The Florida Bar
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Case Law Relating to Legislative Activities

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I. The Florida Bar re Schwarz
II. Keller v. State Bar of California



I. The Florida Bar re Schwarz, 552 So.2d 1094 (Fla. 1989), cert. denied 498 U.S. 951, (1990) -- reconfirmed in The Florida Bar re Frankel, 581 So.2d 1294 (Fla. 1991)

The following subject areas clearly justify legislative activity by The Florida Bar:

    1. questions concerning the regulation and discipline of attorneys;

    2. matters relating to the improvement of the functioning of the courts, judicial efficacy and efficiency;

    3. increasing the availability of legal services to society;

    4. regulation of attorneys' client trust accounts; and

    5. the education, ethics, competence, integrity and regulation as a body, of the legal profession .
Additionally, the following criteria are to be used to determine the type of legislative matters that The Florida Bar may become actively involved with when an issue appears to fall outside of the specifically identified areas listed above:

    1. that the issue be recognized as being of great public interest;

    2. that lawyers are especially suited by their training and experience to evaluate and explain the issue; and

    3. the subject matter affects the rights of those likely to come into contact with the judicial system .
The Supreme Court of Florida has further suggested that the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar "exercise caution in the selection of subjects upon which to take a legislative position so as to avoid, to the extent possible, those issues which carry the potential of deep philosophical or emotional division among the membership of the Bar ."
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II. Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1 (1990)

The compelled association within a unified bar is justified by the state's interest in regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services . "The State Bar may therefore constitutionally fund activities germane to those goals out of the mandatory fees of all members. It may not, however, in such manner fund activities of an ideological nature which fall outside of those areas of activity ."

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The guiding standard must be whether the challenged expenditures are necessarily or reasonably incurred for the purpose of regulating the legal profession or "improving the quality of the legal service available to the people of the State ."

[Revised: 10-24-2011]