In Re: Amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar

Supreme Court of Florida ____________ No. SC16-2252 ____________ IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT RELATING TO ADMISSIONS TO THE BAR. [November 30, 2017] PER CURIAM. This matter is before the Court for consideration of proposed amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 15, Fla. Const. BACKGROUND The Florida Board of Bar Examiners (Board) has filed a petition to amend the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar (Rules) 3-14 (Bar Application and Supporting Documentation), 3-23 (Specifications), 4-13.4 (Alternative Method of Educational Qualification), and 4-23.1 (Transfer of Score). After submission to the Court, the proposed amendments were published for comment in The Florida Bar News. The deans of multiple Florida law schools filed a comment supporting the proposed amendments to rule 4-23.1. Florida Bar -1- member, Timothy P. Chinaris, filed a comment supporting the proposed amendments to rules 3-14, 3-23, and 4-23.1. Upon consideration of the Board’s petition and the comments filed, we adopt the amendments as proposed by the Board. AMENDMENTS Rule 3-14 (Bar Application and Supporting Documentation) In its petition, the Board explains that it is developing an applicant portal to allow all communications between the Board and applicants for admission to The Florida Bar to be done electronically. Thus, under rule 3-14 as amended, in lieu of a notarized paper copy of the bar application, an e-signature is required and the jurat on the application is modified to reflect this. Further, rule 3-14.1 (Filed as an Applicant) and rule 3-14.2 (Filed as a Registrant) are amended to delete the requirement that the bar application be “sworn,” and rule 3-14.1(f) is amended to require, instead of an “affidavit . . . attesting that the applicant has read Chapter 4, Rules of Professional Conduct, and Chapter 5, Rules Regulating Trust Accounts,” an online form “acknowledgement of compliance . . . declaring” the same. The name of this form is changed to “Acknowledgement of Compliance,” and the statement therein is amended to reference an e-signature PIN, rather than notarization. Rule 3-14.3 (Defective Applications) is amended to remove a reference to notarization. -2- Rule 3-23 (Specifications) Similar to the amendments to rule 3-14, rule 3-23 is amended in order to accommodate electronic communication and submission of documents. Currently, Specifications are served on applicants by certified mail, and a sworn and notarized response, with four copies, is required to be provided to the Board by mail. The Board states that it wishes to allow the service of Specifications by both mail and electronically through the portal. Rule 3-23 is amended to replace the requirement that a response to Specifications be “filed in the form of a sworn, notarized answer,” with the requirement that it be “served in the form of a verified answer.” This will allow applicants to serve the answer on the Board through the portal, without having to mail the original to the Board. Rule 4-13.4 (Alternative Method of ...

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