Rapoport Update – Out of State Florida Attorneys in Arbitration – Securities Law News Update, From the Securities Law Home Page


]]> Home | Message Board Home Search Arbitration Investors Brokers Finance Law Compliance Archives Rapoport Update – New Developments regarding Out of State Attorneys in Florida.
Developments and Reactions

The cover story of a recent edition of the Daily Business Review, a Florida periodical, focused on the state Supreme Court’s decision to ban an out-of-state lawyer from representing parties in securities arbitrations in the State. The story “Down the Chute,” (3/24/03, p. A8) offers some insight on developments and reactions to The Florida Bar v. Rapoport decision.

The Florida Bar has not offered any official directive guiding out-of-state attorneys representing parties in Florida arbitrations, so we found some of the items in this article worthy to repeat:

Reactions: According to the article, “[d]ozens of arbitration hearings have been postponed,” as out-of-state attorneys turn cases over to or associate with local counsel. Many inside counsel are taking the same route. Some out-of-state attorneys on the Claimant’s side have also turned over representation to local counsel. The Florida Bar’s UPL (Unlicensed Practice of Law) Section has been inundated with calls from attorneys seeking guidance.

Florida Bar Position: While there have been no official directives, Lori Holcomb, the UPL director has told SAC and has repeated in this article that the Florida Bar views the Rapoport matter as “an isolated incident.” While the Bar will continue to investigate specific complaints, she is reported here as saying that “there is an important distinction between Rapoport’s case and the more typical scenario of out-of-state brokerage firms sending their in-house counsel to Florida to handle an arbitration proceeding…. Rapoport had moved to Florida permanently years ago and had set up a practice here without a Florida license.”

Current Events: Mr. Rapoport has sought rehearing before the Florida Supreme Court. New ABA Model Rules, which promise greater freedom for attorneys working in out-of-state venues, are under review by an 18-member Commission in Florida and recommendations are expected to be filed this month for possible adoption by the Bar’s Board. Approval by the Florida Supreme Court is the final step in that process.



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