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Special Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services identifies six areas of study

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Rule booksThe Special Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services has set up six subcommittees as it begins laying out priorities for its study of lawyer regulation and legal access issues.

Immediate Past President John Stewart, chair of the committee, presented the proposed list at the committee’s August 25 meeting and members agreed with his suggestions.

The creation of the subcommittees will allow members to “start putting some meat on the bones and see what issues we can tackle and ones that we might need more time for,” Stewart said, adding he hopes the subcommittees can meet twice before the full committee’s meeting on October 7 as part of the Bar’s online Fall Meeting.

He also said the topics follow the priorities given to the committee when the Supreme Court created it last November.

The six subcommittees will:

• Review Bar Rule 4-5.4, which governs the professional independence of a lawyer, along with looking at related ethics opinions.

• Review some Bar advertising regulations in Rule 4-7.

• Review Bar rules affecting both profit and nonprofit lawyer referral services.

• Review Bar Rule 4-7.17 as it pertains to paying referral fees to nonlawyers.

• Review of the Bar’s regulatory rules, including consideration of creating a program where new rules and regulations that allow improved legal access can be tested, a concept referred to as the “regulatory sandbox.”

• Looking at how to get feedback from both the public and Bar members, how to get pertinent data, and how to measure performance of rules being tried in the regulatory sandbox.

“I’m excited to start making some decisions and start crafting some changes and creating some ideas,” Stewart said, as he announced the subcommittees.

The committee has been charged by the Supreme Court with reviewing “the rules governing the practice of law to ensure that our regulation meets the needs of Floridians for legal services while also protecting against misconduct and maintaining the strength of Florida’s legal profession.” Its final report is due to the Supreme Court on July 1, 2021, although Stewart said more time may be needed.