Scott B. Smith Achieves Recertification in Civil Trial Law from The Florida Bar
Firm partner Scott B. Smith, a specialist in Florida personal injury and Florida wrongful death matters, has achieved recertification in Civil Trial Law from The Florida Bar. Scott originally met the standards of certification to be a Board Certified Specialist in Civil Trial Law on June 1, 2008. He gained recertification from The Florida Bar on May 31, 2008. Board certification is valid for five (5) 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. In addition to Scott B. Smith, firm partners Joseph J. Reiter (1983), Kevin C. Smith (1997), Lake H. Lytal, III (2004), Lance C. Ivey (2010) and Todd Fronrath (2012) are also Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Civil Trial Law. Partner William S. Williams (1994) also being Board Certified. Firm attorney Matthew Haynes (2010) has also gained Board Certification in Civil Trial Law. As with Scott B. Smith, all other LRSI&F Board Certified Partners and Attorneys are specialists in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, products liability, truck accidents, premises liability, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents and all other areas of law that involve personal injury or wrongful death.
Board certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Board certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. Certification is The Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys in the 24 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida. Established in 1982 by the Florida Supreme Court, Board Certification helps consumers or injured accident victims with personal injury identify specialists in various areas of law, including Civil Trial Law. Board certified Florida Bar members are the only Florida attorneys allowed to identify themselves as “Board Certified,” “Specialist,” “Expert” or to use the letters “B.C.S.” for Board Certified Specialist on business cards or letterhead, in legal directories or in advertising. A Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer can assist an injured victim following a motor vehicle accident or some other type of accident causing personal injury or a wrongful death.
Only six percent (6%) of eligible Florida Bar members, approximately 4,600 lawyers, are Board Certified. Even less than that figure are Board Certified in the area of Civil Trial Law. A lawyer who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar and who meets the standards prescribed by the state's Supreme Court may become board certified in one or more of the 24 certification fields. Minimum requirements for certification are listed below:
- 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 requirements.
- Receive a passing grade on the examination required of all applicants or meet strict criteria to exempt the exam.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers regarding Board Certification as outlined by The Florida Bar:
Describe the Florida Bar’s lawyer certification program.
- Certification is a voluntary program for lawyers, approved by The Florida Supreme Court and administered by The Florida Bar. The program began in 1982 to help the public choose lawyers.
- Certified attorneys are the only lawyers allowed to use the terms specialist, expert or B.C.S. for Board Certified Specialist when referring to their legal credentials.
- Board certification is The Florida Bar’s “Legal Expert” status.
- The Florida Bar evaluates all certified lawyers for experience and expertise in a particular area of law and professionalism and ethics in the practice of law. Our slogan is, "Evaluated for Professionalism, Tested for Expertise."
- A lawyer who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar and who meets the standards prescribed by the state's Supreme Court may become board certified in one or more of the 24 certification fields.
- Certification is the highest level of evaluation by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification.
- The Florida Bar offers the greatest number of specialties (24) of any state in the U.S.
What does it mean to be certified?
- Board certified lawyers have a minimum of five years in law practice.
- Certified lawyers must show substantial involvement in the field of law for which certification is sought.
- They must receive a passing grade on the examination required of all applicants or meet strict criteria to exempt the exam before officially earning board certification; each specialty has a different exam.
- Certified lawyers must satisfy a peer review assessment of their competence in the specialty field plus character, ethics and professionalism in the practice of law.
- Certified lawyers must satisfy the certification area’s continuing legal education requirements.
- 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.
How does the certification program help a client or potential client?
- Board certified lawyers’ experience and competency have been rigorously evaluated, and they are the only Florida lawyers allowed to refer to themselves as specialists or experts or to use the letters B.C.S. to indicate Board Certified Specialist when referring to their legal credentials.
- Board certified lawyers have met The Florida Bar’s highest standards for special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.
How many lawyers are certified in Florida?
- Six percent (6%) of eligible Florida Bar members – approximately 4,600 lawyers – have earned board certification in one or more of the 24 specialty areas.
What are the areas of Florida Bar board certification?
- Adoption Law
- Admiralty & Maritime Law
- Antitrust & Trade Regulation Law
- Appellate Practice
- Aviation Law
- Business Litigation
- City, County & Local Government Law
- Civil Trial
- Construction Law
- Criminal Appellate
- Criminal Trial
- Education Law
- Elder Law
- Health Law
- Immigration & Nationality
- Intellectual Property Law
- International Law
- Labor & Employment Law
- Marital & Family Law
- Real Estate
- State and Federal Government and Administrative Practice
- Tax Law
- Wills, Trusts & Estates
- Workers' Compensation
What advice can you give someone who is looking for a lawyer?
- Make a list of lawyers who may be qualified; ask family, friends and co-workers for references
- Contact The Florida Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service or local bar association lawyer referral services listed in the Yellow Pages. These services are designed to assist consumers in contacting lawyers.
- The Florida Bar provides referrals to attorneys who will conduct an initial half-hour office consultation for $25. Consumers can access the service by calling (800) 342-8011 weekdays 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. or by visiting The Florida Bar’s Web site at www.FloridaBar.org.
- Before scheduling an appointment with a lawyer, call to ask a few questions, such as:
- Does the lawyer have experience with the type of problem?
- Does the lawyer charge for an initial interview? How much?
- If the problem is routine, is there a standard fee? What does it cover?
- Is there a written agreement describing the services provided for the fee?
- Write down all the information and compare answers. Make an appointment with the lawyer whose answers seem most satisfactory.
- Discuss fees in advance and have a fee agreement put in writing.
How do I know a lawyer is certified?
- The Florida Bar only allows certified lawyers to use the terms “Board Certified,” “specialist" and "expert." Florida Bar board certified lawyers may also use the letters "B.C.S." behind their names to indicate "Board Certified Specialist," and the area(s) in which the member is board certified must be identified. If the "B.C.S." letters are used in court documents or non-advertising contexts, the initials may stand alone.
- Certified lawyers may use a logo that says, “The Florida Bar, Board Certified” on their letterhead, business cards or in advertisements. Logos are available for each specialty field of practice. However, if a lawyer uses The Florida Bar’s generic board certification logo, the logo should be accompanied by the specialty field.