Why Do I Need A Board Certified Trial Lawyer?
If you were injured in any type of accident that wasn’t your fault, or have had the terrible experience of losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you should care whether your lawyer is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law.
In the legal field is different from certifications in other professions. For example, most doctors are Board Certified in their particular area of expertise. In the legal field, however, Board Certification is actually quite rare. In fact, less than 2 % of Florida’s lawyers are Board Certified Civil Trial lawyers.
You see, in the legal field Board Certification isn’t something that’s required. In order to be Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, a lawyer has to satisfy several requirements. They must be a lawyer for at least 5 years. They have to dedicate a certain amount of their practice to civil trial work, and have taken at least 15 cases to trial within recent years. They must have spent at least 55 hours in specific Continuing Legal Education courses. Judges and other lawyers are interviewed about their qualifications and skills, and finally, they have to pass a very challenging exam. It’s an extensive process.
You can be sure that if you’re lawyer is Board Certified, you’re in good hands. He or she knows what they are doing, understands the applicable laws and rules, and knows how to conduct a trial. You should trust their advice.
Don’t assume that because your lawyer’s billboard or commercial says “Trial Lawyer” that they are Board Certified, or that they have ever even been in an actual courtroom. Ask them if they are Board Certified. If you feel uncomfortable asking, you can find out from the Florida Bar.
If you’re lawyer is NOT Board Certified, ask them if they are supervised by a lawyer who is. If your lawyer is not yet Board Certified but working towards certification and under the supervision of an attorney who is already Board Certified, you are in very good hands.
If your lawyer isn’t supervised by someone who is Board Certified, you need to ask some more questions. How many cases has your lawyer taken to trial? Have they ever actually filed a lawsuit? If their answer is “None, I don’t have to go to trial because everyone settles with me”, that is not a good sign. You don’t want a lawyer who isn’t experienced with lawsuits to force you to settle because he doesn’t know how to go to trial, or can’t afford to. And trust us, the insurance companies know which law firms take cases to trials and which ones always settle. The law firms that go to trial generally get more respect, and therefore higher offers, from the insurance companies.
The NBTA – National Board of Trial Advocacy – has put together some good information on why it’s important to hire a Board Certified attorney. YOu can check out their page and videos here: http://nbta.memberclicks.net