A closer look at attorney sanctions in Florida - II

In a post last week, our blog began discussing how licensed attorneys accused of ethical misconduct will likely have to stand before the Florida Supreme Court or another disciplinary agency, which will impose sanctions if the alleged misconduct is proven by clear and convincing evidence.

We also discussed how the high court or agency will use Florida's Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions as a model when weighing the appropriateness of disciplinary measures. We'll continue these efforts in today's post by starting to explore some of the sanctions that can be imposed against attorneys.

At the outset, it's important to establish that the sanctions for misconduct apply to all licensed attorneys, not just those actively engaged in the practice of law. In other words, those serving as public officials, corporate officers or even law professors can be held similarly accountable for their transgressions.


The lowest form of discipline, an admonishment is a published statement indicating that while that the conduct of the attorney was improper, his or her ability to practice is not limited.

An admonishment, say the standards, is an appropriate action when the ethical violation results in little to no harm to the client, the profession, the legal system or the public. Indeed, it ensures the public is informed and provides a deterrent effect, while, at the same time, avoiding lasting damage to the reputation of the attorney who is unlikely to reoffend.

Public reprimand   

A similarly forgiving form of discipline, a public remand is essentially a public proclamation indicating that while that the conduct of the attorney was improper, his or her ability to practice is not limited.

The standards dictate that a public reprimand is proper in those cases where the attorney's ethical violation does not justify more serious measures like suspension or disbarment. If accompanied by published opinions, public reprimands not only serve to protect the public and the integrity of the legal system, but also educate fellow attorneys as to the consequences of violations of ethical standards.

It's important to note that public reprimands are often accompanied by additional conditions. For example, an attorney issued a public reprimand for neglecting cases could also be required to submit to a period of probation whereby his or her client actions are temporarily overseen by third parties.

We'll continue examining some of the sanctions that can be imposed against attorneys in future posts.

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you believe that you've been victimized by some manner of legal malpractice.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for a response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy



Jacksonville Office
1300 Riverplace Boulevard
Suite 401
Jacksonville, FL 32207

Toll Free: 866-542-1996
Phone: 904-396-1996
Fax: 904-396-1991
Map & Directions

Miami Office
1395 Brickell Avenue
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131

Phone: 305-200-8674
Phone: 305-200-8675
Fax: 305-200-8801
Map & Directions

West Palm Beach - By Appointment Only
301 Clematis Street
Suite 300
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: 561-832-5991
Fax: 561-832-5985
Map & Directions

Panama City Office
305 Cherry Street
Panama City, FL 32401

Phone: 850-481-1386
Fax: 850-640-1247
Map & Directions

Tampa Office
10150 Highland Manor Drive
Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33610

Fax: 813-314-2163
Map & Directions