Thursday, June 6, 2013

Florida Supreme Court Adopts New Rules On Professionalism For Lawyers

The Florida Supreme Court released a unanimous opinion today addressing the issue of professionalism. In Re: Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints (SC13-688), the "Supreme Court of Florida Commission on Professionalism has requested that the Court adopt a Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints which would include a structure to provide a process to more critically address professionalism issues in Florida." 

The Court noted the importance of professionalism and that "[s]urveys of both lawyers and judges continue to consistently reflect that professionalism is one of the most significant adverse problems that negatively impacts the practice of law in Florida today."

The Court agreed with the Professionalism Committee that additional measures need to be taken and stated that "While we continue our educational the Professionalism Commission concluded that further integrated, affirmative, practical and active measures are now needed. We agree."

The Court did not, however, "attempt to create an entirely new code of 'professional' or 'unprofessional' conduct " and agreed it should not "at this time, attempt to codify an entirely new 'Code of Professionalism.'” Using the following existing rules and guidelines, the Court created one integrated place to look for professionalism rules and guidance: "(1) the Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar; (2) The Florida Bar Creed of Professionalism; (3) The Florida Bar Ideals and Goals of Professionalism; (4) The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar; and (5) the decisions of the Florida Supreme Court."

Further "The Chief Judge of every circuit shall create a Local Professionalism Panel to receive and resolve professionalism complaints informally if possible. In the discretion of the Chief Judge, the Circuit Committee on Professionalism may be designated as the Local Professionalism Panel. The Chief Judge of each circuit is responsible for activating the respective committees."  

The Rules adopted by the Florida Supreme Court are found at Exhibit "A" to the opinion below.


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