The Florida Bar

Civil Trial Law Certification


Civil Trial Board Certification logo

Purpose:

To identify lawyers who practice civil trial 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 civil trial law.

Who may apply?

Minimum standards for civil trial law certification, provided in Rule 6-4.3, include:

  • Practice of law for at least five years;
  • Substantial involvement in the specialty of civil trial law — 50% or more — during the three years immediately preceding application;
  • Handling of at least 15 contested civil cases, including cases before juries as lead counsel and as trier of fact on some or all of the issues;
  • 50 hours of approved civil trial law 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 July 1-August 31 of a given year to determine eligibility to sit for the exam in March of the subsequent year (see calendar for details). Applications must be postmarked by August 31. Eligible applicants who pass the exam will be officially certified in June.

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 May 31 at the conclusion of the 5-year period of certification. All requirements for recertification are to be completed by this date. June 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 examination is intended to test whether an applicant possesses the knowledge, skills, abilities, ethics, and judgments that are common to specialists in civil trial 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 Civil Trial examination include:

A.   LITIGATION SKILLS

  1. Factual analysis;
  2. Issue spotting;
  3. Problem solving;
  4. Cost benefits analysis of litigation;
  5. Evaluation of the strength and weakness of a case;
  6. Settlement strategy;
  7. Strategies for persuasion;
  8. Jury selection issues;
  9. Strategies for the use of trial objections; and
  10. Courtroom techniques

 B. EVIDENCE

C. ETHICS

  •  Code of Professional Responsibility as it relates to situations encountered by the trial lawyer as well as the Oath of Attorney.

D. CIVIL PROCEDURE

Examination Format

The Civil Trial examination is administered in four parts:

PART I

  • Ethics. This one-hour portion of the examination will test the applicant’s knowledge and application of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Oath of Attorney as it relates to situations encountered by the trial lawyer.
  • Evidence. This one-hour portion of the examination will test the applicant’s knowledge of the Florida Evidence Code (Chapter 90, Florida Statutes) and its application. You will be allowed to print and bring a copy of the Evidence Code with you for reference during the examination.

PART II

  • Civil Procedure. This section is designed to evaluate the applicant’s knowledge of the procedural aspects of litigation in the Florida courts and their impact upon the litigation process. You will be allowed to print and bring a copy of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure with you for reference during the examination.

PART III

  • Civil Procedure and Litigation Skills. This portion of the examination will provide the examinee a case file and/or partial transcript of a trial based on that case file. The test requires you to identify mistakes apparent in the transcript, explain why they were incorrect, and what the correct approach should have been.

PART IV

  • Litigation Skills. This portion of the examination will provide the examinee a case file and/or partial transcript of a trial based on that case file. The test requires you to identify mistakes apparent in the transcript, explain why they were incorrect, and what the correct approach should have been.

Each part consists of the following:

Part I:

  • 1 Essay worth 20 points each
  • 5 Essays worth 6 points each

Part II:

  • 30 Multiple Choice Questions worth 1 point each
  • 3 Short Answer Questions worth 7 points each

Part III:

  • 3 Short Answer Questions worth 7 points each
  • 4 Short Essay Questions worth 7 points each
  • 1 Short Essay Question worth 6 points each

Part IV:

  • 2 Short Essay Questions worth 16 points each
  • 4 Short Essay Questions worth 8 points each

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

Suggested Study Materials

  • Applicable constitutional, decisional, statutory and regulatory statutes

Download Exam Specifications

Staff Liaison

Jaclyn O’Hara
The Florida Bar
651 E. Jefferson St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2300
850-561-5690

Civil Trial Law Certification Field Established 1983