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Please review the general requirements for certification and continued certification, as well as the standards for Social Security Disability Law.



Licensed and in good standing to practice law in North Carolina as of the date of application.


During the five years preceding application:

Average of at least 600 hours a year.

Minimum of 500 hours for any one year.

Practice equivalents may be accepted for the following:

  • service as a law professor for one year;
  • service as a Social Security administrative law judge, Social Security staff lawyer, or assistant United States attorney for three years.

Applicant may also need to provide information regarding participation, as primary counsel of record, in the following: (A) Proceedings before an administrative law judge; (B) Cases appealed to the appeals council of the Social Security Administration; and (C) Cases appealed to federal district court.


During the three years preceding application:

At least 36 hours of CLE in Social Security disability law and related fields.

No less than six hours earned in any one year.

Of the 36 hours, at least 18 hours shall be in Social Security disability law.

The balance may be in the following related fields: trial skills and advocacy; practice management; medical injuries, medicine, or anatomy; ERISA; labor and employment law; elder law; workers’ compensation law; veterans’ disability law; and the law relating to long term disability or Medicaid/Medicare claims.


Must provide the names of ten lawyers or judges who are familiar with the competence and qualification of the applicant in social security disability law.

All references must be licensed (in the US) and in good standing to practice law and have substantial practice or judicial experience in social security disability law.

A reference may not be related by blood or marriage to the applicant nor may the reference be a colleague at the applicant’s place of employment at the time of the application.


Four 90-minute sessions (six hours long).

Exam sessions begin around 8:15 am and finish prior to 5 pm.

Includes multiple-choice, short answer, and short essay questions.

Exam administered at the NC State Bar building or through a remote proctoring option.