Many people expect that their doctor is "Board Certified" in a specialized area of medicine like orthopedics, Gastroenterologist, etc. You should have the same certification expectation for your lawyer. There are several national organizations that "board certify" civil trial attorneys. For example, the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA).
If an attorney is certified by the NBTA, they have demonstrated skill and expertise in a particular field and have proven it through rigorous examination and testing by the NBTA, according to the Board's web site. The NBTA is required to demonstrate that certified lawyers have an enhanced level of expertise and substantial involvement in a specialty area of certification. The standards are designed to enable the NBTA to evaluate thoroughly the objectives, standards and procedures of attorneys and to facilitate public access to appropriate legal services.
Getting NBTA certified is not easy. I know because I went through the rigorous NBTA review process and was successfully certified in civil litigation.
Extensive Testing Necessary to Get Prestigious Credential
The NBTA actually requires a written examination and an extensive written outline of not less than 50 civil trials that an attorney has participated in during their career. Not all of these trials need be a jury trial. They can be a non‑jury trials or they can be parts of a trial that did not result in a verdict. Since I filled out my application and took my examination, the NBTA actually loosened its requirements and now certain types of court hearings will satisfy the requirement of trial experience.
But one thing remains the same - you must complete a lengthy application and you cannot get out of sitting for an actual written examination testing your skill level. So yes, board certification by the NBTA is real and meaningful along with a lot of other available information on an attorney that you are checking on before retaining them.
All We Do is Injury Law and are Certified in This Practice Area
I cannot speak for other civil trial attorneys, but my personal injury and wrongful death practice extends beyond just one state. I have handled cases in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, etc. I hold a law license to practice in Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, but I've actually been involved in personal injury cases across the country. This extensive multi-jurisdictional experience is probably why I was able to secure the NBTA certification. I've been exposed to many different types of legal challenges in different states requiring a working knowledge of various court rules and procedures, responding to and dealing with some nuances in personal injury laws and litigation, and dealing with attorneys and judges in different states.
To learn more about the NBTA and what it takes to become certified, check out this page. If you suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one in an avoidable accident caused by another party, contact my office today to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation. You can fill out the quick contact form on this page or contact our office by phone at 1-800-752-0042.