Type: Direct Certification, Private Certification, Approval

State Programs
Appellate Practice, Bankruptcy, Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Trust & Probate, Family Law, Immigration & Nationality, Taxation, Workers' Compensation, Admiralty & Maritime Law, Franchise & Distribution Law, Legal Malpractice Law

Private Programs: Business Bankruptcy, Civil Trial Advocacy, Consumer Bankruptcy, Creditors' Rights, Criminal Law Trial Advocacy, Elder Law, Estate Planning Law, Family Law Trial Advocacy, Juvenile Law - Child Welfare, Legal Professional Liability, Medical Professional Liability, Social Security Disability

Regulatory Scheme: California Rules of Professional Conduct permit communications that state that a lawyer is a certified specialist, as long as "the member holds a current certificate as a specialist issued by the Board of Legal Specialization, or any other entity accredited by the State Bar to designate specialists." [Rule 1-400(D)(6)]. In addition to its own certification programs, the State Bar of California accredits private certifying entities. ABA accredited programs qualify for an abridged accreditation process, but must demonstrate that the attorneys they certify meet California standards with respect to task, experience and examination requirements. ABA accredited programs sponsored by the American Board of Certification, the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the National Elder Law Foundation are accredited in California.

Natalie Leonard, Director
Office of Special Admissions and Specialization
State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 538-2118


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Updated: 08/05/2015