The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
Selecting an Attorney Specializing in Business Litigation

Maybe you have never needed the services of an attorney before; but now you do. Obviously, you want a lawyer who is able to handle your particular legal situation, and who has expertise in the area of law relating to your legal needs.

To assist you in finding such a lawyer, the Supreme Court of Florida directed The Florida Bar to offer a "Board Certification" program for Florida Bar members. The program is designed to help the public make an informed decision when seeking and selecting a lawyer.

While all lawyers are allowed to advertise, only certified attorneys are allowed to identify themselves as "Florida Bar Board Certified" or as a "specialist." Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

A lawyer who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar and who meets the standards set by the Supreme Court of Florida, may become a "Board Certified Business Litigation Lawyer."

Certified lawyers in business litigation help solve problems arising from business relationships, including resolving disputes. Business litigation includes evaluating, handling and resolving disagreements prior to the filing of a law suit, preparing for and trying cases and post-judgment proceedings. It includes litigation in state and federal courts, and before administrative agencies, mediators and arbitrators.

Every lawyer certified in business litigation has practiced law for at least five years and has handled a minimum of 25 contested business litigation matters during the five years immediately preceding application. In each of the 25 cases the lawyer must have been responsible for all or a majority of the presentation of evidence, argument to the court, and representation of the client with at least one case tried before a jury. At least 8 of the 25 matters must have been submitted to the trier of fact for resolution of 1 or more contested factual issues through the presentation of live testimony or other evidence at a hearing. The trier of fact shall include any judge or jury of a court of general jurisdiction, an arbitration panel, administrative agency, bankruptcy court, or other similar body. Courts of "general jurisdiction" include state circuit courts, federal district courts, and courts of similar jurisdiction in other states, but not county courts. At least 1 of the matters shall have been tried before a jury during the 10 years immediately preceding application. Each certified lawyer must also have passed peer review, completed 50 hours of continuing legal education within the five years preceding application and passed a written examination demonstrating knowledge, skills and proficiency in the field of business litigation.

Board certification is valid for five years, during which time the attorney must continue to practice law and attend Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education courses. To be recertified, requirements similar to those for initial certification must be met. Not all qualified lawyers are certified, but those who are board certified have taken the extra step to have their competence and experience recognized.

Business Litigation Certification was approved by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1995.

The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education operates under the authority of the Supreme Court of Florida. The certification program and any supporting materials or activities are not funded by the general revenues of The Florida Bar.

For more information, please contact:
The Florida Bar
Legal Specialization & Education Department
651 E. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300
800/342-8060
850/561-5842

[Revised: 07-10-2009]