TALLAHASSEE – Based on the summaries of orders that were issued between April 4 and June 30, the Florida Bar disciplined 32 attorneys for various offenses, ranging from six disbarments, two revocations, 16 suspensions and eight public reprimands. Additionally, two attorneys received probation and one was required to pay restitution.
“As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the 103,000-plus lawyers admitted to practice law in Florida,” the bar document said.
The disbarred attorneys were accused of a range of infractions, including immigration fraud and felony, forging judge’s orders in foreclosure cases, two misappropriations of client trust funds and two failures to comply with the conditions of suspension orders.
Both revocations were reflective of misappropriation of client funds.
The most prevalent sanctions, which were suspensions, ranged from non-compliance violations, aggravated assault by possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm while under an illegal controlled substance, many misappropriations involving client funds, lack of disclosure, fraud relating to insurance claims, many lack of disclosures to clients, bad faith promises and fraud.
Public reprimands addressed those who charged excessive fees for their services, not refunding fees upon request and failure to respond to bar requests in a timely manner.
One attorney had to pay restitution based on excessive fees.
“Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles,” the document said.
The Florida Bar also explained about court orders and effective dates.
“Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined,” the document said. “The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline.”
Finally, the bar explains the protocol for those who have been disbarred, and how disbarment creates considerable issues for reinstatement, not only for its process, but for the reputation disbarment creates.
“Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years,” they said. “They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, less than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.”