Consumer and commercial law includes, by way of example, but not limitation, matters involving:
- the Texas Deceptive Trade Practice - Consumer Protection Act;
- Title 5, Subtitle C of the Texas Insurance Code;
- the Uniform Commercial Code; • the Texas Credit Code;
- the Texas Manufactured Housing Standards Act;
- the Texas Transportation Code, and Title 14, Subtitle A, Texas Occupations Code;
- Title 5, Chapter 59 (Self-Storage Facility Liens), Chapter 61 (Motor Vehicle Mortgagee’s Lien), and Chapter 70, Sub-Chapter A (Possessory Liens), Sub-Chapter B (Liens on Vessels), Sub-Chapter D (Aircraft Repair and Maintenance Lien), and Texas Property Code;
- laws dealing with landlord-tenant relationship;
- the Federal and Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act;
- the Federal Truth in Lending Act; and
- other federal and state laws dealing with sales, leases, insurance, credit, and collection activities involving consumers.
The phrase “contested consumer or commercial matters” is defined to include lawsuits filed in a court of record in which an answer is filed and which have been resolved other than by “No Answer Default” or “Dismissal for Want of Prosecution”.
The TBLS website provides a list of the specific requirements that apply the specialty area of consumer and commercial law which includes the definitions, substantial involvement, reference, and other certification and recertification requirements.
The attorney must have been counsel from initiation through the final resolution of the suit. Contested consumer or commercial matters may also include cases involving issues of consumer or commercial law submitted to binding arbitration either before or after suit is filed, however, these will be considered on a case by case basis.
Standards for Attorney Certification in Consumer and Commercial Law
The specific area requirements for consumer and commercial law were revised on February 10, 2009.
The attorney who applies to become board certified must show substantial involvement and special competence by providing such information as may be required by TBLS including a showing of:
- having devoted a minimum of 30% of his or her time practicing Texas consumer and commercial law during each year of the 3 years preceding application as defined in Section XIV, A of the Specific Area Requirements for Consumer and Commercial Law.
- a showing of task requirements including the number of hours in the past three years devoted to:
- the attorney must provide the number of hours he or she has devoted within the 3 years immediately preceding application to the following:
- Counseling of clients regarding claims and defense of claims in the area of consumer and commercial law;
- Representation of clients in preparation, prosecution and defense of consumer and commercial claims;
- Representation of clients in alternative dispute resolution procedures as defined by Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, Chapter 154; and
- The advising and counseling of persons or business entities in areas involving the establishment, revision or maintenance of procedures, practices, forms or programs to comply with consumer and commercial laws.
- the attorney must have represented clients as lead counsel in at least 24 contested consumer or commercial matters in Texas within the 5 years immediately preceding application.
- the attorney must have met one of the following categories within the 10 years immediately preceding application:
- Five (5) contested consumer or commercial law matters in which issues were submitted to the finder of fact in a court of record in Texas, with the attorney having been lead counsel in at least 2 of these matters; or
- Five (5) binding arbitration proceedings dealing with consumer or commercial law matters in which issues were submitted to an arbitrator (or arbitration panel), tried to conclusion on presentation of oral testimony, which either (i) involved an amount in controversy in excess of $5,000, or (ii) referred the matter to arbitration by a county court at law, district court, or federal court, with the attorney having been lead counsel in at least 2 of these matters; or
- A combination of 5 matters as described in Section XIV, B,1,b(3)(a-b) above. 2. Recertification. Applicant must have devoted a minimum of 30% of his or her time practicing Texas consumer and commercial law during each year of the 5 year period of certification.