In a somewhat peculiar battle with The Florida Bar, Ice Legal wins the right to call itself "multistate" in Florida advertising. The Bar's Advertising Committee had unanimously declared that Ice Legal, despite being a virtual firm, needed to show that it had physical brick-and-mortar offices in each state that the principals were licensed in and that "traditional employees" were located and providing legal services in those states. Ice Legal appealed to the Board of Bar Governors which unanimously held the opposite--that Ice Legal could use the term "multistate" in its advertising.
Thomas Ice and his team of attorneys often help clients write pleadings and complete other tasks. Ice thinks his business model improves access to justice for those who otherwise cannot afford the often-exorbitant hourly fees of the legal profession.
“We don’t see ghostwriting as an ethical problem,” says Ice, a Florida lawyer based in Palm Beach County who founded the virtual firm Ice Legal. “We see it as helping the access-to-justice problem. Not only is everything we are doing ethical but also we are doing something in providing unbundled legal services that is recommended by all the think tanks to solve the access-to-justice problem.”
Ice came up with his business model after spinning his wheels during court hearings on foreclosure cases in which he was required to sit for hours while the judge handled other hearings.
“We noted that some judges were especially abusive in foreclosure cases with regard to attorney time,” he says. “Some judges would call you down for a hearing every month, and you might waste hours just sitting there.”
From that experience, Ice Legal was created to assist clients with their own advocacy. “We coach clients from the sidelines; we draft motions; we get them filed for clients; and we prepare clients for their hearings,” Ice says. “We do all these things for as little as $100 a month. We feel we are on the cutting edge of access to justice.”
His efforts have irritated a few judges and inspired the wrath of some opposing lawyers.
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An advisory committee to the Florida Supreme Court informed thePalm Beach Circuit chief judge that an administrative order thatthrows out certain motions in foreclosure cases as "abandoned" isa local rule.
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