Bar Associations

Florida Bar refuses to ease admission for out-of-state lawyers

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Proposals to ease the way for out-of-state lawyers to practice in Florida are off the table.

On Friday, the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors unanimously voted down proposals for admission on motion and reciprocity after bar members voiced disapproval, the Daily Business Review (sub. req.), the Wall Street Journal Law Blog and the News Service of Florida report.

Florida Bar President Ramón Abadin had talked about the idea in a June speech. In July, an admissions subcommittee issued a preliminary report recommending admission by motion based on reciprocity. The proposal would have allowed admission of lawyers in good standing from other jurisdictions who have practiced five out of the last seven years, if those other jurisdictions also allow admission by motion.

Last month, the vast majority of lawyers who spoke at a public forum hosted by the Florida Bar were opposed to eliminating the bar exam for out-of-state lawyers. Out of about 1,358 bar members who had weighed in as of Oct. 9 by email, 1,173 were opposed to reciprocity, according to the Daily Business Review.

Many who opposed Florida’s proposals voiced concerns about increased competition. Among all the states, Florida has had the greatest growth in attorney population—a 53 percent increase—in the decade ending in December 2014.

Forty states have some kind of admission by motion rule, the preliminary report said.

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