|Message From The President
Perception and reality sometimes mesh. If your perception is that the Florida Supreme Court is ramping up sanctions on lawyers who are found guilty of ethical violations, your perception is reality.
At the Voluntary Bar Leadership Conference, I asked Florida Bar President, Greg Coleman, whether he has had any conversations with the Justices about their increasingly severe sanctions. Mr. Coleman indicated that he had and that this trend was going to continue. John Harkness, Executive Director of the Florida Bar, was standing at my shoulder and confirmed the view that the Florida Supreme Court was going to continue to seek stiffer sanctions, if the hearing officers’ recommended sanctions were deemed too lenient.
In order to help our members avoid the Florida Bar Grievance process, our November 7, 2014 CLE is going to focus on legal ethics issues and legal malpractice issues with the goal of our avoiding both. We have invited auditors, legal malpractice lawyers and judges who have served as hearing officers, to speak and share their experiences. We are going to spend some time on trust account problem areas, so that those who attend will understand the pitfalls and the recent rule changes effective this summer. You should attend. If you have assigned your trust account reconciliation and comparisons to staff, bring them with you. Our duty to comply with the Florida Bar trust account rules is not delegable. Any mistake made by staff automatically becomes your mistake. As far as the Florida Bar is concerned, pennies matter, if it is in your trust account.
We are scheduling a Spring CLE Cruise and will update you when the plans become more certain. The focus of that cruise will be on professionalism issues. We hope to cover all CLE ethics requirements you will need at these Brevard County Bar Association functions.
It is much easier to avoid trouble with the Florida Bar than to get out of trouble once you’re in trouble. Come out to get your credits and some peace of mind knowing that your trust account is compliant.