Ethics consultation

Probably every practicing lawyer considers himself or herself an ethical person and may assume that he or she is capable of navigating conflict-of-interest and other ethics issues on intuition alone. But not all ethics rules are intuitive. In many situations, the right course of action can be unclear.

When ethical questions arise, individual attorneys and law firms call on Skip Smith for informed interpretation of complex legal-ethics principles. With the help of his sophisticated knowledge of this field, lawyers can work proactively to avoid costly bar complaints, malpractice suits, and other unwelcome actions.

Expert witness on professional responsibility

When an expert is needed to testify on standards and practices in the legal profession, Skip Smith provides an informed, objective voice.

His credentials, extensive experience, and broad body of knowledge on legal ethics and professional responsibility enable him to testify credibly and decisively on such issues as whether ethical or fiduciary duties have been breached and whether the standard of care has been met.

Bar-disciplinary defense

For a lawyer, receiving a grievance notice from the Florida Bar can be devastating. Your license to practice law is on the line, and for most lawyers, the grievance process is a frightening mystery. With his deep knowledge of both the Bar’s inner workings and the underlying ethical principles involved, Skip Smith has successfully guided hundreds of attorneys through bar-disciplinary proceedings. His clear-headed, rational approach enables attorneys to frame the best possible response to the Bar’s inquiry. If the matter proceeds beyond this first step, Skip’s extensive experience as a trial and appellate lawyer provides his clients with the advocacy and negotiation skills needed to pursue a favorable result with bar counsel, before a grievance committee, or in the Supreme Court of Florida.

Appeals in all courts

With his long and varied experience, Culver “Skip” Smith is an ideal choice for handling civil and administrative appeals. He has represented numerous clients in appeals in both state and federal court. He is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the U.S. courts of appeal for the 4th, 5th and 11th circuits. His impartial outlook and proven analytical and writing skills make him highly sought-after to handle appeals cases.

Bar admissions

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners is widely known to conduct one of the most thorough and strident character-and-fitness investigations in the nation. Many applicants don’t realize that they may need to provide detailed explanations of past actions to the Board as part of that investigation. Skip Smith provides valuable assistance in properly framing answers to application questions and has successfully represented many applicants at hearings before the Board.

Continuing legal education

Lawyer ethics is a complex and ever-changing field, with many gray areas that often lay traps for the unwary. Skip Smith offers in-house seminars on standards and trends in the field of lawyer ethics, to enable lawyers and law firms to remain informed and alert to ethical red flags.

Disqualifications and sanctions

When an opposing party seeks to disqualify you from a case or seeks sanctions against you, you are well advised not to defend yourself, because your self-interest diminishes your credibility as an advocate. Skip Smith’s reputation as a highly credible, legal-ethics expert and his extensive litigation and appellate experience make him an ideal choice to represent you in opposing these actions.

Internal corporate investigations

When law firms, corporations, and other organizations suspect or are accused of misconduct by their employees or experience problems with internal processes, they turn to Skip Smith to get at the truth. His reputation for thoroughness and high ethical standards make him an ideal investigator who delivers credible, well-documented results.

Law firm mergers and breakups

Lawyer mobility is a common phenomenon today. Individual lawyers or entire practice groups leave law firms either to join another firm or start their own. With increasing frequency, law firms merge or dissolve.

These events give rise to many issues, both ethical and practical: Who gets the clients? How will clients be notified, and by whom? May a departing lawyer solicit the firm’s other lawyers and employees to leave? Who owns documents, forms, and other intellectual property created by the departing lawyer and others? In this often turbulent climate, Skip Smith provides valuable knowledge and an objective outlook as he helps lawyers and firms manage change.

Special magistrate

When judges call for a special magistrate to resolve discovery and other pretrial issues, Skip Smith is a trusted resource. As a special magistrate, he provides an impartial viewpoint and works with the parties involved to speedily decide outstanding issues and move the case forward.

Unlicensed practice of law

Attorneys from out of state, paralegals, and others may be accused of the unlicensed practice of law in Florida. Unfortunately, there is no bright line in the law on when unlicensed practice occurs. Skip Smith provides expertise in this evolving legal area and can guide clients on how best to proceed.

Strengths

With 45 years’ experience in court cases and Florida Bar proceedings, D. Culver “Skip” Smith III offers unique strengths to his clients.

  • Extensive knowledge of the complex field of legal ethics
  • Personal insight into how The Florida Bar operates
  • In-depth experience derived from assisting hundreds of lawyers with bar-disciplinary proceedings
  • A calm, reasoned approach when clients are under stress
  • Honest advice on the strengths and weaknesses of a court case or bar grievance
  • Responsive, personalized service
  • An objective viewpoint as an appeals lawyer
  • A proven track record as an impartial expert witness and corporate investigator

Culver Smith III, P.A.

500 Australian Avenue South, Suite 600
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Send us a message.

We will get back to you as soon as we are available.