Similar to the medical profession in which the body of knowledge is so large that it’s impossible for one doctor to remain current in all specialty areas, the body of law has grown so large and complex that attorneys can no longer be “all things to all people.”

Thus, enters the idea of legal specialization. While the medical profession has embraced specialization and specialty certification for decades, the legal community has been slow to embrace publicly what it has known for years — most lawyers specialize but do so without hard facts to claim they do, beyond “reputation” or them simply saying it is so.

The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) offers specialization certification in civil trial law on an iron clad basis. To accomplish this, an applicant must have taken testimony in at least 100 contested matters and undergo a thorough screening of their courtroom credentials including:

  • Documentation of their experience including five jury trials to verdict and at least — direct examination of 25 witnesses, cross examination of 25 witnesses, direct examination of 15 experts, cross examination of 15 expert witnesses, 8 opening statements, 4 closing arguments and 5 voir dire (jury panel) examinations
  • Judicial and peer references including 10 judges and opposing counsel
  • A comprehensive written exam in civil trial law

Why Should This Matter to Clients?

NBTA states:

“In the medical profession, many hospitals forbid doctors to practice without proof of board certification in their specialty. Administrators realize the value of independent screening of credentials and experience.

Consumers are, therefore, afforded added confidence that the doctors treating their conditions are well and truly qualified. And because of its widespread acceptance, most people who seek medical assistance are unlikely to hire non-certified physicians.

Before NBTA’s founding in 1977, no such mechanism existed for lawyers. The problem was (and remains) that lawyers admitted to their state bar were—and still are—free to accept cases in any area of the law.

When you decide to work with an NBTA board-certified attorney, it means you’ve chosen an attorney who has dedicated her or his professional career to their select field of choice. Board-certified attorneys have endured a rigorous application process and passed a highly comprehensive examination about their particular specialty.

With less than 4% of all practicing lawyers certified by an ABA-accredited or state-sponsored certification board, board certification is not only highly important to the profession of law, but also paramount to consumers. This small, but highly esteemed, group of lawyers provides the knowledge and a confidence clients should expect and require in an attorney.

Additionally, they must report all disciplinary matters brought before any official body, whether public or private, for scrutiny by the NBTA Standards Committee.”