Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 1995

Abstract

The past year saw a number of interesting and innovative developments in Florida's professional responsibility jurisprudence. This article reviews significant Florida court decisions, ethics rules, and advisory ethics opinions handed down during the year that are likely to affect Florida lawyers as they attempt to represent their clients zealously while complying with the letter, if not always the spirit, of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct ("RPC"). Today's lawyer may act in many different capacities, at times assuming the role of advocate, advisor, counselor, fiduciary, intermediary, businessperson, or marketer. The lawyer must adhere to a host of sometimes-overlapping ethical obligations while operating within the framework of these varied relationships. Using a functional approach, this article analyzes effects that the cited authorities may have upon a lawyer's ethical duties in several key relationships. After this introduction, Part II begins by looking at some professional responsibility developments that can affect the lawyer-client relationship. Specific areas reviewed include client identity, communication with clients, business transactions with clients, and fees. Next, Part III focuses on a lawyer's role as an officer of the justice system and his or her relationships with, and duties to, that system. Part IV then examines ethical duties attendant to a lawyer's relationships with various third parties: prospective clients; opponents; other lawyers; and partners, employers, and employees. Finally, Part V covers developments relevant to the lawyer's relationship with the Supreme Court of Florida, The Florida Bar, and Florida's lawyer disciplinary system, and reviews some significant disciplinary cases handed down in the past year.

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