Representing Lawyers and Bar Applicants for over Twenty Years.

Practice Areas

Representation of Florida Lawyers

Representation of Florida Bar Applicants

Representation of Florida Judges

Representation in Unauthorized Practice of Law Matters

Representation of Florida Bar Applicants

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners (FBBE) – Representing Law Students and Out-of-State Lawyers

  • Review of Florida Bar Applications before submission
  • Assistance with Florida Bar Application amendments
  • Assistance in amending law school applications
  • Investigative Hearing representation
  • Formal Hearing representation
  • Matters involving Florida Bar Examination special accommodations due to disability
  • Petitions to the Florida Supreme Court reviewing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
  • Readmission or rehabilitation hearing representation

Admission to The Florida Bar

Obtaining a juris doctorate is only the first step toward admission to The Florida Bar. Many law students are unaware of the sometimes daunting procedures related to the character and fitness investigation conducted by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. Our firm has appeared at law school orientations and at the Bridge the Gap (practicing with professionalism Florida Bar seminars), alongside representatives from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners to discuss the Board’s comprehensive investigation. Many issues are caused or exacerbated by the manner in which the applicant completes the Bar application, including failing to disclose incidents or providing misleading or incomplete explanations. For applicants who have matters that will need to be disclosed on their application (including criminal incidents, terminations, educational discipline, bankruptcy, tax delinquency or other delinquent debt, extensive litigation, alcohol or chemical dependency or mental health issues, or prior grievances if admitted in another jurisdiction), we offer to help applicants obtain relevant documents and review the Bar application or any amendment before submission to the Board of Bar Examiners. We encourage Bar applicants to file their Bar application as early as possible to provide the Board sufficient time to conduct its character and fitness investigation while the applicant is still attending law school in order to avoid unnecessary delay following the applicant’s eventual passage of the Bar Exam.

After the Board of Bar Examiners completes its investigation, it determines whether there are any character or fitness issues that may potentially disqualify the applicant from the practice of law. If the Board determines that such matters exist, it will issue a Notice to Appear for an Investigative Hearing, which requires an applicant to appear in person and answer questions under oath concerning the issues described in the Notice. Many times, we are not retained until after an applicant receives the Notice by certified mail.

Our firm’s experience includes representation in hundreds of Bar Examiner matters. We begin by obtaining relevant documents pertaining to each of the issues from a variety of sources including the applicant, the Board and third parties. We review the available information and, based on our experience in appearing before the Board, we analyze the issues in a manner we believe to be consistent with the Board’s prior treatment and investigation of similar issues. We question our clients in a manner similar to what they may expect at an Investigative Hearing. Based on the wishes and needs of our clients, we have utilized a teamwork approach in striving to prepare our applicants for an investigative hearing. Because the Investigative Hearing Panels are comprised of three different Board members who may have different perspectives, we believe it is useful for more than one attorney to review the file and question the applicants to try to give a more realistic experience of an investigative hearing. We also discuss rehabilitative evidence that may be helpful in his or her case.

The Board will inform the applicant of the results of the Investigative Hearing within ten days after the hearing. If the Board determines that there are matters which should disqualify the applicant from practicing law, the Board will refer the case to its General Counsel to file a formal charging document, or “Specifications,” that sets out the allegedly disqualifying conduct. Many times, the applicant does not dispute the conduct described in the Specifications. Rather, the applicant maintains that the conduct is either not disqualifying or that the applicant has shown his or her rehabilitation from that conduct. Upon receipt of the applicant’s Answer to Specifications, the Board and General Counsel will file their witness and exhibit lists describing the evidence it will rely upon in proving the case. The applicant will then be required to file his or her witness and exhibit list. Based on each individual circumstance, we work to craft an approach that addresses the applicant’s past conduct and we consider evidence supporting the establishment and proof of rehabilitation.

The Formal Hearing proceeds before a panel of five Board members. A representative from the Office of General Counsel is assigned to prosecute the Specifications. Prior to the Formal Hearing, we have the opportunity to possibly resolve the issues through a consent judgment before the Board without the necessity of a hearing. If a Formal Hearing is conducted, the Board may recommend immediate admission, a withdrawal period during which the applicant must continue to establish his or her rehabilitation, a conditional admission in circumstances pertaining to alcohol dependency or mental health issues, or disqualification for a designated period of time. The applicant has an opportunity to file a Petition for Review to the Florida Supreme Court to contest the Board’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendation following the Formal Hearing. Throughout this process, it is important to understand that in most cases it is not a matter of whether the applicant will ultimately be admitted, it is a matter of when the applicant will be admitted.

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