What does being "Board Certified" really mean?

We know that many doctors are “board certified," but did you also know that there is a national certification process for lawyers? Interestingly enough, prior to 1977 there was not an organization or mechanism that existed to certify lawyers. That’s where the NBTA comes in.

So what’s the NBTA all about? Well The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is the organization that certifies lawyers in a variety of specialties, including civil litigation. The NBTA is accredited by the ABA (American Bar Association) to certify lawyers in the specialty areas of criminal law, family law, and civil trial advocacy.

So why is this important? The NBTA went through a rigorous application process in which panels were chosen by the ABA Standing Committee on Specialization to evaluate each aspect of NBTA’s structure.

What do you as a consumer have to do with any of this? Well, the NBTA is dedicated to bettering the quality of trial advocacy in our nation’s courtrooms and helping you (the consumer) find experienced and highly qualified trial lawyers.

So what does the board require an attorney to have in order to be certified? Well the attorney must

  • Have had at least 45 hours of continuing legal education in the last three years.
  • Be in good standing
  • Submit a writing sample
  • Concentrate in the specialty of trial advocacy (in other words, he/she goes to court)
  • Have been lead counsel in a substantial number of trials taken to verdict or judgment
  • Be able to provide references from three judges and three attorneys familiar with his courtroom abilities
  • Pass a trial technique evidence and ethics essay exam that lasts six hours.
  • Have been lead counsel in at least forty contested matters involving the taking of evidence, such as motions, depositions or hearings.

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