The average person may not realize that legal service advertising and marketing
by attorneys are strictly controlled by the bar associations of each state.
The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit attorneys from making certain
claims in lawyer advertisements, and Florida’s rules are some of
the country’s most restrictive.
For example, Florida Rule of Professional Conduct 4-7.14 prohibits an attorney
from stating or implying that a lawyer specializes in an area of law.
So, how does a lawyer get to use such terms as "expert" or "specialist?”
The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education oversees 24
legal specialty areas (more than any other state) in which lawyers can
become board certified -- areas such as adoption law, health law, real
estate law and tax law. The board certification program was established
by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1982 to aid consumers in identifying
qualified legal specialists. Certification is a voluntary program, but
only board certified lawyers are allowed to identify themselves as specialists
or experts in their specific field, or to use the letters “B.C.S.”
for Board Certified Specialist when referring to their legal credentials.
There are also logos available for each specialty field of practice that
certified lawyers may use on their letterhead, business cards, office
door, in the yellow pages of the telephone book, in approved law lists
and by other means permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Only six percent of eligible Florida Bar members are board certified.
And I am proud to announce that I am now one of those select few. I have
achieved board certification in civil trial law, the field of law that
addresses litigation of civil controversies in all areas of substantive
law before state and federal courts, administrative agencies and arbitrators. While there are minimum requirements that must be met for each area of
certification, the specific requirements for civil trial certification
are that the lawyer must:
- Be a member in good standing of The Florida Bar;
- Practice law for a minimum of five years;
- Actively participate in the specialty of civil trial (50 percent or more)
during the three years immediately preceding application;
- Conduct at least 15 contested civil cases in courts of general jurisdiction;
- Pass satisfactory peer review of competence as well as character, ethics
and professionalism in the practice of law;
- Complete 50 hours of continuing legal education within the three years
immediately preceding application; and
- Receive a passing grade on a written examination, demonstrating knowledge,
skills and proficiency in the civil trial field.
The Florida Bar maintains a free, online directory of board certified lawyers
by specialty area and city
It is a great personal and professional accomplishment, and I am delighted
that I can now share my civil trial law competency and experience with
those who need help. In fact, I can now say that I have successfully been “Evaluated for Professionalism,
Tested for Expertise” and am honored to have achieved this level
If you have more questions about this topic or wish to retain the services
of our newly board certified specialist in civil trial law, trust your
case to the attorneys at Stabinski & Funt, P.A. For 45 years, we have
helped people understand their rights under the law. Contact us by calling
filling out a free case evaluation form.
DISCLAIMER: Any information about past verdicts and settlements is based
on the unique facts of each case. Every case is different, and future
cases may not achieve the same or similar results. These amounts reflect
the gross recovery (before attorneys’ fees and expenses are deducted).