Upon issuing the Report of Referee, the judge acting as referee forwards the record and all filed materials to the Supreme Court of Florida. The Florida Bar and the respondent each have a right to timely petition the Florida Supreme Court to review the referee’s findings and recommendations. The briefing schedule is accelerated and, as in other appeals, oral argument can be requested. The Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure apply except where superseded by Rule 3-7.7.
The Florida Supreme Court reserves to itself the imposition of lawyer discipline, as it deems appropriate. Once a Florida Bar case has progressed to the referee level, the Florida Supreme Court retains ultimate authority over the case in all respects. By rule the Court reviews each report of referee regardless of whether either party has petitioned for review. If a report does not recommend probation, public reprimand, suspension or disbarment, and neither party timely petitions for review, the report stands as final. In all other cases, the Florida Supreme Court reviews and approves or disapproves the report of referee.
Petitions for Reinstatement of a law license are original proceedings filed in the supreme court. The court will refer the pleading to a referee; the difference being that it is the suspended attorney who must plead and prove his or her rehabilitation to resume the practice of law.
For any Florida Bar matter, the chance for a positive outcome presents as an inverted pyramid, in which the initial stages offer the broadest opportunities for a good result. Those possibilities steadily narrow as the Bar case progresses through each phase, until the final stage arrives—the review by the Florida Supreme Court. Contact us for a consultation.