The FL Bar Logo


Fifty-eight Lawyers Earn Board Certification, The Florida Bar's "Legal Expert" Status


July 2, 2013
CONTACT: Kenia Escobar,,
The Florida Bar

TELEPHONE: (850) 561-5666

Fifty-eight lawyers recently earned Florida Bar board certification. Board certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. This designation 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 certification evaluates attorneys' special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Florida offers 24 specialty areas for board certification, more than any other state. Of the lawyers eligible to practice law in Florida, 6 percent – more than 4,600 Florida lawyers – have earned board certification.

Florida Bar President-Elect Eugene Pettis, a board certified education lawyer from Fort Lauderdale, believes that board certification is becoming a standard of preference for an increasing number of clients.

"In an ever-crowded field of more than 96,000 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 congratulate these lawyers who have demonstrated their competence and experience through seeking board certification in their professional areas."

Background. The Florida Bar annually awards board certification in two cycles, effective June 1 and August 1. Fifty-eight Florida lawyers attained board certification on June 1. The lawyers are listed below.

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.

To become a board certified specialist, a lawyer must:

  • Practice law for a minimum of five years.
  • Demonstrate substantial involvement in the field of law for which certification is sought.
  • Pass satisfactory peer review of competence in the specialty field as well as character, ethics and professionalism in the practice of law.
  • Satisfy the certification area's continuing legal education requirements.
  • Receive a passing grade on the examination required of all applicants or meet strict criteria to exempt the exam.

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 Web site at or contact The Florida Bar's Legal Specialization & Education Department at (850) 561-5842.

The following lawyers, listed by specialty practice areas and cities, earned Florida Bar board certification on June 1:

    Admiralty and Maritime Law
    Charles Stuart Davant, Fort Lauderdale
    C. Ryan Eslinger, Jacksonville
    Christopher R. Koehler, Tampa
    Eric C. Thiel, Tampa

    Adoption Law
    Ginger S. Allen, North Miami Beach
    Tammi J. Driver, St. Petersburg
    Steven Hurwitz, Tampa
    Leenetta Blanton Grizzard, Tampa

    Appellate Practice
    Jessie L. Harrell, Jacksonville
    Daniel B. Rogers, Miami
    Christopher Dale Donovan, Naples
    Andrew D. Manko, Tallahassee
    Dineen Pashoukos Wasylik, Tampa

    Aviation Law
    Charles R. Morgenstein, Boca Raton
    Jonathan Alexander Ewing, Fort Lauderdale

    Civil Trial
    David H. Charlip, Aventura
    Derek A. Reams, Bradenton
    Jorge P. Gutierrez, Jr., Fort Lauderdale
    John Willington Wesley, Fort Walton Beach
    Malcolm A. Purow, Hollywood
    Daniel A. Iracki, Jacksonville
    Charles Michael Greene, Orlando
    Michael D. Maurer Jr., Orlando
    Armando R. Payas, Orlando
    Jason J. Recksiedler, Orlando
    Steven Edward Sellers, Tallahassee
    Jacqueline Marie Bunty, Tampa
    Gregory Giannuzzi, Tampa
    David G. Henry, Tampa
    Joseph Alexander Lao, Tampa
    Mariano Garcia, West Palm Beach

    Elder Law
    Heather Campbell Kirson, Orlando
    Jason A. Waddell, Pensacola

    Education Law
    J. Paul Carland II, Fort Lauderdale
    David McKinnon Delaney, Gainesville

    Marital and Family Law
    Jennifer C. Frank, Altamonte Springs
    Sandy Todd Fox, Aventura
    Paul Fleming Grondahl, Bradenton
    Holly G. Gershon, Boca Raton
    Raymond Joseph Rafool II, Miami
    Bonnie Sockel-Stone, Miami
    Paul Seth Leinoff, South Miami
    Mira Staggers White, Murdock
    Christine Lynne Derr, Tampa

    International Law
    Jake Anthony Baccari, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, Japan

    Immigration and Nationality
    Andrea Montavon-McKillip, Coral Gables
    Claudia Del Castillo-Hronsky, Miami
    Michael A. Harris, Miami
    Daniel Bruce Sibirsky, Miami
    Shahzad Ahmed, Orlando

    Labor and Employment Law
    Brett J. Schneider, Fort Lauderdale
    Mark J. Beutler, Miami
    John Houston Pope, New York
    Elizabeth Fite Blanco, Tampa
    Timothy Tack, Tampa

    Tax Law
    Kenneth John Crotty, Clearwater
    Robert H. Trudeau, Jacksonville
    Vitauts M. Gulbis, Tampa

Source: The Florida Bar