What does it mean when someone is a “NC Board Certified Specialist” in a particular field of law?
Once someone passes a statewide bar exam, they can legally practice in any field of law. How is someone to know if their attorney is truly an expert in a particular practice area?
In North Carolina, the answer is to seek certification by a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist. Board Certified Specialists are lawyers endorsed by the North Carolina State Bar as having demonstrated special knowledge, skill and proficiency in a specific area of law. The certification process for all specialty areas requires at least five years of substantial involvement in the specialty area, completing at least 36 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits in the field, a satisfactory review by at least five legal peers, and passing a comprehensive written examination. North Carolina is one of only 18 states to offer a legal certification program.
According to the North Carolina State Bar:
“Certification of lawyers as specialists by an objective entity and according to objective criteria fulfills the mission of the State Bar to protect the public by providing relevant, truthful, and reliable information to consumers of legal services. Certification helps consumers to identify lawyers who have experience and skill in a certain area of practice. Certification also helps lawyers by encouraging them to improve their expertise in particular areas of practice and providing them with a legitimate way of informing the public and other lawyers of this expertise.”
Board certification is only available to attorneys who practice in particular fields of law. These fields are:
• Real Property Law
• Bankruptcy Law
• Estate Planning and Probate Law
• Family Law
• Criminal Law
• Immigration Law
• Workers' Compensation Law
• Social Security Disability Law
• Elder Law
In selecting attorneys in other fields, consumers should rely on such criteria as experience, references and proven case results.
Rick Fleming, Attorney
Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, North Carolina 27701