Any prerequisite to admission to practice law must bear a rational relationship to what?
The applicant's fitness or capacity
What is the basic skills course required by the Florida Bar and what must every new member complete
Every member of the Florida Bar must take a Practicing with Professionalism course no sooner than 12 months before and no later than 12 months after admission to the bar. Every new member must also complete three substantive continuing legal education programs during his initial three-year continuing legal education requirement reporting cycle
May a state require that an applicant be a citizen of the United States?
Are state residency requirements allows as a prerequisite for bar admission?
No. The US S Ct has held that state residency requirements for bar admission violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the federal Constitution. The Court has also struck down state residency requirements for federal court practice
What are the procedural protections for an applicant who has had a denial of an application based on bad moral behavior?
An applicant has the right to a hearing before the bar committee and confrontation of adverse witnesses as well as the right to judicial review of the denial of an application based on bad moral character
What is the consequence in Florida of having been disbarred in another jurisdiction, also the consequence of having been suspended in another jurisdiction
A person who has been disbarred in another jurisdiction is not eligible to apply for admission to the Florida Bar or to sit for the Florida Bar Exam for at least five years from the date of disbarment. Similarly, someone suspended in another jurisdiction is not eligible for admission or to sit for the bar exam until the period of suspension has expired
In an applicant or lawyer's duty to cooperate with character investigations, the applicant or lawyer in connection with a bar admission application must not do what two things
(i) knowingly make a false statement of material fact; or (ii) fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter, or knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admission or disciplinary authority
What is the bar age requirement
at least 18 years old
Are attorneys that are employed exclusively by a business organization and licensed in foreign jurisdictions permitted to undertake activities in FL (e.g., giving legal advice to members of the organization, negotiating for the organization, and representing the organization before administrative agencies) without taking the bar exam? If so, how?
Yes, these attorneys must register as authorized house counsel
What are the 10 general prohibitions of a lawyer
A lawyer must not: a. Violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct ("RPC") or knowingly assist another to do so; b. Commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects; c. State or imply an ability to improperly influence a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the RPC or other law; d. Intentionally engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation; e. Engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; f. Knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that violates applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law; g. Knowingly, or through callous indifference, disparage, humiliate, or discriminate against any person involved in the litigation process on any basis, including: race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or age; h. Fail to respond in writing to any official inquiry by a disciplinary agency investigating the attorney's conduct; i. Willfully refuse to timely pay child support; or j. Engage in sexual conduct with a client or representative of a client that exploits or adversely affects the attorney-client relationship
If an attorney admitted to practice law in FL commits potentially professional conduct-breaking behavior in another state, are they still subject to Florida's disciplinary authority?
Yes. Note that an attorney may be subject to the disciplinary authority of both Florida and another jurisdiction for the same conduct
How is a disciplinary proceeding initiated, is it privileged, and how soon must it be made
The disciplinary proceeding is initiated by a complaint to the Florida Bar or a grievance committee and may be filed by an interested party. The filing of a complaint is generally considered a privileged communication. Complaints must be made within six years, but this period is tolled if discovery of the matter was prevented by fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation
What is the review process after a complaint is filed
The complaint will be examined in a preliminary screening process by a grievance committee of the Florida Bar. The next step is a public hearing before the grievance committee to determine whether there is probable cause to believe there has been misconduct warranting a formal complaint. A lawyer subject to a disciplinary hearing retains the basic rights to counsel and to cross-examination of witnesses at the hearing. he also has the right to invoke, without penalty, the Fifth Amendment protection against self incrimination Note that the complainant is not a party to the proceedings.
What are the five most common forms of disciplinary sanction
(i) disbarment, (ii) suspension, (iii) public reprimand or admonishment by the supreme court or bar, (iv) probation, and (v) practice and professional enhancement programs
In Florida is a final determination of professional misconduct by another state conclusive proof of such misconduct in any proceeding in Florida concerning the same violation of the Bar Rule?
Yes, and the FL S Ct may issue an order suspending on an emergency basis the lawyer who is the subject of the final adjudication
What is vexatious conduct and what is its result in the bar disciplinary process
Vexatious conduct is conduct that amounts to abuse of the bar disciplinary process by use of inappropriate, repetitive, or frivolous actions. A person found by the court to be engaging in such conduct may be prohibited from filing future actions
What are the three things that an attorney may not do that is considered unauthorized practice of law
A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in Florida may not: (i) unless otherwise permitted, establish an office or other regular presence in Florida; (ii) represent that he is admitted to practice law in Florida; or (iii) appear in court, before an administrative agency, or before any other tribunal unless authorized to do so by, and pursuant to the applicable rules of, that court, administrative agency, or tribunal
May a nonlawyer assist a person in filling in blanks on a legal form
Yes, but they may not give legal advice
What are six situations that are an exception to the rule that a lawyer engaged in unauthorized practice by practicing law in a jurisdiction where he is not admitted
(i) "pro hac vice"appearances (provided lawyer is a member in good standing of at least one bar and has not been the subject of certain disciplinary actions in Florida or another jurisdiction); (ii) clients involved in multistate business; (iii) multistate law partnerships (provided individual lawyers practice in the jurisdiction in which they are admitted); (iv) practice before federal administrative agencies; (v) authorized house counsel; (vi) lawyers admitted in other jurisdictions providing certain temporary service in Florida
May full-time judges or other court officers practice law
Are attorney allowed to practice law in association with, or otherwise share fees with, a layperson?
Are law firms allowed to be set up in such a way that a nonlawyer owns an interest therein, a nonlawyer is an executive officer or director, or a nonlawyer has the right to direct or control a lawyer's professional judgment
Conflict of Interest - Adverse clients
A lawyer may not represent a client whose interests are materially adverse to those of a previous client unless the lawyer reasonably believes that the representation will not be affected, the representation is not prohibited by law, and the client provides informed consent confirmed in writing.
Confidentiality - consent may be needed from prior client if there is information gained in the prior engagement that could be useful in the current matter , even if not directly adverse on core issue.
Lawyers may not work on the same or a related matter where the new client has interests materially adverse to the former client. Check specific tasks to be performed.
Lowered standard for lawyers moving in and out of government work - due to volume of cases . Conflicts are generally for personal involvement only.