I was asked recently by a friend what it means to be a Florida Bar Board Certified Trial Lawyer.
It is a very valid and important question.
What is the difference, for example, between someone who markets himself as a “trial lawyer” and someone who is a “Board Certified Trial Lawyer?” It’s a good question, particularly in a crowded field where the reality is too often that many who market themselves to the public as “trial lawyers” rarely see the inside of a courtroom. The short answer is that although not all qualified lawyers are certified by the Florida Bar, those lawyers who are Florida Bar Board Certified have taken extra steps to have their competence and experience objectively evaluated by the Florida Bar. In order to become Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, for example, applicants must:
- Practice law for a minimum of five years
- Try a certain number of jury trials
- Demonstrate substantial involvement in trial practice
- Pass satisfactory peer review in trial practice
- Pass satisfactory peer review in character, ethics and professionalism
- Comply with the continuing legal education requirements
- Pass a test of the lawyer’s knowledge in the field of trial advocacy.
Only then may a lawyer ethically state that they have been Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Civil Trial Law.
In Florida, only 7% (approximately 4800 lawyers) of eligible Florida Bar members are board certified in their respective areas of specialty.
According to the Florida Bar, board certification is the highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys in the 26 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.
When you hire or work with a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, you can rest assured that the lawyer has earned this distinction by rigorous objective measures testing his or her knowledge in the field of trial advocacy.
So, if you are thinking of hiring a trial lawyer, consider asking if that lawyer has earned Board Certification by the Florida Bar.