Texas Board of Legal Specialization certifies lawyers as specialists in 24 select areas of Texas Law, such as Family law.  To be board certified means that an attorney has reached a level of expertise that goes beyond those that are not board certified.  What does that mean?

Board Certification Examination: An applicant for board certification first must meet all the equalizations for the specific area of board certification before he or she are deemed “qualified” to sit for the exam.  An applicant must then take and pass the difficult, rigorous exam in order to demonstrate expertise in the subject matter, say family law.  The subject matter exam is given once a year and graded by board certified specialists in that subject area.  It is not unusual for an applicant to fail the exam the first time.  Part of the requirements to become “qualified” to take the exam is a peer review process where opposing attorneys and judges the applicant has appeared before, say whether or not the applicant knows the subject matter, how to try a case, and is ethical.

Recertification: Every 5 years after a person becomes board certified, there are recertification requirements that must be met.  A recertification applicant must complete 100 hours of continuing legal education in the specialty area by December 31 of the 5th year of certification and a peer review process by attorneys and judges.  Also, the applicant must continue to meet certain ethical standards.

Hard and Difficult:  The process to become board in a specialty area and to maintain the certification is hard and difficult.  A board-certified lawyer has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate a high level of expertise, knowledge, skill, involvement, ethical conduct and professionalism.

Why Not Hire a Board-Certified Lawyer?  In a family law case, where your children, vehicles, house, retirement and other property are at stake, you should have the best board-certified family lawyer you can get.  Tim Whitten is a board certified family law attorney in Austin, Texas.