Looking for a criminal defense attorney in Texas? One of the best ways to start your search is by understanding the requirements to become board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS).
In Texas, the specialty area of criminal law was created in 1975. The TBLS Standards for Attorney Certification can be found under Part II and Section I for Criminal Law. The standards were amended by the Texas Supreme Court by order on February 10, 2009.
For purposes of the board certification program in Texas, Section I, subsection A, defines the term “criminal law.” Under this provision, the definition of "criminal law" is the practice of law dealing with matters involving:
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization Standards for Attorney Certification in Part II § I for Criminal Law sets out the requirements for substantial involvement in criminal law.
Under Section I, subsection B, the attorney applying to be board certified in criminal law must show substantial involvement and special competence in Texas criminal law practice by providing such information as may be required by TBLS.
The reason why most criminal defense attorneys in Texas do not submit an application to become board certified in criminal law is because of the number of jury trials required.
In addition to the other task requirements, the attorney applying to the TBLS to become board certified in criminal law must demonstrate handling, as lead counsel, during his or her entire practice, the following minimum number of Texas criminal law cases in three (3) of the following categories:
The term “contested issues” for the purposes of the TBLS rules on becoming board certified in criminal law can include anything from the legality of a search to the appropriateness of a sentence.
To become board certified by TBLS in criminal law, the attorney must submit a minimum of five (5) names and addresses of persons to be contacted as references to attest to his or her competence in criminal law within the three (3) years immediately preceding application.
These persons shall be substantially involved in criminal law and be familiar with the applicant's criminal law practice.
During the initial application process, the attorney must submit the following types of references:
Any attorney that applies for recertification as a board certified specialist by TBLS must demonstrate a devotion to a minimum of 25% of his or her time practicing criminal law in Texas during each year of the five (5) year period of certification.
When applying for recertification as board certified in criminal law, the attorney must submit names of persons with whom he or she has had dealings involving criminal law matters since certification or the most recent recertification.
Finding an Attorney Board Certified in Criminal Law by TBLS - Visit Lawyer Legion, an online attorney directory to find many of the criminal defense attorneys in Texas who have earned the distinction of being board certified in criminal law. These attorneys focus on criminal justice issues at the local, state, or federal law.
Becoming a Board-certified Paralegal in Criminal Law - Members of the State Bar of Texas’s Paralegal Division have annual CLE requirements. The requirements including sitting for an exam after a minimum of five years’ experience in the field for which you want to test. The paralegal must have either two additional years of experience, completion of paralegal programs with various semester credit hours, a bachelor’s degree or higher in any field, completion of an American Bar Association paralegal program, or National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) certification. The paralegal must also complete 30 hours of CLE in the specialty area in which you are testing within three years prior to the test. More than 300 paralegals have distinguished themselves with board certification. Out of the twenty-five paralegals inducted in 2015, only one was inducted in criminal law.
Find TBLS on Facebook - Find recent updated by TBLS which now certifies attorneys in 21 different specialty areas and paralegals in seven specialty areas. 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.
Find Criminal Law Attorneys in Texas - Visit Lawyer Legion, an online attorney directory, to find lawyers focused on criminal justice and defense in Texas. Our directory puts a special emphasis on attorneys certified as a specialist in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS).
This article was last updated on Monday, December 16, 2019.