Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert, which will discuss the recent Florida Supreme Court Commission on Access to Civil Justice’s approval of a proposal to create an “Advanced Florida Registered Paralegal” designation as part of the Florida Registered Paralegal Program in Chapter 20, the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.
The Access Commission voted to approve the proposal to create the Advanced Florida Registered Paralegal designation and program and forwarded the proposal to the commission’s Executive Committee. The Executive Committee’s chair forwarded the proposal informally to the Florida Bar Board of Governors (BOG) for review and input and it has been placed on the agenda of the BOG’s January 31, 2019 meeting.
Under the proposal, Advanced Registered Paralegals would be required to have additional education and work experience than is required to become a Florida Registered Paralegal. Advanced Registered Paralegals would also be required to be aware of “lawyer’s protocols” in performing authorized services.
Importantly, the proposal would also permit Advanced Registered Paralegals to engage in the limited practice of law under a lawyer’s supervision in family law, landlord tenant law, guardianship law, wills, advance directives, and debt collection defense.
The proposed rule revisions also set forth a licensing and disciplinary process, lists that duties that may not require “independent professional legal judgment,” and states that the Advanced Registered Paralegals must be supervised by a lawyer who “maintains a direct relationship with the client and maintains control of all client matters.”
Bottom line: This is an early proposal for a Florida limited licensing and practice of law program for paralegals. Various other states, including Utah, Washington, Oregon, and California already have limited licensing programs in place.
Be careful out there.
Disclaimer: this e-mail is not an advertisement, does not contain any legal advice, and does not create an attorney/client relationship and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
2999 Alt. 19, Suite A
Palm Harbor, Florida
Office (727) 799-1688
Fax (727) 799-1670
Please note: My office has moved and the new office address is 2999 Alt. 19, Palm Harbor, FL 34683. All other contact information remains the same.