National Board of Legal Speciality Certification

What are Board Certified Civil Trial Specialists?

A law degree is a graduate degree; a doctorate. Before a student can begin study for a Juris Doctor (that’s Latin for “Doctor of Law”) degree, he or she must pass a law school admissions test and be accepted to a law school. Then three or more years of intense legal education and training lead up to graduation day and ownership of the degree. But, the work doesn’t stop there.


Before a law school graduate can practice law, he or she must pass one or more bar exams before ever beginning practice. The bar exam usually requires months of prep time and is taken over the course of a few days. Then after a lawyer begins practicing law, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements have to be met so he or she can maintain active bar membership year after year. Those who aim to become Board Certified Civil Trial Specialists don’t stop the work here either.


According to the American Bar Association (ABA), fewer than 4% of all practicing lawyers are certified specialists in their field. In order to be certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA), a Division of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification, a lawyer must be identified as one who “possesses an enhanced level of skill and expertise in trial advocacy, and have demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interests of their clients, thereby improving the professional competence of lawyers.” The NBTA determines an applicant is qualified for certification through peer review, educational requirements, written exams, ethical behavior and experience. Certification is then maintained with required annual reports.


The Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization also recognizes the high standards of ABA Civil Trial certification.