The Florida Bar

Certified Lawyers on Call (CLOC)

Certified Lawyers on Call (CLOC) is a service of The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE), in conjunction with The Florida Bar Foundation.

The CLOC Service was developed in 2018 to give legal aid organization staff attorneys, and private attorneys who work with a legal aid organization on a referral basis, pro bono telephone consultation access to a board certified lawyer when a legal expert’s advice in a certification practice area is needed by the pro bono client. There are presently 215 board certified lawyers who are available on a volunteer basis to consult with attorneys who are working on a pro bono case through a legal aid organization in Florida.

How CLOC Works

1. The inquiring legal aid staff attorney or legal aid referral attorney will identify a legal issue for which expert advice is needed. The inquiring attorney will then contact the CLOC service contact coordinator by email.

The inquiring attorney must sign the CLOC Acknowledgment and Limitation form and attach it to the email, which is then sent to the contact coordinator. Based on the inquiry, the contact coordinator will determine the specific area of board certification the legal issue pertains to. The contact coordinator may contact the inquiring attorney by telephone for any necessary clarification of the relevant certification practice area.

2. After the practice area of board certification is determined by the contact coordinator, the coordinator will match the inquiring attorney with a board certified lawyer who has volunteered as an adviser.

The coordinator will select, on a random and rotating basis, a board certified lawyer from the list of volunteer advisers maintained by the BLSE. The coordinator will notify the selected adviser of the inquiry by email or phone, provide the inquiring attorney with the board certified lawyer’s contact information, and provide the board certified lawyer with the inquiring attorney’s contact information. The inquiring attorney will have the initial responsibility to contact the lawyer by phone or email.

3. Prior to discussing the specifics of any issue, the board certified lawyer adviser must perform a conflict check.

The inquiring attorney must identify all known adverse parties and opposing counsel and provide this information to the board certified lawyer adviser in the initial inquiring attorney’s contact with the adviser. If an actual or potential conflict exists, the board certified lawyer shall advise the inquiring attorney that the adviser cannot assist due to a conflict, and the inquiring attorney will then notify the  coordinator that the selected adviser is unable to provide assistance. The coordinator will then select an alternate adviser from the list, and the contact process will be repeated. If no actual or potential conflict exists, the inquiring attorney will then describe in detail the legal issue(s) to the board certified lawyer adviser, and the board certified lawyer adviser will provide expert advice.

4. After a brief discussion with the board certified lawyer adviser, the inquiring attorney should exercise the attorney’s own independent judgment to resolve the legal issue for the client.

It is within the discretion of the board certified lawyer to offer more or continuing assistance to the inquiring attorney with respect to the legal issues raised. Unless the board certified lawyer otherwise agrees, there will be no direct contact between the pro bono client and the board certified lawyer, and no appearance by the board certified lawyer in any pending case.

List of Board of Certified Lawyers on Call

The BLSE has compiled a list of those board certified lawyers who are willing to serve as advisers, their contact information, and their certification area(s) of practice. The list is not distributed to legal aid organizations and it remains an internal BLSE and CLOC service document.

If you are a board certified lawyer and have not yet volunteered and would like to serve as an adviser, please email the CLOC contact coordinator and your name will be added to the list. A board certified lawyer may remove the lawyer’s name from the list at any time by contacting the CLOC contact coordinator. All email regarding the CLOC service should be sent to the CLOC contact coordinator, not the BLSE or The Florida Bar Foundation.

Feedback & Annual Report

If you are an adviser or inquiring attorney and receive a request to complete a CLOC Survey, please take the time to give CLOC your feedback and promptly respond to the survey.

2022 CLOC Annual Report

Pro Bono Rule

Florida Bar Rule 4-6.1 strongly encourages a lawyer’s public service and states that a lawyer’s professional responsibility includes providing legal services to the economically disadvantaged on a pro bono basis. The CLOC service provides board certified lawyers with an additional opportunity to serve those in need of expert legal services who cannot otherwise afford them, and to partner with legal aid organizations and The Florida Bar Foundation to ensure equal access to justice.

Board certified lawyers can report the time spent giving advice in the CLOC service to an inquiring attorney as pro bono legal service. Moreover, by participating in the CLOC service, board certified advisers promote the value of board certification and serve as great examples of lawyers who are dedicated to the highest ideals of professionalism and competence.

The BLSE extends its sincere thank you to those Board Certified Lawyers who have volunteered as advisers.