Standards for Determining Whether to Pursue the
Creation of a New Specialty
Adopted by the Board of Legal Specialization March 20, 2004
I. Initiation of Board Study:
The North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization (BLS) will study a proposal to create a new specialty area upon receipt of one or more of the following:
• Written application from interested lawyer(s)
• Written application from a section of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA), North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (NCATL), or other professional organization
• Its own motion
II. Required Showing:
A. A lawyer or organization seeking recognition of a new specialty shall submit a written application to the BLS, which shall include the following:
1. Signatures of 100 lawyers recommending the creation of the proposed specialty area. (Lawyers do not have to qualify for or be interested in being certified in the practice area.)
2. A statement as to whether the NCBA, NCATL, or other reputable professional organization has a practice section or committee in the proposed specialty area and the current number of members in that section or committee.
3. A demonstration that it is an established practice area by providing information about one or more of the following:
• Other states or accredited national organizations offer specialty
• Listings as practice area for lawyers in representative phone books
• Listing as practice area in Martindale Hubble
• Listing as practice area in Best Lawyers in America
• Referral service listings (NCBA or other services)
4. Signatures of 20 lawyers who are interested in seeking certification in the proposed specialty area.
5. A definition of the proposed specialty area.
6. A statement that the contemplated definition of the proposed specialty area is not in substantial conflict, nor substantially overlaps, with the definition of a current specialty area, or, if substantial conflict or overlap exists, a statement explaining why the proposed specialty area should be recognized in spite of the conflict or overlap.
7. An explanation about how recognition of the proposed specialty area will benefit members of the public.
8. A listing of the continuing legal education courses in the proposed specialty area provided during the previous 2 years by CLE sponsors accredited by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Continuing Legal Education.
9. Signatures of at least 10 lawyers who would be willing to serve as members of the initial specialty committee that will draft standards for the proposed specialty.
B. If consideration of new specialty is initiated by a resolution of the BLS, the staff will prepare an application containing all of the information and signatures required in II.A. above and shall submit the same to the BLS.
III. Comment from Committees and Councilors
Upon receipt of a written application that complies with the requirements of II.A. above, the BLS shall circulate copies of the application to the members of the existing specialty committees and to the members of the State Bar Council for written comment.
IV. Appointment of Specialty Committee
The BLS shall study the application and written comments thereon and, upon a determination that the creation of a new specialty will benefit the public and the profession, shall appoint a specialty committee. The specialty committee shall draft proposed standards and a subject matter outline covering the knowledge and skills that candidates would be expected to show in the proposed specialty area for consideration by the board.
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