Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Practice in North Carolina

North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization

Effective March 11, 2011, The North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization designated appellate practice as a field of law for which certification of specialists is permitted. Certification for a board certified specialist are governed by the North Carolina Plan of Legal Specialization.

At Lawyer Legion we recognize the important role that board certification specialty programs play when the public begins their search for a qualified attorney in a particular practice area. Use our directory to find a qualified appellate attorney in North Carolina.

Our directory also allows you to narrow your search to only North Carolina attorneys who are board certified specialist in appellate practice.


Definition of Appellate Practice

For purposes of specialty certification, the term "appellate practice" is defined as the the practice of law relating to "appeals to the Appellate Division of the North Carolina General Courts of Justice, as well as appeals to appellate level courts of any state or territory of the United States, the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the United States Courts of Criminal Appeals for the armed forces, and any tribal appellate court for a federally recognized Indian tribe (hereafter referred to as a 'state or federal appellate court' or collectively as 'state and federal appellate courts'." See 27 NCAC 01D .3002.


Standards for Board Certification in Appellate Practice

To become a Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Practice, the attorney must meet the minimum standards set forth in Rule .1720. Additionally, the attorney must meet additional standards specifically for appellate practice including:

  1. The attorney must be licensed and in good standing to practice law in North Carolina;
  2. The attorney must demonstrate his or her experience through substantial involvement in appellate practice.

For specialty certification in appellate practice, the term substantial involvement means that for the five year period prior to submitting the application, the attorney must have devoted an average of at least 400 hours a year, and not less than 100 hours in any one year, to appellate practice.

For appellate practice, the term "substantive legal work" includes:

  • "preparation of a record on appeal or joint appendix for filing in any state or federal appellate court;
  • researching, drafting, or editing of a legal brief, motion, petition, or response for filing in any state or federal appellate court;
  • participation in or preparation for oral argument before any state or federal appellate court;
  • appellate mediation, either as the representative of a party or as a mediator, in any state or federal appellate court;
  • consultation on issues of appellate practice including consultation with trial counsel for the purpose of preserving a record for appeal;
  • service on a committee or commission whose principal focus is the study or revision of the rules of appellate procedure of the North Carolina or federal courts;
  • authoring a treatise, text, law review article, or other scholarly work relating to appellate practice;
  • teaching appellate advocacy at an ABA accredited law school; and
  • coaching in appellate moot court programs."

The rules also allow for certain types of practice equivalent activities including:

  • "Services as a trial judge for any North Carolina General Court of Justice, United States Bankruptcy Court, or United States District Court, including service as a magistrate judge…."
  • "Service as a full-time, compensated law clerk for any North Carolina or federal appellate court…."
  • "Service as an appellate judge for any North Carolina or federal appellate court…."

The attorney must also demonstrate substantial involvement in appellate practice by providing information regarding completion of the following task requirements:

  • Five oral arguments to any state or federal appellate court; and
  • Principal authorship of 10 briefs submitted to any state or federal appellate court.

The attorney must earn more than 36 hours of accredited continuing legal education (CLE) credits in appellate practice and related fields during the three year period prior to submitting the application. Related fields include:

  • trial advocacy;
  • civil trial practice and procedure;
  • criminal trial practice and procedure;
  • evidence;
  • legal writing;
  • legal research; and
  • mediation.

The attorney must submit to peer review and provide the names of judges and other lawyers who are familiar with the attorney's experience in appellate practice.

The attorney must pass an examination related to appellate practice. The subject matter of the examination includes:

  • The North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure;
  • North Carolina General Statutes relating to appeals;
  • The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure;
  • Federal statutes relating to appeals;
  • The Local Rules and Internal Operating Procedures of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit;
  • The Rules of the United States Supreme Court;
  • Brief writing;
  • Oral argument; and
  • Principles of appellate jurisdiction.

The attorney must also qualify for continued certification every five years by showing substantial involvement, completion of Continuing Legal Education, and submission to peer review.


Finding an Attorney for Appellate Practice in North Carolina

North Carolina's board certification program plays an important role in helping the public find the best attorney for their particular case. At Lawyer Legion, we understand the importance of these programs.

Our directory helps the public find an appellate attorney for both civil and criminal cases throughout North Carolina including Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Durham, Fayetteville, Cary, Wilmington, and High Point.


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