Legal Specialization Rules and Standards

Welcome certification and recertification applicants!  To find the rules applicable to your situation please do the following:

A. If you wish to certify through any program administered directly by the State Bar:

  1. Legal Specialization Rules*: Please become familiar with Title 3, Division 2, Chapter 2 of the State Bar rules. These rules apply to all applicants, certified specialists, and recertifying specialists.
  2. Standards**: Next, review the article that contains the standards for your particular specialty. If you prefer, you can also look at the recertification application (for current specialists) or the post-exam application (for candidates) designed for your specialty which will lay out these requirements and show you what you will be filing after successful completion of the examination.

Article I. Appellate Law
Article II. Bankruptcy Law
Article III. Criminal Law
Article IV. Estate Law
Article V. Family Law
Article VI. Franchise Law
Article VII. Immigration Law
Article VIII. Taxation Law
Article IX. Workers' Compensation Law
Article X. Admiralty and Maritime Law
Article XI. Legal Malpractice Law

B.  If you wish to apply for certification through one of our national certifying partners, please contact that partner directly. You can learn more about the partners and their areas of certification here.

*Effective January 1, 2014, the rules governing Legal Specialization were reorganized to conform to the new organizational structure of the Rules of the State Bar. Because the current rules structure was adopted July 2007, all rules including the legal specialization rules are dated July 2007 in the header.

** These Standards must be read in conjunction with the rules. If there is a conflict between the Rules and the Article, the Rules control.

Contact Us

Contact us at or 415-538-2120.

Contact Us
Department of Legal Specialization
State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Fax: 415-538-2180