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Board Certified Attorney Specialist in Pennsylvania

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania does not certify attorneys as a specialist. Instead, it accredits "certifying organizations" after a recommendation from the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Review and Certifying Board.

If you need to find an attorney in Pennsylvania in a specialty practice area of the law, then consider beginning your search by looking at the attorneys who have earned specialty certification.

These programs provide the public with an important tool when they begin their search for an attorney.

Pennsylvania Bar Rules on Specialization

Under Rule 7.4, an attorney may communicate whether he or she practices in a particular field of law. However, the lawyer shall not state that he or she is a "specialist" except when the lawyer has been certified by an organization approved by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as a certifying organization.

The rules also provide that a lawyer may communicate that he or she is certified in a field of practice only when that communication is not false or misleading and that certification is granted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

The rule was intended to comply with the requirements for advertising claims of specialization set forth in Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois, 496 U. S. 91, 110 L.Ed.2d 83, 110 S.Ct. 2281 (1990).

Which Certifying Organizations are Approved in Pennsylvania?

  • On August 29, 2014, the American Board of Certification was re-accredited as a certifying organization in the areas of consumer bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and business bankruptcy for a period of five years.
  • On April 11, 2013, the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (formerly the National Board of Trial Advocacy) was re-accredited as a certifying organization in the areas of civil trial advocacy and criminal trial advocacy for a period of five years.
  • On January 12, 2012, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers' Compensation Law Section was approved and accredited as a certifying organization in the area of workers' compensation law.
    • Although not all qualified attorneys are certified, those that have earned this important designation as a specialist in workers' compensation law have gone the extra step to have their specialty practice recognized by an entity approved in Pennsylvania as a certifying organization.

Finding a Certified Specialist Attorney in Pennsylvania

Rule 7.4(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct allows attorneys to advertise certain specialties, including patent and admiralty law. The rule also allows the Supreme Court to approve other certifications by certain agencies.

The four organizations approved to certify lawyers in specialty areas of the law include the PBA Workers Compensation Law Section, the American Board of Certification, the National Elder Law Foundation, and the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Any accreditation of one of these organizations is effective for up to five years. The accreditation can be renewed upon recommendation of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA).

At Lawyer Legion, we understand the importance of specialty certification programs in Pennsylvania. Specialty certification programs at the state and national level can help the public make a more informed decision when they begin their search for an attorney.

Our directory also helps the public find a qualified workers' compensation attorney in Pennsylvania by ranking certified specialist higher in our online attorney directory.

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