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73 Lawyers Earn Florida Bar Legal Expert Status

73 Lawyers Earn Florida Bar Legal Expert Status: Tallahassee – The Board of Legal Specialization and Education congratulates the 73 lawyers who, effective June 1, earned Florida Bar board certification, a designation that places them among the only group of Florida lawyers who may use the terms “specialist,” “expert” or “B.C.S.” for Board Certified Specialist when referring to their legal credentials. Board certified lawyers are Evaluated for Professionalism and Tested for Expertise.

Board certification evaluates attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. About 4,600 of Florida’s 98,000 lawyers have earned board certification. Florida offers 24 specialty areas for board certification, more than any other state.

Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis, a board certified education lawyer who practices with Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm in Fort Lauderdale, believes that board certification is becoming a standard of preference for an increasing number of clients.

“In an ever-crowded field of over 98,000 lawyers, the achievement of board certification – the Bar’s highest evaluation of a lawyer’s competence and experience in a particular area of practice – is the only way of distinguishing yourself as an expert or a specialist,” said Pettis. “I highly encourage lawyers to demonstrate their competence and experience through seeking board certification in their professional areas.”

Florida Bar President-Elect Gregory Coleman recognizes the level of accomplishment that board certification represents.

“Board certification is one of the highest recognitions a lawyer in Florida can receive,” Coleman said. “The very difficult testing and extensive background peer review to confirm professional conduct is such a high standard that less than five percent of our membership has achieved this level of recognition. All board certified attorneys should be extremely proud of their accomplishment.”

Background. The Florida Bar annually awards board certification in two cycles, effective June 1 and August 1. Board certification is The Florida Bar’s highest evaluation of attorneys’ competence and experience in one or more of the 24 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida. Florida Bar board certified lawyers have demonstrated ability and experience in their fields and professionalism within the legal community.

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; each area of certification may contain higher or additional standards.

– A minimum of five years in law practice.
– Substantial involvement in the field of law for which certification is sought.
– Satisfactory peer review from other lawyers and judges to assess competence in the specialty field as well as character, ethics and professionalism in the practice of law.
– Satisfaction of the certification area’s continuing legal education requirements.
– A passing grade on the examination required of all applicants.

Board certification is valid for five years. The attorney during that time must continue to practice law and attend Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education courses. Recertification requirements are similar to those for initial certification. Not all qualified lawyers are certified, but those who are board certified have voluntarily taken the extra step to have their competence and experience evaluated.

For more information, please visit The Florida Bar website at or contact The Florida Bar’s Legal Specialization & Education Department at (850) 561-5842.

Lawyers who earned board certification effective June 1, 2014:

Appellate Practice
Courtney Brewer, Tallahassee

Ezequiel Lugo, Tampa
Amy L. Miles, Tampa
Mark Miller, Palm Beach Gardens
Nichole J. Segal, West Palm Beach

Aviation Law
Galen D. Bauer, Jacksonville
Jonathan Levy, Naples
Mark Kelley Schwartz, Southfield, MI
Juan Ricardo Serrano, Fort Lauderdale

Civil Trial
George Michael Bakalar, Boynton Beach
R. Evan Bassett , Saint Petersburg
Jonathan Mark Cox, West Palm Beach
Benjamin L Crawford, Brandon
James Louis D’Andrea, Jacksonville
Douglas Blake Dykes, Panama City
Brad Edwards, Fort Lauderdale
W. Braxton Gillam, IV, Jacksonville
Samuel R. Guelli, West Palm Beach
James W. Gustafson, Jr., Tallahassee
Michael David Marrese, Jacksonville
Kyle Wiliam Maxson, Saint Petersburg
Amy McGuiness, Jacksonville
J. Scott Murphy, Orlando
Mark A. Nation, Longwood
Katherine Christie Neal, Clearwater
Jeffrey Duane Peairs, Sarasota
Justin W. Pimenta, Tampa
Anthony Hunter Quackenbush, Hollywood
Lyman H. Reynolds, Jr., West Palm Beach
Michael D. Sechrest, Gainesville
Daniel Girvan Williams, Palm Beach Gardens

Education Law
Charles Wesley Bridges, Bartow
Suzanne Lynda Gardner, Saint Petersburg
Lawrence F. Glick, Boca Raton
Walter James Harvey, Miami
John Carlo Palmerini, Orlando
Donna Sessions Waters, Pensacola

Elder Law
Heidi Marthanna Brown, Fort Myers
Lyndy Claire Jennings, St Petersburg
Brian C. Perlin, Coral Gables
Debra G Simms, Altamonte Springs
Debra J Slater, Coral Springs
Collett P. Small, Pembroke Pines

Immigration and Nationality
Jill Elina Grucan, Miami

Luis Alberto Guerra, Fort Lauderdale
Francisco F. Symphorien-Saavedra, Orlando
Christian Georg Andreas Zeller, Tampa

International Law
Robert J. Becerra, Miami
Francis M. Boyer, Jacksonville
Daniel Florentin Visoiu, Bucharest Romania
Stephen H. Wagner, Miami

Labor and Employment Law
Erick M Drlicka, Pensacola

Charles R Fawsett, Orlando
Chelsie J. Flynn, Orlando
Melissa Christine Mihok, Tampa
Michelle Erin Nadeau, Clearwater
Darrin M. Phillips, Naples
Bradley Paul Rothman, Naples
Shaina Thorpe, Tampa
Noah Scott Warman, Coral Gables

Marital and Family Law
Ileana Maria Almeida, Fort Lauderdale

David L. Hirschberg, Boca Raton
Benjamin Thomas Hodas, West Palm Beach
Kristin R. H. Kirkner, Tampa
Jill Garrett Lowe, Tampa
Keersten Heskin Martinez, Orlando
Gale H. Moore, Largo
Philip J. Schipani, Sarasota

Tax Law
Scott Andrew Bowman, Boca Raton

Nancy S. Freeman, Winter Park
Thomas James McLaughlin, Sarasota
Christine L. Weingart, Orlando
Shawn P. Wolf, Coral Gables

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