Sunday, December 17, 2017

Not military justice, but . . .

By a 5-2 vote, the Florida Supreme Court last Thursday dismissed rule making petitions that would have permitted spouses of military personnel stationed in the state to practice law without passing the bar examination. The decision directs the Florida Bar and the Board of Bar Examiners to submit a revised joint proposal:
The Bar and the Board are directed to file a joint petition within ninety days of the date of this order that imposes additional restrictions on those requesting authorization to practice law in Florida as the spouse of a member of the United States Armed Forces. Such restrictions must include a time limit on the duration of the authorization and must require that all persons who receive authorization associate, either through participation in a law firm or through mentorship, with a member of the Bar who is eligible to practice law in Florida for the duration of the authorization.
Justice C. Alan Lawson (joined by Justice Charles T. Canady) would have approved the petitions "for the good and sufficient reason that they appropriately give form to the gratitude that we should all share for the sacrifices made each day by those serving in our Armed Forces, and by their families."

Not to detract from the spirit of the season, but if you were on a state supreme court, would you allow such an exception? Is gratitude to military personnel a cogent reason to dispense with requiring an attorney who is a military spouse to take and pass the bar examination?

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