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COVID-19 Information and Resources

Court and Bar announcements, member resources and Bar event changes that may affect Florida Bar members, as well as general information for Floridians affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The Florida Bar offices closed on March 19, and certain staff are working remotely. In addition, The Florida Bar News is posting stories and updates daily on COVID-19.

Visit the Florida Board of Bar Examiners website for any information on Bar exams or admissions. Here is their news release on the Bar Exam scheduled for July 28 and 29 , 2020. FBBE has added a FAQ page to assist anyone with questions about Bar exams or other relevant topics.

The Florida Bar is providing a new member benefit: 1-833-FL1-WELL, a free, confidential 24/7 lawyers helpline with professional counselors through CorpCare Associates. Learn more in the Bar News article.

Florida Lawyers Helpline horizontal

Please note: this number 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.

Florida Supreme Court Administrative Orders are being posted on their site and they have also established an emergency web page as a clearinghouse for orders and other information about trial courts and Florida’s District Courts of Appeal.

The Florida Supreme Court created the Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19 in April to recommend ways for a staged return to full court operations. Read more on their latest actions in the Bar News.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been making regular announcements and orders regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Here is a link to the Safer At Home order issued on April 1 and a link to the Phase 1 Recovery order issued on April 29. On June 1, the Governor extended the mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief order until July 1.

On June 3, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-139, regarding Phase 2: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery.

Most Recent Florida Supreme Court Orders and Announcements

Press Release, June 3: Five trial-court circuits across the state have been chosen by the Court’s COVID-19 Workgroup to conduct a test of remote technology as a safer alternative to traditional in-person civil jury trials.

No. ASOC20-35, June 1: The Florida Supreme Court issued a new order expanding the COVID-19 Workgroup to include a member from the law enforcement community.

No. ASOC20-32, May 21: The Florida Supreme Court issued a separate new order establishing health & safety precautions to be used in Phase 2 of the expansion of court operations. These precautions are based on a report issued by a statewide advisory COVID-19 Workgroup.

No. ASOC20-31, May 21: The Florida Supreme Court issued an order  creating a new pilot program for civil jury trials to be held using remote technology. It will explore ways to let one of the most central parts of the state justice system – jury trials – begin again using health-related distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Previous Orders and News:

Clerks of Court

Stay up to date about the coronavirus and Florida’s 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-Specific Resources

Main COVID-19 page from the Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA): Visit this page for information and updates, resources for Florida courts and important links.

Recent news and updates from OSCA: This page provides information and brief write-ups about newsworthy events happening in and around the Florida court system.

Here are direct links to Federal Courts for the state of Florida:

The National Center for State Courts has created a data visualization that provides an at-a-glance look at what state courts are doing.

Florida court websites links for members to check for court changes in their area.

April 19-23:  Florida Supreme Court Teachers’ Institute – cancelled.

General Announcements

The 2020 Florida Bar Annual Convention is going virtual! Read more about it in the Bar News.

Read the latest message to members from Bar President John M. Stewart and President-elect Dori Foster-Morales, which includes important information about recent Bar activities, Convention and the upcoming Board of Governors meeting.

Check the COVID-19 Resources for Voluntary Bars page for online CLE and practice management resources.

The Florida Bar has extended the deadlines for members with three-year cycle CLE reporting in February through July to August 31, 2020.

Status of Board Certification Deadlines and Events

2020 2nd Cycle Exams – The Florida Bar Certification Exams originally scheduled for May 7-8, 2020, have been rescheduled to September 10-11, 2020.

Certification Annual Fees – The April 6, 2020 deadline to pay annual Board Certification fees has been extended to May 15, 2020.

2020 Recertification Applications – Recertification applications have been given an additional three-month extension. The new application deadlines are:  1st cycle recertification – November 30, 2020, and 2nd cycle – January 31, 2021. Please submit your application as soon as it is complete to assist staff in processing the applications.

  • 1st Cycle Areas: Admiralty & Maritime; Adoption; Appellate Practice; Aviation; Civil Trial; Condo & Planned Development; Education; Elder; Immigration & Nationality; International Law; Labor & Employment; Marital & Family; Tax
  • 2nd Cycle Areas: Antitrust & Trade Regulation; Business Litigation; City, County, & Local Gov.; Construction; Criminal Appellate; Criminal Trial; Health; Intellectual Property; International Litigation & Arbitration; Juvenile Law; Real Estate; State and Federal Gov. & Administrative Practice; Wills, Trusts, & Estates; Workers’ Compensation

Status of Upcoming Meetings & Events

(For a full list of meetings or events impacted by COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 Bar Announcements Archive.)

June 6-7: Entertainment Arts & Sports Law Section Annual Retreat (Amelia Island) – postponed, hopeful reschedule to Winter/Spring 2021.

June 15-19: Annual Florida Bar Convention – now virtual, check the Convention page for updates.

June 19:  Trial Lawyers Section Executive Council Meeting (Clearwater Beach) – in-person meeting tentatively scheduled.

July 1-5: Tax Section Organizational Meeting – cancelled.

July 10-11: Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference (Orlando) – postponed to July 16-17, 2021.

Status of Upcoming CLE Events

A quick reminder, that the deadlines for members with three-year cycle CLE reporting in February through July, have been extended to August 31, 2020. Although many in-person CLEs have been cancelled, the 24/7 OnDemand CLE catalog is active and LegalFuel offers many free online CLEs that may be helpful. You can also find online CLE through the COVID-19 Resources for Voluntary Bars page.

If you were registered for any of these events, you will be contacted by The Florida Bar regarding refunds and future scheduling.

May 30: (3587) RPPTL Section Convention CLE Seminar (Orlando) – available on the 24/7 onDemand catalog on June 23rd. (Pre-recorded – no live program).

June 5: (3525) 2020 Practice Before the Supreme Court (Tallahassee) – rescheduled to June 4, 2021.

June 5: (3524) Hot Topics in Evidence 2020 (Orlando) – rescheduled to September 25, 2020 in Tampa.

July 23-25: (3641) RPPTL Legislative Update (Palm Beach) – tentatively rescheduled to August 20-23, 2020.

August 20-23: (3526) 39th Annual Attorney Trust Officer Conference (Palm Beach) – cancelled.

Florida Board of Bar Examiners

The deadline for fall 2019 1L students to file a late student registration was extended to Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Visit the FBBE website for more information and updates.

FBBE has added a FAQ page to assist anyone with questions about Bar exams or other relevant topics.

Bar-Related Classes and Events

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

Check with your local voluntary bar association for local event cancellations.

Recent News

Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company (FLMIC) has published a new 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.

Zoom/Video Conferencing:

Check the COVID-19 Resources for Voluntary Bars page for online CLE and practice management resources.

New from LegalFuel: Considerations for Reopening Your Law Firm.

Deadlines in February through July for members with three-year cycle CLE reporting have been extended to August 31, 2020. Although many in-person CLEs have been cancelled, the 24/7 OnDemand CLE catalog is active and LegalFuel offers many free online CLEs that may be helpful. View the catalog of available programs.

The Florida Bar has temporarily expanded the Florida Free Legal Answers online legal clinic that aids qualifying members of the public as they navigate the unforeseen legal impacts that arise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer today! (Read more in The Florida Bar News.)

The Business Law Section of The Florida Bar now has a COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force, and is posting helpful information for business owners.

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

Some Florida Bar Sections have also developed a selection of free CLE programs related to the pandemic:

Federal Information

The American Bar Association launched an ABA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force and a COVID-19 webpage americanbar.org/coronavirustaskforce as a national source of information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the delivery of legal services.

The U.S. Department of Labor created a page with resources for employers and workers, including workplace safety information, guidance regarding the  Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and updates on unemployment insurance.

On March 27, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act became law. Here is a guide to the CARES Act provided by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The Small Business Administration and  U.S. Department of Treasury have posted information on implementation. SBA also has a page called Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources that may be helpful. The SBA has posted the Interim Final Rule announcing the Paycheck Protection Program information in advance of publication in the Federal Register.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed in March providing for free coronavirus testing, as well as addressing emergency leave; unemployment insurance; and additional funds for Medicaid. Here are materials provided by the U.S. Department of Labor on the Act. Read the Bar News article here.

Ethics Updates

The Bar’s Ethics Hotline is available from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This service is reserved for members of the bar in good standing. Florida Bar members can also email [email protected]. Response to emails may take several days. In addition, here is a FAQ page on ethics concerns regarding the coronavirus crisis.

Volunteer Information

Florida Free Legal Answers: The Florida Free Legal Answers program offers a relatively easy way for lawyers to lend their expertise. Sign up to to quickly and easily answer questions from the public. It is easy to do, takes only a couple of minutes and can mean so much to those in need. (Read the latest on the program in the Bar News.)

Florida Pro Bono Matters is another way to assist Floridians via an interactive website funded by The Florida Bar Foundation. You can view descriptions of available pro bono opportunities and indicate an interest in any of them; you then will be contacted by the posting organization with more information.

Resources for Voluntary Bars

Check the COVID-19 Resources for Voluntary Bars page for online CLE and practice management resources.

Florida Bar Member Benefit Providers

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.

Upcoming Webinars:

Other Resources:

Law Practice Tips for Dealing With the Coronavirus

LegalFuel CLE

Mental Health and Wellness Resources

Remote Practice Management

Business Damage Survey and Bridge Loan Program

Bar members are advised to take the Business Damage Assessment survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DOE) to help them evaluate the virus’s impact on the local economy and implement appropriate relief programs. Read the Governor’s news release for more details.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to Florida small business owners (between 2 to 100 employees) that experience economic damage as a result of COVID-19 (see news release). The business must fill out a bridge loan application. Visit FloridaDisasterLoan.org for more information and to apply.

Recent News

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.

Florida Bar Complaints

The Attorney Consumer Assistance Program is working remotely so there may be delays in processing complaints. If you feel you have been unfairly treated by a lawyer, contact ACAP at (866) 352-0707.

Legal Assistance

The Business Law Section of The Florida Bar now has a COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force, and is posting helpful information for business owners.

Florida Free Legal Answers is an online advice clinic to match low-income Floridians with licensed attorneys who can answer basic legal questions at florida.freelegalanswers.org. On April 8, The Florida Bar announced that they have expanded this service to more Floridians, read more here.

Florida Bar Consumer Pamphlets: The Florida Bar’s consumer guide provides information for consumers on who to contact for legal assistance and how to protect their legal rights in the event of a disaster. The bar also provides 47 consumer pamphlets  in English and Spanish as a service for consumers. These pamphlets are not a substitute for hiring an attorney, but they provide basic legal information about the topics they cover. Here is a link to the pamphlet on Landlord Tenant legal issues.

Florida Courts Help: Florida Courts Help is your guide to direct you through the court system. Here you will find information about local self-help centers, free and low-cost legal aid, and family law forms.

Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service: The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service is designed to make it easy for consumers, in counties without local lawyer referral services, to connect to trusted, verified attorneys. See the coverage area or find your local lawyer referral service here.

Florida Department of Elder Affairs Senior Hotline:  The Senior Legal Helpline – 1-888-895-7873 – provides free legal advice and brief services by telephone appointment to eligible Florida residents age 60 and older, for civil (not criminal) legal problems.

Florida Legal Aid organizations: directory of  legal aid organizations in Florida by county.

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

Financial Protection

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

Government Resources

Governor Ron DeSantis has been making regular announcements regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Check his website for the latest news.

The Florida Dept. 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.

Price gouging: 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. Attorney General Ashley Moody has activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline for Florida consumers. Find out more on the myfloridalegal.com website.

Cybersecurity Consumer Alert: Attorney General Moody sent a consumer alert advising those working from home to guard against hackers and scammers that could access sensitive information on home computers. Read more here.

Florida Department of Health is posting updates and helpful information, and has created a resource kit.

Deadlines to file and pay federal income taxes were extended to July 15, 2020 by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), go to IRS.gov to get more tax resources and information about taxpayer relief.

Coronavirus Control & Prevention

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

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services warns about fake coronavirus outbreak map being circulated by scammers to spread malware. Only Johns Hopkins is providing this data.