TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Bar hopes
the recent launch of a new website makes the use of the Lawyers
Advising Lawyers program easier for both adviser attorneys and asking
Jennifer Krell Davis, the bar's deputy director of
public information and bar services, is pleased with how the new
website is working so far.
"This current launch is really
about the website and the technology to quickly connect attorneys so
that they can get advice in a timely fashion," Davis told The
Florida Record. "It's not just about young attorneys. We
have a lot of attorneys that change practice areas throughout their
careers, and once you're in a new practice area, you really need to
have a resource to get assistance if you don't have someone locally
that you can get advice from."
Attorneys looking for advice
connect with adviser attorneys through a four-step process, laid out
on lawyersadvisinglawyers.com. First, the attorney decides what he or
she needs help with. Then, that attorney reaches out, asking for help
through one of three ways, by using the website itself, by dialing
1-800-342-8060, extension 5807, or by email. Attorneys who choose to
use the website need to give their bar number.
Once the attorney
asks for help, the program is set up to where the asking attorney is
automatically referred to an adviser attorney who is advising in the
area that the asking attorney needs advice in, and then it's up to
the asking attorney to reach out to the adviser attorney that he or
she has been matched up with. At that point, the asking attorney must
give all the party information on the case that the asking attorney
is working to the adviser attorney to make sure no conflicts of
After that, the inquiring attorney asks about the
legal issue he or she needs help with, and the adviser attorney
consults the asking attorney. From there, the asking attorney decides
what is best to help the party he or she is representing.
feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive," Davis said.
"And we also have surveys in place to get feedback. ... If
anything's not working, we have the ability to immediately revise or
adjust or contact either of the attorney[s] to make sure that any
problems are addressed."
F. Scott Westheimer, a managing
partner at Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec
and Westheimer, P.A., estimates he's been part of the program for
more than 10 years. He said when he first got involved with the
program, it went by the name SCOPE.
"In my opinion, it's an
excellent program," he said. "It's provided by the Florida
Bar for free. And I think for younger attorneys or other attorneys
that need advice, I think it's one of the bar's best programs to help
Westheimer, who also serves on the bar's board of
governors, said other adviser attorneys have enjoyed their
experiences with the new website.
"The new promotion, the new
website, it seems like there's been a great influx of young
attorneys, other less-experienced attorneys that have used it,"
he said. "And everyone that I've talked to has been very
positive about the experience."
Davis said the Florida Bar made a soft
launch in December to test the system, with the formal launch in
Davis said as of Jan. 31, the Lawyers
Advising Lawyers program had 475 adviser attorneys participating. She
said the new website has caused a great response from adviser
attorneys signing up.
"We believe that the process through
the website of signing up to be an adviser has really assisted that,"
she said. "That number obviously continues to grow as we talk to
other attorneys and try to get them to sign up. We are reaching out
to all of our voluntary bars, we're reaching out to our
board-certified attorney areas and all of our sections and trying to
really get everybody that's eligible signed up."
the website, the program currently covers 50 law and practice areas.
Davis said the bar has cut down the number of areas because the
program used to have areas of law that weren't covered a lot.
information on the program can be found