United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.
LAWYER DOE, lllllllllllllllllllll Plaintiff, CAROLYN S. ZISSER, lllllllllllllllllllll Plaintiff-Appellant, versus THE FLORIDA BAR, lllllllllllllllllllll Defendant-Appellee.
No. 10-11974 Non-Argument Calendar _ D.C. Docket No. 3:09-cv-00503-MMH-JRK
Decided: January 19, 2011
Before CARNES, PRYOR and FAY, Circuit Judges. CARNES, Circuit Judge: This case reminds us of the observation of the Grand Inquisitor in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers. Upon finding that all ranks of commoners and servants have been promoted to the nobility, he protests that there is a need for distinction, explaining that: “When everyone is somebody, then no one's anybody.” 1 The same is true of a state bar's certification process. If every attorney who practices in an area is certified in it, then no one is anybody in that field. The easier it is to be certified, the less that certification means. The goal of the Florida Bar's certification process is to recognize in various fields of specialization exceptional attorneys, meaning those who stand out from others in all of the ways that make an attorney outstanding. To ensure that certification achieves its purpose, the Bar has established a body of rules and procedures, including a confidential peer review process, so that an attorney certified in an area of practice truly is “somebody” in that field. Without such rules and procedures, the process, the decisions it produces, and the resulting recognition would not amount to much.