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Russo Appellate Firm, P.A. A professional Association
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What it Means to be Board Certified in Appellate Practice

Appellate Practice is one of the 27 areas of specialty recognized by the Florida Supreme Court for board certification. Of the nearly 80,000 active Florida attorneys, less than 200 are currently certified as specialists in Appellate Practice.

Both Elizabeth K. Russo and Paulo R. Lima of the Russo Appellate Firm are board-certified Appellate Practice specialists. Together, they represent clients in Miami and throughout Florida in civil appeals encompassing the full range of civil litigation, from personal injury and products liability to general commercial cases and complex securities litigation. Our attorneys have practiced before all Florida District Courts of Appeal as well as the Florida Supreme Court.

What does it mean to be board certified?

A board-certified attorney has been evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. Board certification tests a lawyer’s knowledge, skills and proficiency in a particular practice area, as well as their general professionalism and ethics in the practice of law. Being board certified as a specialist represents the highest level of evaluation of competency and experience offered in the state of Florida.

What are the requirements for board certification in Appellate Practice?

The Florida Supreme Court sets out minimum standards for board certification. Attorneys must be in good standing with The Florida Bar and have been in practice for at least five years. They must demonstrate substantial involvement in their field of specialty, including satisfactory peer review of their competence in the field, as well as their ethics and professionalism. Board-certified specialists must pass a rigorous examination and complete continuing legal education (CLE). Board certification lasts for five years, after which the attorney must apply to be recertified as a specialist.

The standards for specialization in appellate practice go beyond the required minimum criteria. Certified appellate lawyers must have devoted at least 30% of their practice to appellate law in the last three years. They also must have personally handled at least 25 appellate actions and five appellate oral arguments in the previous five years. With this stringent requirement, you know that board-certified appellate lawyers have substantial experience filing principal briefs, petitions and responses, and conducting the full scope of work required by appellate attorneys.

The CLE requirement for certified appellate specialists equals 45 hours of relevant CLE in the last three years. Applicants must also submit peer reviews from at least four lawyers, not associates or partners (or relatives), who can attest to the attorney’s substantial involvement and competence in appellate practice, as well as the attorney’s character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. These peer reviews must come from appellate lawyers. The applicant must additionally submit reviews from at least two judges before whom the applicant has appeared within the last two years.

Applicants for board certification in appellate practice must also sit for a day-long written examination that covers vital appellate topics such as the recognition, preservation and presentation of trial error, as well as knowledge and application of both Florida state and federal rules of appellate procedure.

Why hire a board-certified specialist in appellate law?

Appellate practice is truly a specialty area of the law. Handling appeals successfully requires a different set of skills than are necessary to succeed at trial. Some of these skills overlap, such as meticulous attention to detail, thorough preparation, and the ability to argue persuasively in writing and verbally as well. For the appellate lawyer, excellent writing and critical thinking skills are paramount. These are areas in which the attorneys at Russo Appellate Firm excel. Studious, intellectual, professional and smart, Russo Appellate Firm should be your choice for appeals in Florida.

Call Russo Appellate Firm for Help with Florida Appeals

If you are a trial lawyer, insurance company, or other party about to embark on an appeal in Florida, contact Russo Appellate Firm in Miami at 305-666-4660.

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