Florida Attorney's Board Certified in Criminal Appellate Law

Board Certification in Criminal Appellate Law

Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and EducationThe standards for board certification in criminal law can be found in Rule 6-8 which were last revised on October 16, 2015. Certification is awarded by the Florida Board of Legal Specialization and Education.

The rules provide that a lawyer who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar and meets the standards prescribed below may be issued an appropriate certificate identifying the lawyer as either "Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law" or "Board Certified in Criminal Appellate Law."

The attorney may qualify for certification under both categories provided the applicant meets the standards for each category. 

The purpose of the standards is to identify those lawyers who practice criminal law and have the special knowledge, skills, and proficiency, as well as the character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism, to be properly identified to the public as board certified in criminal trial or appellate law.

Find a Lawyer in Florida board certified in Criminal Appellate Law.


Minimum Standards for Certification in Criminal Appellate Law under Rule 6-8.5

The minimum standards for certification in criminal appellate law can be found in Rule 6-8.5.

(a) Substantial Involvement and Competence.

To become certified as a criminal appellate lawyer, an applicant must demonstrate substantial involvement and competence in criminal appellate law. Substantial involvement and competence shall include:

(1) At least 5 years of the actual practice of law of which at least 30 percent has been spent in active participation in criminal appellate law. At least 3 years of this practice shall be immediately preceding application or, during those 3 years, the applicant may have served as a judge. The 5 years of criminal appellate practice shall include brief writing, motion practice, oral arguments, and extraordinary writs sufficient to demonstrate special competence as a criminal appellate lawyer.

(2) The representation of at least 25 criminal appellate actions. On good cause shown, for satisfaction in part of the 25 criminal appellate actions, the criminal law certification committee may consider involvement in protracted litigation as defined in subdivision 6-8.2(e). If any of the applicant's appellate actions occurred when the applicant was a judicial clerk/staff attorney and the rules of court prevent the applicant from enumerating those appellate actions, then the applicant shall obtain, from the applicant's judge, a letter stating the number of appellate actions in which the applicant participated while employed by the judge.

(3) Submission of 1 copy of the pleadings filed in 2 recent criminal appellate proceedings:

(4) Within the 3 years immediately preceding application, the applicant's substantial involvement must be sufficient to demonstrate special competence as a criminal appellate lawyer. Substantial involvement includes brief writing, motion practice, oral arguments, and extraordinary writs. For good cause shown, the criminal law certification committee may waive 2 of the 3 years' substantial involvement for individuals who have served as judges. In no event may the year immediately preceding application be waived.

(b) Peer Review.

(1) The applicant shall submit the names and addresses of at least 4 lawyers, who are neither relatives nor current associates or partners, as references to attest to the applicant's substantial involvement and competence in criminal appellate practice, as well as the applicant's character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. Such lawyers shall be substantially involved in criminal appellate law and familiar with the applicant's practice.

(2) The applicant shall submit the names and addresses of at least 2 judges before whom the applicant has appeared on criminal appellate matters within the last 2 years, to attest to the applicant's substantial involvement and competence in criminal appellate practice, as well as the applicant's character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism.

(3) Peer review received on behalf of the applicant shall be sufficient to demonstrate the applicant's competence in criminal appellate law, character, ethics, and professionalism. The criminal law certification committee may, at its option, send reference forms to other attorneys and judges.

(c) Education.

The applicant shall demonstrate that during the 3-year-period immediately preceding the filing of an application, the applicant has met the continuing legal education requirements necessary for criminal appellate certification. The required number of hours shall be established by the board of legal specialization and education and shall in no event be less than 45 hours Accreditation of educational hours is subject to policies established by the criminal law certification committee or the board of legal specialization and education.

(d) Examination.

Every applicant must pass an examination designed to demonstrate sufficient knowledge, skills, proficiency, and experience in criminal appellate law, application of constitutional principles, and rules of criminal and appellate procedure to justify the representation of special competence to the legal profession and the public.


Recertification in Criminal Appellate Law

The rules for recertification as a specialist in criminal appellate law can be found in Rule 6-8.6.

During the 5-year period immediately preceding application, an applicant shall satisfy the following requirements for recertification:

(a) Substantial Involvement.

The applicant shall demonstrate substantial involvement in the practice of law, of which at least 30 percent must have been spent in active participation in criminal appellate law. Substantial involvement includes brief writing, motion practice, oral arguments, and extraordinary writs sufficient to demonstrate special competence as a criminal appellate lawyer.

(b) Appellate Actions.

Either as an advocate or as a judge, an applicant shall have completed at least 10 criminal appellate actions. On good cause shown, for satisfaction in part of the 10 appellate actions, the criminal law certification committee may consider involvement in protracted litigation as defined in subdivision 6-8.2(e). If any of the applicant's criminal appellate actions occurred when the applicant was a judicial clerk/staff attorney and the rules of court prevent the applicant from enumerating those appellate actions, then the applicant shall obtain, from the applicant's judge, a letter stating the number of criminal appellate actions in which the applicant participated while employed by the judge.

(c) Education.

The applicant shall demonstrate completion of at least 50 credit hours of approved continuing legal education for criminal appellate law certification, in accordance with rule 6-8.5(c).

(d) Peer Review.

(1) The applicant shall submit the names and addresses of at least 4 lawyers, who are neither relatives nor current associates or partners, as references, to attest to the applicant's substantial involvement and competence in criminal appellate practice, as well as the applicant's character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. Such lawyers shall be substantially involved in criminal appellate law and familiar with the applicant's practice

(2) The applicant shall submit the names and addresses of at least 2 judges before whom the applicant has appeared on criminal appellate matters within the last 2 years, to attest to the applicant's substantial involvement and competence in criminal appellate practice, as well as the applicant's character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism.

(3) Peer review received on behalf of the applicant shall be sufficient to demonstrate the applicant's competence in criminal appellate law, character, ethics, and professionalism. The criminal law certification committee may, at its option, send reference forms to other attorneys and judges.

(e) Waiver of Compliance.

On special application, for good cause shown, the criminal law certification committee may waive compliance with the appellate action criteria for an applicant who has been continuously certified as a criminal appellate lawyer for a period of 14 years or more, provided the applicant:

(1) satisfies the peer review and education required in subdivisions (c) and (d) of this rule; and,

(2) demonstrates substantial involvement in criminal appellate law defined, for purposes of this subdivision, as active participation in the appellate process, including the investigation and evaluation of criminal appeals, and the review of strategy and tactics for appeals. The applicant shall describe the extent of substantial involvement, including briefs written and oral arguments attended, since the last date of recertification.


This article was last updated on Monday, February 22, 2016.