Could out-of-state attorneys soon be allowed in Florida courtrooms?


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Nearly 50 percent of Florida Bar Association members who responded to a survey last year said that Florida already has too many lawyers. Florida isn't seeing a shortage of lawyers by any means, but the more than 100,000 licensed Florida attorneys could be getting some company soon.

The Florida Bar is mulling over an idea to admit out-of-state attorneys without requiring them to pass the state exam. News4Jax caught up with Miami-based president Ramon Abadin via Skype.

"We live in a country that is moving toward a National Bar Exam, uniform bar exam, and because it's something that I think Florida lawyers should consider," Abadin said.

The bar will review a report recommending what's called reciprocity. The practice is already used in half of the country. The recommendations include a stipulation that an admitted out-of-state lawyer be in good standing and in business for five of the last seven years.

But not every attorney is excited about the possibility of more lawyers in the courtroom.

Clemency lawyer, Reggie Garcia, said he is hesitant. He said Florida's laws can be different than any other state.

"No offense to other states, but particularly our smaller states that don't have as many residents, that don't have the same laws we do -- our Legislature, as you know from covering them, meets every year for 60 days, often more, those laws just change," Garcia said.

Abadin said the idea reflects changing times.

"If anything, my speech has done exactly what it's intended to do, which is engage the members of the Florida Bar in the changes that are occurring to the profession," Abadin said.

The proposal is a long way away from a reality. The Florida Supreme Court would have to make the final decision.