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Civil Trial Certification.

Civil trial law is the practice of law dealing with the litigation of civil controversies in all areas of substantive law before Florida circuit courts or other equivalent courts of the states and federal district courts. In addition to the pretrial and trial process, civil trial law includes evaluating, handling, and resolving civil controversies prior to the initiation of suit.

Civil trial law is one of Florida's first certification areas, having been approved by the Florida Supreme Court in 1983. Currently, less than 1 percent of Florida lawyers are board certified civil trial lawyers. More than 100 board certified civil trial lawyers have been continuously certified since 1983.

The Civil Trial Certification Committee is charged with the responsibility of reviewing and recommending changes to the standards for certification in civil trial law; evaluating applications for certification and recertification; and preparing and grading the annual examination, which is a requirement for all applicants. In the 2018-19 year, we continued the work begun by past Chair Charles Ingram, thoroughly reviewing our protocols and making necessary changes. We've increased our emphasis on peer review and continue to develop ways to recognize trial participation for qualification purposes.

In 2018-2019, the committee successfully reviewed 209 applications for recertification. There were 35 applicants for initial certification who were eligible to sit for the March examination. The committee is currently in the process of grading the examinations and results will be sent to newly board certified attorneys before June 1. Last year, we proudly welcomed 20 new board certified civil trial lawyers.

This year, we made major changes to the exam in terms of format and grading designed to make it more reflective of the skills a practicing trial lawyer relies upon. The committee also embarked on a mission of promoting board certification. I spoke at the civil trial review seminar, and some members, led again by Ingram, will be working at this year's Advanced Trial Advocacy seminar to fulfill that goal. We want to work more closely with the Trial Lawyers Section to accomplish that goal.

The committee owes special thanks to outgoing Vice Chair Charles Morehead III for his effort and input on policy; and of course, Amanda Barrett, our civil trial certification specialist from The Florida Bar, without whom we'd be lost.

Michael B. Feiler, Chair

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Title Annotation:Annual Reports of Committees of the Florida Bar: 2018-2019
Author:Feiler, Michael B.
Publication:Florida Bar Journal
Date:May 1, 2019
Words:382
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