Florid Could Consider Out-of-State Lawyers Without Passing FL Bar Exam

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-24 04:54:48-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)-- The Florida Bar Associations' governing board will review a preliminary report on Friday concerning lawyer reciprocity in Florida.

The proposal will allow lawyers from other states to practice here in Florida without taking the Florida Bar Exam. But not just anyone will be able to practice in the Sunshine State.

Those interested in practicing law in Florida will still have to demonstrate knowledge of some Florida law in specialty areas like wills and probates. 

The practice of reciprocity is already in motion in several states across the country, giving lawyers the chance to cross state lines with their practices.

But with an already 100,000 licensed lawyers in the state of Florida, some Tallahassee lawyers argue that the proposal could bring more lawyers into an already overcrowded market. 

Mutaqee Akbar has been practicing law in Tallahassee for several years. He said the proposal has good and bad consequences.

"It's good in the sense that it would allow me to move to another state if I wanted to and not have to take the bar again. Of course, if I plan on staying here then it kind of opens the floodgates for other lawyers to come down without that barrier having to take the bar. The market is very competitive in the state of Florida and the only thing that's stopping lawyers from coming in right now is that they have to take the bar exam," said Akbar. 

The number of licensed lawyers in Florida has almost doubled since 2000. Under the Florida propsal applicants must be in good standing with their home state bar and pass a character and fitness review.

Out-of-state lawyers can already practice in Florida, but it's limited to 3 cases a year. It's a rule intended to keep lawyers from setting up de facto practices in the state.