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Proposed board action

Notices

Pursuant to Standing Board Policy 1.60, the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar publishes this notice of intent to consider the following items at its March 5, 2021, Board of Governors meeting. This is governed by Rule 1-12.1, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. If approved by the board, most rules amendments must still be formally filed with the Supreme Court of Florida, with further notice and opportunity to be heard, before they are officially approved and become effective. Amendments to section bylaws and standing board policies are final on board of governors action.  Additionally, non-substantive edits to conform to the Supreme Court style guide are not noted in the summary. To receive a full copy of the text of proposed amendments, email [email protected] or call the Rules Administrative Coordinator at 850-561-5780. Reference any requested proposal by its title and date of this publication.

FINAL ACTION

RULES REGULATING THE FLORIDA BAR

Chapter 3 Rules of Discipline

RULE 3-7.1 CONFIDENTIALITY

Summary: Within subdivisions (a)(2), (3) and (5), clarifies when disciplinary information becomes public.  Within subdivision (a)(3), changes rule reference from “3-3.2(a)” to “3-3.2(b).”  Within subdivision (a)(5), adds “and fee arbitration” in title and rule text.  Within subdivision (j), changes “or might cause embarrassment in any future disciplinary matter” to “not be admitted as evidence in disciplinary proceedings under these rules.”

RULE 3-7.4 GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE PROCEDURES

Summary: Within subdivision (e), changes “board of governors” to “appropriate designated reviewer.”

RULE 3-7.7 PROCEDURES BEFORE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA

Summary: Within subdivision (h), removes disciplinary revocation from cases in which dismissal of other pending disciplinary cases may be dismissed.  Adds that other pending disciplinary cases will be dismissed when disciplinary revocation is granted.

Chapter 5 Rules Regulating Trust Accounts

RULE 5-1.1 TRUST ACCOUNTS

Summary: Within subdivision (g)(1)(E) and (g)(5)(A), adds business or consumer money market account or sub account, any business or consumer savings account or sub account without a maturity date.
Within subdivision (g)(5)(B), adds that eligible institutions must provide a minimum interest rate for IOTA accounts and creates minimum interests rates tied to specific indexed rate points.

Standing Board Policies

STANDING BOARD POLICY 1.40 POLICY FOR APPOINTMENTS AND PROCEDURE FOR ELECTIONS AND NOMINATIONS BY THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Summary: Within subdivision (c)(4), deletes Commission on Professionalism and adds Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. Board of Directors, Florida Legal Services, Inc. Board of Directors, Florida Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriters Assoc., Florida Patient’s Compensation Fund, Florida Realtor – Attorney Joint Committee, Florida Rural Legal Services Board of Directors, Florida Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and Statewide Nominating Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims.
Within subdivision (d), deletes Commission on Professionalism.
Adds new subdivision (e) addressing determination of residency in board appointments and replacement of appointees who become ineligible if they relocate to a residence outside the required area.

STANDING BOARD POLICY 3.13 GRANTS

Summary: Creates new standing board policy setting forth requirements for awarding grants, including requirements for the annual budget process, grant program descriptions, factors for approval of grants, and reducing or eliminating grant allocations if funding falls below reserve levels.

STANDING BOARD POLICY 3.13 AUDIT COMMITTEE

Summary: Renumbers existing Standing Board Policy 3.13 to 3.14.

STANDING BOARD POLICY 9.11 DEFINITIONS

Summary: Reorganizes standing board policy and adds new subdivision (c) defining “technical assistance” including that it is neither a formal bar statement nor binding.

 STANDING BOARD POLICY 9.50 LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF VOLUNTARY BAR GROUPS

Summary: Changes title to add “technical assistance.”  Adds new subdivision (a) on requirements and procedures for voluntary bar groups to provide technical assistance to the legislature and reletters subsequent subdivisions accordingly.  Within former 9.50(d) (new subdivision (e)), clarifies that voluntary bar groups must use a legislative or political activity request form and that the request may be submitted before comments are received.

 STANDING BOARD POLICY 15.55 DEFERRAL OF DISCIPLINARY INVESTIGATION DURING CIVIL, CRIMINAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS 

Summary: Within subdivision (a), changes “board” to “bar.”

 Florida’s Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions

STANDARD 3.4  FACTORS WHICH ARE NEITHER AGGRAVATING NOR MITIGATING

Summary: Within subdivision (d), changes resignation to retirement.

 FIRST READING

Chapter 1 General

RULE 1-3.7 REINSTATEMENT TO MEMBERSHIP

Summary: Within subdivision (f), adds trust account compliance certification.

Chapter 3 Rules of Discipline

RULE 3-5.1 GENERALLY

Summary: Within subdivision (d), removes references to publication in the Southern Reporter.

 Rule 3-6.1 GENERALLY

Summary: Within subdivision (a), clarifies who is subject to the rule.

Chapter 4 Rules of Professional Conduct

RULE 4-7.13 DECEPTIVE AND INHERENTLY MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS

Summary: Within subdivision (b)(6), divides subdivision into (b)(6) and (b)(7), makes disclaimers required only when necessary to avoid misleading a reasonable viewer, and makes wording of disclaimer discretionary.

RULE 4-7.14 POTENTIALLY MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS

Summary: Within subdivision (a)(4)(B), omits the requirement that lawyers certified by entities accredited by the American Bar Association, but not The Florida Bar, contain a disclaimer that the lawyer is “Not Certified as a Specialist by The Florida Bar.”

RULE 4-7.16 PRESUMPTIVELY VALID CONTENT

Summary: Within subdivision (a)(1), adds social media contact information including social media icons or logos.

RULE 4-7.19 EVALUATION OF ADVERTISEMENTS

Summary: Within subdivision (a), changes location of filing from the bar’s headquarters address in Tallahassee to “in the manner specified by The Florida Bar as posted on its website.

RULE 4-8.6 AUTHORIZED BUSINESS ENTITIES

Summary: Within subdivision (e), adds emergency and other indefinite suspensions that last 91 days or longer.

Standing Board Policies

SBP 1.41 Delegates to American Bar Association House of Delegates

Summary: Within subdivision (b) and (d), clarifies that delegates may vote on their own judgment and their statements, votes, or positions are not positions of The Florida Bar unless the board has determined and instructed them otherwise.  Within subdivision (c), clarifies that when the board takes a formal position on any political or ideological issues the ABA House of Delegates will be studying, the bar must comply with standing board policies, rules, and procedures, and not when the board is merely studying or discussing an issue.

Fee Arbitration Procedural Rules

Fee Arbitration Procedural Rule IV. Hearings

Summary: Within subdivision (e), adds attendance by electronic means.  Within subdivision (e)(2), adds method of administering the oath for persons attending telephonically or electronically.  Adds a comment that the oath will be consistent with the Florida Evidence Code.

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