Florida Attorneys Board Certified in International Law

Board Certified in International Law

Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and EducationInternational law was established as a field for certification in 1988. Rule 6-21.1 sets out the rules for board certification in international law.

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 "Board Certified in International Law."

The purpose of the standards is to identify those lawyers who practice in the area of international law and have the special knowledge, skills, and proficiency to be properly identified to the public as board certified in international law.

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Definitions of International Law

For purposes of the certification rules, the definition of international law is described in Rule 6-21.2 which provides:

(a) International Law.

"International law" is the practice of law dealing with issues, problems, or disputes arising from any and all aspects of the relations between or among states and international organizations as well as the relations between or among nationals of different countries, or between a state and a national of another state, including transnational business transactions, multinational taxation, customs, and trade. The term "international law" includes foreign and comparative law.

(b) Practice of Law.

The "practice of law" for this area is defined as set out in rule 6-3.5(c)(1). Practice of law that otherwise satisfies these requirements but that is on a part-time basis will satisfy the requirement if the balance of the applicant's activity is spent as a teacher of international law subjects in an accredited law school.


Minimum Standards for International Law

The rules for the minimum standards for international law are contained in Rule 6-21.3 which provides:

(a) Minimum Period of Practice.

The applicant shall have been engaged in the practice of law, either in the United States or abroad, 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 not less than 5 years as of the date of application. The years of law practice need not be consecutive. Receipt of an LL.M. degree in international law, as defined in rule 6-21.2(a), or in such other field as may be approved by the international law certification committee, shall be deemed to constitute 1 year of the practice of law requirement, but not the 5-year bar membership requirement, specified in this subdivision.

(b) Substantial Involvement.

The applicant shall demonstrate substantial involvement in the practice of international law during each of the 3 years immediately preceding the date of application. Except for the 2 years immediately preceding application, receipt of an LL.M. degree, as defined in rule 6-21.2(a), may substitute for 1 year of substantial involvement. Substantial involvement shall mean that the applicant has devoted 50 percent or more of the applicant's practice to matters in which issues of international law played a significant role and in which the applicant had substantial and direct participation. For purposes of this subdivision, time devoted to lecturing on or writing about international law may be included. Although demonstration of compliance with this requirement shall be made initially through a form approved by the international law certification committee, the international law certification committee may at its option require written or oral supplementation.

(c) Education.

The applicant shall demonstrate that during the 3-year period immediately preceding the date of application, the applicant has completed at least 60 hours of continuing legal education in the field of international law. This requirement can be met through: attendance at continuing legal education seminars on international law; satisfactory completion of graduate level law school courses while enrolled in an LL.M. program in international law or comparative law; satisfactory completion of graduate level law school courses involving international law aspects while enrolled in a graduate law program; lecturing at continuing legal education seminars on international law; authoring articles or books on international law; or teaching courses on international law at an accredited law school. The international law certification committee shall promulgate uniform regulations for the operation of the subdivision.

(d) Peer Review.

The applicant shall submit the names and addresses of 5 other attorneys or judges who are familiar with the applicant's practice, excluding individuals who currently are employed by the same employer as the applicant, and who can attest to the applicant's special competence and substantial involvement in international law, as well as the applicant's character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. The international law certification committee may at its option send reference forms to other attorneys and judges.

(e) Examination.

The applicant shall take and pass an examination designed to demonstrate sufficient knowledge, skills, and proficiency in international law to justify the representation of special competence to the legal profession and the public.


Recertification for Adoption Law in Florida

Rule 6-21.4 provides that recertification shall be pursuant to the following standards:

(a) Substantial Involvement.

The applicant shall demonstrate continuous and substantial involvement in the practice of international law throughout the period since the last date of certification. The demonstration of substantial involvement shall be made in accordance with the standards set forth in rule 6-21.3(b).

(b) Education.

The applicant shall show completion of at least 75 hours of continuing legal education in international law since the filing of the last application for certification. In determining whether an applicant has satisfied this requirement, the standards set forth in rule 6-21.3(c) shall be followed.

(c) Peer Review.

The applicant shall submit the names and addresses of 5 other attorneys or judges who are familiar with the applicant's practice, excluding individuals who currently are employed by the same employer as the applicant, and who can attest to the applicant's special competence and substantial involvement in international law, as well as the applicant's character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. The international law certification committee may at its option send reference forms to other attorneys and judges.

(d) Examination.

If, after reviewing the material submitted for recertification, the international law certification committee determines that the applicant may not meet the standards established by this chapter, it may require, as a condition of recertification, that the applicant take and pass the examination specified in rule 6-21.3(e).


Additional Resources:

International Law Certification in Florida - Visit the Florida Bar website to find the definition of international law, a summary of the certification requirements, the application, the filing period deadlines, exam specifications, sample questions, and a standard guide.


This article was last updated on Monday, February 29, 2016.