The Board of Legal Specialization was created in 1983 by the North Carolina State Bar and began certifying North Carolina lawyers as legal specialists in 1987. The Board was established to create a method by which qualified North Carolina lawyers might become certified as specialists in designated areas of the law. The goals of the legal certification program are twofold.
First, the program assists in the delivery of legal services to the public by identifying to the public those lawyers who have demonstrated special knowledge, skill, and proficiency in a specific field. By identifying these lawyers, members of the public can more closely match their needs with available services.
Second, the legal specialization program seeks to improve the competency of members of the bar by establishing an additional incentive for lawyers to participate in continuing legal education and to meet other requirements of specialization.
The North Carolina State Bar Specialization Program conforms to the standards set forth by the American Bar Association. The legal certification program in North Carolina is one of only 18 state legal certification programs in the United States.
Currently, the board certifies lawyers in 11 areas of law: appellate practice, bankruptcy law, criminal law (including juvenile delinquency), elder law, estate planning and probate law, family law, immigration law, real property law, social security disability law, trademark law (new in 2013!) and workers' compensation law.
New - Summary of Certification Standards
This chart summarizes the rules for substantial involvement and continuing legal education by practice area.
Congratulations to Our New Specialists
These lawyers were certified by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization on November 24, 2014.
Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2014 Specialization Awards
Read about this year's winners.
Lawyers Interested in Creating New
The History of Legal Specialization
Learn more about the history of the NC State Bar specialization program by reading the State Bar Journal issue devoted to the program’s 20th anniversary.