Historically, it has been unethical for a lawyer to say that he or she is the “best” lawyer in town or in an area of law. And of course, it would be impossible to choose the best one — a subjective assessment that varies from person to person. So, how can you make a smart hiring decision?
The truth is, there are many Florida lawyers who could adequately and effectively perform the legal services you need to handle your divorce, separation, paternity or other family law matter. It is also true that attorneys have different strengths and matching those to your unique requirements increases the chances of a positive experience.
Florida Board Certification
How can you find one who will be qualified to handle your particular family law matter and a good fit for you professionally and personally? Several things can help you make a wise choice, but a significant factor is a lawyer’s Board Certification in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar.
The Florida Bar reports that as of June 1, 2018, there are about 88,100 attorneys eligible to practice and in good standing in the Sunshine State. According to The Capstone, Spring 2018 issue, the newsletter for Florida board certified lawyers, only about five percent of licensed attorneys in the state are certified in at least one of 26 areas of specialization. As of this writing, only 282 of them are Board Certified in Marital and Family Law.
The motto of Florida Bar’s board certification program is: “Evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise.” According to The Florida Bar, board certification “recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law.” Certified lawyers are “legal experts dedicated to professional excellence who have met rigorous standards for experience and professionalism.”
A certified lawyer may use the title “Board Certified Specialist” or B.C.S. in his or her signature block. Normally, attorneys do not use the term “specialist” to describe themselves for ethical reasons, but in Florida, this restriction is lifted for those who achieve board certification.
The Florida Bar requires several achievements to grant initial certification. For example, an applicant must successfully pass a rigorous examination in the field of specialization. After achieving certification, an attorney must requalify every fifth year.
We are proud that The Florida Bar has granted Board Certification in Marital and Family Law to our attorney Daniel Forrest. In our next post, we will share thoughts about other things to consider in hiring an attorney.