April 24, 2015

The Importance of Florida Board Certification

Categories: Working with your attorney

Board certification identifies experts

Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore boasts 5 Florida Board Certified Attorneys!

Once an attorney has graduated from law school and passed the Florida State Bar exam, there are very few restrictions on the types of law he or she is considered qualified to practice in Florida. While most young attorneys will seek out mentors and employment in firms with more experienced attorneys, there is nothing stopping a newly-minted attorney from renting an office, opening his solo practice, hanging a sign in the window, and soliciting your business for almost any area of law he chooses. A young attorney’s success in this sort of endeavor, as anyone can guess, is mixed, and potential clients seeking legal assistance are left unsure of the quality of advice they’ll receive.

Past the first few years of practice, even attorneys who have enjoyed a long career in the law are not a good fit for every area of law. An attorney, for instance, who has practiced primarily in business law for thirty years is less likely to offer accurate advice in the area of personal injury. Similarly, a criminal defense lawyer is less likely to know the ins and outs of estate planning, and a family lawyer is unlikely to be the best choice for a client seeking assistance in international law.

Then, even if you’ve identified several potential attorneys who have practiced your needed area of law for many years, it can be hard to decide which one will be able to give you the best advice.

Fortunately, the Florida Bar Association has developed a process to certify attorneys who can be legitimately considered experts in their various fields. This certification – called Florida Bar Board Certification is one of the highest recognitions a Florida lawyer can receive, and is only granted to seven percent of all Florida attorneys. Board Certified attorneys must meet the following requirements (from the Florida Bar’s information sheet):

  • 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.
  • Recertify every five years.

The Tampa Bay law firm of Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore boasts five attorneys who are or have been board certified as civil-trial advocates by the Florida State Bar. We specialize in fighting for the rights of those who have been injured by others, and we would be honored to fight for you, as well. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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