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Board of Governors Meeting Preview – October 2020

The following items are up for action or discussion at the October 23, 2020, virtual meeting of the Board of Governors as of today; changes may occur before the meeting. Please contact your board representative(s) if you have any input or questions. This Florida Bar News article provides additional details.

President Dori Foster-Morales will report her findings from the series of 20 virtual town halls that concluded September 15. Overall, there were 2,581 participants, 146 panelists, 37 judges including the chief judge of every circuit, 79 voluntary bar representatives, 15 Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors members and many other justice partners. Recordings and Florida Bar News coverage are posted here.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force, chaired by President-elect Michael Tanner, will present a status report. The redesigned COVID-19 Resource and Information webpage continues to be updated with information responsive to member concerns and needs. A new Home Services section on the Member Resources/Free CLEs page provides resources for childcare, elder care and other home services. Subcommittees are monitoring court announcements, public health sources and other professional groups.

The Board will also be considering bylaw amendments for the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section and the Tax Section that expand eligibility for affiliate membership, streamline governance, and eliminate in-person attendance requirements to accommodate greater use of remote technology. In addition, the Government Lawyers Section proposed bylaw amendments creating standing committees on diversity and inclusion and mental health and wellness are up for final approval.

Below are other agenda items for first reading:

  • Proposed new subdivision to Bylaw 2-8.1 Establishment and Appointment of Committees (Court Appointment) that would add the Professional Ethics Committee and Standing Committee on Advertising as committees not subject to appointments under the rule. Requiring appointment by the Supreme Court would provide additional oversight by the Supreme Court to the ethics advice and advertising review programs, according to a staff analysis.
  • Proposed new subdivision to Bylaw 2-9.4 Ethics (Court Appointments) that the Supreme Court would appoint members of the Professional Ethics Committee. The proposal would also give the Supreme Court additional oversight of the ethics advice program, according to a staff analysis.
  • Proposed amendments to Rule 15-2.1 Membership and Terms (Court Appointments) stating that appointments are made by the Supreme Court with the advice of the Bar’s president or president-elect. According to the staff analysis, the change is also designed to bolster Supreme Court oversight of the ethics review program.
  • Proposed changes to Standing Board Policy 1.40 Policy for Appointments and Procedure for Elections and Nominations by the Board of Governors. The proposed changes would add a new subdivision (e) addressing determination of residency in board appointments, and replacement of appointees who become ineligible if they relocate to a residence outside of the required area.
  • Proposed amendments to Florida Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions 3.2 Aggravation (Adding Failure to Complete Diversion per 3-5.3(k)).
  • Proposed rewrite of Chapter 6 Legal Specialization and Education Programs. Most of the proposed changes represent a consolidation to “assist in consistency across certification areas and [to] ensure that major changes affecting all certification areas are reviewed by the Supreme Court” rather than becoming final on action of the Board of Governors.