Following last month’s speech by new Florida Bar president Ramón Abadin in which he floated reciprocity with other states as part of a broader initiative, lawyers in Florida have been freaking out. How bad? From the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (quoting a Daily Business Review article that’s behind a paywall):

Abadin and members of the Bar’s board of governors are getting hundreds of emails about the issue—many of them irate. A few are even calling for Abadin’s removal, while others are requesting a referendum of all 101,000 Bar members on the issue.

Abadin and other Florida Bar officers have been downplaying the idea of reciprocity like it’s their full-time job for the better part of a month, trying to reassure lawyers that the bar hasn’t yet done anything. I even received an email yesterday afternoon from my local bar association about reciprocity that started out this way:

Dear Fellow 13th Circuit Lawyers,
We are your representatives to the Board of Governors from the 13th Circuit, and we write to echo the email message you received last week from the President of The Florida Bar and to assure each of you that we recognize the responsibility of representing you and the more than 100,000 lawyers licensed in Florida. We have not nor will we ever advance a recommendation or an initiative contrary to the interests of the lawyers we represent and the public we serve.

Many lawyers are concerned that if reciprocity happens, Florida will be absolutely flooded with lawyers from New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere. Lawyers who already have established Florida practices with books of business and loyal clients will be forced to compete with New York lawyers down on vacation. Personally I hope that the sheer amount of pushback against reciprocity doesn’t derail the whole broad agenda, which includes things such as unbundling of legal services. Never underestimate the power of angry lawyers to send angry letters.

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