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Board Certification for Lawyers

Choose a Board Certified Attorney

Lawyer Legion created a nationwide directory to help the public find information on attorneys who have earned legal specialty certification in the various state-sponsored and national programs.

At both the state and national level, board certification programs establish an independent measure of competence, professionalism, and peer acknowledgment which helps clients, and fellow lawyers set expectations for professional abilities in a given practice area.

At Lawyer Legion, we have centralized access to find qualified board certified attorneys in the United States while educating consumers and professionals about the importance of Board Certification.

How to Find an Attorney by Specialty

When you begin your search for an attorney, looking at board certification provides a convenient way to find an attorney by specialty. In addition to the eleven (11) state-sponsored programs, seven (7) non-profit national specialty certification programs are accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) to award specialty certification in specific practice areas of the law.

The boards collectively offer 49 specialization areas and certify approximately 30,000 attorneys. These board-certification programs are highly regulated. Attorneys must follow specific rules concerning how they communicate their specialty certification to the public in advertisements.

Use the Lawyer Legion directory to find a list of board-certified attorneys by selecting a state, then select a specialty area of the law, and then hit the yellow search button. You also have the option of adding a city or zip code to narrow the search even further.

Read more about why you should claim your profile and how Lawyer Legion recognizes the board-certified specialist attorney.

Why Search for a Board Certified Attorney?

By focusing on a particular practice area, the attorney can become more competent, experienced and proficient. 

Certification in a specialty field of law has become an important way for attorneys to gain recognition for their specialized practice.

For the public, the certification validates the lawyer's claim of experience, special skills, or focus in a particular area of the law. 

Board and specialty certification programs also provide the public with a powerful tool when they begin their search for a qualified attorney to handle their particular case.

In addition to using our online attorney directory to find a certified specialist, you can also use the official directory maintained by each program state or national program listed below.

Disclaimer: Lawyer Legion is not endorsed or approved by any state or national board certification program or by any state bar. The logo for each certification program is displayed as a visual indicator to help users identify each certification program.

State-Level Specialty Board Certification Programs for Lawyers

State Bar of Arizona Board of Legal Specialization

Lawyers in Arizona designated as certified specialists have been evaluated in a particular practice area for their knowledge, skills, integrity, and professionalism. The Arizona Board of Legal Specialization recognizes attorneys who have submitted to the highest form of evaluation in eight (8) areas of specialization. Each specialty area has additional task requirements that must be met in order for an attorney to become a certified specialist. Continue reading

CBLS - California Board of Legal Specialization

The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) includes eleven areas of specialization certified directly by the State Bar of California with an additional eleven areas certified by five different national organizations that have been accredited by the American Bar Association. One of the goals of the CBLS is to give consumers another tool to use in selecting an attorney. The Standards for Certification in each specialty area was adopted by the Board of Governors. Continue reading

Connecticut Bar Association

The Connecticut Superior Court has accredited three national organizations and one state-sponsored program to certify attorneys as specialists. Only attorneys who have earned certification from a body approved by the Connecticut Superior Court may advertise themselves as "specialists" in the Nutmeg State. The Connecticut Superior Court appoints the members of the Legal Specialization Screening Committee. The committee examines applying organizations and determines whether the organizations meet the criteria set by the Rules Committee of the Superior Court for approval. Continue reading

Florida Board of Legal Specialization & Education

Board Certification is the highest level of evaluation offered by the Florida Bar. For an attorney to become board-certified by the state, he or she must meet minimum requirements. For instance, the attorney must demonstrate substantial involvement in the practice area he or she is seeking to become certified. The Florida Board of Legal Specialization and Education certifies attorneys in twenty-four (24) select areas of the law. In addition, more than 4,800 attorneys in Florida have been designated as board-certified specialists in 26 different specialty areas of the law. Continue reading

Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization

The Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization has certain minimum mandatory standards for certification. The Board has established specific standards geared toward some areas of specialization. Information about attorneys who have successfully completed and maintain certification is publicly available through the Board's website. Also, the board certification program for attorneys was created to help consumers in Louisiana identify attorneys evaluated for their experience and proficiency in a specialized area of the law. Continue reading

Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification

The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) established its specialty certification program for attorneys which offers board certification in four (4) specialty areas for lawyers practicing in Minnesota. The MSBA has been accredited by the Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In addition, the specialty certification program establishes an independent measure of competence, professionalism, and peer acknowledgment. Attorneys who become a certified legal specialist is a demonstration to the public of the Lawyer's proficiency in the specialty area. Continue reading

State Bar of Nevada

The State Bar of Nevada's Board of Governors authorizes attorney specialization in the state. Specialization can be attained by the organization that has been approved to certify lawyers in each specialty area. Most areas of specialty are certified by national certifying organizations such as the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the American Board of Certification. Nevada also authorizes the Nevada Justice Association for personal injury and workers' compensation specialties while the State Bar of Nevada's family law section for family law specialization. Continue reading

New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification

The Supreme Court of New Jersey authorized the Board on Attorney Certification to administrate the state's program for certifying lawyers. The program sought to protect consumers from misleading advertising claims by creating an objective and reliable standard for specialization. Furthermore, the Board of Attorney Certification is responsible for the operation of the certification program, including financial, policy, and rule-making functions. The program requires attorneys to demonstrate a certain threshold of experience, education, skill, and knowledge in a particular field of the law. Continue reading

North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization

The North Carolina State Bar created the Board of Legal Specialization which recognizes thirteen (13) main areas of specialization. The requirements for certification in each particular practice area are set out in 27 NCAC 1D, Sections .2100 through .3100. Attorneys that have become certified specialists are entitled to advertise their designation as a “Board Certified Specialist” in the specialty practice area to the extent permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Continue reading

Ohio State Bar Association's Specialization Certification Program

The Specialization Program of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) recognizes attorneys dedicated to specialty areas of the law. The certification programs require an extensive and rigorous process. It looks at whether the attorney has a high level of substantial involvement in the specialty area of the law, whether the attorney has to meet certain continuing legal education (CLE) requirements, and whether the attorney has been evaluated by other attorneys who are familiar with the attorney's practice. Continue reading

Board Certified Attorney Specialist in Pennsylvania

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania does not certify attorneys as a specialist. Instead, it accredits "certifying organizations" after a recommendation from the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Review and Certifying Board. The four organizations approved to certify lawyers in specialty areas of the law include the PBA Workers Compensation Law Section, the American Board of Certification, the National Elder Law Foundation, and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Continue reading

South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE and Specialization

The Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization has jurisdiction over the certification of attorneys as specialists in certain practice areas. The Commission has currently created four different specialty areas for which it may certify lawyers. 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. any attorney, other than patent attorneys and proctors in admiralty, not certified under the Commission's rules may not use the words "certified," "specialist," "expert" or "authority" in any advertisement or public statement. Continue reading

TBLS - Texas Board of Legal Specialization

In Texas, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization ("TBLS") certifies attorneys as a specialist in one of 24 different areas of practice. Approximately 10% of licensed attorneys in Texas are board-certified. The Bar Rules in Texas prohibit any attorney from advertising as a "specialist" unless she or he has earned certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Board-certified lawyers in Texas must attend ongoing continuing legal education (CLE) and show continuing involvement within the field of practice. Continue reading

National Specialty Board Certification Programs for Lawyers

ABC - American Board of Certification

ABC designates bankruptcy and creditors' rights lawyers as certified specialists or board certified attorneys. American Board of Certification is sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Commercial Law League of America. The ABC offers three areas of specialization: Consumer Bankruptcy, Business Bankruptcy and Creditor's Rights Law. ABC certification encourages attorneys to strive for excellence in the practice of Bankruptcy Law in the United States. Continue reading

ABPLA - American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys

The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys was founded as a non-profit organization in 1972. Attorneys who earn certification as a Board Certified Medical Malpractice Specialist or Board Certified Legal Malpractice Specialist must meet rigorous standards set by the ABPLA. The attorneys who earn this certification are recognized as leaders in professional negligence law. Board Certification by ABPLA provides members of the public with an objective standard to evaluate the lawyer's qualifications, skills, and experience as a professional malpractice lawyer. Continue reading

NACC - National Association of Counsel for Children

The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) works to improve the quality of legal representation of children in dependency, delinquency, and family law cases. NACC is active in shaping legislation and policy for judicial proceedings involving children, including victims of abuse and neglect in delinquency proceedings, as juvenile offenders, as subjects of custody, visitation and adoption proceedings, and as participants in civil damages litigation. Additionally, the NACC has certified more than 400 family law attorneys as Child Welfare Law Specialists in 33 jurisdictions. Continue reading

NAEPC - National Association of Estate Planners & Councils

Attorneys who are involved in estate planning can become certified by the NAEPC as Estate Planning Law Specialists. The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils is dedicated to establishing and ensuring standards for professionals, including attorneys, who assist people with arranging the disposal of their estate after death. The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils also serves as a national network for many local councils, which serve as affiliates of the NAEPC. The local councils provide education and networking for estate planning professionals. Continue reading

NBTA - National Board of Trial Advocacy

National Board of Trial Advocacy ("NBTA") offers board certification in civil trial law, civil pretrial practice, truck accident law, criminal trial law, family trial law, and Social Security disability law. This non-profit corporation is the first of its kind to be accredited by the American Bar Association as a board-certifying agency. Continue reading

NCDD - National College for DUI Defense

The National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD) is a non-profit, professional organization of attorneys and lawyers focused on criminal defense and represent those accused of drunk driving, driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) and related charges. The NCDD was formed in 1995 and consists of some of the most knowledgeable and successful DUI defense attorneys in the United States. Continue reading

NELF - National Elder Law Foundation

The National Elder Law Foundation is the only national certifying program for elder law and special needs attorneys in this new and growing specialty area of the law. To receive NELF certification, Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) must pass a written examination and demonstrate compliance with strict standards showing their practice is focused on the special needs of older and special needs clients. Even after certification, the attorney must continue to meet certain standards, including attendance in Continuing Legal Educational (CLE) seminars focused on Elder Law topics. Many of the most qualified Elder Law attorneys are CELAs. Continue reading

International Association of Privacy Professionals

The International Association of Privacy Professionals is the newest ABA-accredited certification program. Although it has not yet certified its inaugural class of specialist lawyers, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) has approximately 30,000 members worldwide. Many of those 30,000 members are not not lawyers. The IAPP-membership and its examination-only certifications are the current gold standard of credentialing in the privacy field.

State Entities that Accredit Private Certification Programs

In eight states, a state entity is authorized to accredit a private certification program including:

Use our directory to browse for a board-certified attorney by each specialty certification program.

Some states do not have a state-sponsored program. For instance, the Washington State Bar Association allows board-certified attorneys to advertise certain information about their specialty certification with a disclaimer, but it does not provide a state-sponsored certification program.

Resources on Specialty Certification

American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Specialization - The ABA Standing Committee on Specialization developed an annual Specialization Roundtable. Leaders within each state and national program meet once a year at the Annual Roundtable on Specialization held in conjunction with the National Forum on Client Protection and the National Conference on Professional Responsibility.

ABA's Annual National Specialization Roundtable - The only periodic networking event for all administrators and directors of specialty certification programs for lawyers in the United States and Canada. The 2018 Annual Roundtable on Specialization met on June 1-2, 2018, at the Louisville Marriott Downtown in Louisville, KY. Topics include a discussion about the future of specialty certification and whether the ABA should be in the business of accrediting lawyer specialist certification organizations. The Roundtable is open to all certified specialists and others interested in starting or growing a specialty certification program.

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