Real Estate Law in Florida

Board Certified in Real Estate Law

Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and EducationReal Estate Certification was approved by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1986. The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education operates under the authority of the Supreme Court of Florida.

Rule 6-9.1 provides that 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 "Board Certified in Real Estate Law." Furthermore, the rule provides:

"The purpose of the standards is to identify those lawyers who practice Florida real estate 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 real estate law.

The practice of Florida real estate law is unique to the State of Florida because of the unique history, geographic features of the state, and the evolution of its constitutional, statutory, and decisional law. Accordingly, the standards require that lawyers seeking certification demonstrate a degree of practical knowledge and experience in Florida real estate law and transactions."

 Find a Lawyer in Florida board certified in Real Estate Law.


Definitions for Real Estate Law Specialty Certification 

Under 6-9.2, the following definitions are used:

(a) Real Estate.

"Real estate" is the practice of law, regardless of jurisdiction, dealing with matters relating to ownership and rights in real property including, but not limited to, the examination of titles, real estate conveyances and other transfers, leases, sales and other transactions involving real estate, condominiums, cooperatives, property owners associations and planned developments, interval ownership, zoning and land use planning regulation, real estate development and financing, real estate litigation, and the determination of property rights.

(b) Practice of Law.

The "practice of law" for this area is defined as set out in rule 6-3.5(c)(1).


Minimum Standards for Specialty Certification in Real Estate Law

The minimum standards for becoming a board certified specialist in real estate law are found in Rule 6-9.3.

(a) Minimum Period of Practice.

Every applicant shall have been engaged in the practice of law in the United States, or engaged in the practice of United States law while in a foreign country, and shall have been a member in good standing of the bar of any state of the United States or the District of Columbia for a period of 5 years, 3 of which meet the requirements of 6-9.3(b) as of the date of filing an application. The years of law practice need not be consecutive.

(b) Substantial Involvement.

Every applicant must demonstrate substantial involvement sufficient to show special knowledge, skills, and proficiency in the practice of real estate law during the 3 years immediately preceding the date of application. Substantial involvement is defined as including devoting at least 40 percent of one's practice to matters in which issues of real estate law are significant factors and in which the applicant had substantial and direct participation in those real estate issues.

The applicant must also demonstrate that the applicant’s real estate practice includes experience and involvement with Florida real estate law and transactions. Upon an applicant's request and the recommendation of the real estate certification committee, the board of legal specialization and education may waive the requirement that the 3 years be "immediately preceding" the date of application if the board of legal specialization and education determines the waiver is warranted by special and compelling circumstances.

An applicant must furnish information concerning the frequency of the applicant's work and the nature of the issues involved. For the purposes of this subdivision, the "practice of law" shall be as defined in rule 6-3.5(c)(1), except that it shall also include time devoted to lecturing and/or authoring books or articles on fields of real estate law if the applicant was engaged in the practice of law during such period. Demonstration of compliance with this requirement shall be made initially through a form of questionnaire approved by the real estate certification committee, but written or oral supplementation may be required.

(c) Peer Review.

Every applicant shall submit the names and addresses of 5 attorneys or judges, at least 3 of whom are licensed to practice law in Florida and are familiar with the applicant's practice, not including attorneys who currently practice in the applicant's law firm, who can attest to the applicant's reputation for involvement in Florida real estate law, as well as the applicant’s character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. The board of legal specialization and education and the real estate certification committee shall alternatively authorize references from persons, including non-Florida lawyers and judges and persons other than attorneys in such cases as they deem appropriate.

The board of legal specialization and education and the real estate certification committee may also make such additional inquiries as they deem appropriate.

(d) Education.

Every applicant must demonstrate that during the 3-year period immediately preceding the date of filing an application, the applicant has accumulated 45 hours of continuing legal education approved for credit in real estate law by the board of legal specialization and education. The board of legal specialization and education or the real estate law certification committee shall establish policies applicable to this rule.

(e) Examination.

The applicant must pass a written examination that is practical, objective, and designed to demonstrate special knowledge, skills, and proficiency in real estate law to justify the representation of special competence to the legal profession and the public.


Recertification for Certified Specialization in Real Estate Law

The rules for recertification for certified specialization in real estate law are found in Rule 6-9.4. The requrements include:

(a) Substantial Involvement.

The applicant must make a satisfactory showing, as determined by the board of legal specialization and education and the real estate certification committee, of involvement in real estate law throughout the period since the last date of certification. The demonstration of substantial involvement of at least 40 percent during each year after certification prior to recertification shall be made in accordance with the standards set forth in rule 6-9.3(b).

(b) Continuing Legal Education Requirement.

The applicant must show completion of at least 75 hours of accredited continuing legal education approved for credit in real estate law by the board of legal specialization and education since the filing of the last application for certification.

(c) Reference Requirement.

An applicant for recertification shall submit the names and addresses of 5 attorneys or judges, at least 3 of whom are licensed to practice law in Florida and are familiar with the applicant's practice, not including lawyers who currently practice in the applicant's law firm, who can attest to the applicant's reputation for ability of practice and involvement in Florida real estate law as well as the applicant’s character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. The board of legal specialization and education and the real estate certification committee may also make such additional inquiries as they deem appropriate.