What is Board Certification?
National Board of Trial Advocacy
Civil Pretrial Practice
Civil Trial Advocacy
American Board of
- Medical Malpractice
There are two types of certification: State sponsored certification and private organizations with ABA-Accredited Certification Programs. Regardless of whether your state offers certification, you can be certified by a private organization.
State Sponsored Certification Plans (State Bar Associations) offer certification of specialists directly in various fields of law to attorneys licensed in their state. Private Organizations with ABA-Accredited Certification Programs offer certification of specialists directly in various fields of law to lawyers nationally.
A quick glance through the "attorneys" section of the yellow page directory of any major metropolitan area will make it clear that many lawyers specialize in one or more kinds of legal matters.
Like other professionals, many lawyers concentrate their practices to certain fields of law. In fact, most specialize to some degree by limiting the range of matters they handle.
Despite the widespread existence of de facto specialization in the legal profession, during the past several decades a large majority of state disciplinary rules prohibited lawyers from holding themselves out as specialists. Peel v. Attorney Registration Disciplinary Commission brought lawyer specialization into the spotlight of the profession. The U. S. Supreme Court ruled in that case that states may not constitutionally impose a blanket prohibition on a truthful communication by a lawyer that he or she is certified as a specialist by a bona fide organization but may regulate such claims.
An increasing number of lawyers are choosing to be recognized as having special knowledge and experience by becoming certified specialists in certain fields of law.
Lawyers who are certified as specialists have been recognized by independent professional certifying organizations as having an enhanced level of skill, as well as substantial involvement in established legal specialty areas. Certifying organizations require lawyers to demonstrate special training, experience and knowledge to ensure that recognition as a certified specialist is meaningful and reliable.