Evaluated for Professionalism and Tested for Expertise
The title for this blog post came straight from a Florida Bar pamphlet on Board Certification for Specialties. The reason this is important is that the federal courts have recently ruled that any Florida lawyer can claim to be a “specialist” or “expert” if those claims are “objectively verifiable”. The real danger with this ruling is that the Florida Bar is already stretched to oversee and sanction lawyers that mislead the general public in their advertisements, websites and blogs.
This recent ruling throws even more fuel on the fire for the 7% of Florida lawyers that have actually taken the time and dedication it requires to become Board Certified in a specialty. Attorney Adam Pollack is very proud of the fact that he is a Board Certified Criminal Lawyer and had to complete the following to claim that designation:
- Practice law for a minimum of five years.
- Demonstrate substantial involvement in the field of law for which certification is sought.
- Pass satisfactory peer review of competence in the specialty field as well as character, ethics and professionalism in the practice of law.
- Satisfy the certification area’s continuing legal education
- Receive a passing grade on the examination required of all applicants or meet strict criteria to exempt the exam.
- Board certification is valid for five years, during which time the attorney must continue to practice law and attend Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education courses.
- To be recertified, lawyers must meet requirements similar to those for initial certification.
- Not all qualified lawyers are certified, but those who are board certified have taken extra steps to have their competence and experience evaluated.
Trust the Florida Bar Board Certification
With the new ruling from the Federal Courts, many more lawyers, especially those that do not qualify for Board Certification, will be able to claim that they “specialize” or are “experts” in criminal law. Since less than 7% of Florida lawyers are Board Certified and even fewer in criminal law, you should trust the Florida Bar and its certification process when choosing your criminal defense attorney.
Remember that only lawyers who are board certified in criminal law can claim to be certified or board certified. Lawyers and law firms that try to claim specialization or expertise in a particular area of law must be able to objectively verify those claims. What does this actually mean?
Objectively Verify Specialization or Expertise
At the Law Office of Adam L. Pollack, we would argue that the best way to “objectively” verify a claim of specialization or expertise is to actually go through the rigorous process of becoming board certified. Many lawyers technically qualify for board certification, but very few actually take the time to take the test and follow through to certification. What does this say about the law firm or attorney? In our opinion, it shows a lack of dedication to the profession that requires graduating from an accredited law school, passing the bar exam, and practicing law within the ethics rules provided by the Florida Bar.
If a law firm or lawyer wants to claim that they specialize in an area of law or are supposed “experts” without board certification, they immediately leave themselves vulnerable to a Florida Bar ethics complaint. A consumer could claim that they were mislead or did not understand the extent of their qualifications to handle their case. Why risk this when you can retain a lawyer that has completed board certification and continues to maintain that designation for many years.
Contact the Law Office of Adam L. Pollack today for an Orlando criminal defense consultation. Call us today at (407) 834-5297.