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Legal Specialists






Legal Specialization

Register here for the 2017 Legal Specialist Examination

•    Why certify? Learn more about why to certify by watching this short video.
•  Read about one attorney's experience as a current board certified legal specialist.
Starting the Application Process?
•    Register now for the Legal Specialist examination offered on October 24, 2017.
•    The rules and the post-examination application will help you to begin documenting the education and experience needed to complete your candidate packet.  Look to the left to find your area of specialty.
•    Learn more about the upcoming examination.

Congratulations to Certified Specialists who reached their 20th, 30th, or 40th anniversaries in 2016!

The California Board of Legal Specialization recognizes and celebrates these individuals who were first certified as specialists in the specific years of 1976, 1986 and 1996.

Certified Specialists in MCLE Group 3 (N-Z) to Report Legal Specialist Education Compliance by Feb. 1, 2017

 Certified Specialists in MCLE Group 3 (N-Z) are due to report 36 hours of legal specialist education by Feb.1, 2017 by submitting a legal specialization education compliance card. Read about the equivalents allowed during this transition period. Read this letter to learn about some special one-time options available to help you meet your requirement by Feb. 1, 2017.

In accordance with Legal Specialization Rule 3.114(A)(2), adopted on Jan. 1, 2014, certified specialists report 36 hours of legal specialist education every three years, but still recertify every five years. With the reporting cycles for MCLE educational compliance and legal specialist education compliance synchronized, it is anticipated that educational reporting will be more convenient for certified specialists.

Note: You must also report your MCLE compliance separately through your My State Bar Profile, as it becomes available.

Already a certified specialist?

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

  • (NEW) Recertifying? As a reminder, you will now report your legal specialist education by submitting a compliance card instead of reporting education on your recertification application. You will be due to report 36 hours of legal specialist education every 3 years, during your MCLE compliance period by submitting a legal specialization education compliance card. (Note: You must also report your MCLE compliance separately through your My State Bar Profile.)
  • Congratulations to specialists who reached their 20th, 30th, or 40th anniversaries in 2015. These individuals were first certified as specialists in the years 1975, 1985 and 1995. 
  • 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.   
  • Enhance 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.
  • 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? California 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.
  • 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.

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 

  • In accordance with Legal Specialization Rule 3.114(A)(2), adopted on Jan. 1, 2014, certified specialists report 36 hours of legal specialist education every three years, but still recertify every five years. Education is not reported on the recertification application any longer.
  • Learn more about the Legal Specialization Program by reading our 29th Annual Report for Calendar 2015.
  • Read about how certification may benefit you, from the perspective of a current certified specialist.
  • 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 or stream past programs on the KALW website.
  • Refer a specialist. Search by county for a certified specialist in your area.

Contact Us

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

Contact Us

Department of Legal Specialization
Office of Admissions

State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
415-538-2120
Fax: 415-538-2180
legalspec@calbar.ca.gov
www.californiaspecialist.org

Exam Reminder

Results from the Oct. 2015 Legal Specialist Examination will be mailed out on March 15, 2016.

The next examination date will be Oct. 24, 2017. 

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

Learn more in this short video.