Is Your Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Board-Certified?

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
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Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley

Clients often want to know: “What is the difference between a civil trial attorney and a board-certified civil trial attorney?” Or, simply: “What’s the difference between a lawyer and a board-certified lawyer?”

What it Means to be a Florida Board-Certified Lawyer

Doctors often focus on a particular area of medicine where they develop expertise, such as psychiatry, gastroenterology, or dermatology. Similarly, attorneys may choose to specialize in a specific area of law. 

When attorneys meet specific criteria that qualify them in a particular area of law, such as civil trial law, criminal law, intellectual property law, or tax law, they may become “board-certified” in that area of law. In other words, they may be considered “specialists” in that area of law.

When a lawyer holds board certification from an accredited or state-sponsored organization, you, as a potential client, may make certain assumptions about the attorney, including:

  • The lawyer is dedicated to his or her area of practice.
  • The lawyer has made substantial efforts and invested significant time in becoming a superior lawyer in their certification area, above and beyond the standard requirements.
  • The lawyer has passed an independent screening and examination in addition to the requirements imposed by a state’s licensing association.
  • The lawyer is considered elite, as less than four percent of attorneys attain certification.
  • Fellow attorneys and judges highly regard the lawyer.

In sum, specialty certification demonstrates that the attorney is highly proficient in their specialty area of law.

How Attorneys Become Board-Certified

The requirements for board certification vary from state to state. Generally, lawyers become board-certified by:

  • Passing a written examination
  • Demonstrating significant involvement in the relevant area of law
  • Participating in continuing legal education in the relevant area of law
  • Submitting to objective peer review by other board-certified lawyers in the relevant area of law
  • Demonstrating substantial proficiency in legal writing

How Attorneys Become Board-Certified in Florida

In Florida, lawyers become board-certified by:

  • Practicing law for a minimum of five years
  • Demonstrating substantial involvement in the field of law identifying lawyers who have special skills and knowledge for which certification is sought 
  • Passing satisfactory peer review of competence in the specialty field, as well as character, ethics, and professionalism in the practice of law 
  • Satisfying the certification area’s continuing legal education requirements
  • Receiving a passing grade on the examination required of all applicants or meeting strict criteria to be exempt from the exam

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer for More Information

Board-certification for attorneys allows clients to have confidence that their attorney is a specialist in a particular area of law.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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