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21 Fla. B. News 1 (1994)

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Media-Law Conference reviews refl


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January 1, 1994 e Vol. 21, No. 1


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and Continuing Education Guide


Ad review                            continues                                                    ....                                    ........


  Bar review of lawyer advertisements
will continue, following action by the
Board of Governors.
  What had been a boiling debate over
the future of ad reviews at the board's
September 30-October 1 meeting had
simmered into a compromise when the
board met December 7-8 in Oilando.
  At the earlier meeting, three members
of the Special Study Committee on
Lawyer Advertising advocated ending
ad reviews and three members favored
keeping them and improving Bar en-
forcement.
  Committee Chair Charles Wells said
the compromise called for continuing the
ad reviews for the remainder of the year,
at an additional cost of $22,704 over the
current budget.
  During the next year, there will be an
overall review of all advertising regula-
tions, which began nearly three years
ago, he said.
  The advertising rule in general needs
  to have a continuing look because there


are continuing changes in Florida' Wells
said, noting there's been no evaluation
in the rule's first three years.
  The committee also recommended that
the board reconfirm by resolution its
policy that lawyers comply with all
parts of the advertising rule and that it
will be enforced through the grievance
process Wells said.
  Bar President Pat Seitz in October
announced a campaign to urge advertis-
ing lawyers to follow the rules and ask
Bar members to report those who don't.
  The board unanimously approved the
committee's recommendations and the
extra money to continue the ad reviews.
  Rules 4-7.2 and 4-7.5 explain which
ads must be submitted to the Bar for
review. The review fee is $50 per ad.
  Critics of the review process said the
fee was supposed to cover all the ex-
penses of the Advertising Department,
but the office has continually lost money
                    See Ads, page 6


Ethics school gets okay


By Gary Blankenship
A.qssciate Editor
  The Bar Board of Governors has given
final approval to plans for a new practice
and professional enhancement program.
  The plan to create an ethics school


as an alternative to the grievance pro-
cess for lawyers facing minor misconduct
charges won unanimous approval last
month.
  We truly believe.
that it is going to be a
groundbreaking pro-
gram with The Florida
Bar,    said   John
Thornton, chair of the
Program Evaluation
Committee, which pre-
sented the plans,
  I think there is a
real thirst' within the     HLL
profession to enhance professionalism
and this school will help accomplish that,
said former Bar President Ben Hill, who
proposed the enhancement program and
chaired the committee that drafted the
necessary rules and program outlines.
It's going to give an opportunity to law-
yers who need some assistance in under-
standing how to practice and adhere to
the highest of professional standards. It's
going to give them that opportunity to
appreciate and learn that a professional
practice can be successful:'
  The program and implementing rules
will be submitted to the Supreme Court
later this month as part of the annual
rules package.
  Thornton said the program will be self-
supporting from fees paid by the partici-
pants, and is expected to have about a
$20,000 annual budget.

School Details
  Only lawyers charged with grievances
that would result in a finding of minor
misconduct or dismissal with a letter of
advice will be eligible for the school.
  Either Bar counsel or a grievance com-
mittee could, with the agreement of the
designated reviewer, recommend diver-
sion to the ethics school.
  Those not eligible would be lawyers dis-
ciplined in the past three years or
charged with any of the following: misap-
propriation of client funds, similar mis-
conduct in the past five years, dishonesty,
misrepresentation, deceit or fraud, or the
commission of a felony. Lawyers who
took actions that resulted in a loss of
rights to clients would also be ineligible.
  And once a lawyer has taken the en-
hancement training, he or she would not
be eligible for diversion again for seven
years.


  If the lawyer agrees to diversion and
then fails to complete the training, the
grievance would be reinstated and the
failure  would   be  considered   an
aggravating circumstance if discipline
was imposed.


  Training initially would be held at
least quarterly, at sites tentatively in the
Ft. Lauderdale-Miami area, the Tampa-
Orlando area, and in Tallahassee. The
training would last one day, although par-
                See Ethics, page 6


Bar endorses state funding

for civil litigation support


  The Florida Bar has gone on record
supporting state funding to provide civil
legal representation to indigents.
  The Board of Governors approved that
position, requested by The Florida Bar
Foundation; at its December 7-8 meeting
in Orlando. The board also approved 14
section legislative requests.
  Legislation Committee Chair Don Gif-
ford said the committee reviewed and
supported the Foundation's request, not-
ing it had been a long-time Foundation
goal. A joint Bar/Foundation commis-
sion, which recommended the court-
approved pro bono plan, also had recom-
mended that the Bar and Foundation
support state funding for civil legal
services to indigents.
  Board member John Hume said he
was concerned that state funds might
be turned over to the Foundation, which
could disburse the money as it wished.
But Gifford said that while details were
still being worked out, his understanding
was that a state agency would hold the
funds while the Foundation reviewed
and selected eligible participants.
  The board unanimously approved the
request.
  Gifford said the committee had post-
poned two other requests. One was from


the Public Interest Law Section, which
wants to oppose any constitutional amend-
ment that would bar laws prohibiting
discrimination based on sexual orienta-
tion. The second was a request from the
Media and Communications Law Com-
mittee to support a shield law for
reporters protecting confidential sources.
  Gifford noted that a PILS repre-
sentative was unable to appear before
the Legislation Committee because of
illness, and both items would be consid-
ered when the committee met next,
either at the Midyear Meeting or sooner.

Section Positions
  Several section positions were ap-
proved under the board's new review
policy, which allows sections to present
positions through the Legislation Com-
mittee to the board. The positions are
automatically approved unless the board
objects.
  Four sections had legislative positions
  approved.
  9 The Business Law Section won
permission to support allowing all finan-
cial institutions to offer pay-on-death
accounts to customers.
           See Legislation, page 19


See you at Midyear - Final schedule inside


THE BAR JOURNAL this month focuses on issues of interest to solo practitioners and
lawyers practicing in small firms. The special issue is a joint effort of President Pat Sietz'
Solo and Small Firms Practitioner Committee and the Journal Editorial Board.


mm


January 1, 1994. Vol. 21, No. 1

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