IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES REGULATING THE FLORIDA BAR AND THE RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT RELATING TO ADMISSIONS TO THE BAR-MILITARY SPOUSE RULES.
Proceeding - Rules of the Supreme Court of Florida Relating
to Admissions to the Bar
E. Doyle, Executive Director, Michelle Suskauer, President,
John M. Stewart, President-elect, Vanessa Lee Brice, Chair,
Tina Marie Fischer, Past Chair, Military Affairs Committee,
William A. Spillias, Director, Unlicensed Practice of Law,
and Elizabeth Clark Tarbert, Ethics Counsel, The Florida Bar,
Tallahassee, Florida; and Elizabeth J. Walters, Chair,
Michele A. Gavagni, Executive Director, and James T. Almon,
General Counsel, Florida Board of Bar Examiners, Tallahassee,
Florida, for Petitioner
H. Boler, on behalf of Military Spouse JD Network, Arlington,
Virginia, Responding with Comments
the Court is the joint petition of The Florida Bar (Bar) and
the Florida Board of Bar Examiners (Board) proposing
amendments to both the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar (Bar
Rules) and the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to
Admissions to the Bar (Bar Admission Rules). We have
jurisdiction. See art. V, § 15, Fla. Const.
and Board propose that the Bar Rules be amended to include
new chapter 21 (Military Spouse Authorization to Engage in
the Practice of Law in Florida). The proposed new chapter is
composed of the following new rules: 21-1.1 (Purpose); 21-2.1
(Eligibility); 21-3.1 (Continuing Legal Education); 21-4.1
(Activities and Requirement); 21-5.1 (Annual Renewal); and
21-6.1 (Termination). The petition also proposes that the Bar
Admission Rules be amended to include new rule 2-23.7
(Military Spouse Fee).
proposed new rules were approved by the Board of Governors of
The Florida Bar, and were published for comment in The
Florida Bar News prior to the Court's consideration
of them. The notice directed interested persons to file their
comments directly with the Court. One comment was filed in
support of the proposed new rules. Neither the Bar nor the
Board filed a response to the comment.
considered the joint petition and the comment filed, we adopt
these proposed amendments to the Rules Regulating the Florida
Bar and the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions
to the Bar. The new rules accommodate the unique mobility
requirements of members of the U.S. Armed Services and their
families. Service members are frequently required to relocate
to duty locations around the globe based on the needs of the
particular service to which they belong, with little regard
to how the relocation may affect the service member's
family. As a result, the assignment of a service member to a
duty location in Florida may place the service member's
spouse in the untenable position of having to choose between
giving up the practice of law to relocate with the service
member and continuing to practice law in the jurisdiction
where he or she is already licensed. New chapter 21 and new
rule 2-23.7 establish a process whereby the spouse of a
service member who is licensed to practice law in another
jurisdiction may obtain authorization to practice law in
Florida for up to five years without taking the Florida Bar
Examination while the service member is assigned to a duty
location in the state.
our hope that the adoption of these new rules will assuage
some of the hardships associated with service in the U.S.
Armed Services. At a minimum, our adoption of these new rules
gives form to the abiding gratitude we all share for the men
and women who voluntarily serve in the U.S. Armed Services
and the sacrifices endured by their families.
new chapter 21 and new rule 2-23.7, as reflected in the
appendix to this opinion, are added to the Rules Regulating
the Florida Bar and the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating
to Admissions to the Bar, respectively. The amendments shall
become effective at 12:01 a.m., September 17, 2018.
CANADY, C.J., and PARIENTE, QUINCE, POLSTON, LABARGA, and
LAWSON, JJ., concur.
J., concurs in result.
FILING OF A MOTION FOR REHEARING SHALL NOT ALTER THE
EFFECTIVE DATE OF THESE AMENDMENTS.
REGULATING THE FLORIDA BAR
21 MILITARY SPOUSE AUTHORIZATION TO ENGAGE IN THE PRACTICE OF
LAW IN FLORIDA 21-1 PREAMBLE RULE 21-1.1 PURPOSE
Supreme Court of Florida may certify a lawyer who is the
spouse of a full time active duty member of the United States
armed forces to engage in the practice of law in Florida
while the lawyer's spouse is stationed within this
jurisdiction, due to the unique mobility requirements of
military families who support the defense of the United
States. A lawyer ...