California Certification in Legal Malpractice Law

California Bar Board of Legal Specialization

At Lawyer Legion we recognize the importance of board certification programs for attorneys. Specialty certification programs provide the public with a powerful tool when they begin their search for an attorney. In California the board certification for legal malpractice law is awarded by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

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

The Rules Governing the State Bar of California Program for Certifying Legal Specialists govern the program requirements and should be read in conjunction with the standards for certification in legal malpractice.

Among other requirements, the attorneys must demonstrate substantial involvement, complete continuing education requirements, and pass the legal specialist examination. Attorneys who are certified in California must apply for recertification every five years.


For more information on specialty certification contact the:

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

Definitions for Legal Malpractice in California

California's board certification program defines the term "legal malpractice" as the practice of law dealing with the prosecution or defense of claims against an attorney regarding wrongful acts or omissions arising out of the performance of the attorney’s professional services, and/or issues of attorneys’ fees, payments or liens.

The board certification program for legal malpractice does not include the prosecution or defense of attorney disciplinary matters.


Task Requirements for Board Certification in Legal Malpractice

An attorney seeking certification in legal malpractice must demonstrate that during the specified time period he or she has been substantially involved in the practice of legal malpractice law.

For purposes of the program, the attorney can make a prima facie showing of substantial involvement in the area of legal malpractice law by acquiring a certain number of points for certain completing certain types of tasks including:

  • Acting as the principal counsel in devising, implementing or evaluating the advisability or the strategy of litigation and related issues, such as the existence of an attorney-client relationship and the unauthorized practice of law, in connection with pending or threatened litigation where matters of malpractice law are the main contested issue.
  • Representing a claimant or attorney in litigation as its principal counsel where matters of malpractice law are the main contested issue.
  • Acting as principal counsel in the trial, jury or non-jury, or binding arbitration of an action for legal malpractice or action on attorney’s fees tried to conclusion to a jury, judge, or arbitrator.
  • Preparing or opposing a demurrer, a motion for summary judgment, or other dispositive motion in litigation where matters of legal malpractice law are the main contested issue.
  • Preparing briefs in litigation matters before a court or arbitral forum.
  • Representing a party in a formal mediation before a neutral party as its principal counsel where matters of legal malpractice are the main contested issue.
  • Acting as an expert witness or legal consultant in litigation where matters of legal malpractice are among the main contested issues
  • Acting as an arbitrator or mediator in any litigation or formal mediation where matters of malpractice law are among the main contested issues.
  • Representing a claimant or attorney in a legal malpractice matter in bringing or defending an anti-SLAAP motion.
  • Representing a claimant or attorney in a legal malpractice matter where there is an underlying coverage issue or reservation of rights letter.
  • Providing substantive written legal advice or analysis regarding conflicts of interest issues.
  • Providing substantive written legal advice or analysis regarding issues related to fees for legal services rendered by an attorney, including collectability, unconscionability under the Rules of Professional Conduct, reasonableness under Business & Professions Code §§6147-6148, and issues of quantum merit.
  • Providing substantive written legal advice or analysis regarding a statute of limitations issue for legal malpractice.
  • Participation in a Bench Bar panel in which there is a fee dispute over the attorney’s legal services.
  • Providing substantive written legal advice or analysis regarding an attorney’s errors and omissions insurance policy, including insurance coverage policy limits, reservations of rights, and/or coverage exclusion issues.
  • Providing substantive written legal advice or analysis regarding other material issues concerning legal malpractice law not otherwise covered above: 5 points per separate matter or transaction.

Continuing Educational Requirements for Certification in Legal Malpractice

An attorney seeking certification in legal malpractice must demonstrate that within the specified period the attorney completed a specified number of education activities approved for, or relevant to, legal malpractice law.

The rules also provide for certain alternative equivalent to the requirement of passing a written examination including authoring published articles, authoring a practice book (or chapter in such book), in the area of legal malpractice law; or presenting at an approved continuing legal education (CLE) on topics for legal malpractice law.


Finding an Attorney for Legal Malpractice in California

The search to find a legal malpractice 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 attorney directory. Use our directory to narow your search to find only a certified specialist in legal malpractice.