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Proposed amendments to General Practice and Judicial Administration Rule 2.505 (Attorneys)

Notices

The Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration Committee, in compliance with Florida Rule of General Application and Judicial Administration 2.140(b)(2), invite comments on proposed Rule 2.505 (Attorneys). Interested persons have until July 31, 2024, to submit any comments, electronically, to Judge Santo DiGangi, Chair of the Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration Committee, and to Bar attorney liaison, Kelly Smith, at [email protected].

The amendments add language to provide the client’s contact information when withdrawing from representation.

Amendments shown in single-legislative format are pending before the court in SC2023-1321. Amendments in double-legislative format are new proposed changes that are accepting comment.

RULE 2.505.                        ATTORNEYS

(a)          Scope and Purpose. All persons inmembers of The Florida Bar in good standing as members of The Florida Bar shall beare permitted to practice law in Florida. Attorneys of other states who are not members of The Florida Bar in good standing shallmust not engage in the practice of law in Florida except to the extent permitted by rule 2.510.

(b)          Persons Employed by the Court. Except as provided in this subdivision, noa full-time employee of the court shallmust not practice as an attorney in any court or before any agency of government while continuing in that position. Any attorney designated by the chief justice or chief judge may represent the court, any court employee in the employee’s official capacity, or any judge in the judge’s official capacity, in any proceeding in which the court, employee, or judge is an interested party. An attorney formerly employed by a court shallmust not represent anyone in connection with a matter in which the attorney participated personally and substantially while employed by the court, unless all parties to the proceeding consent after disclosure.

(c)           Attorney Must Not to Be Surety. No attorneysAttorneys or other officers of court shallmust not enter themselves or be taken as bail or surety in any proceeding in court.

(d)          Stipulations. NoA private agreement or consent between parties or their attorneys concerning the practice or procedure in an action shall be of any forceis unenforceable unless the evidence of it is in writing, subscribedand signed by the party or the party’s attorney against whom it is allegedenforcement is sought. Parol agreements may be made before the court if promptly made a part of the record or incorporated in the stenographic notes of the proceedings,. and agreementsAgreements made at depositions that are incorporated in the transcript need not be signed when signing of the deposition is waived. This rule shalldoes not apply to settlements or other substantive agreements.

(e)          Appearance of Attorney. An attorney may appear for a party in an action or proceeding in any of the following ways:.

(1)          First Pleading or Document. Signing the first pleading or other document filed on behalf of a party.

(2)          Notice of Appearance. Filing a notice of appearance on behalf of a party.

(3)          Order on Substitution of Counsel. Filing of a written order by the court, that reflects written consent of the client. The court may condition substitution of counsel upon payment of or grant of security for the substituted attorney’s fees and expenses or upon such other terms as may be just.

(4)          Notice of Substitution of Counsel. Filing a notice of substitution of counsel when the substituting attorney is from the same law firm, company, or governmental agency as the replaced attorney.

(5)          Notice of Limited Appearance. Filing a notice of limited appearance as permitted by another rule of court.

(6)          Appearance as Stand-In Counsel. Appearing as stand-in counsel pursuant to subdivision (g).

(f)           Termination of Appearance of Attorney. Any motion seeking withdrawal or notice terminating representation, if the party will be left unrepresented by counsel, must include the party’s last known address, telephone number, and e-mail address, if known.  The party’s e-mail address in the court’s order is the party’s designation of an e-mail address unless the party designates a different e-mail address or is excused under rule 2.516(b)(1). An appearance of an attorney for a party in an action or proceeding shall terminate only upon:terminates only in the following ways:

(1)          Withdrawal of Attorney. A written order of the court after hearing upon a motion setting forth reasons for withdrawal and the client’s last known address, telephone number, and e-mail address. The client’s e-mail address in the order is the client’s designation of a primary e-mail address unless the client designates a different primary e-mail address or is excused under rule 2.516(b)(1).

(2)          Substitution of Attorney. Substitution of counsel pursuant to subdivision (e)(3) or (e)(4).

(3)          Termination of Proceeding. Termination of an action or proceeding and expiration of any applicable time for appeal when no appeal is taken, without any further action of the court unless otherwise required by another rule of court.

(4)          Termination of Post-Judgment Appearances.

(A)          In non-criminal matters in which an attorney has appeared after entry of judgment, filing of a notice of termination of appearance.

(B)          In matters governed by the rules of criminal or juvenile procedure in which an attorney has appeared after entry of a judgment, entry of a written order of the court after hearing upon a motion setting forth the reasons for withdrawal.

(5)          Termination of Limited Appearance. Filing a notice of termination of limited appearance in an action or proceeding in which an attorney has filed a notice of limited appearance pursuant to subdivision (e)(5).

(6)          Termination of Hearing. Conclusion of a hearing or proceeding in which an attorney has appeared as stand-in counsel pursuant to subdivision (g).

(g)          Stand-In Counsel. An attorney may stand in for another attorney to cover a proceeding or hearing only if a notice of stand-in counsel is filed or the appearance of stand-in counsel is reflected on a record maintained by the court or by the clerk of court. A stand-in attorney from the same law firm, company, or governmental agency as an attorney of record is not required to file a notice of stand-in counsel.

(h)          Attorney as Agent of Client. An attorney appearing in an action or proceeding pursuant tounder subdivisions (e)(1)–(e)(6) is the agent authorized to bind the client for purposes of the action, hearing, or proceeding.

(i)           Attorney of Record. An attorney appearing in an action or proceeding pursuant tounder subdivisions (e)(1)–(e)(5) is an attorney of record for the party for the matters specified.

(j)           Law Student and Certified Legal Intern Participation. Eligible law students shall beare permitted to participate as provided under the conditions of chapterChapter 11 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar as amended from time to time.

Court Commentary

1997 Amendment. Originally, the rule provided that the follow-up filing had to occur within ten days. In the 1997 amendment to the rule, that requirement was modified to provide that the follow-up filing must occur “immediately” after a document is electronically filed. The “immediately thereafter” language is consistent with language used in the rules of procedure where, in a somewhat analogous situation, the filing of a document may occur after service. See, e.g., Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.080(d) (“All original papers shall be filed with the court either before service or immediately thereafter.”) (emphasis added). “Immediately thereafter” has been interpreted to mean “filed with reasonable promptness.” Miami Transit Co. v. Ford, 155 So. 2d 360 (Fla. 1963).

The use of the words “other person” in this rule is not meant to allow a nonlawyer to sign and file pleadings or other papers on behalf of another. Such conduct would constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

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