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RULE 3-3.4 GRIEVANCE COMMITTEES

3 RULES OF DISCIPLINE
3-3 JURISDICTION TO ENFORCE RULES

RULE 3-3.4 GRIEVANCE COMMITTEES

There shall be such grievance committees as are herein provided, each of which shall have the authority and jurisdiction required to perform the functions hereinafter assigned to it and which shall be constituted and appointed as follows:

(a) Circuit Grievance Committees. There shall be at least 1 grievance committee for each judicial circuit of this state and as many more as shall be found desirable by the board. Such committees shall be designated as judicial circuit grievance committees, and in circuits having more than 1 committee they shall be identified by alphabetical designation in the order of creation. Such committees shall be continuing bodies notwithstanding changes in membership, and they shall have jurisdiction and the power to proceed in all matters properly before them.

(b) Special Grievance Committees. The board may from time to time appoint grievance committees for the purpose of such investigations as may be assigned in accordance with these rules. Such committees shall continue only until the completion of tasks assigned, and they shall have jurisdiction and power to proceed in all matters so assigned to them. All provisions concerning grievance committees shall be applicable to special grievance committees except those concerning terms of office and other restrictions thereon as may be imposed by the board. Any vacancies occurring in such a committee shall be filled by the board, and such changes in members shall not affect the jurisdiction and power of the committee to proceed in all matters properly before it.

(c) Membership, Appointment, and Eligibility. Each grievance committee shall be appointed by the board and shall consist of not fewer than 3 members. At least one-third of the committee members shall be nonlawyers. All appointees shall be of legal age and, except for special grievance committees, shall be residents of the circuit or have their principal office in the circuit. The lawyer members of the committee shall have been members of The Florida Bar for at least 5 years.

No member of a grievance committee shall perform any grievance committee function when that member:

    (1) is related by blood or marriage to the complainant or respondent;
    (2) has a financial, business, property, or personal interest in the matter under consideration or with the complainant or respondent;
    (3) has a personal interest that could be affected by the outcome of the proceedings or that could affect the outcome; or
    (4) is prejudiced or biased toward either the complainant or the respondent.

Upon notice of the above prohibitions the affected members should recuse themselves from further proceedings. The grievance committee chair shall have the power to disqualify any member from any proceeding in which any of the above prohibitions exist and are stated of record or in writing in the file by the chair.

(d) Terms. The terms of the members shall be for 1 year from the date of administration of the oath of service on the grievance committee or until such time as their successors are appointed and qualified. Continuous service of a member shall not exceed 3 years. A member shall not be reappointed for a period of 3 years after the end of the member’s term; provided, however, the expiration of the term of any member shall not disqualify such member from concluding any investigation or participating in disposition of cases that were pending before the committee when the member's term expired. A member who continues to serve on the grievance committee under the authority of this subdivision shall not be counted as a member of the committee when calculating the minimum number of public members required by this rule.

(e) Officers. There shall be a chair and vice-chair designated by the designated reviewer of that committee. The chair and vice-chair shall be members of The Florida Bar.

(f) Oath. Each new member of a committee shall subscribe to an oath to fulfill the duties of the office. Such oaths shall be filed with the executive director and placed with the official records of The Florida Bar.

(g) Removal. Any member may be removed from office by the designated reviewer of that committee or the board.

(h) Grievance Committee Meetings. Grievance committees should meet at regularly scheduled times, not less frequently than quarterly each year, and either the chair or vice-chair may call special meetings. Grievance committees should meet at least monthly during any period when the committee has 1 or more pending cases assigned for investigation and report. The time, date, and place of regular monthly meetings should be set in advance by agreement between the committee and chief branch discipline counsel.

[Revised: 01/01/2006]