Board certification for lawyers: Is it meaningful for clients?

| Apr 6, 2020 | Divorce

One Florida family law attorney is pretty much the same as any other, right? After all, every duly credentialed practitioner has completed law school and passed a bar exam.

Doesn’t that shared vetting point to the strong likelihood that any two advocates will secure substantially similar results in a given client matter?

Legal regulators in Florida don’t think so.

In fact, the Florida Bar specifically spotlights a select and notably limited group of family law practitioners across the state who command a singular degree of acumen and experience in their legal sphere.

Put another way: Those who oversee the practice of law in Florida distinctly recognize a core group of lawyers for their demonstrated professional commitment, passion and comparatively heightened competence in handling family law matters.

Candidly, that demographic is small. In fact, fewer than 1% of all Florida attorneys reportedly qualify for designation as board-certified advocates.

Spotlighting board certification: a high hurdle to clear

A potential legal client in Florida searching for optimal representation in a divorce or other family law matter can confidently note a fundamental point regarding board certification.

That is this: It is not casually conferred. The threshold requirements that an attorney seeking certification must satisfy are both multiple and stringent.

That is manifestly noted by Florida legal authorities. The state bar underscores on its website that certification “is the Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys.” The following minimum requirements readily bear that out:

  • Minimum of five years active legal practice
  • Substantial immersion in marital and family law
  • Satisfaction of all ongoing legal education mandates
  • Clearance of a peer review that focuses on matters ranging from competency to personal character
  • Passage of a specialized written exam

Bar officials regard certification as strong proof of an attorney’s heightened advocacy skills. A bar spokesperson recently noted that certification is widely valued “as the best objective source of identifying lawyers who have special skills and knowledge in their practice areas, and are ethical and professional.”

The value of certification to a Florida family law client

Prospective and actual family law clients across Florida are justifiably concerned with the legal advocacy they secure to promote their best interests in deeply important personal matters. At the outset, the knowledge that their attorney is officially recognized for competency and professionalism within a notably limited demographic should be strongly reassuring.

Moreover, there is this: The broad-based hurdles necessary to be cleared for designation as a board-certified attorney in Florida render it strongly likely that a certified practitioner will be solely focused on family law matters. Additionally, that advocate will almost certainly command keen insight into a client’s personal challenges and opportunities, whatever they might be.

It is smart for any Florida resident seeking effective legal help in a family law matter to do some preliminary research. The designation of an attorney as a board-certified advocate might reasonably be regarded as one signpost of consummate professionalism.