Some day I’m going to get tired of having pun with TIKD titles, and you’ve probably already gotten tired of me doing it, but today is not that day for me. I was looking to find something to be able to easily write about today before scrambling out of town for some speaking engagements and meetings and Roy Simon has come through for me again. Roy kindly pointed me this morning to the latest development in the saga down in Florida over the traffic ticket app, TIKD, and its fight with the Florida Bar.
If you are not a Law360 subscriber, you can only read part of the story at this link. Roy was kind enough to send me the full article, so I’ll summarize the key points of the development for you and then leave you with the only potentially relevant thought I can manage today.
The story explains that the Florida Supreme Court has issued a show cause order to TIKD to require it to respond to the Florida Bar’s petition over UPL allegations and to show cause why the Florida Supreme Court should not enter an order barring its services.
The article contains a very confident sounding quote from the owner of TIKD, likely more confident than he should be under the circumstances that reads as follows:
“What a stunning waste of time and resources,” Riley said. “For nearly a year we have been asking the bar to tell us what aspects of our business they find objectionable, so we could work to address
their concerns. Rather than having a conversation, they chose this route and now have filed a vague complaint, lacking any basis in case law.”
“Nonetheless, we’re glad the issue is out of the bar’s hands, and into a realm where actual facts matter. We remain confident Tikd and its affiliated lawyers are fully in compliance with Florida law,
and are hopeful we can finally resolve this and move on,” he added.
I remain skeptical that TIKD itself is truly engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, though I suspect the Florida Supreme Court may find otherwise. I’m as confident as Mr. Riley sounds above that what they are is a referral service that violates the current version of the Florida Bar’s ethics rules and that lawyers doing business with TIKD simply cannot do so and comply with the current Florida rules.
I’ve written in the past about my thoughts in general about being open to taking hard looks at revising existing ethics rules that touch on these issues, but for now the rules say what they say.
What I’m puzzling over is this: is there a way of describing what this traffic ticket app company does that is sufficiently analogous enough to what insurance companies do to justify its existence even under current ethics rules?
At some level, isn’t what this company is offering in the equivalent of ticket insurance without a deductible? They select the lawyer to represent you, they pay the lawyer to represent you, and if a “judgment” goes down against you for which you are liable – a fine for violation of the traffic laws — they pay it.
If we let insurance companies do something very much like that, then what’s the difference here?