The Florida Bar

September 2019 Meeting Summary

Report from BOG

The Florida Bar Board of Governors met on September 20, 2019 in Destin. The major actions of the board and reports received included:

Approving a proposed voluntary registration program for online legal service providers, which is designed to protect Floridians who are increasingly turning to the Internet for their legal needs. The proposed amendments to Bar rules in support of the voluntary program submitted by the Committee on Technologies Affecting the Practice of Law are subject to Supreme Court approval. The new Chapter 23 would provide minimum requirements for approved registrants, including permissible and prohibited communications, required consumer disclosures, permitted and prohibited charges, and how the voluntary registration is granted and revoked. The proposed program encompasses entities that are already operating in a largely unregulated space. An approved registrant may market itself as being “Registered with The Florida Bar;” but, it must disclose that it is not a substitute for the services of an attorney. Registrants may only use forms approved by the Florida Supreme Court, or that have been reviewed and approved by a Florida Bar member. Read the Florida Bar News article for more information.

Adding the Time Miner app, a retroactive time capture platform for professionals who bill by the hour, as a new member benefit with a significant discount to Florida Bar members. Learn more about the more than 70 discounted products and services available to Florida Bar members for practice and personal needs.

In responding to a request by the Supreme Court, the board voted to approve an amendment to Chapter 21, adding new subdivision (c). This amended rule, if adopted by the Supreme Court, would authorize a military spouse applicant to be certified by the Supreme Court to act as a certified legal intern while the application for certification as a military spouse lawyer is pending, and describes when the certification terminates. Official notice was published in the October 2019 Florida Bar News and the petition will be filed with the Florida Supreme Court on Nov. 1.

Upholding a decision by the Standing Committee on Advertising finding that a law firm’s billboard with the phrase, “ambulances chase us,” is misleading because it is both illegal and unethical for ambulance drivers to solicit cases for lawyers, and because it is factually inaccurate.

Appointing Jessica M. VanValkenburgh of Stuart to serve the remainder of a three-year term ending June 30, 2022, on the Florida Legal Services, Inc., Board of Directors.

The 2020 legislative session begins on January 14. The Florida Bar will again be advocating for the profession and the courts. For weekly updates on proposed legislation, the session schedule, links to contact legislators and to other information sources, as well as the policies on For the committee week schedule, information on bills of interest to the legal profession and Bar and Section positions, please visit the Legislative Activity  section. This Florida Bar News article covers the budget priorities of the court system, public defenders, state attorneys and other justice partners.


In his latest President’s Message, John Stewart takes a few minutes to answer three questions about Florida Bar activities. Watch now!

In Case You Missed It


Applications from attorneys are due Oct. 25 for appointments to the Florida Realtor-Attorney Joint Committee, Florida Rural Legal Services and the Eleventh Circuit Judicial Conference. For more details on these December board meeting appointments, please review this news release.


Hotel information and the schedule for The Florida Bar Fall Meeting of Rules and Other Select Committees, Oct. 16-19, have been posted. Check our Fall Meeting page for updates!