The Florida Bar Board of Governors met on July 24, 2015. The major actions of the Board and reports received included:
A proposed rule amendment, which will require approval by the Florida Supreme Court, was approved to increase continuing education requirements by three hours in technology-related education every three years. The approved proposed changes also include amending the comment to Rule 4-1.1 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar regarding attorneys’ understanding of the risks and benefits associated with the use of technology. For more information, please see the August 15 edition of The Florida Bar News. The proposed amendment will be submitted in the next master rules filing in the fall of 2016. Comments will be sought from members to be sent to the Court with the amendment request. The Florida Bar already offers free technology CLE courses on the Practice Resource Institute webpage and is working to expand that catalog to ensure Bar members have ample courses to increase competence in legal practice technology.
The Vision 2016 Commission is currently studying a number of issues that concern all lawyers, including legal education, technology, bar admissions and access to legal services. Information on all areas of study by the Commission, and email links for members’ comments on each are available at www.floridabar.org/vision2016.
The Vision 2016 Bar Admissions Subgroup presented a preliminary informational report with recommendations and a summary of the review and study undertaken by the committee over the past two years. One of the issues being studied by Vision Bar Admissions is admission by motion/reciprocity. No action was taken by the Board on this report or any bar admissions issues, and no action is scheduled to be taken. Comments from Bar members are being actively sought by the subgroup.
A recommendation by the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics was approved to allow law firms to send text messages to prospective clients as long as the text messages comply with all Bar advertising regulations for written and email communications. A record of the text messages must be retained and that the firms must bear any costs related to the delivery of the texts, not the recipient. Bar members may call the Ethics Hotline or submit an inquiry form with any questions. Also, a joint committee with the Vision 2016 Technology Subgroup has been formed to review online referral companies that match lawyers with potential clients and study how fees are split for those companies.
A committee has been appointed to monitor the upcoming Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), which will begin its meetings in January 2017. Information on the CRC and the monitor committee will be reported in future issues of The Florida Bar News.
A proposed amendment presented jointly by the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee and the Court Interpreter Certification Board were approved to amend RJA 2.560 (Appointment of Spoken Language Court Interpreters for Non-English-Speaking and Limited-English-Proficient Persons) and to create a new rule 2.565 (Retention of Spoken Language Court Interpreters for Non-English-Speaking and Limited-English-Proficient Persons by Attorneys of Self-Represented Litigants) that will be submitted to the Florida Supreme Court for its consideration.
A proposed amendment to the comment of Rule 4-4.2 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar by the Government Lawyer Section and the City, County and Local Government Section was not presented to the Board at the July meeting pending review by other interested parties. The amendment deals with attorneys communicating with government officials who are represented by counsel.
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