Tom became board-certified in 2001 and recertified in 2006 and then again in 2011. As mandated by the Florida Bar, the following are the minimum requirements to be considered a “specialist” in civil trial law by the Florida Bar:
• Continuous substantial involvement and competence in civil trial law by practicing at least 5 years during which 50 percent has been spent actively participating in civil trial law.
• Handled the trials of a minimum of 15 contested civil cases, each involving substantial legal or factual issues, in circuit court, federal district court, or a court of similar jurisdiction in other states. Of these 15 cases, 5 shall have been jury cases, 5 shall have been conducted by the applicant as lead counsel, and 5 shall have been submitted to the trier of fact on some or all of the issues. At least 5 of the 15 cases, including 2 jury cases and 2 cases conducted by the applicant as lead counsel, shall have been tried during the 5 years immediately preceding application.
• Substantial involvement in contested civil matters sufficient to demonstrate special competence as a civil trial lawyer within the 3 years immediately preceding application. Substantial involvement includes investigation, evaluation, pleading, discovery, taking of testimony, presentation of evidence, and argument of jury or nonjury cases.
• Peer review attesting to the applicant’s special competence and substantial involvement in civil trial practice, as well as the applicant’s character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. No less than 1 peer review shall be a judge of a court of general jurisdiction (circuit court or federal district court) in the state of Florida before whom the applicant has appeared as an advocate in the 2 years immediately preceding the application.
• Completion of at least 50 hours of approved continuing legal education in the field of civil trial law within the 3 years immediately preceding application.
• Pass an examination applied uniformly to all applicants, to demonstrate sufficient knowledge, proficiency, and experience in civil trial law to justify the representation of special competence to the legal profession and the public.
• Satisfaction of continuing legal education requirements to remain certified.