Appellate Law Board Certified Attorneys in California

Board Certified Appellate Law Attorneys in California

California Bar Board of Legal Specialization

At Lawyer Legion we recognize the importance of board certification programs in appellate law in California. These programs provide a powerful tool when the public begins their search for a qualified appellate law attorney. Attorneys that focus on appellate law can practice in both civil or criminal cases in state or federal court. In California, the board certification for appellate law is awarded by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Only California attorneys who are board certified in appellate law can advertise or identify themselves as "certified specialists" or "board certified" in California for that field.

Definition of Appellate Law in California

The term Appellate law is defined in the board certification program in California as the practice of law dealing with procedural and substantive aspects of matters before state and federal appellate courts. For the appellate law definition in the board certification program the phrase "state and federal appellate courts" includes the the California Court of Appeal, the federal Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court, or United States Supreme Court.

Requirements for Certification in Appellate Law in California

The Standards for board certification in appellate law in California must be read in conjunction with the program requirements as outlined in the Rules Governing the State Bar of California Program for Certifying Legal Specialists. The requirements for certification in appellate law include demonstrating substantial involvement in that specialty field of law. For purposes of the board certification program the term "substantial involvement" is defined to include:

  • identifying appealable orders;
  • advising clients with regards to appeals;
  • preparing petitions for review;
  • designating, reviewing and evaluating the record on apeal;
  • preparing briefs;
  • preparing habeas corpus petitions;
  • preparing appellate motions;
  • preparing petitions for extraordinary writ; and
  • presenting oral arguments.

Demonstrating substantial involvement in the specialty field of appellate law includes "briefing" which includes the following actions:

  • reviewing the record on appeal;
  • analyzing the issues;
  • researching the law;
  • writing a statement of facts;
  • writing a procedural history; and
  • writing legal arguments.

For purposes of showing substantial involvement in appellate law in California the attorney must demonstrate the number of times that he or she had handled an appeal or cross-appeal on behalf of an appellant including preparing the opening brief. Only a limited number of these examples should include briefs filed under People v. Wende, 25 Cal.3d 436 (1979) or Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738; 18 L.Ed.2d 493; 87 S.Ct. 1396 (1976).

Other areas of practice for showing substantial involvement in appellate law include:

  • Handling a petition for extraordinary writ or a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in an appellate court including matters heard on the merits after issuance of an order to show cause or an alternative writ;
  • Handling an appeal or cross-appeal on behalf of a respondent or cross-respondent, which must include preparing the respondent's brief;
  • Preparing an answer to petition for review or certiorari including cases in which the attorney's initial substantial involvement in the appeal occurred after decision in the Court of Appeal;
  • Preparing preliminary opposition to petition for writ including when the court issues an alternative writ or order to show cause requiring answer and additional briefing;
  • Preparing a petition for review or certiorari include cases in which the attorney's initial substantial involvement in the appeal occurred after decision in the Court of Appeal;
  • Preparing opposing brief on the merits;
  • Preparing briefs on the merits after review or certiorari granted;
  • Reply to amicus curiae brief;
  • Preparing substantive Amicus Curiae Brief;
  • Oral argument in the California Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court including cases in which the the attorney's initial substantial involvement in the appeal occurred after the decision in the Court of Appeal;
  • Conducted or participated in a court supervised appellate settlement conference on an appeal; or
  • Handling a matter in the California Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court.

Appellate Lawyers in California with Experience in Judicial Service or as a Research Attorney

Many attorneys in California seeking board certification in appellate law have prior experience as an appellate justice, research attorney or judicial law clerk in the California Court of Appeal, the federal Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court, or United States Supreme Court.

Oral Arguments as an Appellate Attorney in California

Showing substantial involvement in appellate law usually includes showing prior experience in presenting oral arguments before the California Court of Appeal, the federal Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court, or United States Supreme Court. Oral argument is defined to include some discussion of the case and not merely an inquiry as to whether the court has questions.

Continuing Legal Educational Requirements for Appellate Law Board Certification

An appellate law attorney seeking board certification in appellate law in California must generally show that during the applicable time period he or she has completed a specified number of approved educational activities on topics such as substantive law topics, pre-trial, trial and post-trial practice and procedural topics, as well as appeals and writs.

Requirements for Recertification in Appellate Law in California

An applicant for recertification in appellate law in California must show that during the applicable period he or she has continued to directly and substantially participate in the practice of appellate law. The attorney must also demonstrate the continued completion of a specified number of approved legal educational activities on appeals, writs, pre-trial, trial, post-trial practice and procedure, or substantive law topics.


For more information on specialty certification in Appellate Law in California contact the:

California Board of Legal Specialization - Appellate Law
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone 415-538-2120

Finding a Board Certified Appellate Law Attorney in California

The search for a good appellate law attorney in California can be a daunting task. At Lawyer Legion we make that task easier by properly recognizing board certified attorneys in our online directory.