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Legal Specialists






Legal Specialization

October 2013 examination results were mailed on March 15, 2014 via U.S. mail.  Please see details below.

Those who have passed the legal specialist examination can click here to access a post-examination application.

Or you may click the link at left in your legal specialty area to learn more about the certification process.

Examinees who took the legal specialist examination in October 2013 had their results mailed on March 15, 2014 to the address found on their State Bar profiles. Please do not call the San Francisco State Bar office for your results.  Results will not be released via phone, fax, or e-mail, and will not be sent to anyone other than the examinee and no public pass lists are posted at any time. The results are mailed from the San Francisco office of the State Bar. Note that even when results are mailed at the same time, they may travel at different rates. Attorneys within the same firm may get their letters on different dates. The State Bar of California does not have control over the letters once they leave the State Bar facility. If you do not receive your results by March 24, 2014, please contact the State Bar in writing at legalspec@calbar.ca.gov to request duplicate results. Duplicate requests cannot be entertained prior to March 24, 2014, and duplicate requests cannot be accepted by phone. Please adhere to these procedures for best results.

If you have passed the legal specialist examination, you will be eligible to proceed to the next step in the certification process and to file your post-examination application immediately if you wish. You must file this application, or a request for an extension, by April 22, 2015. Request for extension should be sent to legalspec@calbar.ca.gov. Requests for extension dates later than January 2017 cannot be entertained.

Rules Reorganization

Effective January 1, 2014, the State Bar has reorganized the rules governing the program in Legal Specialization primarily to make them easier to read.

As part of this reorganization, effective in 2015, specialists will begin to report their legal specialist education at the same time that they normally report MCLE. More information will be forming on full procedures.

In the meantime, anyone recertifying this year (2014) should do so in the same way as it has been done in the past, including 60 hours of education over the past five years.

Becoming a certified specialist

  • Why certify? Learn more about why to certify by watching this short video.
  • Read about one attorney's path to becoming a board certified legal specialist.
  • Happy Anniversary to those Certified Specialists reaching their 20th, 30th and 40th year in their specialty as of 2013. View a list of
  •     Certified Specialists celebrating these milestones as of 2013.

    Future applicants: Although the next Certified Legal Specialist examination isn't until October 27, 2015, you can begin your preparation toward the other requirements by:

    • Documenting your tasks and standards
    • Register for the examination, which will be held in October 27, 2015 for all specialties

    Applicants can find locations in Northern California and Southern California. The examination date and logistics will be posted in January 2015.

    Already a certified specialist?

    It's time to enjoy the many benefits of being a certified specialist:

    • Download the certified specialist logo and terms of use. Certified legal specialists are entitled to use this logo free of charge on their e-mail, letterhead, website and other outreach materials.
    • Rules have been Reorganized. Effective January 1, 2014 the State Bar has reorganized the rules govering the program in Legal Specialization primarily to make them easier to read. As part of this reorganization, effective in 2015, specialists will begin to report their legal specialist education at the same time that they normally report MCLE. More information will be forming on full procedures. In the meantime, anyone recertifying this year (2014) should do so in the same way as it has been done in the past, including 60 hours of education over the past five years.
    • Update your profile through My State Bar Profile to add your firm's website, photo and spoken languages. Certified Legal Specialists are automatically listed by their specialty on the State Bar website and only certified specialists can be searched by practice area on the State Bar of California website.
    • Ready to retire or resign your Certified Legal Specialist status permanently? Fill out the Certified Specialist Retirement/Resignation Form and send it to the address on the form.
    • Need brochures for your office? Order "What Can A Certified Specialist Do for You?" brochures, which include a place for you to include your own firm's business cards.
    • Want to be on the radio? San Francisco Bay Area certified specialists can audition to be part of the radio call-in panel for "Your Legal Rights" to appear on-air or take off-air calls. Contact LegalSpec@calbar.ca.gov if you are interested.

    For educational providers

    Apply to offer Legal Specialization credits and MCLE.

    Search for a list of approved educational providers in your area of certified specialty.

    News you can use 

    • The rules governing legal specialization were reorganized effective Jan. 1, 2014. For 2014, please continue to use the current forms for certification and re-certification located on this website.  New guidelines will be posted for those who  have an MCLE reporting deadline in 2015 and for those certifying in 2015 and beyond.
    • Examination results will be mailed via U.S. mail to the address found on your State Bar profile by March 15, 2014.
    • The American Bar Association Annual National Specialization Roundtable is coming to Long Beach, California on May 30-31, 2014.  Attend to network with specialists from all areas around California and the nation and to learn innovative ways to spread the news of your certification.
    • Read about the importance of certified specialist status to consumers and attorneys here: Q+A Legal Specialization a Boon for Consumers.
    • Don't miss the radio program on KALW 91.7FM "Your Legal Rights," featuring certified specialists from around the state every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Not in San Francisco? Download the free Tune-In app for Android or Apple to listen.
    • Refer a specialist. Search by county, city or ZIP code for a certified specialist in your area.
    • Submit articles for the Legal Specialization Digest of up to 500 words to LegalSpec@calbar.a.gov.

    Contact Us

    Contact us at LegalSpec@calbar.ca.gov or 415-538-2120.

    Contact Us
    Department of Legal Specialization
    State Bar of California
    180 Howard St.
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    415-538-2120
    Fax: 415-538-2180
    legalspec@calbar.ca.gov
    For consumers

    Find certified legal specialists in your county or try the Advanced Search tool to locate attorneys who speak specific languages or practice in certain cities.

    Board-certified legal specialists have:

    • demonstrated their competence
    • received specialized education
    • shown commitment in one of 11 areas of law practice administered through the State Bar of California or 11 additional areas through our certifying partners

     

    Step up to Leadership

    Apply to serve on an advisory commission or the board. Applications are due February 3, 2014.