What Does Board-Certified Mean for an Attorney?


If your criminal defense lawyer is not “board certified,” you may want to see if another attorney can provide you with better communication, better advocacy, and better results.  


In Florida, fewer than 2% of lawyers are Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyers like Attorney Ben Stechschulte of the Stechschulte Nell Law Firm in Tampa. Just because your lawyer is not board certified does not necessarily mean they are less skilled or less talented in the legal profession. Board certification is a valuable credential that some lawyers seek because they specialize in their practice area and they meet the high standards of knowledge, competence, and performance required to earn board certification. 



Why Get a Board-Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer? 


Just as doctors specialize in a specific field of medicine, some lawyers spend much of their professional lives honing their skills in a special area of legal practice. Some lawyers never leave their desks and focus their attention on mergers and acquisitions, and others do nothing other than family law or estate planning.  


Attorneys who concentrate their practice on a single legal area, and work hard to achieve a level of professional excellence substantially above the average lawyer, deserve to have their superior knowledge and ability recognized. 


Board certification enables clients to find lawyers who are exceptionally accomplished in the practice area in which the client needs help. Even before meeting with a board-certified criminal trial lawyer, you can be confident that they possess the following attributes: 


  • the attorney is better informed about substantive criminal law and court procedure, 
  • the lawyer insists on maintaining a high level of competence, 
  • the lawyer continually works hard to keep abreast of important new legal developments, 
  • the attorney is widely respected by colleagues, prosecutors, and judges 
  • the lawyer stands above other attorneys in the ability to provide the best, most successful criminal defense possible under the law. 


How Does a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Earn Board Certification? 


The State Bar of Florida regulates the board certification process and holds every attorney seeking to obtain board certification to strict standards demonstrating the lawyer’s expertise in the specialty area. 


No one may apply to become a Board-Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer unless they meet these requirements: 


  • The lawyer must have at least five full years of legal practice experience, 
  • For three consecutive years before they apply for board certification, the lawyer must devote at least 30% or more of their legal practice to criminal trial law, 
  • The lawyer must have conducted at least 20 jury trials through to verdict, of which at least 15 of them involved felony charges, and they must have served as lead counsel in at least 10 of those felony trials. 
  • The lawyer must provide proof of completing at least 45 hours of continuing legal education that concentrated on the subject of criminal trial law during the 3 years immediately preceding their attempt to become board-certified, 
  • They must have earned the respect of their fellow criminal trial lawyers, both prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as judges, 
  • The lawyer must successfully pass a challenging written examination testing their knowledge and good judgment in the practice of criminal trial law. 


Why Are Fewer Than 2 % of Florida Lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law? 


The simple answer to that question is that achieving Florida Board Certification in Criminal Trial Law is one of the highest achievements of a lawyer’s professional career. Many other lawyers simply cannot meet the demanding requirements. 


Criminal defense lawyers who earn the honor of Florida Board Certification are recognized as among the most accomplished, most experienced, and most talented criminal defense practitioners in the state. Florida’s standards are substantially higher than those found in other states, indicating that Florida board-certified criminal lawyers are better qualified and more skillful than most criminal lawyers anywhere in the country. 


No Florida Lawyer Can Claim to “Specialize” Unless They Win Board Certification 


Only lawyers who have proven that they meet the strict requirements of board certification can ethically hold themselves out to the public as “specialists” in their practice area. Non-board-certified attorneys are prohibited from advertising or claiming to specialize in an area of law because they have passed only the standard bar examination. 


Board Certified lawyers submit to an additional intense layer of demanding tests, examinations, and qualification checks, and are obliged to continue to maintain a steady stream of continuing education in their specialty practice area.  


To ensure that those exceptional lawyers who earn board certification continue to live up to the credential, the Florida Bar Association requires every board-certified attorney to be recertified at least every 5 years.  


Learn More> The Crucial Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer  


Board-Certified Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer in Tampa – Ben Stechschulte, Esq. 


Attorney Ben Stechschulte of Stechschulte Nell, in Tampa, is one of Florida’s few board-certified criminal defense trial lawyers. Attorney Stechschulte has been practicing criminal law exclusively for more than 15 years as both a prosecutor and a skilled criminal defense attorney. 


Earning the prestigious credential as a Board-Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer has brought Ben the recognition he deserves as one of the most expert criminal defense lawyers in Tampa or anywhere in Hillsborough County or Pinellas County. 


With extensive criminal trial experience, Ben Stechschulte knows how to analyze the facts of your case and use his comprehensive knowledge of the law to determine the best approach to successfully defend you from any criminal charges you or one of your family members are facing. His highly developed judgment and legal insight have protected thousands of criminal defendants’ legal rights and preserved their interests through hundreds of hearings, arguments, and trials.  


If you or one of your family members is charged with a criminal offense, whether a DUI, drug crime, gun crime, domestic violence, sex offense, or fraud, Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law will provide you with the most expert legal representation available.  


As a Board-Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer, you are assured that Ben Stechschulte is among the most qualified defense lawyers anywhere in Florida. Trust in experience.  


Call us for a case review today at 813-280-1244. 

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