By Eric Glazer, Esq.
The long awaited decision by The Florida Supreme Court is finally in regarding what a licensed community association can do, without being accused of practicing law without a license. The Florida Bar tried hard to curtail what community association managers can do without a license to practice law, while the community association managers argued that most tasks required of community association managers certainly do not require three years of law school and passage of the Bar exam. Here is how the court ruled:
The Court first spoke about what generally is considered the practice of law and said:
In determining whether the giving of advice and counsel and the performance of services in legal matters for compensation constitute the practice of law it is safe to follow the rule that if the giving of the advice and performance of the services affect important rights of a person under the law, and if the reasonable protection of the rights and property of those advised and served requires that the person giving such advice possess legal skill and a knowledge of the law greater than such possessed by the average citizen, then the giving of such advice and the performance of such services by one for another as a course of conduct constitutes the practice of law.
The practice of law also includes the giving of legal advice and counsel to others as to their rights and obligations under the law and the preparation of legal instruments, including contracts, by which legal rights are either obtained, secured or given away, although such matters may not then or ever be the subject of proceedings in a court.