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Florida Supreme Court suspends deadlines for Bar disciplinary, UPL, and advertising cases

Florida Supreme Court suspends deadlines for Bar disciplinary, UPL, and advertising cases

COVID-Updates-Information-GraphicAs it has for civil and criminal court cases, the Florida Supreme Court has suspended filing and regulatory deadlines for The Florida Bar’s disciplinary, unlicensed practice of law, and advertising review cases.

Chief Justice Charles Canady on March 20 issued an administrative order that because of the coronavirus pandemic, “the Court has determined that certain requirements under the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar that govern attorney discipline, the unauthorized practice of law, and lawyer advertisements should be temporarily suspended.”

That means all time periods and deadlines in Chapter 3 of the Bar rules, which cover disciplinary proceedings; Chapter 10, which covers UPL investigations and prosecutions; and Bar Rule 4-7.19, which governs the review of lawyer advertisements, have been suspended.

Bar Ethics and Advertising Counsel Elizabeth Tarbert said that means lawyers who, under Bar rules, had been required to submit certain ads for Bar review before the ads were aired or published will not have to seek prepublication review. But she said the ads must still comply with Bar rules; the lawyers can still be prosecuted if the ads don’t follow the rules, although they will not be prosecuted for failing to seek the review.

The Bar, Tarbert said, has ceased reviewing ads since that requires a physical mailing to the Bar, and with the Bar offices shut down, there is no mail reception. She added, though, that all ads that were received had been reviewed and responded to prior to the closing of the Bar’s Tallahassee headquarters at the end of the March 19 business day.

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