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Legal Specialists

Legal Specialization

Register for the Legal Specialist Examination on Oct. 27, 2015

Register for the legal specialist examination before registration closes on Oct. 1, 2015. 

Planning on taking the Legal Specialization Examination on Oct. 27? Upcoming prep courses may be available for your specialty area. Visit the Examination Information page and click on your area of law for a  list of available prep courses.

Also available on the Examination Information page are details including areas of law tested, exam format and test site information.

Apply for Testing Accommodations

Becoming a Board Certified Specialist

  • 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?

    Begin by marking your calendar for the legal specialist examination on Oct. 27, 2015, and work on the other requirements in the meantime.  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.

    The examination will take place at the Pasadena Convention Center and the Oakland Convention Center.

    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 (coming in September). 
    • 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 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 

    Contact Us

    Contact us at or 415-538-2120.

    Contact Us

    Department of Legal Specialization
    Office of Admissions

    State Bar of California
    180 Howard St.
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    Fax: 415-538-2180

    Exam Reminder

    Oct. 1 is the final deadline to register for the Legal Specialist Examination.

    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.