Jacksonville attorney Michael G. Tanner of Tanner Bishop is the 2007-08 chair of The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education, a 16-member board that oversees the Bar’s board certification program and continuing legal education accreditation and compliance. The BLSE governs rules and policies for each of Florida’s 22 certification areas, and oversees the committees that implement each area’s standards.
Board certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. The BLSE’s mission is to improve the practice of law and the delivery of legal services to the public through the enhancement of technical skills and substantial competence, united under the highest standards of professionalism.
“Board certification is synonymous with the terms ‘specialist’ and ‘expert’ for good reason,” said 2006-07 Florida Bar President Hank Coxe. “The program maintains high standards for experience and integrity to help the public identify lawyers who strive for professional excellence.”
Tanner said he knew the appointment was coming.
“They (the Bar) gave me a heads up. I wouldn’t want to read it in your paper first,” joked Tanner.
The committee meets six times a year at various locations around the state. Tanner said the next meeting is in Tampa in September. He also said the committee can be time-consuming.
“It depends of what’s going on,” he said. “There are other meetings I am required to attend on behalf of the board. Yesterday (Wednesday) I got three or four e-mails about the committee, today five. Sometimes, I don’t get any.”
Tanner, 53, is board certified in business litigation and civil trial. He was appointed to the BLSE in 2004, appointed vice chair in 2006 and appointed chair, effective July 1, by Florida Bar President Frank Angones.
Tanner is a former executive council member and chair of The Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section and is an instructor for the Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section Advanced Trial Advocacy program. He is a member of the American Bar Association Litigation Section and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America, Florida Trend Magazine Legal Elite and Super Lawyers. He is a graduate of Davidson College and holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Florida. He was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1978.
Certified attorneys are the only Florida lawyers allowed to identify or advertise themselves as “Florida Bar Board Certified,” as specialists or as experts. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.
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 22 certification fields. Approximately 4,200 of Florida’s 79,000 lawyers are board certified.