Review panel wants to know your thoughts

first_img September 15, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Review panel wants to know your thoughts Review panel wants to know your thoughts On the Bar’s disciplinary procedures process Senior EditorAs it prepared for its first meeting, the Bar’s Special Committee on Lawyer Regulation is seeking input from Florida attorneys about the Bar’s grievance process.Reporting at the Board of Governors’ August 22 meeting in Clearwater Beach, Chair Hank Coxe said the commission would have its first meeting September 5 during the Bar’s General Meeting in Tampa (after this News went to press). He said the group expects to meet about five times in the coming year.Bar President Miles McGrane urged board members to have their constituents contact the Bar with their views of the disciplinary system.“We are not entering this study with the thought there is something wrong or something needs to be fixed, but rather that it is time to review it,” McGrane said. “I don’t care if it’s positive feedback, negative feedback, just so the commission gets all the information in front of it.”News that the 23-member commission is being set up has already sparked several letters, he noted.“The membership to some extent believes we are heavy-handed; the membership believes we knee-jerk react when we go ahead and file; and the membership believes we brag about the number of lawyers we disbar each year,” McGrane said.The president also has said that members of the public believe the Bar takes too long to handle complaints.Coxe said the commission will have a wide range of members, including former Supreme Court Justice Major B. Harding and Judicial Qualifications Commission Chair Richard McFarlain, who also used to prosecute grievance cases when he worked for the Bar more than 25 years ago. Both the Criminal Law and Family Law sections have named members; circuit and county judges will be serving; and representatives from both state and federal prosecutors and public defenders have been appointed, he said.The panel will look at how discipline is administered, including whether public reprimands should be administered before the board or locally, if district courts of appeal need standards when they refer lawyers for discipline, and whether county judges as well as circuit judges should be appointed as referees to hear grievance cases, Coxe said.The commission is seeking feedback from judges who have served as referees, from lawyers who have represented those charged with grievance offenses, as well as the public and Bar members in general.Coxe said it is standard for Bar officials to say that the grievance system is the best in the country and the review will see if that is a valid claim.Lawyers who want to forward comments to the commission should send them to [email protected]last_img

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