Disbarred Lawyers are going to have a much more difficult time reapplying to the Florida Bar
I recently represented a former attorney in a formal hearing before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners that years back agreed to a three year suspension of his law license with the right to reapply in 3 years. One would think that given the Supreme Court of Florida allowed the voluntary relinquishment of the license with the right to reapply would mean that the in the eyes of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners the attorney would NOT be considered disbarred. To what will surely be to most applicants surprise is the Board of Bar Examiners is treating anyone that relinquishes their law license in the face of disciplinary action even with the right to reapply as disbarred attorneys. Reapplying to the Florida Bar will likely be more difficult from now on.
The Florida Board of Bar Examiners uses the Florida Supreme Court Case of Hale v. Supreme Court of Florida at The Florida Bar v. Hale, 762 So. 2nd 515 (Fla. 2000) to hold that, “a disciplinary resignation is tantamount to disbarment.” So why is this a problem for Applicants? The Supreme Court of Florida has held that disbarment alone is disqualifying for admission to the Bar unless an applicant can show clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation. The applicants have to establish rehabilitation by clear and convincing evidence as explained in Florida Bar Rule 3-13. The standard clear and convincing is far from clear to Applicants as to how much community service is needed. Recently the Supreme Court in Florida Board of Bar Examiners in RE: Ferguson overturned the Board’s decision to readmit the formerly disbarred attorney after thousands of hours of community service completed by the Applicant and instead deferred judgment and allowed him to reapply in two years. The Board will weigh the seriousness of the offenses in determining what is enough evidence of rehabilitation but Applicant’s who resign in the face of disciplinary action should know going in that they are now viewed as disbarred attorneys.
If you have character and fitness issues and are having a formal or investigative hearing before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners call attorney Lars Soreide, Esq., for a free consultation. We travel to all 6 hearing locations of the Board of Bar Examiners and offer flat fees and payment plans. Call today for your free Florida Bar Character hearing consultation at (888) 760-6552.