Civil practice is defined as representation in pretrial issues in civil cases, such as discovery, summary judgment, and pretrial motion hearings. For this specialty practice area, the emphasis is on the preparatory steps for resolving disputes before a tribunal, including litigation proceedings.
Those preparatory steps begin at the inception of the litigation and continue through discovery, pretrial motions and hearings, and alternative dispute resolution. Pre-trial practice in civil cases involves procedures in all areas of substantive law before state courts, federal courts, administrative agencies, and arbitrators.
To become a certified specialist in civil pretrial practice, lawyers must show substantial involvement in this practice area including:
This article by Lawyer Legion provides information on the NBTA Board Certification program for lawyers in the field of Civil Pre-Trial Practice law and advocacy. The certified specialist for civil pre-trial practice law and advocacy focuses on non-criminal litigation, such as personal injury and medical malpractice litigation, construction law, insurance claims, and other civil controversies.
Certification in civil practice advocacy is for five (5) years, after which time the certificate cannot be used unless the lawyer is recertified. Certification may be revoked at any time for violations of the General Principles or Standards of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
To become board certified in civil practice advocacy the attorney must submit an application to the National Board of Trial Advocacy, on the forms supplied by the Board, and accompanied by the appropriate fee.
The attorney must complete all requirements, including the examination, within two (2) years of application. If the certification process is not satisfactorily completed within the two (2) year period, the applicant will need to reapply and re-submit all required fees. An application can be denied at any time within the two (2) year application period for failure to successfully meet the requirements for certification.
The certificate will be issued upon a showing by the attorney, and by the Board’s own investigation, that the attorney complies with the standards and regulations for certification.
To become board certified as a Civil Practice Advocate, the attorney must show the following:
submit with application the names of ten (10) references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant, who are substantially involved in the relevant field of Civil Practice and familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field including at least three (3) judges, mediators or arbitrators before whom the applicant has appeared in the relevant field, within three (3) years before application; and at least five (5) shall be lawyers with or against whom the applicant has handled a matter in that field within three (3) years before application.
pass a written examination to test his or her proficiency, knowledge, and experience in Civil Practice law, so that the applicant may justify his or her representation of specialization to the public;
submit a copy of a legal writing document, no more than three (3) years before the date of application which he or she has prepared, but not necessarily published which is a substantial document in the area for which the applicant seeks certification.
Many competent, ethical lawyers who are engaged in a Civil Practice, desire certification, but lack the number of jury trial days that are necessary for Civil Trial Certification. For this reason, the National Board of Trial Advocacy created certification as a "Civil Practice Advocate."
The certification allows qualified applicants to hold themselves out as a Civil Practice Advocate. Any lawyer certified as a Civil Practice Advocate should not, by words or actions imply that he or she is a Civil Trial Advocate unless that is also the case.
On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, the American Bar Association approved the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys, in partnership with the NBTA, as the first organization accredited to provide board certification in the specialty practice area of Truck Accident Law.
If an attorney is contemplating applying for NBTA Board Certification in Civil Practice Advocacy and is a member of the Florida Bar, the attorney should first become Board Certified by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization & Education in civil trial law.
For attorneys in Florida, South Carolina or Ohio, a higher number of CLE credit hours might be required by the bar rules in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification.
At Lawyer Legion, we understand the important way that specialty certification programs help the public find a civil trial or practice lawyer.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 22, 2019.