There are two types of certification recognized by the ACBCA: State sponsored certification and ABA-Accredited national certification programs. Regardless of whether your state offers certification, you can be certified by a private organization.

State sponsored certification programs offer certification of specialists in various fields of law to attorneys licensed in their state. Private organizations with ABA-Accredited certification programs offer certification of specialists directly in various fields of law to lawyers nationally.

Like other professionals, many lawyers concentrate their practices to certain fields of law. In fact, most specialize to some degree by limiting the range of matters they handle.

Lawyers who are certified as specialists have been recognized by professional certifying organizations as having an enhanced level of skill, as well as substantial involvement in established legal specialty areas. Certifying organizations require lawyers to demonstrate special training, experience and knowledge to ensure that recognition as a certified specialist is meaningful and reliable.

By undergoing rigorous examination to test their competence in the specialty field, completing additional mandatory continuing education specific to their specialty, demonstrating experience in the specialty field by reporting cases they have handled, and providing verified references by co-counsel, opposing counsel, and judges familiar with their practices, board-certification by either a state or private ABA-certified organization assures the public that attorneys who are board-certified are amply qualified to handle matters within their specialty areas. There are no shortcuts to board certification. Buying an advertisement or soliciting referrals by friends and collegues cannot replace board certification to assure that an attorney's competence has been objectively measured.