Because the field of aviation law includes many matters governed by the federal aviation regulations and by treaties, an understanding of common law and traditional legal theories is often not sufficient for an attorney to be able to properly represent aviation clients. Representation of a client in an aviation-related matter, by an attorney who is not specifically familiar with aviation law, may do that client a grave injustice and may also expose the attorney to malpractice liability.
Board certification enables an aviation law practitioner to tell members of the public that they are available to handle aviation-related matters. Traditional means of advertising may not convey an attorney's true familiarity with aviation law, as many attorneys, who handle only personal injury cases, advertise themselves as aviation lawyers. Such attorneys may not be familiar with, or competent to handle, other aviation-related matters, such as those involving aircraft sale, purchase, registration and security interest transactions, aircraft sales tax and use tax, aircraft ownership and operation, airline labor law, aviation-related insurance claims, aeromedical issues, enforcement actions against airmen, airport land use, and space law. While every board certified aviation lawyer may not handle every type of aviation matter, because of their ability to recognize the legal issues peculiar to aviation, the likelihood increases that they will be able to recommend another board certified aviation lawyer with even more specialized knowledge in the particular area of aviation law involved.
Board certification not only assists the public, it assists other lawyers. An attorney who has made the commitment to board certification is truly a specialist in aviation law. Attorneys who do not practice aviation law can turn to The Florida Bar list of board certified aviation lawyers for assistance in those cases. When given the choice between a board certified lawyer and a noncertified lawyer, more often than not, such referring lawyers, as well as prospective clients, are selecting board certified lawyers to serve them.
Aviation law was approved by the Supreme Court of Florida as an area of certification in 1995, with the initial group certified in 1996. Board certification in this field is of great benefit to the public because it identifies aviation specialists who have made a special commitment to their clients and their law practice.