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June 15, 2014
Rule would require serving 80% of a suspension before initiating readmission

A Bar rule amendment requiring that suspended lawyers who are not automatically reinstated serve 80 percent of their suspension before applying for readmission has cleared the Board of Governors.

The board, at its recent St. Augustine meeting, also got its first look at an amendment requiring attorneys to provide more information about their suspensions or disbarments to other jurisdictions where they are licensed.

The amendment to Rule 3-7.10 on reinstatement for suspended lawyers came from a request from the Supreme Court Clerks’ Office, which reported that lawyers were filing for reinstatement earlier and earlier during their suspensions, which created problems. The office requested a standard reinstatement petition time and the DPC settled on 80 percent.

Lawyers suspended for 90 days or less are automatically reinstated but those suspended for 91 days or more must petition for reinstatement, show rehabilitation, and meet other rule requirements before being readmitted to practice.

The board unanimously approved the amendment, which will go to the Supreme Court this fall as part of the Bar’s biennial rules filing.

The amendment to Rule 3-5.1 will come back to the board for a vote at its July meeting.

It requires that lawyers who are suspended or disbarred not only provide a list of other bars to which they belong who have been notified about the discipline but also provide the telephone numbers of all those persons or entities who were notified.

Another change to the rule provides that lawyers who are ordered to provide restitution as part of a discipline but fail to do so will be considered delinquent until the restitution is made, and that the lawyers must provide the names and phone numbers of all those who are owed restitution.

The amendments will make it easier for the Bar to ensure that disciplined attorneys have complied with the notification and restitution rules.

[Revised: 12-05-2014]