While we would all love to believe that we could trust in our fellow man, that good conquers evil, the truth is that decent people do bad things every day. In order to be sure that the American justice system is able to defend the good, there had to be regulations in place to keep attorneys in check and on the side of their clients.
Knowing this, the British and American governments have long stepped in to keep a balance in the judicial system. It was not the federal government in this country that took those careful actions, but many territories and states – such as Florida – developed their own set of guidelines.
All of that, in this state, became much more formal in the 1920s with the passing of the Legislative Act of 1925. This granted the Florida State Board of Law Examiners to regulate attorneys. In order to practice law in the State of Florida – whether a resident or out-of-stater – one would have to be granted a certificate of authority from the Board. There were rules of study set that dictated what was to be known by an individual before he could take the title of attorney and based on that outline, there was an exam developed.
In order to be admitted to the bar, at that time, a person had to pay a fee of $25. That would be the equivalent of about $325 today. The acceptance of a new individual named him an “officer of the Court” and it would hold him to a set of standards above that of the lay-man. If he failed to abide by the rules set forth by the Bar, he would be subject to penalty set forth by the Board.
In 1937, the Florida State Bar Association approached the State Supreme Court. It was requested that the judicial branch of the state government assume responsibility for admitting new members, as well as creating and enforcing the rules. The private entity would then become a state regulated body. Ever since, new attorneys have been granted entrance and have striven to uphold its reputation.