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What Is Legal Specialization in California?

Do you know what it means if a criminal defense lawyer or another attorney has a state recognition as a specialist? Not just any lawyer can add on this tagline to their practice; official designation requires meeting multiple steps at the state level and even being recommended by others.

For this reason, when your future is on the line with a criminal case, there are benefits to choosing to work with someone who has gone through this additional step of obtaining recognition. This can give you confidence in your selection of lawyer to manage a criminal California case.

The State Bar in California provides an additional opportunity for attorneys to express their interests and experience in particular areas of the law known as legal specialization. This process specifically certifies lawyers who have gone above and beyond the typical licensing requirements in order to receive a certification as a specialist. This is outlined under California Rule of Court 9.35 which firmly established the state bar legal specialization program. The primary purpose of this program was to allow for attorneys to earn a designation of a certified specialist in certain areas of the law. In order to be classified as a certified specialist, for example, the attorney must;

  • Pass a written exam in that specialty area.
  • Have practiced law regularly over the course of a minimum of 5 years with at least one-quarter of their time dedicated to the specialty area.
  • Received favorable evaluations from other attorneys and judges familiar with the lawyer’s work.
  • Demonstrated comprehensive experience in the specialty area.
  • Regularly attend continuing education in the specialty area beyond what was required of traditional licensing.

When someone has gone the extra step to receive this designation as a legal specialist, this can be one signal to you that they dedicate a significant portion of their practice to representing the best interests of people who have need of legal assistance in that area of the law. If you are looking for a criminal attorney who is highly knowledgeable about protecting your rights, you need to schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer immediately.