Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on CLE and Specialization

The Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on CLE and Specialization

At Lawyer Legion, we understand the importance of specialty certification programs. We created a feature on our directory to narrow your search to find South Carolina attorneys who have earned specialty certification.

Many states, including South Carolina, have a state sponsored program. The Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization has jurisdiction over certification of attorneys as specialists in certain practice areas.

Under Rule 7.4(b) of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), any attorney, other than patent attorneys and proctors in admiralty, not certified under the Commission's rules may not used the words "certified," "specialist," "expert" or "authority" in any advertisement or public statement.


Areas of Specialization in South Carolina

The Commission has currently created four different specialty areas for which it may certify lawyers as listed in Appendix E, S.C. App. Ct. R. Part IV. Those areas are:

The Commission and the Specialization Advisory Boards have the power to set the certification standards for these aeas.


Attorney Certification Requirements in South Carolina

Under South Carolina Appellate Court Rule 408, on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization, all lawyers seeking to become certified must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be a regular member of the South Carolina Bar, in good standing;
  • Have practiced law for five years, unless meeting certain specific experience requirements for their specialty field;
  • Give at least five attorney references;
  • Show substantial involvement in the specific area of practice, as defined by the Specialization Advisory Board;
  • Complete instructional programs in their specialty;
  • Pass an exam; and
  • Pay any fees required.

South Carolina Bar Rules on Attorney Advertising

Rule 7.4 of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), Rule 407, SCACR, provides:

RULE 7.4. Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization

(a) A lawyer who is certified under the Rule on Lawyer Competence, Rule 408, SCACR, is entitled to advertise or state publicly in any manner otherwise permitted by these rules that the lawyer is certified as a specialist in the pertinent specialty field by the Supreme Court of South Carolina.

(b) A lawyer who is not certified as a specialist but who concentrates in, limits his or her practice to, or wishes to announce a willingness to accept cases in a particular field may so advertise or publicly state in any manner otherwise permitted by these rules. To avoid confusing or misleading the public and to protect the objectives of the South Carolina certified specialization program, any such advertisement or statements shall be strictly factual and shall not contain any form of the words “certified,” “specialist,” “expert,” or “authority” except as permitted by Rule 7.4(d).

(c) A lawyer admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office may use the designation “Patent Attorney” or a substantially similar designation. A lawyer engaged in the trademark practice may use the designation “trademarks,” “trademark attorney,” or “trademark lawyer” or any combination of those terms.

(d) A lawyer engaged in admiralty practice may use the designation “admiralty,” “proctor in admiralty” or a substantially similar designation.

Rule 7.4 took effect on September 1, 1990 and was amended effective October 1, 2005.


How New Specialization Areas are Selected

The 12 members of the Commission are appointed by the Supreme Court of South Carolina. Those members have the power to choose new areas for certification. When it creates such areas, it then must create a Specialization Advisory Board of five lawyers practicing in that specialized field.

The Advisory Board makes rules for certification in that practice area so that attorneys certified as specialist in North Carolina meet high standards to warrant their designation.

When considering what areas should be designated as specialties, the Commission is to look at whether the public interest would be served, whether there is sufficient interest, whether there are standards sufficient to judge proficiency in the field, whether there is sufficient existing or potential continuing legal education programs for the field, and whether such a designation would fulfill the orderly growth of legal specialization in South Carolina.


For More Information Contact:

Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on CLE and Specialization
950 Taylor Street Suite 120
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Phone: 803-799-5578


Lawyer Legion is not endorsed or approved by any state or national board certification program or by any bar association, including the State Bar of South Carolina.