Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert, which will update the status of the Advanced Florida Registered Paralegal designation as part of the Florida Registered Paralegal Program in Chapter 20, the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.
As I previously blogged here: https://jcorsmeier.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/florida-supreme-court-access-to-justice-commission-approves-advanced-registered-paralegal-program-which-would-permit-the-limited-practice-of-law/, the Florida Supreme Court Access Commission voted to approve the proposal to create the Advanced Florida Registered Paralegal designation.
The proposal was sent to the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors (BOG) for review and Bar President John Stewart announced at the BOG’s January 31, 2020 meeting that he had referred the proposed program to the Florida Bar’s Rules Committee to consider objections that were made by the Bar’s Family Law, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, Elder, and Public Interest Law sections.
Under the proposed program, Advanced Registered Paralegals would be required to obtain additional education and work experience than is required to become a Florida Registered Paralegal and would be required to be aware of “lawyer’s protocols” in performing authorized services. The program 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 proposal also provides 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: As I previously indicated, this is an early proposal for a Florida limited licensing and practice of law program for paralegals. Other states, including Utah, Washington, Oregon, and California already have limited licensing programs in place. The proposed program will now be reviewed by the Florida Bar’s Rules Committee.
I will keep you advised and be careful out there.
As always, if you have any questions about this Ethics Alert or need assistance, analysis, and guidance regarding ethics, risk management, or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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.