Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400(D)(6) provides that an attorney cannot state in a communication or solicitation that the attorney is a certified specialist unless the attorney has been certified either by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization or by another certifying body that has been accredited by the State Bar. The rule also requires that the attorney state the complete name of the certifying body. Rule 3.126 of the Legal Specialization program rules states that a certified specialist should refer to him/herself as certified by "The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization."

A logo has been created that can be used in lieu of text by specialists certified by the Board of Legal Specialization to state the name of the certifying body. The logo is available for use in printed material, such as stationery, business cards, etc., and electronic media. It can be reproduced in either color or black and white.

  • EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file format - preferred by most commercial printers
  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) JPG file format
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) file format
  • Email Logo (Use this format to incorporate logo into email signature)

Before using the logo, please be sure to read the guidelines that follow. Use of the logo is permitted solely under the terms stated in the guidelines. No modification or alteration of the logo is permitted, except as stated.

Policy Guidelines for Use of the Legal Specialization Program's Logo

(adopted by the Board of Legal Specialization 11/15/02)

The Legal Specialization Program's logo is a symbol of distinction. Use of the logo is intended to present a consistent, identifiable image for specialization apart from the regular bar membership. The logo is recognizable by the profession and the general public as an indication of a continuing effort toward excellence in the field of law.

The following guidelines outline the approved use of the logo to maintain its integrity and to ensure the logo's continued release into the mainstream. These guidelines are not intended to create the sudden obsolescence of every piece of material currently used by the Legal Specialization Program and certified specialists in advertising the fact of certification. However, as material runs out, or as new designs are created, it is expected that these guidelines will be followed.

1. Purpose

The purpose of these guidelines is to further the Board of Legal Specialization's (BLS) goals of making the California public aware of the benefits of using certified legal specialists, convincing California attorneys of the benefits of becoming or remaining certified legal specialists, thereby increasing the number of attorneys in the program, and recognizing those attorneys who have put forth the effort to become certified specialists.

Allowing certified attorneys to use the logo according to BLS guidelines will provide certified attorneys with an additional benefit to their certification and will promote recognition of specialist certification among attorneys and the consumers of legal services.

2. Terms of Use

The use of the logo is restricted to the BLS for promotional and advertising purposes and BLS certified attorneys only. The BLS certified specialist is responsible for the manner in which the logo is used in association with his or her name consistent with Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400(D)(6) and Rule 3.126 of the Rules Governing the State Bar of California Program For Certifying Legal Specialists.

BLS certification is an attribute of the certified attorney and not his or her law firm's. When using the logo, it must be clear to a reasonable person that the certification applies to an individual attorney and the identity of that attorney must be clearly indicated. The BLS logo may not be displayed in any manner that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a firm or other organization is certified by the BLS.

Subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct and these guidelines, the BLS certified attorney may display the BLS logo in any communication. Appropriate uses would include the use of the logo in newspaper advertisements, yellow page listings, letterhead, business cards, pamphlets, brochures, television advertisements and Internet display.

The BLS does not charge a licensing fee for the use of the logo. However, the BLS reserves the right to change the terms of these guidelines. The BLS reserves the right to withdraw the right to use the BLS logo at any time and for any reason.

Certified attorneys are permitted to use the BLS logo only in accordance with the BLS guidelines and only so long as they remain certified by the BLS.

Advertisements placed prior to receipt of the notice withdrawing the right to use the BLS logo need not be withdrawn, but no such advertisement may be renewed after receipt of the notice. The attorney is responsible for any costs associated with ceasing use of the BLS logo.

In order to preserve the accuracy of the BLS logo and the quality of its presentation, only a printed logo or electronic version provided by the BLS may be used for reproduction purposes. The logo may be enlarged or reduced in size, but any other alternation of the logo is strictly prohibited (except that it may be reproduced in either color or black and white). The BLS may charge a fee to be set by the BLS for providing the print logo or electronic version.

Language associated with logo use: A certified specialist may, when offering legal services under the State Bar Legal Specialization Program, refer to himself or herself as certified by "The "State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization" and/or use the logo.

All questions about the proper use of the BLS logo should be directed to or 415-538-2120.