WHAT IS BOARD CERTIFICATION FOR ATTORNEYS?

There are board-certified doctors, teachers, and counselors.  There are also board-certified attorneys.  What does that mean exactly as it relates to attorneys?

Here in Minnesota, the Minnesota State Bar Association certifies attorneys in specific fields based on meeting certain criteria.  Fewer than 3% of all registered attorneys in Minnesota are certified specialists in their field.  The purpose of the “Certified Legal Designation is one way for the public to identify those attorneys who have demonstrated proficiency in their specialty area and to find an attorney whose qualifications match their legal needs.”  The Minnesota State Bar Association certifies specialists in the following areas: Civil Trial Law; Criminal Law; Labor and Employment Law; and Real Property Law.  The standards for certification in Civil Trial Law are onerous and require: 

  • Continuous practice for five years with 50% of the time dedicated to civil trial law;
  • Trying at least two jury trials;
  • Having at least 10 trial units;
  • Having 75 experience units (defined as jury trials, court trials, arbitrations, hearings, depositions;
  • References from six lawyers;
  • References from two judges;
  • 45-hours of continuing legal education;
  • Passing a written examination;
  • Submitting a sufficient legal memorandum; and
  • Demonstrating good character, fitness and ethical behavior.

On a national level, the National Board of Trial Advocacy also provides board certification in the following areas: Civil Trial Law; Civil Practice Advocacy; Complex Litigation; Criminal Trial Law; Family Trial Law; Patent Litigation; Social Security Disability Law; and Truck Accident Law.  The National Board of Trial Advocacy has similar standards as the Minnesota State Bar Association.

While board certification is not required of an attorney, it can provide clients with reassurance that their attorney is experienced in the particular field of designation and that they can rely on that experience to garner the best result.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney. All information contained in links are the property of the linked site.