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Requirements Of The Legal Specialist Program
The Board of Legal Specialization was created in 1983 by the North Carolina State Bar and began certifying North Carolina lawyers as legal specialists in 1987. The Board was established to create a method by which qualified North Carolina lawyers might become certified as specialists in designated areas of the law. The goals of the legal certification program are twofold.
First, the program assists in the delivery of legal services to the public by identifying to the public those lawyers who have demonstrated special knowledge, skill and proficiency in a specific field. By identifying these lawyers, members of the public can more closely match their needs with available services.
Second, the legal specialization program seeks to improve the competency of members of the bar by establishing an additional incentive for lawyers to participate in continuing legal education and to meet other requirements of specialization.
The North Carolina State Bar Specialization Program conforms to the standards set forth by the American Bar Association (click here to visit the ABA website). The legal certification program in North Carolina is one of only 18 state legal certification programs in the United States.
Currently, the board certifies lawyers in seven areas of law: bankruptcy law, estate planning and probate law, real property law, family law, criminal law, immigration law and workers’ compensation law.
To be certified as a specialist in a practice area, a lawyer must:
1. Be an active member in good standing with the North Carolina State Bar for at least five years
2. Devote at least 25 percent of his or her practice to the specialty during the past five years (substantial involvement)
3. Attend continuing legal education (CLE) seminars in the specialty
4. Be favorably evaluated by other lawyers and judges (peer review)
5. Pass a written examination in the specialty practice area