Beyond the Bio

Litigators Maintain Board Certification, The Florida Bar’s “Legal Expert” Status for 30 Years

Litigators Maintain Board Certification, The Florida Bar’s “Legal Expert” Status for 30 Years

Bud Kirk and J. Richard “Dick” Caldwell, Jr. founding partners of RumbergerKirk earned legal Board Certification in civil trial in 1983 and have remained certified for 30 years. Practicing out of the firm’s Orlando office, Kirk focuses his practice on commercial litigation, product liability, and professional liability. Caldwell established the firm’s office in Tampa where he represents clients in product liability, commercial litigation and professional liability.

Caldwell, Dick

Dick Caldwell

“As experts in civil trial work, Bud and Dick have set a remarkable example for everyone at the firm,” shared Frank Sheppard, managing partner of RumbergerKirk. Not only have they taught us the importance of being good lawyers and taking extremely good care of our clients, but they also established a rich culture that focuses on the people, their enduring friendships and the support they provide each other.”

In Florida, only board certified lawyers may use the terms “specialist,” “expert” or “B.C.S.” for Board Certified Specialist when referring to their legal credentials.

“Maintaining Board Certification for 30 continuous years is a significant professional accomplishment,” said Florida Bar President Gwynne A. Young of Carlton Fields in Tampa. “These individuals are leaders by example in Florida’s legal profession and we salute their commitment to excellence and professionalism in the practice of law.”

Board Certification evaluates attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. About 4,600 of Florida’s 93,000 lawyers have earned Board Certification. Florida offers 24 specialty areas for Board Certification, more than any other state.

Background. Board Certification is The Florida Bar’s highest evaluation of attorneys’ competence and

Bud Kirk

Bud Kirk

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 must demonstrate 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:
• be an active member in good standing of The Florida Bar;
• practice law for a minimum of five years;
• complete approved legal education programs;
• demonstrate substantial experience in the specialty area;
• be favorably evaluated by judges and other lawyers as to competency and professionalism in the specialty field; and
• pass a comprehensive written examination in the specialty area or satisfy strict criteria to exempt the exam.

Board Certification is valid for five years. During that time, the attorney 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.