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Alabama State Bar Board of Legal Specialization

Since 1994, the Alabama State Bar Rules of Specialization have given attorneys the ability to earn special recognition as a certified specialist. Specialty certification gives lawyers the ability to verify their qualifications and credentials for a particular legal practice area. 

At last count, approximately 90 attorneys in Alabama had earned the designation as a certified specialist.

The Board of Legal Specialization, appointed by the Board of Bar Commissioners, has oversight over the certification of attorneys and the accreditation of certifying organizations in Alabama. The 12 members of the board represent a range of practice areas, including general practice.

The board may not, itself, certify attorneys as specialists. It can, however, accredit independent agencies to certify attorneys. Board-certified Alabama lawyers may advertise their specialty status with gives them a distinct advantage when marketing their practice.

Areas Approved for Specialist Certification in Alabama

Specialty certification is available in the following legal practice areas:

Certifying Agencies Accredited in Alabama

The Alabama State Bar Board of Legal Certification has approved five certifying agencies. The program relies on these agencies as objective entities. 

The agencies are expected to use standards that ensure the lawyer's special recognition as a "certified specialist" is meaningful and reliable. These agencies are listed as follows:

  • The American Board of Certification is approved to grant certification for the following specialty areas of the law: Business Bankruptcy, Consumer Bankruptcy, and Creditors' Rights.

Bar Rules in Alabama for Attorney Advertising

The commentary to the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct at Rule 7.4(c) summarizes the requirements for attorneys when advertising their designation as a certified specialist. Rule 7.4(c) provides, in part:

"provides for certification as a specialist in a field of law where the Alabama State Bar Board of Legal Specialization has granted an organization the right to grant certification.

Certification procedures imply that an objective entity has recognized a lawyer’s higher degree of specialized ability than is suggested by general licensure to practice law.

Those objective entities may be expected to apply standards of competence, experience, and knowledge to insure that a lawyer’s recognition as a specialist is meaningful and reliable.

To ensure that consumers can obtain access to useful information about an organization granting certification, the name of the certifying organization or agency must be included in any communication regarding certification."

Read more about the rules for specialty certification programs in Alabama.

Contact Information for Alabama's Certified Specialization Program

Alabama State Bar
Director of Regulatory Programs
415 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Phone: (334) 269-1515
Fax: (334) 261-6310

Disclaimer: 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 Alabama. At Lawyer Legion, our online attorney directory recognizes the important role that specialty certification programs play in helping the public find an attorney in Alabama.

This article was last updated on Friday, November 22, 2019.