Supervised Practice Program FAQs

SUPERVISED PRACTICE PROGRAM: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The information in the Frequently Asked Questions below is provided by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. Please write to the board if you have other questions about the Supervised Practice Program. Applicants with portal access should submit questions through the applicant portal. All others should email questions to support@floridabarexam.org. The answers below, application forms, and more information about the Supervised Practice Program are available at the board’s website at www.floridabarexam.org.

Is there a fee for applying to the Supervised Practice Program?

No. There is no fee for applying to the Supervised Practice Program.

How do I sign the Application for Temporary Supervised Practice?

You can print, sign, and scan the document, use an electronic signature, or type “/s/” followed by your name.

What title can I use to refer to myself while in the Supervised Practice Program?

The Court’s Order uses the term “Supervised Practice Participant,” which is recommended. The board has no objection to using other language that accurately conveys the Supervised Practice Participant’s status. The Supervised Practice Participant should not use the terms “attorney,” “lawyer,” “associate,” “Esq.,”or any other language that suggests the participant is a member of The Florida Bar. If you have a question about specific language, please write to the board.

Can I have more than one Supervising Attorney?

Yes.  articipants can have more than one Supervising Attorney. You will need to submit a separate Supervising Attorney Form for every attorney who accepts the responsibilities of a Supervising Attorney for you while you participate in the Temporary Supervised Practice Program. You may attach multiple Supervising Attorney Forms to your Application for Temporary Supervised Practice. You may also submit more Supervising Attorney Forms after your application has been approved to add Supervising Attorneys.

Can I be partners with a Supervising Attorney?

No. A Supervised Practice Participant may not start a firm as partners with the Supervising Attorney. The Court’s Order states that the Supervised Practice Participant must be directly employed by the Supervising Attorney or the Supervising Attorney’s law firm. It also states that Supervised Practice Participants cannot open their own practice. Further, Rule 4-5.4(c) of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar states that a lawyer shall not form a partnership with a non-lawyer.

Can a Supervised Practice Participant work in an in-house legal department?

Yes. This is permissible so long as the Supervising Attorney works for the same company.

Can a client be billed for my services?

Yes. A client can be billed for your services, but the bill must come from the Supervising Attorney or the Supervising Attorney’s law firm and the client should be accurately advised of the Participant’s status.

When do I need a client’s written consent to work on a matter?

A written consent from the client is required before a Supervised Practice Participant may appear in court, before an administrative tribunal, or in any alternative dispute resolution forum (collectively, an “Appearance”). The written client consent, and a written consent from the Supervising Attorney, must be filed in the matter.

The Court’s Order does not require written consent from the client for a Supervised Practice Participant to work on a document, perform legal research, or perform other services that do not involve an Appearance. If a client is going to be charged for the Participant’s services, the client should be accurately advised of the Participant’s status.

Are there forms for the consents to be filed in court or administrative proceedings?

No. There is no required form for the consents. Any document reflecting the required consent is sufficient. You may work with your Supervising Attorney to draft the consent document.

Can I appear in court outside the presence of the Supervising Attorney if the judge allows it?

Yes. Under the Court’s order, the Supervising Attorney must be present at a judicial or administrative proceeding when the judge requires it. If the judge or tribunal allows the Supervised Practice Participant’s participation in a proceeding outside of the Supervising Attorney’s presence, the Supervising Attorney need not be present. The court or administrative tribunal shall determine the extent of the Supervised Practice Participant’s participation in the proceeding.

Can I sign a pleading or other court filing?

No. All pleadings or court filings must be signed by the Supervising Attorney, not the Participant. The Participant’s name may appear on the signature block, but the Supervising attorney must sign the pleading or court filing.

Can I take or defend a deposition?

Yes. Supervised Practice Participants can take or defend a deposition. Before the Participant can appear at a deposition, the Participant and the Supervising Attorney must enter an appearance in the matter and file the required consents with the court. The extent of the participation at depositions is subject to the court, as is whether the Supervising Attorney must be present.

Can I participate at mediations?

Yes. Supervised Practice Participants can participate at mediations. The extent of the participation is subject to the mediator, as is whether the Supervising Attorney must be present.

Can I appear in federal court?

The ability of a Supervised Practice Participant to practice in federal court is entirely up to the federal court in which the participant seeks to appear. The board recommends that participants advise the federal court about their status and allow the court to decide whether, and on what terms, to allow participation in the proceeding.

Does the Supervised Practice Program affect an attorney’s or law firm’s malpractice insurance?

Because a Supervising Attorney accepts professional responsibility for the activities of a Supervising Practice Participant, it may affect the Supervising Attorney’s malpractice insurance. Questions about how the supervised practice program may affect a particular malpractice insurance policy should be directed to the carrier.

When does the Supervised Practice Program end?

The program ends 30 days after the board releases results for the February 2021 General Bar Examination.