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Latest News

Florida Bar President Dori Foster-Morales hosted Virtual Town Hall meetings in each circuit to discuss how Florida attorneys are coping during the pandemic and what the Bar can do to assist them in their legal practice and beyond. Head to the Virtual Town Hall page to watch your circuit’s Town Hall.

General Announcements

CLE Announcements

Although many in-person classes have been cancelled, the 24/7 OnDemand CLE catalog is active and LegalFuel offers many free online courses that may be helpful. You can also find online CLE through the COVID-19 Resources for Voluntary Bars page.

Status of CLE Courses

If you are registered for any in-person CLE events, you will be contacted by The Florida Bar regarding refunds and future scheduling.

BOARD CERTIFICATION

The Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and Education will offer remote board certification exams this year for all 27 areas of law. The First cycle exams will be held March 11-12 and the second cycle exams are set for May 13-14, with the option of an in-person examination in Tampa adhering to social distancing protocols. Read the Bar News for more details.

Visit the Board Certification page for more information. Please submit your application as soon as it is complete to assist staff in processing the applications. Certification specialists are working remotely and continue to monitor and reply to emails.

Other Announcements

Contact the Florida Board of Bar Examiners for any information on Bar exams or admissions.

Check our law school directory page for direct links to Florida law schools for announcements regarding moving classes online or making cancellations.

Free CLE regarding COVID-19

Find COVID-related CLELegalFuel, the practice resource center of The Florida Bar, has created a COVID-19 page with a collection of CLE for lawyers to help with the practice of law during the pandemic. Topics include remote work help, video conference tips, cybersecurity information, how to access business assistance programs and more. Visit LegalFuel.com to see the full listing.

Also, click “Free CLE” in the top menu on LegalFuel.com to get a list of all of their available free CLEs.

UPCOMING FREE WEBINARS:

Coping with COVID Articles

Professionalism

Practicing with Professionalism During the Pandemic – Judge Rodolfo Ruiz II, United States District Court, Southern District

Health & Wellness

Remote Practice Management

Video Conference/Zoom

Mental Health and Wellness Resources

Florida Lawyers HelplineThe Florida Bar mental health helpline (1-833-FL1-WELL) is a free and confidential service that connects members with professional counselors. There’s no cost for calls to the hotline and you may be referred for up to three free telehealth counseling sessions per year to help you develop strategies to overcome life’s challenges, balance priorities, and better handle both personal and professional pressures.

Please note: The helpline is for Florida Bar members and is not a referral service to find a lawyer or make a complaint against a lawyer.

Tenga en cuenta: Este número es sólo para miembros del Colegio de Abogados de la Florida (The Florida Bar). No es servició de referencia para asesoría legal ni es donde se presenta una queja en contra de un abogado.

In addition to the following resources, visit the Bar’s Health & Wellness Center for more information.

Home Services

The Florida Bar COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force has heard from members that child care and elder care as well as other domestic tasks have been a challenge for Florida attorneys during the pandemic. The Florida Bar Lawyers Helpline (1-833-FL1-WELL) is a free and confidential service that can also help with locating these services.

Here are some other resources that can help locate child care, housecleaning, elder care and other services in your area:

Opportunities for Lawyers

Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service – The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service helps drive new business for Florida attorneys without a local lawyer referral service. The Lawyer Referral service provides members with more than 70,000 referrals each year in more than 120 practice areas, generating an estimated $3.49 million in new business for members.

Florida Bar Career Center – Job seekers can post resumes, apply to jobs, and read valuable career resources. Employers can connect with legal professionals across the state who are ready for their next career opportunity.

Florida Bar News Classified Ads – an essential placement service for the Florida legal market.

Florida Bar Attorneys Exchange – service for Florida lawyers to market their services to each other.

Law Practice Advice or Mentoring Opportunities

Learn about Florida Bar efforts to support lawyers through mentoring, law practice guidance and other programs.

Lawyers Advising Lawyers is a free service offered to all Florida Bar members who may need advice in a specific area of law, procedure or other legal issue. If you confront an issue in an area of law or procedure unfamiliar to you, the program provides quick access to an attorney adviser with the experience to help.

Legal Accelerator collects information in one place needed by new lawyers or lawyers learning about a new practice area. It also features more than 1,000 videos from lawyers and judges addressing specific substantive legal questions, ethics and professionalism matters, professional development, and health and wellness.

The YLD Affiliate Outreach Conference is a long-time YLD program that will be virtual this year on February 5-6. It brings affiliate members together to share ideas and mentor each other, White said, and share initiatives for which the YLD awards grant funding. This year’s virtual event will include specific talks on dealing with pandemic issues as well as recurring issues seen in the yearly affiliate conferences.

The Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee, unable to have its annual in-person conference this year, has set up a coaching/mentorship program aimed at helping leadership in local bars.

The YLD’s Find an Affiliate program helps young and new lawyers find a local bar young lawyers program near them.

Member Benefits

More than a dozen Florida Bar Member Benefit providers offer free trials or initial services for Florida Bar members, including practice resources, legal forms and legal research. Take a look at the new Financial Services category, which will have some new services listed soon!

Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company (FLMIC) has published a online resource that examines the malpractice “danger zones” for Florida lawyers during the pandemic. “5 Legal Malpractice Danger Zones for FL Lawyers During COVID-19” addresses several practices that may be increasingly common during the pandemic but which may trigger red alerts from a risk management perspective.

Fastcase has launched Fastcase COVID-19 Resources page, including:

Employer Resources

The Business Damage Assessment Survey remains a piece of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s efforts to gather the information needed to evaluate and access tools to help businesses potentially lessen the impacts of COVID-19 and help the economy recover.

Take the Survey

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity provides a comprehensive overview of the state and federal resources available to small businesses affected by COVID-19.

Announcements

The Office of the State Courts Administrator is tracking the status of the different counties in Florida. Visit their COVID page for the latest updates.

Several Florida judicial circuits have begun issuing orders regarding the suspension of jury trials, check the circuits’ websites below for the latest orders.

Five trial-court circuits across the state have been chosen to conduct a test of remote technology as a safer alternative to traditional in-person civil jury trials. Attorneys are encouraged to submit their relevant civil cases to the active pilot programs in the relevant circuits:

Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court has established a COVID-19 emergency webpage to serve as a clearinghouse for statewide administrative court orders, advisories and memos. The page also includes links to Florida’s trial courts and District Courts of Appeal for information about local court operations and orders.

MOST RECENT FLORIDA SUPREME COURT ORDERS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Feb. 18: The Florida Supreme Court issued an amended AOSC20-23 authorizing some remote criminal jury trials as COVID-19 pandemic conditions persist around the state. This order extends a similar authorization issued in June 2020 for some civil trials. Read more in the Bar News.

Feb. 2: An amended order was issued by the Florida Supreme Court regarding judicial assignments: amendment 8 to Assignment Order 2020-92 assigning judges to statewide duty in certain criminal matters.

Feb. 1: The Florida Supreme Court has extended the time period during which certain, specific requirements must be met in accordance with the rules governing board certification in Administrative Order No. AOSC21-2, the temporary measure will remain in place until October 31, 2022.

Jan. 19: An amended order was issued by the Florida Supreme Court regarding judicial assignments: amendment 7 to Assignment Order 2020-92 assigning judges to statewide duty in certain criminal matters.

See all previous orders

Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator

Main COVID-19 page from the Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA)

Recent news and updates from OSCA

Clerks of Court

The Clerks of Court has created a web page with links to individual clerk’s offices, and frequently updated announcements and resources.

Court Links

Florida Supreme Court

District Courts of Appeal

Circuit Courts

Section Webinars:

For previous Section CLE webinars that were recorded, visit LegalFuel.com.

Bar Groups and Resources

The American Bar Association Coronavirus Task Force webpage is intended as a national source of information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the delivery of legal services. It includes resources on remote service delivery, court access and rules changes, legal needs, public benefits programs, and pro bono mobilization.

American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA): https://www.abota.org/Online/Resources/Covid-19%20Resources/Online/Resources/COVID-19_Resources.aspx?hkey=d357b9b6-b809-4404-8c6b-4acdc6d358cf

The Florida Bar Foundation: https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/covid-19-and-legal-aid/

Visit the COVID-19 Resources for Voluntary Bars page for online CLE and practice management resources for local bars. Check with your local voluntary bar association for local event cancellations.

Section-Specific Resources

The Business Law Section established a COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force, and is posting helpful information for business owners.

The Family Law Section has provided two videos on domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The Labor and Employment Section recommends this Florida Department of Employment Opportunity resource for unemployment claims. There is also this page for employers.

The Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar is posting helpful information and guidance on COVID-19 pandemic-related topics.

Coronavirus Control & Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Please make sure you read the following information on the CDC’s website:

Vaccine Information

Watch this helpful video from CBS News with a Vaccine FAQ from Dr. David Agus, a professor of medicine at University of Southern California.

Update on a vaccine for children

Information on Florida’s vaccine distribution: https://states.aarp.org/florida/covid-19-vaccine-distribution

Johnson & Johnson vaccine may inoculate patients with just one dose, expected to be available in February. Johnson & Johnson sought emergency FDA approval of its vaccine on Feb. 4.

Moderna, Inc. announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective and provides details on it’s storage, possible usage and effectiveness.

Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective, another study from Pfizer demonstrates that its vaccine appears to be effective against the new variant.

Medical News

As of Jan. 28, the rates of new COVID cases both nationally and in the state of Florida are on a steady decline.  The 7-day average number of cases in the United States is down nearly 50% since the peak of cases on January 12.  Hospitalizations have also gone down by more than 37,000.  While these numbers are reassuring, the death rate continues to be high, with over 3,700 deaths yesterday.  In Florida, the numbers of new cases this week are the lowest since November, with 7,711 reported yesterday.  However, like the national statistics, the death rate continues rise, with 228 deaths reported yesterday.  The positivity rate in the state is currently 8.76%.  According to the Palm Beach Post, 1,367,011 people in Florida have received one shot of the two-dose vaccine, and another 421,315 are fully vaccinated: https://covidtracking.com/analysis-updates/outbreaks-ease-across-the-us-but-our-numbers-are-still-very-high-week-in-covid-19-data-jan-28;

Shareable resources on how to cope mentally with the challenges of COVID-19.

Medical Studies

Helpful Statistics

Florida Department of Health

Recent News

All courts throughout the state remain open. To check the status of the courts by county and for links to contact the courts and clerks in your area, click the Court Order and Links tab above.

FTC infographic about vaccination scams, Three Ways to Avoid Covid-19 Vaccine Scams Infographic, here is this infographic in Spanish.

Here are links to other FTC pandemic-related consumer protection information:

Visit the Bar’s Mental Health and Wellness Center for resources for coping with impacts of COVID-19.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced the launch of Be SMART Florida, a statewide COVID-19 consumer awareness campaign asking Floridians to take small actions with proven results to slow the pandemic’s spread. Search #BeSMARTFL to keep up with the multi-channel awareness campaign.

Florida’s Chief Justice Charles Canady distributed “Best Practices” guidelines developed by a statewide COVID-19 Workgroup to help people navigate new remote procedures used by state courts in the coronavirus pandemic.

Legal Assistance & Legal Aid

Florida Bar Consumer Guides

The Florida Bar’has a series of credit-related consumer guides, legal service and consumer protection guides, and the Bar’s most frequently read guide, Rights and Duties of Tenants and Landlords.

These pamphlets are not a substitute for hiring an attorney, but they provide basic legal information about the topics they cover.

Financial Protection

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers resources to help consumers, students with loans and homeowners with mortgages.

Price gouging

Attorney General Ashley Moody has activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline for Florida consumers. State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency. Anyone who suspects price gouging during this declared state of emergency should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 866-9-NO-SCAM.

Government Resources

  • Governor Ron DeSantis has been making regular announcements regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has created a COVID-19 page with for info on the CARES Act, SBA loans for small businesses, USDA crop insurance updates and more.
  • Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is posting information about reemployment assistance and other programs.
  • Attorney General Moody issued a Cybersecurity Consumer Alert advising those working from home to guard against hackers and scammers that could access sensitive information on home computers.