Scale Up Your Practice

Are you certified as a specialist?

No.  I have neither applied for nor obtained certification as a specialist in any particular field of law.  But it is not necessary to be certified as a specialist in order to practice in the jurisdictions where I am licensed.  I am familiar with legal specialization programs because I chaired New Mexico’s Board of Legal Specialization when it operated as a court-regulated program several years ago.  That program was discontinued at the end of 2017.  The State Bar of New Mexico plans to start a new program for certifying lawyers as specialists in the Fall of 2020, but it will not be a continuation of the previous court-regulated program. 

When evaluating an organization that claims to certify or rate attorneys in particular practice areas, I suggest you consider the following factors:

  1. whether the organization has been accredited by a government agency or official state bar association,
  2. whether the organization uses the program to generate revenue for itself or its affiliates in excess of the program’s operating costs,
  3. whether the organization applies objective criteria (such as minimum years in practice and continuing education requirements) instead of relying on subjective popularity or approval ratings, and
  4. the level of economic, demographic, and cultural diversity present among the program’s participants (such as whether they include lawyers from small firms, small-town lawyers, and lawyers who primarily represent historically disadvantaged groups).

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