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Bar MJP panel considers the pro and cons

first_img Bar MJP panel considers the pro and cons Associate EditorCalifornia lawyers, though not admitted to practice law in Florida, were hired to represent a Florida corporation in negotiations with investment bankers and served as the corporate counsel during the corporation’s initial public offering.Massachusetts lawyers represent a Delaware corporation headquartered in Florida for the sale of securities to a venture capitalist out of state.Louis Conti, chair of The Florida Bar Tax Section, offered those recent examples of out-of-state lawyers plying their trade in Florida without passing this state’s bar exam, when he testified at a public hearing of the Bar’s Multijurisdictional Practice Commission that met January 10 at the Midyear Meeting in Miami.“One thing is certain: Reform is necessary. The current rules do not meet the needs of transactional lawyers,” Conti testified.His opinion: “Attorneys in good standing in other jurisdictions should be able to represent clients without being in violation of the unlicensed practice of law.”What other members of The Florida Bar think about the MJP issue of ethically serving clients whose needs do not stop at state lines is being digested on a tight time frame by members of the MJP Commission chaired by Rich Gilbert.Driving the Bar’s deadline is the timetable of the ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice — appointed by former ABA President Martha Barnett and chaired by Harriet E. Miers of Texas — that issued its recommendations in an interim report in November (available on the ABA’s website at www.abanet.org/cpr/mjp-home.html ).Gilbert said The Florida Bar MJP Commission will fully debate the issue in Tampa on January 30, after this News went to press. He’ll report February 1 to the Board of Governors, which will vote on it in March. The ABA has asked that comments to its interim report be submitted by March 15, so the final report will be completed in May. The ABA House of Delegates plans to vote on the MJP issue in August in Washington, D.C.One of the questions the ABA commission is posing: “Should a lawyer rendering legal services on a temporary basis in another jurisdiction be required to comply with CLE obligations, provide pro bono legal service, and make a contribution to a client protection fund?”Board of Governor member Alan Bookman objected to the tight deadline to respond to the ABA.“This is a critical issue with many prongs.. . . I would urge you to do something. The timetable is way too fast. This commission needs to hear from the RPPTLs (Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section) and any other section that wants to weigh in,” Bookman said during the public hearing in Miami.John Marshall Kest, a BoG member who serves on the Bar MJP Commission, acknowledged that lawyers are just beginning to understand the issues.“The guys in my law firm hear me talking about MDP (multidisciplinary practice) and now MJP, and they think I’m slurring,” Kest said.“Florida is one of the biggest states. We’re a big player; we’re not just one of 50 states.. . . We should say this is our preliminary report and we need more time. In my mind, this is even more important than MDP. I’m on planes every day going to different places.. . And I don’t think the general practitioners are aware of the issues.”But Gilbert pressed on, saying he didn’t want The Florida Bar to “miss the opportunity to participate in the deliberations.”“With MJP, the perception is something needs to be done. The rules are so incongruent, something has to be done,” Gilbert said.Former Bar President Alan Dimond, who serves on the ABA’s MJP Commission, told The Florida Bar MJP Commission:“It would be very helpful to me if I knew how my home state feels about the issues.”The ABA Commission, he said, has heard a full spectrum of opinions, ranging from the proposal that lawyers have international and national law licenses to the narrow view that lawyers should not cross state lines, no matter what their clients need.The ABA’s interim report spells out a middle ground:Its first recommendation nixes the national law license idea, stating that the ABA should “affirm its support for the principle of state judicial licensing and regulation of lawyers.”Secondly, it recommends amending Rule 5.5(b) of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to provide that, as a general rule, it is not the unauthorized practice of law for a lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction to render legal services on a temporary basis in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is not admitted if the lawyer’s services do not create an unreasonable risk to the interests of a lawyer’s clients, the public, or the courts.”As for transactional representation, counseling, and other non-litigation work, the ABA commission recommends a “safe harbor” that would allow a lawyer, on a temporary basis, to render non-litigation services outside the lawyer’s home state “when the lawyer’s work is reasonably related to legal work that is performed in and has a close connection to the lawyer’s home state. Specifically, the work outside the lawyer’s home state would have to be on behalf of a client who is in the lawyer’s home state. . . or arise out of or be reasonably related to a matter that has a substantial connection to a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice law.”Conti suggested that “temporary status has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.. . . You cannot hang up a shingle or have a permanent office. But is two months temporary?”Bar MJP Commission member Ruth Kinsolving asked Dimond why the ABA commission adopted a nexus test for transactional lawyers to have a safe harbor and not for litigation lawyers.“Why do transactional lawyers need an existing client relationship?” she asked.And Dimond answered: “It ties into the solicitation of business and lawyer advertising. If no tie is required, you’d have solicitation in newspapers and on TV. You’d have more lawyers coming into a state. This is an effort to preserve the status quo.. . . “Frankly, we anticipate wide acceptance of many of these recommendations. They will legitimize trade that takes place on a daily basis,” Dimond said.He gave this personal example of the global practice of law: He needed to depose witnesses from Saudi Arabia, and met them in Brussels for that purpose, only to discover it was against the law to take depositions in Belgium. So they had to scramble to make arrangements to take the depositions at the American Embassy in Belgium.“The interesting thing is that the rules in effect today are not written anywhere.. . . They have evolved,” Dimond said.“The only legitimate issue for The Florida Bar is public protection,” Dimond said. “We’re not in the arena of protecting the economic interests of lawyers in Florida.”But because there has been no outcry of harm to the public, Bar President Terry Russell said he considers the MJP issue “esoteric.”“It’s not like this issue is destroying lawyers every time they cross the state line,” Russell told the Bar MJP Commission. “It’s a nice, little esoteric thing to argue about. But we need to reach a recommendation (to give to the ABA). We are a global economy. Globalization has completely taken over.”Arthur Rice, a member of the Bar MJP Commission and BoG, said: “With all due respect, Terry, I think you’re wrong when you say it’s esoteric. The existing rule in Florida is being violated on a daily basis in hundreds and hundreds of ways, and Florida lawyers are violating rules in other states every day. We’re not destroying lawyers and law firms because there is no enforcement.. . . We have to do something, unless you’re comfortable having a rule nobody pays any attention to.”Russell responded: “This got our attention when it started out as an effort to create a national law license, on the heels of the MDP debate. They (the ABA MJP Commission) did away with that in the first recommendation. Once you get past that, it’s an intramural fight. The reason no one is paying attention to the rules being broken is because there is no public harm occurring. That is why, in my view, it is esoteric. I don’t sense the urgency. I do think it’s a theoretical fight, but that doesn’t mean it’s less worthy.”One of the shortcomings of the existing rule, explained Lori Holcomb, director of the Bar’s Unlicensed Practice of Law Department, is that a lawyer originally licensed to practice law in Florida who is disbarred can be admitted to practice in California.“Can that lawyer still practice in Florida under the California license?” she asked.Tony Boggs, legal director of The Florida Bar, offered other unanswered questions: What is the cost of regulation? Should The Florida Bar defray that cost by requiring out-of-state lawyers to pay a registration fee?“The Florida Supreme Court has no interest in taking direct responsibility,” Boggs said. “We’re looking at ourselves.”Somehow, he said, the Bar needs to provide funds to regulate MJP and UPL.“Arguably, we’re giving lawyers something they do not possess now. They should share in the cost of regulating and pay us something for that thing of value,” Boggs said.Just because a lawyer is disciplined in one state does not mean that lawyer will be disciplined in another state.“We see a lot of indifference in foreign jurisdictions, such as New York, to take disciplinary action for conduct in Florida,” Boggs said.Complaints, Boggs said, are generally not made by clients but by other lawyers.“I don’t see a lot of alleged harm, currently,” Boggs said. “But there is certainly a lot of potential for harm.”Boggs offered his personal view: “I have no problem with a New York lawyer putting out a shingle in Miami saying it is a legal service for New York clients on New York law only.”Also addressing the Bar MJP Commission at the public hearing was:• Frank Nussbaum, on the executive counsel of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section: “Our society, as fluid as it is today” mandates that lawyers be allowed to cross state lines to conduct their practices, he said. But, Nussbaum said, he has questions on how to do it properly. He gave his example of serving as an arbitrator in a real estate case, where the New York client wants to try the case in Florida.“I don’t know what the rules are. There is no law on the particular point,” he said.• Bard Brockman, of Atlanta, president of the Out-of-State Practitioners Division, testified: “Over 12 percent, or 19,000, of Florida Bar members live out of state.. . . This issue is of great interest to out-of-state practitioners.”Though he has no problem with out-of-state practitioners coming to Florida for depositions or arbitration, he said, when it comes to reciprocal agreements between states, “We are not in favor of any proposal that makes the admission to The Florida Bar any easier than it now is.”• Paul Schwiep, a member of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, testified about that group’s mission to “make sure the bar exam is fair in fact and perceived as fair” and to “admit qualified candidates with dispatch.”“There is some concern on the Board of Bar Examiners that our ability to perform our duty to protect the public would be affected by MJP.”• Jennifer Ator, a member of YLD said, “The Young Lawyers Division takes no position.” But she came to testify about her personal experience of working at a New York law firm with one office in Florida, where 27 lawyers are in Miami and 700 are spread out in international offices.“We aren’t the state we were even 15 years ago,” Ator said. “So much of our business and economy relies on working with people from other states.”Dimond told his Florida colleagues serving on the Bar’s MJP Commission: “The ABA is a voluntary group. They have no authority to do anything. A lot of my colleagues at the ABA may lose track of that. But you have the real power. You are the child of the Florida Supreme Court. What you say will be translated into the law.” February 1, 2002 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Bar MJP panel considers the pro and conslast_img read more

Saints coach Sean Payton says he tested positive for coronavirus

first_imgESPN reported Payton took a test Monday and received his results Thursday after not feeling well Sunday. He does not have a fever or a cough but is experiencing fatigue. He will be quarantined at home through the weekend. The report notes Payton is “upbeat and optimistic about a full recovery.”Payton, 56, has served as New Orleans’ coach since 2006.MORE: Tracking coronavirus cases in sports”This is not just about social distancing,” Payton told ESPN. “It’s shutting down here for a week to two weeks. If people understand the curve, and understand the bump, we can easily work together as a country to reduce it. Take a minute to understand what the experts are saying. It’s not complicated to do what they’re asking of us. Just that type of small investment by every one of us will have a dramatic impact.”I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have. I’m lucky. Younger people feel like they can handle this, but they can be a carrier to someone who can’t handle it. So we all need to do our part. It’s important for every one of us to do our part.”The concern with Louisiana is the amount of people that come in and out of this area after Mardi Gras season. This is an area that doctors are concerned about. So our parents, and those that are more susceptible to this virus, deserve everyone doing their best to combat it.”There are hundreds of people right now in tough predicaments, fighting for their lives. Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem. We can easily help reduce the numbers of those impacted. We have to do our best to beat this and I know we can.” Sean Payton has tested positive for the coronavirus, making the Saints coach the first person in the NFL known to have contracted the virus.How and when Payton became infected with COVID-19 is unclear. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/33/72/sean-payton-123019-getty-ftr_1t14njb3soy2c136rfugx5bp3i.jpg?t=1466738607&w=500&quality=80 Payton confirmed his quarantine status in a tweet Thursday afternoon. Appreciate the well wishes. I’m feeling better and fortunate to not have any of the respiratory symptoms. 4 more days at home.#BEATCovid pic.twitter.com/vvjbnqoeZx— Sean Payton (@SeanPayton) March 19, 2020NFL offseason programs have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and new guidelines were introduced around the free agency period that began Wednesday.Teams have been told to close their facilities to players, other than those undergoing medically supervised rehab, for the next two weeks.”Based on the most recent guidance provided by leading health officials, and in consultation with the NFLPA and both our and the union’s medical advisors, we believe this is the appropriate way to protect the health of our players, staff, and our communities,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We will continue to make decisions based on the best advice from medical and public health experts and will be prepared to make further modifications as needed.”last_img read more