Board Certified: does it matter?

You may be wondering if you need a “board certified” attorney. Honestly, you may not “need” one, but it sure is nice to have one whenever possible.

Board certified attorneys are specialists in particular areas of the law. Law school prepares lawyers in a broad range of topics and thinking. Law school creates a general practice lawyer. Even the bar exam tests a wide range of topics rather than specialty areas. This means that most lawyers have a general knowledge of many areas of law. But a “board certified” lawyer has chosen to become a specialist in one or maybe two areas of the law.

Board certified attorneys are required to document a significant amount of time and effort working in their desired specialty area prior to becoming certified. They are tested over two days on specific knowledge and nuances in their specialty area. Additionally, board certified lawyers must be reviewed and approved as specialists by their peers. Finally, they must maintain high levels of continuing education (CLE) in their speciality area.

So, while you may not “need” a board specialized lawyer, it’s certainly nice to know the lawyer you have chosen is tested and reviewed as a specialist in that area.

JoAnne Musick is board certified in both Criminal Law and Juvenile Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.