The Florida Bar
Selecting an Attorney Specializing in Labor & Employment Law

Maybe you have never needed the services of an attorney before, but now you do. Obviously, you want an attorney who can handle your particular legal situation, and who has experience and expertise in the area of law related to your legal needs.

To assist you in finding such a lawyer, the Supreme Court of Florida directed The Florida Bar to develop a "Board Certification" program for Florida lawyers. The program was adopted by the Court in 1982 to help the public make an informed decision when seeking and selecting a lawyer. Standards for several areas of practice have gradually become available for board certification and Labor and Employment Law Certification was added by the Supreme Court of Florida in 2000.

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 prescribed by the state's Supreme Court, may become a "Board Certified Labor and Employment Lawyer."

Every lawyer certified in labor and employment law has practiced law for at least five years. If the lawyer has an LL.M. degree in labor and employment law, then such degree can substitute for one year of practice. Each certified lawyer has had substantial involvement-50 percent or more-in the practice of labor and employment law during the five years immediately preceding application. Each certified lawyer has passed peer review, has completed 60 hours of continuing legal education within three years immediately preceding application and has passed a written examination or has qualified by virtue of experience demonstrating knowledge, skills and proficiency in the field of labor and employment law to justify the representation of special competence.

Certified lawyers in labor and employment law advise and represent clients on matters concerning the application and interpretation of public and private sector labor and employment law principles, as well as employment discrimination and employment-related civil rights law. Competent practice in labor and employment law requires a thorough knowledge of all legal aspects of the employment relationship both in the private and public sector. This knowledge is particularly necessary to fulfill the counseling obligations of attorneys toward their clients. This practice area encompasses both public and private sector collective bargaining and the many state and federal laws that apply to the employment relationship including, but not limited to:

1. the National Labor Relations Act, as amended;
the Fair Labor Standards Act;
Florida's public sector collective bargaining laws and career service appeals;
the Employment Retirement Income Security Act;
the Family Medical Leave Act;
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Florida's Civil Rights Act;
the Americans With Disabilities Act,
Occupational Safety and Health Act;
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and
the regulations promulgated thereunder.
Board certification is valid for five years, during which time the attorney must continue to be substantially involved in the practice of labor and employment 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 board certified, but those who are have taken the extra step to have their competence and experience recognized.

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

(updated 7/01)

[Revised: 07-10-2009]