Application deadline for 13 Florida Bar board certification areas is August 31
The Florida Bar members interested in board certification must have applications postmarked by August 31 for 13 of Florida’s 27 legal specialization areas.
Applications are available on The Florida Bar website at FloridaBar.org/certification for the following specialties: Admiralty and Maritime Law; Adoption Law; Appellate Practice; Aviation Law; Civil Trial Law; Condominium & Planned Development; Education Law; Elder Law; Immigration & Nationality Law; International Law; Labor & Employment Law; Marital & Family Law; and Tax Law.
Board certified attorneys are the only Florida lawyers allowed to use the letters “B.C.S.” to indicate Board Certified Specialist when referring to their legal credentials.
Board certification is a priceless marketing tool according to International Law Certification Committee Chair Jennifer Diaz of Diaz Trade Law in Miami.
“Being board certified helps to instill client confidence and sets me apart from my competitors,” said Diaz, adding to has provided her “vast opportunities” such as becoming an adjunct professor in international law. “For me, board certification has helped bridge the gender gap in my practice area, specifically by diminishing unwarranted stigmas that undermine the value and performance ability of a short woman specializing in customs and international trade law. I am happy to share I am no longer regularly told ‘you look just like my granddaughter’ instead of discussing key customs and trade issues.”
Board certification is The Florida Bar’s highest evaluation of attorneys’ competency, experience, and professionalism in areas of law approved for specialization by the Supreme Court. Board certified lawyers are legal experts dedicated to professional excellence, and attorneys who become board certified are evaluated as to their character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism in the practice of law. Florida offers 27 specialty areas for board certification, more than any other state. The Florida Bar maintains a free, on online directory of board certified lawyers by specialty area and city at FloridaBar.org/certification. Over 5,000 of Florida’s 91,000 lawyers have earned board certification.
Minimum requirements for board certification include:
- A minimum of five years in law practice.
- Substantial involvement in the field of law for which board certification is sought.
- Satisfactory peer review from other lawyers and judges to assess competence in the specialty field as well as character, ethics and professionalism in the practice of law.
- Completion of the board certification area’s continuing legal education requirements.
- A passing grade on the examination required of all applicants or satisfaction of strict criteria to exempt the exam for select areas.
Board certification is valid for five years, during which time the attorney must continue to practice law and attend Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education courses. Recertification requirements are similar to those for initial certification. Not all qualified lawyers are certified, but those who are board certified have taken the extra step to have their competence and experience evaluated.
Board certification applications, requirements, and staff contact information are available at FloridaBar.org/certification.