Board of Governors Meeting Summaries
The Florida Bar Board of Governors met on December 13, 2013. Major actions of the board and reports received included:
New Guidelines for Advertising Past Results were approved. Based on a recommendation of the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics, the guidelines generally do not allow television and radio ads and billboards as acceptable advertising media for past results because sufficient explanations on the difference between net and gross awards and additional information necessary to prevent the ads from being misleading cannot be included. Ads in other media may contain past results with appropriate disclaimers and following specific additional guidelines. The guidelines are posted on the website and members may contact the Ethics Hotline with questions.
The board requested that Standing Committee on Advertising prepare an advisory opinion on implications of Bar members using the LinkedIn social and professional networking site. The board also voted to revoke a staff advisory letter stating that the use of LinkedIn violates Bar rules. The Florida Bar News covered this issue in the Nov. 15 edition.
Adding public record information about pending disciplinary actions on attorney profile pages on the Bar’s website and a new status listing were approved. The recommendations were developed by the board Communications Committee with The Florida Bar Citizens Advisory Committee to readily provide key grievance documents to consumers pertaining to filed consent judgments, reports of referees with guilt findings and final court orders of discipline. In cases with filed consent judgments and referee reports of guilt, membership status will indicate that a disciplinary proceeding is pending. Details on the implementation will be published in the Jan. 1 Florida Bar News.
A Special Committee on Technology was approved to work with the Vision 2016 Commission to identify technology tools for lawyers and to examine methods to provide communications, resources and assistance with technology based issues within the legal profession. Goals include helping Bar members become better educated in preparing their firms and law offices to meet the challenges of the evolving practice of law. Members may now access technology tips on www.floridabar.org. New tips are posted every Tuesday.
For the 2014-15 Bar year, the membership of the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy will be increased from a maximum of 60 to 75 fellows. Bar sections will be asked for increased involvement in the program, which is designed to assist a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers in becoming better leaders. Applications for the next class of fellows are now available and must be submitted by Jan. 15. The application and extensive information on the academy can be found at www.floridabar.org/leadership academy.
A request from the Young Lawyers Division is being studied that may allow online attendance at the Practicing with Professionalism program because of the difficulty some new lawyers have attending in person. The one-day seminar, which currently requires in-person attendance, provides a broad overview of ethical and professional issues for new lawyers in fulfillment of phase 1 of the Basic Skills Course Requirement. A tentative schedule of basic skills courses and Practicing with Professionalism courses is on www.floridabar.org.