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Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A. - Elder and Special Needs Attorneys. Dedicated to preserving dignity and financial security
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What Does It Mean to Be Board-Certified?

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One of the qualities that sets us apart from almost all other elder law firms in West Palm Beach is the fact that our lead attorney, G. Mark Shalloway, is certified as a specialist in Elder Law by The Florida Bar. Just so you know that board certification isn’t just some “participation trophy” that is given away to every third lawyer every three years, we thought we’d take the time to explain what it means to be Board Certified and why you can trust this credential when choosing an attorney for your estate planning and elder law needs. To speak with a dedicated professional you know you can trust, contact Shalloway & Shalloway in West Palm Beach to speak with an experienced elder law and estate planning attorney.

What Does It Take to Be Board-Certified in Elder Law?

According to The Florida Bar, Board Certification recognizes an attorney’s “special knowledge, skills and proficiency” in a particular field of law as well as their “professionalism and ethics” in practice. Before The Florida Bar grants any lawyer Board-Certified status, the attorney must go through a rigorous application process to ensure they meet the standards set out in the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar. To obtain board certification in Elder Law under Rule 6.20, an attorney must meet the following requirements:

  • At least five years of experience in the practice of law
  • At least 40% of the lawyer’s practice must be actively involved in the specialty of elder law for each of the immediate three years before applying for certification
  • Completion of 60 hours of approved elder law certification continuing legal education in the three years immediately preceding the application
  • Positive recommendations from peers
  • Passage of a written exam designed to demonstrate knowledge, proficiency and experience in elder law that would justify representing the applicant as an Elder Law specialist to the legal profession and the public

The rules are demanding and specific when it comes to practical experience and substantial involvement in the practice of Elder Law. The rules require an applicant to have handled at least 60 matters in the three years prior to applying. This experience must include matters such as health and personal care planning, estate planning, fiduciary representation, legal capacity counseling, public benefits advice (such as Medicaid planning), and several other categories.

For the peer review process, the applicant must provide the names and addresses of five other lawyers who are familiar with the applicant’s practice to complete peer review forms provided by The Florida Bar. These peers cannot include members of the applicant’s law firm.

Recertification Requirements Are Equally Rigorous

Board certification was established in 1982 by the Florida Supreme Court to help consumers of legal services identify specialists in various areas of law. Mark Shalloway is in the charter class of Florida Bar board-certified lawyers, being included among the first group of attorneys to be recognized as specialists in Elder Law by the state. He maintains that certification to this day by going through the recertification process every five years, ensuring that he remains worthy of this prestigious legal distinction. This process requires demonstrating continuous and substantial involvement in Elder Law throughout the period since the last certification, as well as 75 to 125 hours of continuing legal education and peer review. An applicant for recertification must demonstrate substantial involvement in Elder Law under the same standards required for initial certification.

Board Certification: A Distinction You Can Trust

There are currently over 100,000 lawyers licensed to practice law in the state of Florida, and only a little over 100 (about one-tenth of one percent) are board-certified in Elder Law. If you want the confidence and security of knowing your attorney has been recognized by the state for knowledge, skills, and proficiency in Elder Law and meets a high standard of ethics and professionalism, call Shalloway & Shalloway at 561-686-6200 to discuss your needs with a dedicated West Palm Beach Elder Law Specialist.

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