The Florida Bar


June 16, 2014
Rachael Moulton;,
The Florida Bar
(850) 561-5805

Tallahassee – The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization & Education is proud to announce that 61 of The Florida Bar members who earned legal board certification in civil trial and tax law in 1984 have maintained their board certification status for 30 years. These lawyers are indeed Evaluated for Professionalism and Tested for Expertise.

In Florida, only board certified lawyers may use the terms "specialist," "expert" or "B.C.S." for Board Certified Specialist when referring to their legal credentials.

Eugene Pettis, The Florida Bar President for 2013-14, recognizes the effort it takes to become board certified and to maintain certification.

"We all spend our lives in pursuit of excellence and on occasion we attain it, even if only for a fleeting moment," Pettis said. "These members of the 30 year certification club have mastered the great challenge – maintaining excellence. Congratulations."

BLSE chair Jack Pelzer, who is himself board certified in appellate law since 1996, knows firsthand the commitment it takes to become and then maintain board certification.

"Obtaining board certification is a significant milestone in any lawyer’s career," Pelzer said. "Maintaining board certification for 30 years demonstrates an on-going commitment to excellence and professionalism that should be an inspiration to all lawyers. Congratulations to those who are leading by this example."

Board certification evaluates attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. About 4,600 of Florida’s 98,000 lawyers have earned board certification. Florida offers 24 specialty areas for board certification, more than any other state.

Chobee Ebbets, board certified in civil trial for 30 years explains what board certification has meant to him over the years.

"As an active trial attorney and member of the bar for the past 38 years and as a former member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors for 10 years, I believe that the board certification program provides the citizens of our state seeking legal counsel with an important criteria to use in selecting an attorney," Ebbets said. "This program allows the public to know that lawyers certified in their field have taken the extra steps of testing, judicial and peer review, and additional ongoing education, in order to provide the highest level of legal services. We choose doctors who are board certified when we are sick and I believe the public should follow the same selection path with the legal profession."

The lawyers grouped below by judicial circuit are celebrating 30 years of Florida Bar board certification in civil trial or tax law this year.

1st Circuit
C. Miner Harrell, Pensacola, Civil Trial
Stanley Bruce Powell, Niceville, Civil Trial
Brian C. Sanders, Niceville, Civil Trial
James Milton Wilson, Pensacola, Civil Trial

4th Circuit
A. Graham Allen, Jacksonville, Civil Trial
Michael I. Coulson, Jacksonville Beach, Civil Trial
Edward C. Akel, Jacksonville, Tax Law
William R. Blackard, Jr., Jacksonville, Tax Law
John R. Crawford, Jacksonville, Tax Law

6th Circuit
D. Jay Snyder, Saint Petersburg, Tax Law

7th Circuit
Charles Chobee Ebbets, Daytona Beach, Civil Trial
Michael Peter Falkowski, III, Daytona Beach, Civil Trial
James W. Smith, Daytona Beach, Civil Trial

9th Circuit
James O. Cunningham, Orlando, Civil Trial
Thomas G. Kane, Winter Park, Civil Trial
Joseph M. Taraska, Orlando, Civil Trial
Lawrence E. Dolan, Orlando, Tax Law
Joel H. Sharp, Jr., Orlando, Tax Law

11th Circuit
John M. Brumbaugh, Miami, Civil Trial
Michael Seth Cohen, Coral Gables, Civil Trial
Michael R. Friend, South Miami, Civil Trial
Michael Palahach, III, Coral Gables, Civil Trial
Brian P. Patchen, Miami Lakes, Civil Trial
Penn Benjamin Chabrow, Miami, Tax Law
Brent D. Klein, Miami, Tax Law
Charles E. Muller, II, Miami, Tax Law

12th Circuit
Steven J. Chase, Sarasota, Civil Trial
George Browning, III, Sarasota, Tax Law

13th Circuit
Emmett Abdoney, Tampa, Civil Trial
Richard Allen Gilbert, Tampa, Civil Trial
Timothy Francis Prugh, Tampa, Civil Trial
Thomas Saieva, Tampa, Civil Trial
O. Robert Wallace, III, Tampa, Civil Trial
E. Jackson Boggs, Tampa, Tax Law
Jack A. Levine , Tampa, Tax Law

15th Circuit
Donald J. Freeman, West Palm Beach, Civil Trial
Wallace B. McCall, Palm Beach Gardens, Civil Trial
Edward M. Ricci, Jupiter, Civil Trial
John Fletcher Romano, West Palm Beach, Civil Trial
Richard D. Schuler, West Palm Beach, Civil Trial
Gregory L. Scott, West Palm Beach, Civil Trial
John A. Shipley III, West Palm Beach, Civil Trial
Richard W. Slawson, Palm Beach Gardens, Civil Trial
Jeff Tomberg, Boynton Beach, Civil Trial
Jerald David August, West Palm Beach, Tax Law
Howard J. Wiener, Palm Beach Gardens, Tax Law

17th Circuit
G. Ware Cornell, Jr., Weston, Civil Trial
Angelo Marino, Jr., Fort Lauderdale, Civil Trial
Ronald Rosen, Fort Lauderdale, Civil Trial
Martin J. Sperry, Plantation, Civil Trial
Michael G. Widoff, Fort Lauderdale, Civil Trial
Richard T. Woulfe, Fort Lauderdale, Civil Trial
Bernard A. Singer, Fort Lauderdale, Tax Law

18th Circuit
David Beers, Oviedo, Civil Trial
Hubert C. Childress, Jr., Merritt Island, Civil Trial

20th Circuit
Hal Adams, Fort Myers, Civil Trial
Michael R.N. McDonnell, Naples, Civil Trial
Bruce McLaren Stanley, Sr., Fort Myers, Civil Trial

Out of State
Kenneth Luke Connor, Aiken, SC, Civil Trial
Marsha W. Beidler, Princeton, NJ, Tax Law
Sherman Hirschman, West Bloomfield, MI, Tax Law

Background. Board certification is The Florida Bar's highest evaluation of attorneys' competence and experience in one or more of the 24 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida. Florida Bar board certified lawyers must demonstrate ability and experience in their fields and professionalism within the legal community.

A lawyer who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar and who meets the standards prescribed by the state's Supreme Court may become board certified in one or more of the 24 certification fields.

Minimum requirements for certification are listed below; each area of certification may contain higher or additional standards.

To become a board certified specialist, a lawyer must:

Board certification is valid for five years. During that time, the attorney must continue to practice law and attend Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education courses.

Recertification requirements are similar to those for initial certification. Not all qualified lawyers are certified, but those who are board certified have voluntarily taken the extra step to have their competence and experience evaluated.

For more information, please visit The Florida Bar Web site at or contact The Florida Bar’s Legal Specialization & Education Department at (850) 561-5842.


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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

[Revised: 10-26-2014]