Texas Board of Legal Specialization
At Lawyer Legion, we understand the importance of specialty certification programs. Use our online attorney directory to narrow your search to find only attorneys who have earned specialty certification in Texas.
In Texas, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization ("TBLS") certifies attorneys as a specialist in one of 21 different areas of practice. Approximately 10% of licensed attorneys in Texas are board certified.
Today, TBLS has certified more than 7,000 Texas attorneys, several with multiple certifications, issuing a total of more than 8,300 Certificates of Special Competence.
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization is the largest single state certification program for lawyers in the United States. TBLS also has the greatest percentage of board certified specialists in the United States.
The Bar Rules in Texas prohibit any attorney from advertising as a "specialist" unless she or he has earned certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialists. TBLS also accredits several national organizations approved by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys as specialists.
Board-certified lawyers in Texas must attend ongoing continuing legal education (CLE) and show continuing involvement within the field of practice.
Watch a video from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization published on October 2, 2015. The video features several TBLS certified attorneys discussing the importance of becoming board certified. Also visit the TBLS YouTube channel to find more videos on advice for new lawyers, the impact of board certification, the importance of continuing education.
History of TBLS
The State Bar of Texas formed TBLS in 1974 with the passage of the Texas Plan for Recognition and Regulation of Specialization of Law. The 12-member board is appointed by the president of the Bar to three-year terms. Some of the board members must be specialists, and others must be of general practice. The body is under the oversight of the Texas Supreme Court.
The TBLS also certifies paralegals. Today, more than 300 paralegals have distinguished themselves with board certification.
Requirements for Attorney Certification in Texas
To become a certified attorney specialist in Texas, the following general requirements include:
- having at least five years experience, at least three of which involve substantial involvement with the specified specialty area;
- completing Board-approved Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements;
- providing at least ten (10) qualified references for peer evaluation;
- providing documentation of experience; and
- passing a written examination in the area of specialization.
TBLS Area of Specialty in Texas
Texas certifies lawyers in twenty-one (21) areas of practice including:
- Administrative Law
- Bankruptcy Law - Business
- Bankruptcy Law - Consumer
- Civil Appellate Law
- Civil Trial
- Consumer and Commercial Law
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Appellate Law
- Estate Planning and Probate
- Family Law
- Health Law
- Immigration and Nationality
- Juvenile Law
- Labor and Employment Law
- Oil, Gas and Mineral Law
- Personal Injury Trial
- Real Estate Law - Commercial
- Real Estate Law - Farm and Ranch
- Real Estate Law - Residential
- Tax Law
- Workers' Compensation
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization seeks comment from State Bar of Texas members on the proposed specialty area of "property owners association law." POA law involves services dealing with common-interest developments such as:
- condominiums, subdivisions and mixed-use developments;
- individual owners of such properties; and
- their mandatory-membership associations.
Property owners assocation law has been recognized since 1979, when the State Bar’s Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section sponsored its application and appointed a Committee on Condominium and Common Interest Ownership. The proposed certification standards name POA law a sub-category of the current real estate law specialty area alongside commercial, residential, and farm and ranch.
ABA-Accredited Organizations Approved by TBLS
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization may also accredit organizations that are also accredited by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys as specialists. Organizations that currently hold that accredition include:
- American Board of Certification
- National Association of Counsel for Children
- National Board of Legal Specialty Certification
- National College of DUI Defense, Inc.
- National Elder Law Foundation
- American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys
For More Information Contact:Texas Board of Legal Specialization
505 E. Huntland Dr.
Suite 400, LB 28
Austin, TX 78752
Phone: (512) 453-7266
Toll Free: (512) 453-7220
Disclaimer: Lawyer Legion is not endorsed or approved by any state or national board certification program or by any bar association, including the State Bar of Texas. At Lawyer Legion, we recognize the important role that board certification programs play in helping the public find an attorney in the State of Texas.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.