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Florida Board of Legal Specialization & Education (BLSE)

In 1982, the Florida Supreme Court established a process to recognize attorneys who take the extra steps necessary to have their experience and competence evaluated for a particular specialty area of the law. Board Certification is the highest level of evaluation offered by the Florida Bar. Board certification will last for five years. During the five-year period, board certified Florida lawyers must continue to attend continuing legal education courses for their specialty. After five years the attorney must seek recertification. Lawyers may obtain as many certifications as they wish, as long as they meet the specific criteria for that specialty. 

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About the Florida Board of Legal Specialization & Education (BLSE)

Overview

  • Founded: 1982
  • Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Mission and History

In 1982, the Florida Supreme Court established a process to recognize attorneys who take the extra steps necessary to have their experience and competence evaluated for a particular specialty area of the law. Board Certification is the highest level of evaluation offered by the Florida Bar.

As the second-largest attorney specialization program in the country, more than 4,800 attorneys in Florida have been designated as board-certified specialists in 26 different specialty areas of the law. Approximately 4.7% of the 101,000 practicing attorneys in Florida are certified by the Florida Bar as a specialist.

Under Florida's Bar Rules, board certified attorneys receive special bar-sanctioned, advertising-based benefits not afforded to other attorneys in the state.

Only board certified attorneys are allowed to use the words "Board Certified (area of certification) Lawyer" or "Specialist in (area of certification)." The Florida Bar rules also approved the use of the initials “B.C.S.” to indicate Board Certified Specialist.

In 2007, the Florida Bar requested and a majority of the Florida Supreme Court approved amendments to the rules regulating advertising of legal certifications to allow individual lawyers to identify themselves as “experts.” See In re Amendments to the Rules Regulating the Fla. Bar, 978 So.2d 91 (Fla. 2007); In re Amendments to the Rules Regulating the Fla. Bar-Advertising, 971 So.2d 763 (Fla. 2007).

The program was reviewed in Doe v. Fla Bar, 630 F3d 1336 (11th Cir. 2011) (constitutional arguments by an attorney who failed peer review requirements of state certification by specialty organization rejected).

Board certification will last for five years. During the five-year period,  board certified Florida lawyers must continue to attend continuing legal education courses for their specialty. After five years the attorney must seek recertification. Lawyers may obtain as many certifications as they wish, as long as they meet the specific criteria for that specialty.


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Jake Schickel - Board Certification in Florida

Specialty Areas of Certification

The Florida Board of Legal Specialization and Education certifies attorneys in twenty-four (24) select areas of the law including:

People

Board Roster

Steven Bruce Lesser
Chair
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Philip Robert Augustine
Vice Chair
Maitland, FL
Melissa VanSickle
Board Liaison
Tallahassee, FL
Patricia Dawson
Representative
Tampa, FL
John Frederick Eversole III
Board Member
Miami, FL
Kansas R Gooden
Board Member
Miami, FL

Justice Harry Lee Anstead Award for Board Certified Lawyer of the Year

Terry L Fogel
2016
St. Petersburg, FL
Thomas Bert Feiter
2015
Orlando, FL
Kimberly A Ashby
2013
Orlando, FL
Gerald Frederick Richman
2012
West Palm Beach, FL
Amy U Hickman
2011
Boynton Beach, FL

Board Certified Florida Lawyers Active on Lawyer Legion

Dean R Galigani
Galigani Law Firm
Gainesville, FL
View Profile · Visit Website
Richard Hornsby
Richard E. Hornsby, P.A.
Orlando, FL
View Profile · Visit Website
Mary Elizabeth Quinn
Quinn & Lynch, P.A.
Tampa, FL
View Profile · Visit Website
Christian Dietrich Searcy
Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, PA
West Palm Beach, FL
View Profile
Forrest Gregory Barnhart
Searcy Denney Scarola Barnahrt & Shipley, P.A.
West Palm Beach, FL
View Profile
John Elliott Leighton
John Elliott Leighton
Miami, FL
View Profile

Directory of Board Certified Lawyers in Florida

Lawyer Legion maintains a statewide directory of board certified lawyers in Florida. The public is able to browse the directory and narrow their search by specialty area, county or city to and connect with board certified lawyers to help with their case. Lawyer Legion is the only commercial lawyer directory to properly acknowledge all ABA-accredited specialization programs for both national and state-level board certifications, including those granted by The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education.

Use this directory to find board certified lawyers who are specialized in their respective areas of law. Start by choosing your county from the list below.


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Contact the BLSE

Florida Board of Legal Specialization & Education (BLSE)
651 East Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
www.floridabar.org
Office: (850) 561-5655

More About The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization

Requirements for Attorney Board Certification in Florida

For an attorney to become board-certified by the state, he or she must meet minimum requirements. Those requirements include:

  • At least five years of practice as an attorney;
  • Substantial involvement in the practice area he or she is seeking to become certified in;
  • Peer review of competence in the specialty area, character, ethics, and professionalism;
  • Completing a specified amount of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) hours; and
  • Passing an exam or meeting certain criteria that exempt the attorney from the exam.

National Organizations Accredited to Certify Florida Lawyers

National Organizations Not Accredited in Florida

Effective May 1, 2013, the Florida Bar’s new rules on attorney advertising took effect. Attorneys that practice in Florida should read the rules in their entirety. See In re: Amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar – Subchapter 4-7, Lawyer Advertising Rules, 38 Fla. L. Weekly S47 (Fla. Jan. 31, 2013).

Under one of the new rules, Florida Bar Rule 4-7.14(a)(4), an attorney who had earned board certification from an organization recognized by the American Bar Association ("ABA") but not accredited in Florida can now disclose that designation in advertisements. The ad must contain a disclaimer that the attorney is "Not Certified as a Specialist by The Florida Bar."

The national organizations with board or specialty certification programs that are recognized by the ABA, but not certified by the Florida Bar include:

Attorneys who are board-certified in those five (5) organizations now have the right to communicate that fact to the public in attorney advertisements.


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