Time to be Board Certified?
I am proud to be Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation. This is a distinction that required significant effort and time, both in meeting the requirements for the designation and in documenting the satisfaction of the requirements. The test was challenging and comprehensive, but frankly it was also a great learning experience. I was Board Certified in August 1999, and just marked my 14th year.
The application period for Florida Bar Board Certification in Workers’ Compensation opens September 1, 2013 and closes on Halloween, October 31, 2013. The standards for certification are published on The Florida Bar’s website.
The application may be a little intimidating. As I mentioned above, documenting the satisfaction of the requirements may require significant effort. The application requires a listing of your employment history since admission to the practice. Remembering all those dates and addresses may not be easy. Then you have to document 25 contested workers’ compensation cases which you have tried. There are provisions that allow some portion of this requirement to be satisfied by appellate or “protracted” litigation.
Years ago, I spoke with an attorney who told me that remembering the trials, case numbers, dates, and identities of opposing counsel was a daunting task. I commiserated, as that research was a significant effort when I applied for Board Certification. There is a great tool available for this now, however, on the OJCC website. You can search your name in the “Case Search” window at www.fljcc.org. That should locate all of the trial orders in which your name appears. Those orders should help with much of the information required by the Certification Application. You may nonetheless need to update addresses and other such information which has changed since those orders were entered.
There are currently 205 Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Florida. We have several at the OJCC, including Judge Lorenzen, Judge Massey, Judge Rosen, Judge Sculco, Judge Sojourner, and State mediators John Brooks and Stuart Suskin. I trust I have not missed someone. The list of all certified attorneys is on the Bar site above. It is a list of names easily recognizable to those in the Florida workers' compensation community/ practice.
Pennsylvania recently became the ninth state to offer Board Certification in workers' compensation. The others are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas. In the initial examination in Pennsylvania, 176 attorneys applied, 155 took the tes and 149 passed. In their initial examination, Pennsylvania certified 149 attorneys in workers' compensation, compared to the 205 Florida currently has certified. This information was obtained from an August 2, 2013 article on Workcompcentral.com, titled "Attorneys Question Value of Comp Specialization Programs."
There is debate as to what value Certification brings, as suggested by the title of the article. Some have been quoted in that article as saying that it "means nothing at all," and can lead to higher malpractice insurance costs. With the cost of required CLE and the annual fees, others have questioned the return on investment. It has also been said, however, that Board Certification brings credibility, and the requirements facilitate staying current on the workers' compensation law.
An official in California has said that Board Certification is "Like a Good Housekeeping symbol ofapproval." An interesting analogy.
Is it worth the time, effort and expense? That is for you to decide. I am proud to be Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation. If you would be also, the time is now, the links above will lead you to the process. The OJCC Case search m