BOG Meeting Preview – May 2019
This email was sent to all Florida Bar members to provide information on items for action or discussion coming up at the May 24, 2019, Board of Governors meeting.
PAY FEES ONLINE
Paying your Bar fees is easier than ever! By paying online, Florida Bar members can avoid delays and save time. Florida Bar members, AHCs and paralegals can now pay their 2019-20 Florida Bar fees online by signing into the MyFloridaBar Member Portal at member.floridabar.org and clicking the “Pay My Fees” button. Please email Membership Records or call 850-561-5832 if you have questions.
PROPOSED VOLUNTARY REGISTRATION FOR ONLINE LEGAL SERVICE PROVIDERS
The Board of Governors is expected to begin debating a proposal that would create the nation’s first voluntary program for regulating online legal service providers. As proposed by the Special Committee on Technologies Affecting the Practice of Law, the rules amendment — “Chapter 23, Registered Online Service Provider Program” — is on the May 24 agenda for first reading and will not be voted on until at least July 19. The program is designed to strengthen public protection and expand economic opportunity for Bar members while promoting cooperative relationships with currently unregulated providers. The proposal was noticed to Bar members on April 15. Additional notice will be posted before final action is taken and at that time comments will be invited. Request a full copy of the text of the proposal via email. Additional information on the proposal is included in this Florida Bar News article.
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE REPORT
The Florida legislative session ended Saturday, May 4, with a historic $91.1 billion budget. Of the nearly 3,400 bills introduced this session, fewer than 200 passed. The Florida Legislature agreed to a $10.3 million appropriation for the state’s judicial branch, as well as an appropriation with increases for certain state attorneys, public defenders, assistant regional conflict and regional counsel, Guardian ad litem attorneys and elections commission attorneys. In addition, for the first time since 2006, the Legislature approved four new trial court judges for the Florida court system. Read more about the 2019 Legislative Session on the Florida Bar Legislative Activity page.
PROPOSED NEW MEMBER BENEFIT
A new member benefit, Ross Intelligence, will be considered as a possible addition to the more than 60 free or discounted products and services already offered to Florida Bar members. Ross Intelligence is a legal research platform powered by artificial intelligence for U.S. law. Using cutting edge Natural Language Processing (NLP), their technology can accurately determine the answers to your legal research questions in seconds. From sending packages to sending flowers, from booking hotels to searching case law, and from refinancing loans to buying car insurance, Florida Bar Member Benefits offer discounts on both personal and professional products and services. More than a dozen member benefit providers offer free trials, demos or initial services, including practice resources, legal forms and legal research.
LAWYER ADVERTISING DISCUSSIONS
Final action is scheduled on a proposed amendment to Rule 4-7.13, which regulates misleading advertisements. At issue is a common approach, often through Google AdWords, that allows a lawyer to use a competitor’s name to trigger search engine results and drive internet traffic to the advertising lawyer’s website. The amendment prohibits “any statement or implication that a lawyer or law firm is affiliated or associated with the advertising lawyer or law firm when that is not the case.”
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS COMMITTEE OPINION REQUESTED
The Board of Governors has been asked by a member of the Special Committee on Child and Parent Representation to direct the Professional Ethics Committee to issue an advisory ethics opinion on whether various aspects of the Guardian ad Litem Program model violate the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Warning that there could be “unintended consequences,” and noting that the request does not cite “a particular set of facts,” staff is recommending that the Board take no action.
Special Appointments for May
The Board will be making appointments for the following positions:
- ABA House of Delegates: Two lawyers for two-year terms and one lawyer for a partial term.
- Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. Board of Dir.: Three lawyers and two nonlawyers for three-year terms.
- Florida Board of Bar Examiners: Two lawyers for five-year terms.
The schedule for special appointments for 2019-20 is posted on the Appointments/Applications page. Take a look at the future opportunities to serve, such as ones on the Florida Bar Foundation Board and the Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.