourth DCA addresses the definition of a “contingency fee” in rejecting an argument that no fee was due a law firm under an agreement for payment of earned fees . . . (see more) [Added 11/11/15]


A trial court erred in granting a motion for post-trial juror interviews, where the information in question was immaterial and irrelevant to jury service in the case . . . (see more) [Added 11/11/15]


A defendant who successfully defeated a claim on the ground that she had no contract with the plaintiff cannot claim attorney’s fees based on the contract . . . (see more) [Added 11/9/15]


A lawyer whose failure to timely file an appellate brief (apparently due to non-payment) resulted in the court dismissing the appeal is referred by the Third DCA to the Local Professionalism Panel . . . (see more) [Added 10/27/15]


On its own motion, the Supreme Court amends Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 10-9.1 regarding advisory opinions in connection with civil suits alleging the unlicensed practice of law . . . (see more) [Added 10/23/15]


The Supreme Court rejects a Florida Bar proposed advisory opinion filed by the Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee because it did not address “specified conduct” as required by the Court’s Goldberg decision . . . (see more) [Added 10/22/15]


The Florida Bar Board of Governors affirms Florida Ethics Opinion 14-1 regarding duties of lawyers in advising clients to “clean up” their social media pages before litigation is filed . . . (see more) [Added 10/19/15]


The Supreme Court disbars a lawyer who had prior discipline for unprofessional conduct . . . (see more) [Added 10/17/15]


The Board of Governors unanimously rejects admission to the Florida Bar on motion, with or without reciprocity . . . (see more) [Added 10/16/15]


A federal court strikes down a Florida Bar rule prohibiting non-certified lawyers from claiming specialization or expertise in particular areas of the law . . . (see more) [Added 10/13/15]


The Florida Supreme Court rejects proposed changes to the lawyer referral service rules, instead directing the Florida Bar to develop a proposal that requires for-profit referral services to be lawyer owned or operated . . . (see more) [Added 9/27/15]


The Florida Board of Bar Examiners releases the results of the July 2015 general bar examination; Florida International tops the list . . . (see more) [Added 9/26/15]


The Supreme Court approves a stay and directs the Florida Bar to submit a new proposal for a rule regarding fees for extraordinary lien resolution services . . . (see more) [Added 9/21/15]


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]


The Supreme Court disciplines a judge for “rude and intemperate interaction” with a citizen during a contested judicial election, as well as improper use of authority while presiding over a case . . . (see more) [Added 9/16/15]


On its own motion, the Supreme Court amends the Rules of Judicial Administration to prescribe proper attire for judges during court proceedings . . . (see more) [Added 9/12/15]


The Supreme Court amends the “Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints” on its own motion . . . (see more) [Added 9/11/15]


The Board of Governors concludes that text messaging to prospective clients is permitted as advertising rather than a type of prohibited solicitation . . . (see more) [Added 8/13/15]


A trial court erred in dismissing tort claims against a law firm on the basis of the economic loss rule . . . (see more) [Added 8/5/15]


The Board of Governors votes to add technology-related amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct and to adopt CLE requirements in technology . . . (see more) [Added 7/30/15]


Per the Fourth DCA, the litigation privilege cannot be used to bar a claim of malicious prosecution that is otherwise viable . . . (see more) [Added 7/23/15]


The Supreme Court denies a petition to authorize the Florida Bar to raise membership fees by up to $100 per year to be used for legal aid to the poor . . . (see more) [Added 7/9/15]


The Supreme Court amends Rules Regulating The Florida Bar on lawyer discipline, confidentiality, trust accounting, professionalism, and others . . . (see more) [Added 6/12/15]


The Supreme Court approves “housekeeping” changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding duties to prospective clients, misdirected electronic communications, and unauthorized practice of law . . . (see more) [Added 5/21/15]


A lawyer hired to represent a trustee does not owe a fiduciary duty to the trust beneficiaries, per the Eleventh Circuit . . . (see more) [Added 3/30/15]


The Board of Governors adopts “Professionalism Expectations” for Florida lawyers . . . (see more) [Added 2/3/15]


The Supreme Court amends the Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints to grant immunity from civil liability to persons on Local Professionalism Panels and Circuit Committees on Professionalism . . . (see more) [Added 2/2/15]


The Florida Bar withdraws its “Guidelines for Advertising Past Results” after a federal court finds them unconstitutional
. . . (see more) [Added 12/22/14]


Rejecting the recommendation of the Board of Bar Examiners, the Supreme Court permanently denies admission to an applicant who “has demonstrated a lifetime of dealing in falsehoods” . . . (see more) [Added 12/3/14]


The Florida Bar asks the Supreme Court to approve proposed rules on diversion in discipline cases, attorney’s fees, confidentiality obligations and exceptions, duties to prospective clients, supervision of nonlawyer assistants, unauthorized practice of law, lawyer referral services, and others . . .  (see more[Added 11/18/14]


A court erred in ordering production of a law firm’s file to its former client despite the firm’s assertion of a retaining lien . . .  (see more[Added 8/19/14]


The Supreme Court approves multiple rule changes requested by the Florida Bar, including revisions to rules governing conflicts and paying witnesses, but rejects a proposal to restrict activities of suspended and disbarred lawyers . . .  (see more) [Added 3/29/14]