Thursday, December 21, 2017
The Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee opines
Opinion Number: 2017-23
Date of Issue: December 15, 2017
1. May the administrative judge of a family law division send letters of appreciation to attorneys who have volunteered and served as a pro bono guardian ad litem?
ANSWER: Yes, as long as the letters are general in nature and are not signed by the judge who presided over the case for which the pro bono representation was provided.
2. May such a letter, if appropriate, be ethically sent only to the volunteer attorney without sending copies to counsel and without placing a copy in the court file?
ANSWER: Yes, but the Committee recommends that if a letter is sent, copies should be filed in the court file and provided to the parties or their counsel.
3. May, as an alternative to sending letters to the individual attorneys, the court participate in recognizing the attorneys who served as pro bono guardian ad litems as a group at a bar luncheon or similar function.