The Florida Bar

Business Litigation Certification

Purpose:

Business Litigation Board Certification logoTo identify those lawyers who practice in the area of business litigation and have the special knowledge, skills, and proficiency, as well as the character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism, to be properly identified to the public as board certified business litigation lawyers.

Who may apply?

Minimum standards for business litigation certification, provided in Rule 6-16.3, include:

  • Practice of law for at least five years;
  • Substantial involvement in the specialty of business litigation – 30% or more – during the five years immediately preceding application;
  • Handling of at least 25 contested business litigation matters during the five years immediately preceding application, including at least eight submitted to the trier of fact (summary judgments not considered);
  • Handling of at least one business litigation jury trial during the 10 years immediately preceding application (an approved Advance Trial Advocacy Course may replace this requirement);
  • 50 hours of approved business litigation certification continuing legal education in the three years immediately preceding application;
  • Peer review; and,
  • A written examination.

Becoming Board Certified

All applicants for board certification or recertification should carefully read the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar to be sure you have met each of the requirements prior to filing your application. Unless the rules provide for a waiver of a specific requirement, each of the requirements must be met by the dates indicated in the rule.

New Applicants

The application filing period runs September 1-October 31 of a given year to determine eligibility to sit for the exam in May of the subsequent year (see calendar for details). Applications must be postmarked by October 31. Eligible applicants who pass the exam will be officially certified in August.

REAPPLICANTS

If you’re eligible to sit for the exam from a previous application, you may file the short application.

Recertification

According to the rules, no certification shall last for a period longer than five years. Find out when your recertification application is due.

All applications for recertification must be postmarked by midnight July 31 at the conclusion of the 5-year period of certification. All requirements for recertification are to be completed by this date. August 1 after the fifth year of certification is the effective date of recertification.

A single 3-month recertification file extension will be granted if accompanied by a properly executed application for extension and payment of the appropriate fee.

Exam Tools & Information

Purpose of Examination

The Business Litigation Certification Examination consists of a combination of essay and multiple choice questions. It is intended to test whether an applicant possesses the knowledge, skills, abilities, ethics, and judgments that are common to specialists in Business Litigation law and is also intended to be a valid and reliable measurement to justify the representation of special competence and professionalism that distinguishes a “Florida Bar Board Certified Lawyer.”

Examination Content

Topics that may be covered on the business litigation examination include:

I. GENERAL BUSINESS LITIGATION ESSAY (MANDATORY, WORTH 25 POINTS)

  1. Personal and Subject Matter Jurisdiction
  2. Proper Venue and Standing
  3. Florida Statutory Claims and Defenses, including:
    1. UCC (excluding Articles 5, 6 and 7)
    2. RICO
    3. Civil Theft
    4. Replevin
    5. Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices
  4. Florida Common Law Claims and Defenses, including:
    1. Breach of Contract
    2. Accounts Stated – Open Account
    3. Conversion
    4. Fraud
    5. Intentional Interference
    6. Economic Loss Rule
    7. Statute of Frauds
    8. Parol Evidence Rule
    9. Contract Defenses (i.e. mergers doctrine, lack of considerations, etc.)
  5. Damages, Lost Profits and Attorneys Fees.

II. ETHICS (MANDATORY, TOPICS II, III AND IV COMBINED ARE WORTH 70 POINTS)

  1. Removal of actions
  2. Jurisdiction and venue
  3. Process and service of process
  4. Motion practice
  5. Discovery and pleading penalties
  6. Courtroom procedural issues
  7. Alternative Dispute Resolution

IV. EVIDENCE

  1. Pleadings and practice
  2. Process and service of process
  3. Jurisdiction and venue
  4. Conduct of Discovery
  5. Alternative dispute resolution and proper forums
  6. Attorney fees

V. BUSINESS LITIGATION SKILLS ESSAY (MANDATORY, WORTH 25 POINTS)

  1. Pleadings and practice
  2. Process and service of process
  3. Jurisdiction and venue
  4. Conduct of Discovery
  5. Alternative dispute resolution and proper forums
  6. Attorney fees

VI. BUSINESS TORTS (MANDATORY, WORTH 25 POINTS)

  1. Securities – Blue Sky Law
  2. Liability of Partners and Limited Partners
  3. Liability of Limited Liability Company Members and Managers
  4. Fraud and Negligent Misrepresentation
  5. Conversion and Civil Theft
  6. Tortious Interference with Contracts and Business Relationships
  7. Civil Rights
  8. Corporate Officer, Director & Shareholder Liability

VII. OTHER TOPICS (MANDATORY, WORTH 35 POINTS)

  1. Business Organizations:
    1. Corporations
    2. Partnerships
    3. Limited Partnerships
    4. Limited Liability Companies
    5. Not for Profit Corporations
  2. Creditors Rights/Bankruptcy/UCC:
    1. Lender Liability
    2. UCC (excluding Articles 5, 6 and 7)
    3. Bankruptcy
    4. Post-Judgment Remedies
    5. Pre-Judgment Remedies
    6. Fraudulent Transfers
  3. Intellectual Property/Restrictive Covenants:
    1. Intellectual Property
    2. Restrictive Covenants
    3. Trademark
    4. Copyright
    5. Trade Secrets
    6. Unfair Competition
  4. Real Estate/Construction Law:
    1. Real Property Law
    2. Landlord/Tenant
    3. Construction Liens and Contract Issues

STATE VS. FEDERAL LAW EMPHASIS

Multiple choice questions rely on Florida Law and Federal Law. The examinee can use applicable Florida or Federal Legal Principles in responding to the General Business Litigation and Business Litigation Skills.

For examination purposes, topics that are not considered to be a part of business litigation law include:

  • Domestic and Criminal Matters
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Personal Injury
  • Routine Foreclosures
  • Routine Collections

Examinees will be tested on law in effect as of December 31 the year preceding the administration of the exam.

The following is a non-exclusive list of suggested study materials for the 2014 Florida Bar business litigation certification examination provided as a courtesy by the Business Litigation Certification Committee.

  1. Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and case law interpreting it
  2. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and case law interpreting it
  3. Florida Evidence Code and case law interpreting it
  4. Federal Evidence Code and case law interpreting it
  5. Florida’s UCC
  6. Florida Statutes and cases regulating post-judgment proceedings including, but not limited to, execution on judgments and the rights of creditors
  7. Florida law on common business-related claims, including, but not limited to, contracts and business torts
  8. Florida law governing intellectual property protection
  9. Florida law on construction and tenancy
  10. Florida law regulating business organizations and corporate governance
  11. The Rules Regulating the Florida Bar including, but not limited to, attorney-client relationship and ethics

The Business Litigation examination consists of 130 multiple-choice questions worth 1 point each, two essays worth 25 points each and one essay worth 10 points.

ADDITIONAL STUDY MATERIALS THAT MAY BE HELPFUL

  • Annual Civil Trial Update and Board Certification Review Seminar
  • Bankruptcy Law & Practice: View from the Bench 2013
  • CLE Courses listed on the Business Law website
  • Business Litigation in Florida, Textbook.

Staff Liaison

Chyra Reynolds
The Florida Bar
651 E. Jefferson St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2300
850-561-5736

Business Litigation Certification Field Established 1995