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[FLN - Ethics Presentation]

When it's your turn to present the Ethics Topic for the Chapter Meeting, 

please be sure to review the format below.

[FLN - Chapter Ethics Presentations]

Format to be Used

We have learned that speaking in public helps our “FLN – Members” improve their confidence and communications skills.

Therefore, to give our Chapter Members some great opportunities to present in public - a different Legal Member from the Chapter will be selected to research and present the Ethics topic at each [FLN - Chapter] meeting. 

When you are selected to present this portion of the meeting, be sure to select a good "Ethics" topic to present for discussion, review and conclusion. Be sure to select something educational and informative and try not to select a topic that was recently presented.

[FLN - Ethics]

Below are a list of topics that Members can present.

Always be sure to confirm accuracy with rules of professional conduct, or by calling the Florida Bar hotline for further assistance.

  • November 13, 2018 2:08 PM | Mo N. ElDeiry, Esquire (Administrator)

    Law firm may not allow a non-lawyer marketing director to solicit business for the firm in any manner forbidden to lawyers themselves.

    Non-lawyer marketing directors may not be paid commissions representing a percentage of fees generated from business brought to the firm by the non-lawyer.

    Click here to view the Florida Bar Ethics Opinion - 89-4

  • July 24, 2018 7:00 PM | Mo N. ElDeiry, Esquire (Administrator)

    Ethics – By David Hirsh:

    When a plaintiff in a personal injury claim settles his/her personal injury case for less money that there is necessary to pay the client’s outstanding medical bills received for the client’s subject injury and the Plaintiff has arguably given Letters of Protection Liens to the various medical providers, can the lawyer handling the case pay the funds from the settlement which are in dispute over to his client who demands them without payment of the medical bills if:

    A.  A Letter of Protection Lien promising to pay for medical services and treatment from the settlement proceeds of a particular legal matter is given by the client did not specify the exact injury date of the one claimed in the complaint and the Client has had multiple accidents since the injury date in 2012 for which he/she sought treatment from various providers?

    B. The Letter of Protection Liens were signed only by the Client not the lawyer?

    C. The Letter of Protection Liens were signed by the Client more than Five years prior to the settlement which would make them contractually beyond the Florida Statute of Limitations?

    D. The Liens claimed was for a statutory hospital lien which by case law have been held to be invalid?

    Question 2: 

    Does the Lawyer even have to tell these claimants who’s claims appear legally invalid that he has received the funds?

    Question 3: 

    Can the lawyer take his money even if the Client’s portion of the funds is in dispute?

    Answer - 

    Rule 5-1.1, Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, states in pertinent part:

    (e) Notice of Receipt of Trust Funds; Delivery; Accounting.  

    Upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest, a lawyer shall promptly notify the client or third person.  Except as stated in this rule or otherwise permitted by law or by agreement with the client, a lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive and, upon request by the client or third person, shall promptly render a full accounting regarding such property.

    (f) Disputed Ownership of Trust Funds.  

    When in the course of representation, a lawyer is in possession of property in which 2 or more persons (1 of whom may be the lawyer) claim interests, the property shall be treated by the lawyer as trust property but the portion belonging to the lawyer or law firm shall be withdrawn within a reasonable time after it becomes due unless the right of the lawyer or law firm to receive it is disputed, in which event the portion in dispute shall be kept separate by the lawyer until the dispute is resolved. The lawyer shall promptly distribute all portions of the property as to which the interests are not in dispute.

    The comment to the rule elaborates:

    Third parties, such as a client’s creditors, may have lawful claims against funds or other property in a lawyer’s custody.  A lawyer may have a duty under applicable law to protect such third-party claims against wrongful interference by the client. 

    When the lawyer has a duty under applicable law to protect the third-party claim and the third-party claim is not frivolous under applicable law, the lawyer must refuse to surrender the property to the client until the claims are resolved.

    However, a lawyer should not unilaterally assume to arbitrate a dispute between the client and the third party, and, where appropriate, the lawyer should consider the possibility of depositing the property or funds in dispute into the registry of the applicable court so that the matter may be adjudicated.  (emphasis added)

    Thus, the Lawyer is required to notify third persons with an interest in the funds held in trust and deliver those funds to persons that are entitled to receive them.  Further, if there are disputes regarding the entitlement to funds held in trust, the Lawyer must maintain those funds in trust until the dispute can be resolved.

    Ultimately, if the dispute cannot be resolved, depositing the funds into the court registry is a possibility.

  • July 24, 2018 6:32 PM | Mo N. ElDeiry, Esquire (Administrator)

    Lawyer Advertising:

    Can a lawyer hire an actor to provide a testimonial?


    Florida Bar Board of Governors ruled that this would be considered false and misleading advertising.

    The lawyer cannot write the testimonial by a client, or pay the client to provide the testimonial.

    Further, they cannot hire, retain or pay anyone to read or provide the testimonial on behalf of the actual client either.

    So for now, all those funny “Bill-Boards” we see are actual clients who said the actual things.

    “Sort of……”

  • July 24, 2018 6:27 PM | Mo N. ElDeiry, Esquire (Administrator)

    Whether is a Lawyer/Doctor financial relation is discoverable?

    In a 4 to 3 opinion issued by the Florida Supreme Court on April 13, 2017 overturned a ruling from the 5th Circuit that provides the following:

    A Law firm referring a client to a treating physician is protected by the attorney/client privilege, and that the law firm may not be subject to costly records requests to determine if it has a “cozy relationship” with a medical provider.

    The court further stated that to hold otherwise – would severely undermine the purpose of the privilege, which is to encourage the free flow of information between attorneys and their clients.

    The court further reasoned that if Doctor’s were required to reveal how their patients were referred to them – that it would have a chilling effect on the ability of injured people to be treated - as may medical providers would avoid treating them to avoid the hassles and cost of litigation and discovery.

  • July 24, 2018 6:25 PM | Mo N. ElDeiry, Esquire (Administrator)

    What is the current status on Florida Lawyers Advertising with AVVO?

    According to a recent Bar Board of Governors informational release and the January 1, 2018 issue of the Florida Bar News, the BOG Review Committee on Professional Ethics responded to a lawyer inquiry regarding the status of AVVO Advisor and unanimously recommended that the lawyer be advised that Avvo Advisor, which is described as “a private for-profit company’s online system for connecting potential clients to lawyers for 15-minute consultations for $39”, is a lawyer referral service under Florida’s rules. 

    The Board of Governors voted unanimously at its December 8, 2018 meeting to approve the committee’s recommendation and opinion.

    As a for-profit lawyer referral service, AVVO Advisor will now be required to comply with Florida Bar Rule 4-7.22 or Florida lawyers will not be permitted to participate in the service. 

    Florida Bar Rule 4-7.22 requires that the services receive no payment that constitutes a division of fees, it must furnish or require lawyers to have professional liability insurance, it must affirmatively state in advertisements that the system is a lawyer referral service, and comply with the other requirements in the rule.   

    According to the BOG release, there are twenty-eight lawyer referral services which are current in their quarterly reports to The Florida Bar.

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