Securities Arbitration: Florida , Unauthorized practice of law issue


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Unauthorized practice of law in arbitrations?

UPL & OOS ATTORNEYS: Planning to travel to Florida for an arbitration or mediation? Know about this proposal pending consideration before the Florida Supreme Court. Last April, the Florida Bar’s Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law held hearings concerning out-of-state attorneys appearing in arbitration or mediation proceedings in Florida (see 10 SAC 8(9) for more details). At the time, the Committee declined to state that such appearances involved the unlicensed practice of law, but it did refer to another committee for consideration the issue of whether such attorneys should be bound by the Florida Bar’s ethics and discipline rules. At the SIA Conference in March 2000, an attorney reported from the audience that he had been investigated after appearing from out-of-state in a Florida SRO arbitration. We recently checked with a representative from the Florida Bar. First, investigations, generally speaking, may be conducted if a complaint is filed with the Bar. Secondly, a rule proposal is on file with the Florida Supreme Court, which could be taken up as early as June, that would make subject to the jurisdiction of the Court and its rules of ethical and professional conduct any attorney “who is appearing in this state as the representative of a party in a mediation or arbitration proceeding….” (SAC Ref. No. 00-17-002).

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Nothing herein is intended as legal or financial advice. The law is different in different jurisdictions, and the facts of a particular matter can change the application of the law. Please consult an attorney or your financial advisor before acting upon the information contained in this article. 

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