Board certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice.
Board certified lawyers are Evaluated for Professionalism, Tested for Expertise.
Certification is The Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys in the 24 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.
Board certified Florida Bar members are the only Florida attorneys allowed to identify themselves as “Board Certified,” “Specialist,” “Expert” or to use the letters “B.C.S.” for Board Certified Specialist on business cards or letterhead, in legal directories or in advertising.
6 percent of eligible Florida Bar members, approximately 4,600 lawyers, are board certified.
A lawyer who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar and who meets the standards prescribed by the state’s Supreme Court may become board certified in one or more of the 24 certification fields. Minimum requirements for certification are listed below;
each area of certification may contain higher or additional standards.
- Practice law for a minimum of five years.
- Demonstrate substantial involvement in the field of law for which certification is sought.
- Pass satisfactory peer review of competence in the specialty field as well as character, ethics and professionalism in the practice of law.
- Satisfy the certification area’s continuing legal education requirements.
- Receive a passing grade on the examination required of all applicants or meet strict criteria to exempt the exam.
“Board certification is becoming a standard of preference for an increasing number of clients. In an ever-crowded field of over 93,000 lawyers, the achievement of board certification – the Bar’s highest evaluation of a lawyer’s competence and experience in a particular area of practice – is the only way of distinguishing yourself as an expert or a specialist. I highly encourage lawyers to demonstrate their competence and experience through seeking board certification in their professional areas.”
~ Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis Board Certified Education Lawyer
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. To be recertified, lawyers must meet requirements similar to those for initial certification. Not all qualified lawyers are certified, but those who are board certified have taken extra steps to have their competence and experience evaluated.