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Florida Bar Procedures for Ruling on Question of Ethics



On This Page

1. Application; Scope; And Usage
2. Authority To Issue Ethics Opinions
3. Procedures For Issuance Of And Declining To Issue Staff Opinions
4. Procedure For Issuance Of Pec Opinions
5. Procedure For Review Of Pec Action
6. Procedure For Issuance Of Board Of Governors Opinions
7. Time For Appeals




FLORIDA BAR PROCEDURES FOR RULING ON QUESTIONS OF ETHICS


1. APPLICATION; SCOPE; AND USAGE


These procedures are adopted pursuant to rule 2-9.4, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, and govern the manner in which ethics opinions are issued and reviewed by The Florida Bar. These procedures do not apply to review of lawyer advertisements.

Staff opinions, professional ethics committee opinions, and opinions of the board of governors are advisory only and are not the basis for action by grievance committees, referees, or the board of governors except on application of the respondent in disciplinary proceedings. If a respondent's defense includes reliance on the receipt of a staff opinion, ethics counsel may release to the bar counsel, grievance committee, referee, or board of governors information concerning the opinion or the opinion request that would otherwise be confidential under these rules. Information concerning requests for staff opinions is confidential, except as otherwise provided in bylaw 2-9.4 and these procedures. If public statements are made by the inquirer about any advisory opinion or opinion request, confidentiality of the request and the opinion is waived and ethics counsel may disclose the opinion and information relating to the request.

The advisory opinion process should not be used to circumvent procedures to adopt or amend Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.


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2. AUTHORITY TO ISSUE ETHICS OPINIONS

Ethics counsel and assistant ethics counsel, the professional ethics committee, and the board of governors shall have the authority to issue ethics opinions in the type and manner as set forth in these procedures.

(a) Ethics Counsel and Assistant Ethics Counsel. Ethics counsel and assistant ethics counsel may render oral and written opinions that will be identified as "staff opinions." Staff opinions may be issued only to the members of The Florida Bar in good standing inquiring as to their own contemplated conduct.

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3. PROCEDURES FOR ISSUANCE OF AND DECLINING TO ISSUE STAFF OPINIONS

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4. PROCEDURE FOR ISSUANCE OF PEC OPINIONS
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5. PROCEDURE FOR REVIEW OF PEC ACTION
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6. PROCEDURE FOR ISSUANCE OF BOARD OF GOVERNORS OPINIONS
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7. TIME FOR APPEALS

All appeals allowed under these procedures are commenced by mailing the required items to Ethics Counsel, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300, within 30 days of the date on the notice of the action that is the subject of the appeal. Failure to timely commence an appeal bars the appeal.

[Revised: 12-11-2015]