The Florida Bar

Florida Bar Journal

January, 2014 Books

Book Reviews

Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics

Warren R. Trazenfeld, Timothy P. Chinaris & Robert M. Jarvis
Reviewed by Jan L. Jacobowitz
Image of Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics cover At first blush, it may appear that Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics is wrapped in seasonal red because it became available just in time for the holidays; however, upon closer examination the red cover becomes a metaphor for a legal ethics and
malpractice hotline. The authors, Warren R. Trazenfeld, Timothy P. Chinaris, and Robert M. Jarvis, combine their considerable academic knowledge and practical experience to create a publication that provides “everything you ever might (or should) want to know” about practicing law in Florida within ethical boundaries and mindful of malpractice exposure.

The book is divided into two parts: legal malpractice comprises the first 13 chapters and attorney ethics is covered in chapters 14 to 26. Designed for use as a quick resource or a comprehensive textbook, the chapters clearly divide the subject matter, concisely describe the area of law, and provide recent case law and current rules in both the main text and in the restrained use of relevant footnotes.

Beyond just the concise summary of the law, the malpractice section also provides sample documents, such as engagement letters, pleadings, and discovery requests. Additionally, it provides best practices, tips on malpractice insurance, and general advice on avoiding malpractice liability.

The ethics section not only provides current interpretation in areas such as attorney advertising and use of technology, but also unravels the mysteries of how and who in The Florida Bar issues the various types of ethics opinions. It also explains the disciplinary process and distinguishes it from an attorney’s exposure to judicial sanctions.

Attorneys of all levels of experience, and especially the growing number of young attorneys who are hanging their own shingles, will

find that Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics, serves as an invaluable resource — a proverbial hotline that should be located on every attorney’s desk to be consulted for general guidance or whenever a question or gut feeling arises about whether conduct may cross the line into problematic ethical or malpractice territory.

Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics (690 pages, including forms, table of cases, table of other authorities, and index) is available from Daily Business Review Books for $149.95. Orders can be placed at or by calling (800) 856-8993.

Jan L. Jacobowitz is a member of The Florida Bar and director of the Professional Responsibility Program at the University of Miami School of Law.

Bar members are encouraged to submit book reviews of 350 words or fewer for publication. The reviews should be related to law, but may be practical, esoteric, entertaining, or fiction. Reviews should include the number of pages and the name of the publisher.

Book reviews should be emailed to [email protected].