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Supreme Court-mandated professionalism CLE now available

Senior Editor News in Photos

The new mandatory professionalism course coincides with a reduction in the hours Florida lawyers must earn every three-year reporting cycle

Mandatory Professionalism CLE programA new, Supreme Court-mandated professionalism CLE featuring a varied group of experts is now available for free on The Florida Bar website.

The new mandatory professionalism course coincides with a reduction in the hours Florida lawyers must earn every three-year reporting cycle, from 33 to 30, that the court recently ordered, restoring the initial requirement when the Supreme Court first imposed mandatory CLE in 1987 and aligning lawyers with a continuing education requirement for judges.

“Professionalism Expectations: A Mandatory CLE for Members of The Florida Bar,” produced by the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism, may be accessed through The Bar’s InReach platform.

Course No. 8262 has been approved for 2 CLE credits: both of which may be applied toward Professionalism. The nearly two-hour presentation was recorded January 22.

The program begins with welcoming remarks by former Bar President Michael Tanner, a Jacksonville attorney who made professionalism a priority during his year-long term beginning in June 2021.

“We know that when we practice with civility and professionalism and integrity and honesty that we fulfill our duties to the public and to our clients to the greatest extent, and we know that when we practice that way, we will enjoy the practice of law to greatest extent,” Tanner says.

Michael Tanner

Mike Tanner

Tanner appointed a Special Committee for the Review of Professionalism in Florida. Among other things, the special committee recommended that the Supreme Court consider increasing professionalism CLE required of all Florida Bar members.

Standing Committee on Professionalism Chair Chardean Mavis Hill stresses that ethics refers to Florida Rules of Professional Conduct found under Chapter 4 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.

“However, professionalism refers to the expectations that a lawyer will do more than simply comply with the ground floor ethical standards of professional conduct described in the Florida rules.”

She reminds viewers that “the Supreme Court of Florida and The Florida Bar expect Florida lawyers to pursue and practice the highest ideals and tenants of the legal profession, the essential ingredients being, character, competence, civility and commitment.”

The Supreme Court agreed in In Re: Code for Resolving Professionalism Referrals and Amendments to Rule Regulating The Florida Bare 6-10.3, Case No. SC2023-0884.

The CLE is divided into nine segments that include Tanner’s welcoming remarks. Those are followed by:

Professionalism Expectations 
Chardean Hill, 2023-34 Chair of The Standing Committee on Professionalism
CMH Law & Dispute Resolution, LLC, Brandon

Professionalism Tips for Young Lawyers
Anisha Patel, President, Young Lawyers Division
Hill Ward Henderson, Tampa

Maintaining Professionalism
Brian Tannebaum
Brian L. Tannebaum, P.A., Miami

Professionalism Updates, SC2023-0884
Second Judicial Circuit Judge Anthony Miller, Tallahassee

Regulating Professionalism 
John Schifino, Member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors
Gunster Law Firm, Tampa

Professionalism Resources 
Kara Rockenbach Link, Former Chair of the Standing
Committee on Professionalism and Member of the Special Committee on Professionalism
Link & Rockenbach, P.A., West Palm Beach

Professionalism Advice from a Seasoned Attorney
Paul Lipton, 50-Year Member of The Florida Bar
Rumberger Kirk, Miami

The CLE concludes with closing remarks from Tallahassee attorney Magdalena Ozarowski, vice chair of the Standing Committee on Professionalism.

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