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Proposed board actions.

Pursuant to Standing Board Policy 1.60, the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar hereby publishes this notice of intent to consider or take final action at its March 30 meeting in Tampa on the following items. These matters are additionally governed by Rule 1-12.1, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, where applicable. Most amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar that are finally acted upon by the board must still be formally presented to the Supreme Court of Florida, with further notice and opportunity to be heard, before they are officially approved and become effective. To receive a full copy of the text of any of these proposed amendments call (850)561-5751. Reference any requested proposal by its title or item number and date of this publication.


Chapter 3 Rules of Discipline

Subchapter 3-5 Types of Discipline

1. Rule 3-5.1 Generally

Summary: Within subdivision (c), increases the maximum stated period of time for which probation may be imposed, from 3 years to 5 years.

Subchapter 3-6 Employment of Certain Attorneys or Former Attorneys

2. Rule 3-6.1 Generally

Summary: Extends the prohibitions re direct client contact and the handling trust funds and property to all entities providing legal services when hiring an individual otherwise subject to this rule; clarifies that the employment restrictions and reporting requirements apply to law firms and other agencies through which legal services are provided.

Subchapter 3-7 Procedures

3. Rule 3-7.4 Grievance Committee Procedures

Summary: Within subdivision (l), adds provision authorizing the return of a matter to the grievance committee for further action if, before filing of any charges, bar counsel, staff counsel and the designated reviewer agree there are appropriate reasons for not filing a formal complaint.

4. Rule 3-7.6 Procedures Before a Referee

Summary: Within subdivision (a), adds language requiring that a judge have 5 years' experience as a judge in the state of Florida prior to appointment as a referee; adds appropriate subdivision titles and numbers consistent with controlling editorial protocols

Chapter 4 Rules of Professional Conduct

Subchapter 4-5 Law Firms and Associations

5. Rule 4-5.5 Unlicensed Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law

Summary: Within subdivision (b), revises title to read "Prohibited Conduct" and adds new (b)(3) to clarify that a non-Florida lawyer cannot appear in court or before an administrative agency in Florida without following applicable rules; within subdivisions (c)(2) & (d)(2), deletes "or a person the lawyer is assisting" as confusing and contrary to intent of rule; within comment, adds language to clarify that if a court or other rule requires permission to appear before making an appearance, the non-Florida lawyer must seek such permission; also includes other non-substantive edits and a changed rule number referenced within commentary.

Subchapter 4-7 Information About Legal Services

6. Rule 4-7.6 Computer-Accessed Communications

Summary: Substantially amends rule and commentary re lawyer websites, to subject lawyer homepages to the general requirements of lawyer advertisements set forth in rule 4-7.2, and to further subject websites other than homepages to the requirements of rule 4-7.2 but with additional disclaimers and exceptions for certain factually verifiable statements re past results, testimonials, and quality of service.

7. Rule 4-7.10 Lawyer Referral Services

Summary: Consistent with proposed rule 8-6.1, clarifies rule and commentary that it is a violation of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar for a member of the bar to accept referrals from a private, for-profit lawyer referral service that does not comply with the requirements of rule 4-7.10; within subdivision (b), adds that it is a further violation if a lawyer fails to meet such responsibility when the lawyer knows or should have known any referral service is not in compliance with applicable rules or if the lawyer failed to seek such information to determine compliance.

Subchapter 4-8. Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession

8. Rule 4-8.4 Misconduct

Summary: Within subdivision (i) and commentary, substantially revises existing restrictions on sexual conduct between attorney and client or client's representative to now state that any such conduct that is commenced after the attorney/client relationship began creates a presumption--rebuttable by the lawyer by a preponderance of the evidence that it exploits or adversely affects the client's interests or attorney-client relations.

Chapter 5 Rules Regulating Trust Accounts

Subchapter 5-1 Generally

9. Rule 5-1.1 Trust Accounts

Summary: Adds new subdivision (k) to prohibit an attorney from authorizing overdraft protection for any account that contains trust funds.

Chapter 8 Lawyer Referral Rule

Subchapter 8-6 Misconduct

10. Rule 8-6.1 Misconduct of Attorneys Related to Lawyer Referral

Summary: Consistent with proposed changes in rule 4-7.10, new rule which clarifies that all attorneys who accept referrals under the lawyer referral rules must comply with the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar in addition to the terms and conditions of the referral; confirms that lawyer misconduct rule specifically applies to such matters.


300 Series General Administrative Policies

11. SBP 3.10 CSF Funding

Summary: Within subdivision (c) clarifies that for the purpose of counting members to determine funding for the CSF, the count will include members eligible to practice and members who have paid the annual membership fees for inactive members.

1500 Series Lawyer Regulation Policies

12. SBP 15.42 Guidelines for Grievance Committee Hearings

Summary: New policy, to create consistent standards for grievance committee hearings re committee and chair authority, notices, presence of the complainant and respondent, and considerations for setting hearings.

13. SBP 15.55 Deferral of Disciplinary Investigation During Civil or Criminal Proceedings

Summary: Amends policy to additionally apply to intake processes and analysis of disciplinary complaints.

14. SBP 15.56 Case Processing Goals

Summary: New policy, to formalize current case processing goals and provide guidance re staff and grievance committee investigations and the filing of complaints and referee reports; extends the time for filing complaints after a finding of probable cause, from 30 to 45 days.

15. SBP 15.75 Policy on Review of Continuing Complaints

Summary: Amends policy to additionally apply to intake process.

16. SBP 15.77 Access to Designated Reviewer

Summary: New policy, to formalize the manner in which access to a designated reviewer may be obtained and to clarify the role of bar counsel in such contact.

17. SBP 15.90 Policy on Judicial Referrals and Complaints

Summary: New policy, to formalize the manner in which the bar will coordinate with judicial officers about lawyer disciplinary matters referred by them to the bar for investigation; allows judicial referrals without a complaint, by formal complaint, or by comment on lawyer conduct in the issuance of orders or opinions; instructs bar counsel how such referrals are to be recorded and sets forth those events that should be communicated to judicial officers throughout the processing of a referred matter.

1600 Series Unlicensed Practice of Law

18. Standing Board Policy 16.21

Summary: Consistent with rule 10-5.2--and similar to separate policy re representation of disciplinary respondents--establishes a procedure for attorneys to follow when seeking a waiver of disqualification from representing a UPL respondent.
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Title Annotation:Notice
Publication:Florida Bar News
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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