Board Certified Specialists

Lawyers can earn Board Certification in a number of specialty areas of practice. Board Certified Specialists have demonstrated the highest levels of knowledge, experience, and excellence in a particular field of practice.

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Standing Committee on Specialization

The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Specialization provides a way for directors and administrators of specialty certification programs to share information. The committee also helped created the standards for Specialty Certification Programs for Lawyers and the governing rules for the Accreditation of Specialty Certification Programs for Lawyers.

Attorneys can be certified by state or private certification programs. For the state programs, each state has specific rules governing how lawyers may communicate or publicize their specialty certification. The national programs are governing by rules created by the ABA's Standing Committee on Specialization.

For consumers of legal services, specialty certification provides the public with a way to find attorneys focused on a particular practice area of the law. The committee also works to educate the public about specialty certification programs at the state and national levels.


ABA National Specialization Roundtable

Each year, the committee meets for the national Specialization Roundtable for a networking event for all administrators and directors of specialty certification programs for lawyers in North America. The group discusses opportunities, problems, and current trends for specialty certification programs. The roundtable is held in conjunction with the ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility and the National Forum on Client Protection.

New programs interested in creating a specialty certification program must file a Notice of Intent to Apply for Accreditation and submit an application.

The National Specialization Roundtable Conference addresses topics affecting lawyers who serve on boards of private or state programs, attorneys who are certified as specialists by a state or national program, individuals who administer private or state certification programs, and others involved in the legal specialization community.


Additional Resources

ABA’s Standing Committee on Specialization - Visit the website of the American Bar Association to find out more about this ABA Group that is a committee of the Center for Professional Responsibility. The Standing Committee on Specialization provides resources for state specialization plans and ABA-accredited certification programs throughout the United States. Find the governing rules for accreditation. Find information on starting a specialty certification program and obtaining accreditation. The ABA website also has information on how to find a legal board certification program.

2019 National Specialization Roundtable - Learn more about the networking event that brings together administrators, directors, and participants in the state and national specialty certification programs in the United States and Canada. The 2019 ABA Specialization Roundtable is scheduled for Vancouver, Canada, May 31 - June 1, 2019.


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