The North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization offers board certification in Consumer Bankruptcy Law. This specialization allows lawyers to be certified as specialists in the practice of consumer bankruptcy law.
Lawyers must demonstrate substantial involvement in bankruptcy law, averaging 500 hours annually and never going below 400 hours in any year. This requirement can also be met through roles in bankruptcy courts, certain corporate or governmental positions, or academic roles related to bankruptcy. Lawyers must complete 36 hours of accredited bankruptcy law courses over three years, ensuring at least 6 credits annually. The peer review process necessitates ten references from lawyers or judges familiar with the applicant's bankruptcy expertise, with certain restrictions on who the references can be. Finally, applicants undergo a rigorous six-hour exam, facilitated by the American Board of Certification, at the NC State Bar building.
Under 27 NCAC 01D Section .2202, for purposes of the board certification program in North Carolina, the definition of "bankruptcy law" is the practice of law dealing "with all laws and procedures involving the rights, obligations, and remedies between debtors and creditors in potential or pending federal bankruptcy cases and state insolvency actions."
Consumer Bankruptcy Law - The term "consumer bankruptcy law" has been defined as the practice of law "dealing with consumer bankruptcy and the representation of interested parties in contested matters or adversary proceedings in individual filings of Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13."
Business Bankruptcy Law - The term "business bankruptcy law" has been defined as the "practice of law dealing with business bankruptcy and the representation of interested parties in contested matters or adversary proceedings in bankruptcy cases filed on behalf of debtors who are or have been engaged in business prior to an entity filing Chapter 7, Chapter 9, Chapter 11, or Chapter 12."
Under 27 NCAC 01D Section .2203, a North Carolina attorney may qualify as a specialist by meeting the standards set for one or both of the subspecialties.
The lawyer in North Carolina is entitled to use the term "Board Certified Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law" if the attorney qualifies as a specialist in bankruptcy law by meeting the standards set for the consumer bankruptcy law.
A lawyer in North Carolina attorney is entitled to use the term "Board Certified Specialist in Business Bankruptcy Law" if he attorney qualifies as a specialist in bankruptcy law by meeting the standards set for the business bankruptcy law.
Attorneys that earn certification in both subspecialties are permitted to use the phrase "Board Certified Specialist in Business and Consumer Bankruptcy Law."
The standards for certification as a specialist in bankruptcy law are contained in 27 NCAC 01D Section .2205. Those standards include a requirement of substantial involvement in the practice of bankruptcy law.
Under certain circumstances the requirements for substantial involvement can be shown partially through the following types of actives:
Substantial involvement in bankruptcy law also includes continuing legal education (CLE) requirements and peer review.
Under 27 NCAC 01D Section .2206, the standards for continued certification as a specialist in bankruptcy law in North Carolina lasts for five years.
During that time, the attorney must apply for recertification and show continued substantial involvement in bankruptcy law, completion of a designated number of continuing legal education (CLE) credits in the specialty area, and peer review.
American Board of Certification: In addition to the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, the American Board of Certification (ABC) is a national certification program for bankruptcy attorneys willing to submit to further evaluation. The American Board of Certification is accredited by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys as specialists in both consumer and business bankruptcy. Certified bankruptcy attorneys must show substantial involvement in the specialty area and experience in the field.