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Supreme Court approves Florida Bar’s rule revisions

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The Supreme Court, with only minor modifications, has approved The Florida Bar’s proposed amendments to various Bar rules.

In addition to a rewrite of Chapter 8, which governs lawyer referral, justices approved revisions to Bar Rules 1-3.2 (Membership Classifications); 1-3.3 (Official Bar Name and Contact Information); 1-3.7 (Reinstatement to Membership); 1-7.3 (Membership Fees); 11-1.8 (Continuation of Practice Program After Completion of Law School Program or Graduation); and 20-3.1 (Requirements for Graduation).

The Supreme Court also approved the Bar’s proposed revisions to Bylaw 2-3.10 (Meetings).

“The amendments provide that only members of the Bar in good standing may elect inactive status, and that the Bar can waive or extend continuing legal education or basic skills course requirements upon a showing of hardship,” the May 9 order states. “The amendments also clarify that Bar members must practice under their official Bar names and must notify the Bar of any other states where they are licensed to practice.”

The justices noted that the Board of Governors approved the proposed revisions, and that a notice in the Bar News failed to generate any public comments.

To reflect an earlier Supreme Court order, justices modified one Bar proposal regarding a student practice program.

“In addition, the amendments allow graduates of accredited law schools who have applied to the Bar and received their initial clearance letters from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners to work for 18 months for the same entities and under the same restrictions as students from law school practice programs,” the order states. “The Bar’s petition would have set the maximum term for this work provision at 12 months, but we modify this number to 18 months in light of recent amendments whereby we expanded the maximum term to 18 months for practice program students.”

The Chapter 8 revisions prohibit participation in a lawyer referral service program if the lawyer is facing disciplinary proceedings or has been disciplined in the past five years, or 10 years for discipline that resulted in suspension or disbarment, the order states.

Justices approved amendments to Rule 20-3.1 that create an option for someone to become a Florida Registered Paralegal “via an attestation of paralegal work experience from an employing or supervising attorney.” The option was originally included in the rule, but initially intended only as a temporary measure, the ruling states.

“Finally, several technical and stylistic revisions are made throughout the rules to improve clarity and promote internal consistency and consistency with other rulesets,” the order states. The order, In Re: Amendments to Rules Regulating The Florida Bar — Miscellaneous Petition, Case No. SC2024-0030, is available here.

 

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