The Florida Bar

Criminal Trial Law Certification

Definition & Purpose

Criminal Trial Board Certification logoCriminal law is the practice of law dealing with the defense and prosecution of misdemeanor and felony crimes in state and federal trial and appellate courts. A lawyer who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar who meets the standards prescribed below may be issued an appropriate certificate identifying the lawyer as either “Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law” or “Board Certified in Criminal Appellate Law.” An applicant may qualify for certification under both categories provided the applicant meets the standards for each category. The purpose of the standards is to identify those lawyers who practice criminal law 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 in criminal trial or appellate law.

Summary of Requirements

Minimum standards for criminal trial law certification, provided in Rule 6-8.3, include:

  • Practice of law for at least five years;
  • Substantial involvement in the specialty of criminal trial law — 30% or more — during the three years immediately preceding application;
  • Handling of at least 25 contested criminal cases, with 20 jury trials, tried to a verdict, 15 which involved a felony, and 10 as lead counsel;
  • 45 hours of approved criminal trial law certification continuing legal education in the three years immediately preceding application;
  • Peer review; and,
  • A written examination.

Thinking of Becoming Board Certified? Download the Informational Flyer.

Board Certification Applications for Lawyers

All applicants for board certification or recertification should carefully read the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar (Rules) and 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.

Currently Certified? Recertification Information for 2020

If you were originally certified in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, or 2015 you are due to file your recertification application in 2020. The application for recertification must be postmarked by January 31, 2021. All requirements for recertification are to be completed by this date.

Get Certified – Seeking Certification

The filing period for the initial application opens September 1, 2020.  Applications must be postmarked by October 31, 2020. You must apply in this filing period to be considered for eligibility for the 2021 exam. If you’re eligible from a previous application, you may file the short application. Carefully read the rules for initial certification to determine if you will meet the requirements.


Exam Specifications

Exam Sample Questions

Standards for Certification Of A Board Certified Criminal Lawyer – Rules Regulating The Florida Bar 6-8

Criminal Law Certification Standing Committee Policies

Standing Policies of the Board of Legal Specialization and Education

Criminal Law Certification Committee members

Staff Liaison

Laurinda Jackson
The Florida Bar
651 East Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2300

Criminal Law Certification Field Established 1987