Standards

 

Please review the standards for your specialty area for certification before applying with the NBTA. Contact the NBTA office for civil pretrial practice information.

 


General Principles for Certification of Civil and Criminal Trial Advocates

 

(A)     No standards shall in any way limit the right of a certified civil or criminal trial advocate to practice law in all fields.

(B)     No lawyer shall be required to obtain a certificate in civil or criminal trial advocacy before he or she can practice in either field.

(C)     Certification is individual and voluntary. Certification is open to all who qualify.

(D)     A lawyer may have more than one certification from other divisions of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

(E)     Certification shall be for five years, after which time the certificate cannot be used unless the lawyer is recertified.  Certification may be revoked at any time for violations of the General Principles or Standards of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

(F)     Application will be made to the National Board of Trial Advocacy, on the forms supplied by the Board, and accompanied by the appropriate fee.

(G)     Applicant must complete all requirements, including the examination, within two years of application. If the certification process is not satisfactorily completed within the two year period, the applicant will need to reapply and re-submit all required fees.  An application can be denied at any time within the two year application period for failure to successfully meet the requirements for certification.

(H)     A certificate will be issued upon a showing by the applicant, and by the Board’s own investigation, that the applicant complies with the standards and regulations for certification.

(I)      All applications and other information submitted to the National Board of Trial Advocacy shall be privileged and confidential, except as compelled by law and, except that the Board may reveal the fact of an application for the purpose of verifying information submitted by the applicant, and for the purpose of making such inquiries with respect to the character and professional reputation of the applicant as may be authorized by its rules.

(J)      The National Board of Trial Advocacy does not discriminate against any lawyer seeking certification on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age.

(K)     The National Board of Trial Advocacy is dedicated to the identification of lawyers who possess an enhanced level of skill and expertise in trial advocacy, and have demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interests of their clients, thereby improving the professional competence of lawyers.

Standards for Civil & Criminal Certification - rev.8/16

 

(A) Good Standing and Period of Practice

(1) The applicant shall furnish evidence of his or her good standing in the state of his or her admission, or if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal practice.

(2)    Immediately preceding application, the applicant must have spent five years in the actual practice of Civil and/or Criminal law.

(B) Substantial Involvement

(1)      The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement relevant to the particular specialty certification the person is seeking, with at least thirty percent of his or her time spent practicing civil trial litigation, and/or thirty percent of his or her time spent practicing criminal trial litigation, during the three  years preceding the filing of the application.

(2)      Within the applicant’s career, the applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement relevant to the particular specialty certification by personal participation in at least forty-five days of trial ( a day of trial is not less than six hours) during which the applicant examined or cross-examined witnesses, delivered an opening statement or closing argument or conducted a voir dire jury examination.  During the forty-five or more trial days the applicant must personally have:

(a)      served as lead counsel in at least five jury cases;

(b)      substantially participated in at least five jury cases which have proceeded to verdict;

(c)      conducted direct examination of at least twenty-five lay witnesses;

(d)      conducted cross-examination of at least twenty-five lay witnesses;

(e)      conducted direct examination of at least fifteen expert witnesses;

(f)      conducted cross-examination of at least fifteen expert witnesses;

(g)      presented at least eight opening statements;

(h)      presented at least four closing arguments;

(i)       conducted at least five voir dire jury examinations or (in courts which do not permit counsel to conduct voir dire examination) submitted proposed jury questions for the court at least ten times or a combination of examinations and submissions acceptable to the Standards Committee.

The Standards Committee may allow a lesser number of performances in categories (c) through (i) if additional involvement in other categories clearly constitutes sufficient active trial participation to demonstrate an enhanced level of skill and experience.

(3)      Within the applicant’s career, the applicant shall also have actively participated in one hundred additional contested matters involving the taking of testimony (cases included in your substantial involvement may not be included as part of your contested matters).  This may include trials (jury or non-jury); evidentiary hearings or depositions; and motions heard before or after trial.  In criminal advocacy, it may include juvenile delinquency hearings.  In civil advocacy, it may include arbitration hearings, welfare hearings, and workers compensation matters not tried to a court.

(4)      Within the applicant’s substantial involvement and contested matters, one of the following four conditions must be met three years prior to application:

(a)      substantial trial involvement in ten days of trial with personal participation in the categories listed in Section (B)(2)(a) through (i) or,

(b)      active personal participation in twenty-four litigated matters, either directly handled to conclusion as lead counsel or in a supervisory capacity to lead counsel, or

(c)      participation in thirty-six performances (evidentiary hearings or depositions which either oral argument was made or testimony was taken, or motions heard before or after trial), or

(d)      a combination of trial days, participation in litigated matters or performances which demonstrates substantial involvement in the specialty equivalent to one of the three subsections above as approved by the Standards Committee.

(C) Educational Experience

(1)      The applicant must demonstrate substantial participation in continuing legal education and the development of the law with respect to the specialty, in the three year period immediately preceding application either:

(a)      By attendance and/or electronic participation in not less than forty-five hours in programs of continuing legal education in the specialty or ethics, approved by the Standards Committee, or

(b)      By equivalent participation through, but not limited to, the following means, approved by the Standards Committee:

(I)        Teaching courses or seminars in trial law or ethics;

(II)   Participation as panelist, speaker, or workshop leader, at educational or professional conferences;

(III)  Authorship of books, or of articles published in professional journals, on trial law;

(IV)  By combination of the three subsections above.

Please note:
Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details.
NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

(D) Peer Review

(1)      The applicant shall submit with application the names of ten to twelve references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant.  These references shall be substantially involved in the relevant field of trial law, and familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field.  References satisfactory to the NBTA must be received from at least three judges before whom the applicant has tried a matter in the relevant field, not more than three years before application; and at least three shall be lawyers with whom, or against whom, the applicant has tried a matter in that field within three years of application.

(2)      NBTA will solicit confidential statements from all persons listed as references and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s practice, not specifically named by the applicant.  All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has demonstrated an enhanced level of skill and expertise in the practice area, integrity and consideration for the interests of clients.

(E) Examination

The applicant must pass a written examination to test his or her proficiency, knowledge, and experience in civil and/or criminal trial law, so that the applicant may justify his or her representation of specialization to the public.

(F) Legal Writing Document

The applicant shall submit a copy of a legal writing document, no more than three years before the date of application which he or she has prepared, but not necessarily published.   This will be a substantial document in the area for which the applicant seeks certification, containing concise and accurate writing, stating facts (either actual or hypothetical), stating applicable law, analysis of how the law applies to the facts, written in an appropriately argumentative manner and well constructed (i.e. organized, grammatical, demonstrative of good syntax and usage) .  Acceptable documents include, but are not limited to: briefs (trial or appellate), motions for summary judgment, bar journal, law review and legal magazine articles, motions in limine, etc.. The quality of the legal document will be evaluated on those criteria and will determine whether the applicant is qualified for certification.

(G) Disclosure of Conduct

(1) In order to assist the evaluation of whether the applicant possesses an enhanced level of skill and expertise in trial advocacy and has demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interest of clients, the applicant shall, to the extent known, disclose to the National Board of Trial Advocacy as soon as permitted by law:

(a)      The filing of any criminal charges against the applicant together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form;

(b)      The filing or submission of any allegation of unethical or inappropriate professional conduct with any court, grievance committee or disciplinary board or body together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form.

(c)      The assertion of any claim of professional negligence or professional liability, whether or not suit has been filed, which is based in any part on alleged acts or omissions of the applicant or member or on the acts or omissions of any other attorney over whom the applicant or member had any responsibility together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form.

(2)   The National Board of Trial Advocacy shall determine, in accordance with its standards and procedures whether the conduct is such that certification should be granted, denied, suspended or revoked, or whether action should be deferred pending receipt of additional information.  The NBTA will take into consideration any findings made by other bodies concerning such conduct, but is not bound by any such findings and will make its own independent assessment concerning how such conduct bears on whether an attorney is qualified to obtain or maintain certification.

(3)   The failure of an applicant to disclose such conduct is a material misrepresentation and may be cause for rejecting an application or refusing to grant certification, or for suspending or revoking a certificate.  The applicant shall have a continuing duty to disclose such matters to the board.

Note concerning special agreement with The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization & Education:If  you are contemplating applying for NBTA Board Certification in Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy or Family Law Trial Advocacy and you are a member of the Florida Bar, please DO NOT apply unless you are already Board Certified by the Florida Bar in their similar specialty area.  If you are interested in applying for certification with the Florida Bar they can be reached at: 850-561-5850.
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Recertification Standards for Civil & Criminal Certification

 

(A) Good Standing  

The applicant shall furnish satisfactory evidence of good standing in the state of his or her admission or, if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal practice.

(B) Substantial Involvement    

(1)      The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement in the specialty with at least thirty percent of his or her time spent practicing civil/criminal trial litigation during the five years preceding recertification.

(2)      The applicant must further demonstrate substantial involvement in specialized practice during the five years preceding recertification by showing that he or she has actively participated as counsel for a party or parties:

(a)      in criminal trial advocacy, not less than fifteen trial days of criminal matters

(b)      in civil trial advocacy, not less than fifteen  trial days of civil matters

(c)      As an alternative, in civil and/or criminal trial advocacy, one of the following:

(I)    Participation in forty litigated matters, either directly handled to conclusion as lead counsel or in a supervisory capacity to lead counsel or,

(II)   participation in sixty performances which would include depositions or hearings as which either oral argument was made or testimony was taken or,

(III) a combination of trial days, participation in litigated matters or performances which demonstrates substantial involvement in  the specialty equivalent to one of the two subsections above as approved by the Standards Committee of the Board of Directors.

(C) Educational Experience

The applicant must show that he or she participated in and completed at least forty-five hours of educational activity, as set forth in Part C of the Certification Standards, during the five years preceding recertification.

Please note:
Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details.
NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

(D) Peer Review

(1)      The applicant shall submit, for each specialty area, the names of six references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant. Such references shall be substantially involved in the relevant field of trial law, and should be familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field. At least two shall be judges before whom the applicant has appeared as an advocate in the relevant field not more than three years before application; and at least three shall be lawyers with whom, or against whom, the applicant has appeared as an advocate in that field within three years of recertification.

(2)      NBTA will solicit confidential statements from the references named by the applicant and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s practice, not specifically named by the applicant.  References satisfactory to the NBTA must be received from at least one judge and from at least two attorneys.  All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has maintained the enhanced level of skill and expertise in the practice area and the integrity and consideration for the interests of clients necessary to merit recertification.

(E) Disclosure of Conduct   

The applicant shall comply with Part G of the Certification Standards in the same manner as an applicant for certification.


 

Senior Status Standards

(A) Good Standing  

The applicant shall furnish satisfactory evidence of good standing in the state of his or her admission or, if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal practice.

(B) Substantial Involvement

(1) Substantial involvement in the specialty area for “Senior Specialist” shall mean that the applicant has been certified as a specialist in the specialty area by the NBTA for a total of at least ten continuous years preceding the initial application for “Senior Specialist.”

(C) Educational Experience

The applicant must show that he or she participated in and completed at least thirty-six hours of educational activity, as set forth in Part C of the Certification Standards, during the five years preceding senior status.

Please note:
Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details.
NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

(D) Peer Review

(1) The applicant shall submit, for each specialty area, the names of five references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant. Such references shall be substantially involved in the relevant  field of trial law, and should be familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field. At least two shall be judges before whom the applicant has appeared as an advocate in the relevant field not  more than three years before application; and at least three shall be lawyers with whom, or against whom, the applicant has appeared as an advocate in that field within three years preceding application for senior status.

(2) NBTA will solicit confidential statements from the references named by the applicant and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s practice, not specifically named by the applicant.  References satisfactory to the NBTA must be received from at least one judge and from at least two attorneys.  All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has maintained the enhanced level of skill and expertise in the practice area and the integrity and consideration for the interests of clients necessary to merit senior status.

(E) Disclosure of Conduct   

The applicant shall comply with Part G of the Certification Standards in the same manner as an applicant for certification.


 Annual Reporting

 

Annually, members will be required to submit a Disclosure of Conduct form and annual dues.  The member’s annual dues and Disclosure of Conduct (Part G of the Certification Standards) must be current before an application for recertification will be granted.  Disclosures of Conduct/Liability shall be submitted to the Standards Committee to determine if certification should be continued.

Denial or Revocation of Certification

 

(A)      An application for certification may be denied for failure to comply with any of the requirements relating to good standing, substantial involvement, educational experience, peer review, examination, legal writing document, disclosure of conduct, financial responsibility, or any other failure to demonstrate possession of an enhanced level of skill and expertise in trial advocacy and demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interests of clients.

(B)      An application for recertification may be denied for failure to comply with any of the requirements relating to good standing, substantial involvement, educational experience, peer review, disclosure of conduct or any other failure to demonstrate possession of an enhanced level of skill and expertise in trial advocacy and integrity and dedication to the interests of clients.

(C)      An existing certification may be revoked for failure to demonstrate maintenance of an enhanced level of skill and experience in trial advocacy and integrity and dedication to the interests of clients as required for certification or for failure to maintain compliance with the financial responsibility requirements.

(D)      Decisions of the Examination Committee and the Legal Writing Review Committee are final and not subject to further review or appeal.  An attorney who is refused certification for any other reason, or who is refused recertification or whose certification is revoked may pursue review under the Appeal Procedures of the NBTA.  Exhaustion of this right shall be a condition precedent to judicial review.

(E)      A lawyer who is refused certification or recertification, or whose certification is revoked, may not apply for certification until one year after the date of such refusal, denial or revocation.

(F)      Suspension of the license to practice law shall operate as an automatic revocation of certification.

(G)      A lawyer who publicizes a certification or application for certification prior to its being granted, or continues to publish a certification after it has been revoked or suspended, may be barred from certification.


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General Principles for Certification of Family Law Trial Advocates

 

(A)     No standards shall in any way limit the right of a certified family law trial advocate to practice law in all fields.

(B)     No lawyer shall be required to obtain a certificate in family law trial advocacy before he or she can practice in this field.

(C)     Certification is individual and voluntary. Certification is open to all who qualify.

(D)     A lawyer may have more than one certification from other divisions of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

(E)     Certification shall be for five years, after which time the certificate cannot be used unless the lawyer is recertified.  Certification may be revoked at any time for violations of the General Principles or Standards of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

(F)     Application will be made to the National Board of Trial Advocacy, on the forms supplied by the Board, and accompanied by the appropriate fee.

(G)     Applicant must complete all requirements, including the examination, within two years of application. If the certification process is not satisfactorily completed within the two year period, the applicant will need to reapply and re-submit all required fees.  An application can be denied at any time within the two year application period for failure to successfully meet the requirements for certification.

(H)     A certificate will be issued upon a showing by the applicant, and by the Board’s own investigation, that the applicant complies with the standards and regulations for certification.

(I)      All applications and other information submitted to the National Board of Trial Advocacy shall be privileged and confidential, except as compelled by law and, except that the Board may reveal the fact of an application for the purpose of verifying information submitted by the applicant, and for the purpose of making such inquiries with respect to the character and professional reputation of the applicant as may be authorized by its rules.

(J)      The National Board of Trial Advocacy does not discriminate against any lawyer seeking certification on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age.

(K)     The National Board of Trial Advocacy is dedicated to the identification of lawyers who possess an enhanced level of skill and expertise in family law trial advocacy, and have demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interests of their clients and their clients’ children, thereby improving the professional competence of lawyers.

Standards for Family Law Certification-rev.8/2016

 

(A) Good Standing and Period of Practice

(1)              The applicant shall furnish evidence of his or her good standing in the state of his or her admission, or if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal practice.

(2)              Immediately preceding application, the applicant must have spent five years in the actual practice of family law.

(B) Substantial Involvement

(1)     The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement in family law practice, with at least thirty  percent of his or her time spent practicing family law litigation, during the three years preceding the filing of the application.

(2)     Within the applicant’s career, the applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement by personal participation that he or she has appeared as lead counsel for a party or parties in family law trial advocacy, in not less than fifteen trials of family law matters to verdict or judgment, including not less than thirty days of trial (a “day” of trial is not less than six hours).

(3)     Within the applicant’s career, the applicant shall also have actively participated in twenty additional contested matters.  This may include trials (jury or non-jury); evidentiary hearings or depositions; and motions heard before or after trial. 

(4)     Within the applicant’s substantial involvement and contested matters, one of the following four conditions must be met three years prior to application:

(a)    eight days of trial; or
(b)    active personal participation in  ten litigated matters, either directly handled to conclusion as lead counsel or in a supervisory capacity to lead counsel, or
(c)     participation in eighteen performances (evidentiary hearings or depositions which either oral argument was made or testimony was taken, or motions heard before or after trial), or
(d)    a combination of trial days, participation in litigated matters or performances which demonstrates substantial involvement in the specialty equivalent to one of the three subsections above as approved by the Standards Committee.

 

(C) Educational Experience

(1)     The applicant must demonstrate substantial participation in continuing legal education and the development of the law relevant to the field of family law, in the three year period immediately preceding application either:

(a)          By attendance and/or electronic participation at not less than forty-five hours in programs of continuing legal education relevant to family law practice, approved by the Standards Committee. Twenty percent of the continuing legal education may be in ethics.

(b)        By equivalent participation through, but not limited to, the following means, approved by the Standards Committee:

i)            Teaching courses or seminars in family law or ethics;

ii)           Participation as panelist, speaker, or workshop leader, at educational or professional conferences in family law or ethics;

iii)          Authorship of books, or of articles published in professional journals, on family law or ethics;

iv)          By combination of the three subsections above.

Please note:
Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details. NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

(D) Peer Review

(1)     The applicant shall submit the names of ten to twelve references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant.  These references shall be substantially involved infamily law trial advocacy, and familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field.  References satisfactory to the NBTA must be received from at least three judges before whom the applicant has tried a matter in the field of family law, not more than three years before application; and at least three shall be lawyers with whom, or against whom, the applicant has tried a matter in family law within three years of application.

(2)     NBTA will solicit confidential statements from all persons listed as references and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s practice, not specifically named by the applicant.  All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has demonstrated an enhanced level of skill and expertise in the family law trial practice area, integrity and consideration for the interests of clients and their clients’ children.

(E) Examination

The applicant must pass a written examination to test his or her proficiency, knowledge, and experience in family trial law, so that the applicant may justify his or her representation of specialization to the public.

(F) Legal Writing Document

The applicant shall submit a copy of a legal writing document, no more than three years before the date of application which he or she has prepared and submitted, but not published. This will be a substantial document in family law, containing concise and accurate writing, stating facts (either actual or hypothetical), stating applicable law, analysis of how the law applies to the facts, written in an appropriately argumentative manner and well constructed (i.e. organized, grammatical, demonstrative of good syntax and usage).  The quality of the legal document will be evaluated on those criteria and will determine whether the applicant is qualified for certification.

(G) Disclosure of Conduct

(1)     In order to assist the evaluation of whether the applicant possesses an enhanced level of skill and expertise in family law trial advocacy and has demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interest of clients and their clients’ children, the applicant shall, to the extent known, disclose to the National Board of Trial Advocacy as soon as permitted by law:

(a)      The filing of any criminal charges against the applicant together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form;

(b)      The filing or submission of any allegation of unethical or inappropriate professional conduct with any court, grievance committee or disciplinary board or body together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form.

(c)      The assertion of any claim of professional negligence or professional liability, whether or not suit has been filed, which is based in any part on alleged acts or omissions of the applicant or member or on the acts or omissions of any other attorney over whom the applicant or member had any responsibility together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form.

(2)     The National Board of Trial Advocacy shall determine, in accordance with its standards and procedures whether the conduct is such that certification should be granted, denied, suspended or revoked, or whether action should be deferred pending receipt of additional information.  The NBTA will take into consideration any findings made by other bodies concerning such conduct, but is not bound by any such findings and will make its own independent assessment concerning how such conduct bears on whether an attorney is qualified to obtain or maintain certification.

(3)     The failure of an applicant to disclose such conduct is a material misrepresentation and may be cause for rejecting an application or refusing to grant certification, or for suspending or revoking a certificate.  The applicant shall have a continuing duty to disclose such matters to the board.

Note concerning special agreement with The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization & Education:If  you are contemplating applying for NBTA Board Certification in Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy or Family Law Trial Advocacy and you are a member of the Florida Bar, please DO NOT apply unless you are already Board Certified by the Florida Bar in their similar specialty area.  If you are interested in applying for certification with the Florida Bar they can be reached at: 850-561-5850.

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Recertification Standards for Family Law Certification

 

(A) Good Standing  

The applicant shall furnish satisfactory evidence of good standing in the state of his or her admission or, if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal practice.

(B) Substantial Involvement   

(1)     The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement in the specialty with at least thirty percent of his or her time spent practicing family law trial litigation during the five years preceding recertification.

(2)     The applicant must further demonstrate substantial involvement in family law trial practice during the five years preceding recertification by showing that he or she has appeared as lead counsel for a party or parties:

(a)     In family law trial advocacy, not less than fifteen trial days of family law matters.

(b)     As an alternative, in place of the trial day requirement, one of the following:

(I)participation in thirty family law litigated matters, either directly handled to conclusion as lead counsel or in a supervisory capacity to lead counsel or,

(II) participation in forty-five family law performances which would include depositions or hearings as which either oral argument was made or testimony was taken or,

(III) a combination of trial days, participation in litigated matters or performances which demonstrates substantial involvement in family law equivalent to one of the two subsections above as approved by the Standards Committee of the Board of Directors.          

(C) Educational Experience

The applicant must show that he or she participated in and completed at least forty-five hours of educational activity, as set forth in Part C of the Certification Standards, during the five years preceding recertification.

Please note:
Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details. NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

(D) Peer Review

(1)     The applicant shall submit, the names of six references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant. Such references shall be substantially involved in the field of family trial law, and should be familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field. At least two shall be judges before whom the applicant has appeared as an advocate in the field of family trial law not more than three years before application; and at least two shall be lawyers with whom, or against whom, the applicant has appeared as an advocate in that field within three years of recertification.

(2)     NBTA will solicit confidential statements from the references named by the applicant and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s family law practice, not specifically named by the applicant.  References satisfactory to the NBTA must be received from at least one judge and from at least two attorneys.  All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has maintained the enhanced level of skill and expertise in the practice area and the integrity and consideration for the interests of clients necessary to merit recertification.

(E) Disclosure of Conduct  

The applicant shall comply with Part G of the Certification Standards in the same manner as an applicant for certification.


Senior Status Standards

(A) Good Standing  

The applicant shall furnish satisfactory evidence of good standing in the state of his or her admission or, if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal practice.

(B) Substantial Involvement

(1) Substantial involvement in the specialty area for “Senior Specialist” shall mean that the applicant has been certified as a specialist in the specialty area by the NBTA for a total of at least ten continuous years preceding the initial application for “Senior Specialist.”

(C) Educational Experience

The applicant must show that he or she participated in and completed at least thirty-six hours of educational activity, as set forth in Part C of the Certification Standards, during the five years preceding senior status.

Please note:
Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details.
NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

(D) Peer Review

(1)  The applicant shall submit, for each specialty area, the names of five references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant. Such references shall be substantially    involved in the relevant field of trial law, and should be familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field. At least two shall be judges before whom the applicant has appeared as an advocate in the relevant field not more than three years before application; and at least three shall be lawyers with whom, or against whom, the applicant has appeared as an advocate in that field within three years preceding application for senior status.

(2)  NBTA will solicit confidential statements from the references named by the applicant and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s practice, not specifically named by the applicant.  References satisfactory to the NBTA must be received from at least one judge and from at least two attorneys.  All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has maintained the enhanced level of skill and expertise in the practice area and the integrity and consideration for the interests of clients necessary to merit senior status.

(E) Disclosure of Conduct 

The applicant shall comply with Part G of the Certification Standards in the same manner as an applicant for certification.


Annual Reporting

 

Annually, members will be required to submit a Disclosure of Conduct/Liability and annual dues.  The applicant’s annual dues and Disclosure of Conduct (Part G of the Certification Standards) must be current before an application for recertification will be granted.  Disclosures of Conduct/Liability shall be submitted to the Standards Committee to determine if certification should be continued.

Denial or Revocation of Certification

 

(A)      An application for certification may be denied for failure to comply with any of the requirements relating to good standing, substantial involvement, educational experience, peer review, examination, legal writing, disclosure of conduct, financial responsibility or any other failure to demonstrate possession of an enhanced level of skill and expertise in family law trial advocacy and demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interests of clients and their clients’ children.

(B)      An application for recertification may be denied for failure to comply with any of the requirements relating to good standing, substantial involvement, educational experience, peer review, disclosures of conduct, financial responsibility or any other failure to demonstrate possession of an enhanced level of skill and expertise in family law trial advocacy and integrity and dedication to the interests of clients and their clients’ children.

(C)     An existing certification may be revoked for failure to demonstrate maintenance of an enhanced level of skill and experience in family law trial advocacy and integrity and dedication to the interests of clients and their clients’ children as required for certification.

(D)     Decisions of the Examination Committee and the Brief Review Committee are final and not subject to further review or appeal.  An attorney who is refused certification for any other reason, or who is refused recertification or whose certification is revoked may pursue review under the Appeal Procedures of the NBTA.  Exhaustion of this right shall be a condition precedent to judicial review.

(E)      A lawyer who is refused certification or recertification, or whose certification is revoked, may not apply for certification until one year after the date of such refusal, denial or revocation.

(F)      Suspension of the license to practice law shall operate as an automatic revocation of certification.

(G)      A lawyer who publicizes a certification or application for certification prior to its being granted, or continues to publish a certification after it has been revoked or suspended, may be barred from certification.

 

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General Principles for Certification of Social Security Disability Advocates

 

(A)              No Standards shall in any way limit the right of a social security disability attorney to practice law in all fields.

(B)              No lawyer shall be required to obtain a certificate in social security disability advocacy before he or she can practice in this field.

(C)              Certification is individual and voluntary.  Certification is open to all who qualify.

(D)              A lawyer may have more than one certification from other divisions of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

(E)              Certification shall be for five years, after which time the certificate cannot be used unless the lawyer is recertified. Certification may be revoked at any time for violations of the General Principles or Standards of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.             

(F)              Application for certification will be made to the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA), on the application forms supplied by the Board, and accompanied by the appropriate fee.

(G)              Applicants must complete all requirements, including the examination within two years from the date the application is received. If the certification process is not satisfactorily completed within the two year period, the applicant will need to reapply and submit all required fees.

(H)              A certificate will be issued upon a showing by the applicant, and by the Board’s own investigation, that the applicant complies with the standards and regulations for certification.

(I)               All applications and other information submitted to the NBTA shall be privileged and confidential, except as compelled by law and, except that the NBTA may reveal the fact of an application for the purpose of verifying information submitted by the applicant, and for the purpose of making such inquiries with respect to the character and professional reputation of the applicant as may be authorized by law.

(J)               The NBTA does not discriminate against any lawyers seeking certification on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age, except as the natural consequence of reasonable experience requirements.

(K)              The National Board of Trial Advocacy is dedicated to the identification of lawyers who possess an enhanced level of skill and expertise in social security disability advocacy and have demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interests of their clients, thereby the professional competence of lawyers.


Standards for Social Security Disability Advocates - rev.8/16

 

A. Good Standing and Period of Practice                

 1. The applicant shall furnish evidence of his or her good standing in the state of his or her admission, or if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal practice.

 2. Immediately preceding application, the applicant must have spent five (5) years in the actual practice of Social Security Disability law.

B. Substantial Involvement              

1. The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement relevant to Social Security Disability law. Specifically, at least thirty (30) percent of the applicant’s practice must be spent on social security disability law three (3) years prior to the date of submission of the application.

2. The applicant must further demonstrate substantial involvement in specialized practice, by showing that he or she has performed the following within the applicant’s career:

a.   Appeared in no fewer than one hundred (100) Social Security Disability Hearings (30 of the100 hearings must be in the 3 years prior to application);

b.   Filed no less than twenty (20) appeals council briefs (4 of the 20 briefs must be in the3 years prior to application).  The applicant must list the submissions to provide privacy for   the claimant to prevent a violation of SS Act 42 USC 1306(a) and the Privacy Act, 5 USC 552a.

c.   Filed no less than ten (10) briefs in United States District Court or the Circuit Court of Appeals; (2 of the 10 must be in the 3 years prior to application), OR 

d.   A combination of hearings, appeals council brief filings and district court brief filings which demonstrates substantial involvement in social security disability practice equivalent to requirements (a) through (c) above as approved by the Standards Committee.

C. Educational Experience

1. The applicant must demonstrate substantial participation in continuing legal education and the development of social security disability practice and law in the three year period immediately preceding the application either:

a. By attendance and / or electronic participation in not less than thirty-six (36) hours in programs in continuing legal education in social security disability law approved by the Standards Committee within the three year period preceding application for certification.

b.  By equivalent participation through, but not limited to, the following as approved by the Standards Committee:         

i.    Teaching courses or seminars in social security disability law or ethics;

 ii.   Participation as a panelist, speaker, workshop leader or the equivalent at educational or professional conferences and meetings;

 iii.  Authorship of books or articles published in professional journals on social security disability law; OR

 iv.   By a combination of (i) through (iii) above.

Please note:
Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details.
NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

D. Peer Review

1.  The applicant Submit ten to twelve names, who are not present partners or relatives.  Such references shall be substantially involved in the relevant field of social security disability law and be familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field.  The list must consist of at least four administrative law judges before whom you have appeared in a matter in the relevant field during the past three years and the remaining names may be either peer practitioners, opposing counsel at the federal court level, district court judges, medical or vocational experts or additional administrative law judges familiar with the applicants practice during the past three years.  The NBTA must receive at least six satisfactory references consisting of three administrative law judges before whom the applicant has appeared as a social security disability advocate not more than three years before the date of application. The remaining three references must be one or more of the following: peer practitioners, opposing counsel at the federal court level,  district court judges or additional  administrative law judges familiar with the applicant’s practice.

 

 2.  NBTA will solicit confidential statements from all persons listed as references and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s practice, not specifically named by the applicant.  All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has demonstrated an enhanced level of skill and expertise in the practice area, integrity and consideration for the interests of clients.

 

E. Examination
The applicant must pass a written exam which will test his or her enhanced level of skill, expertise, knowledge and experience in social security disability law.

 

F. Legal Writing 

1. The applicant shall submit 6 copies of legal writing which he or she has prepared & filed no more than three (3) years before the date of application. These will be substantial documents in the area for which the applicant seeks certification, containing concise and accurate writing, stating facts (either actual or hypothetical), stating applicable law, analysis of how the law applies to the facts, written in an appropriately argumentative manner and well constructed (i.e. organized, grammatical, demonstrative of good syntax and usage).   The quality of the legal document will be evaluated on those criteria and will determine whether the applicant is qualified for certification.  Applicant will submit the following:

a.  Administrative--The applicant shall submit two memoranda or detailed letters which s/he has prepared and filed with an administrative law judge in anticipation of conducting a hearing in a Social Security Disability (SSD) case (including requests for decisions on the record) or after conducting a hearing but before the judge has decided the claim. As part of the submission, the applicant must obtain a waiver from the claimant so as to prevent a violation of SS Act 42 USC 1306(a) and the Privacy Act, 5 USC 552a.

b.    Council--The applicant shall submit two appeals council briefs which s/he has prepared and filed. These will be substantial memoranda or briefs stating facts, arguing law, submitted no more than three (3) years prior to the date of the application.  As part of the submission, the applicant must obtain a waiver from the claimant so as to prevent a violation of SS Act 42 USC 1306(a) and the Privacy Act, 5 USC 552a. 

c.  Federal Appeals--The applicant shall submit two briefs prepared and filed by the applicant in US District Court or the Circuit Court of Appeals within three (3) years prior to the date  of the application.

G. Disclosure of Misconduct

1.   In order to assist the evaluation of whether the applicant possesses an enhanced level of skill and expertise in trial advocacy and has demonstrated integrity and dedication to interest of clients, the applicant shall, to the extent known, disclose to the National Board of Trial Advocacy as soon as permitted by law:

a. The filing of any criminal charges against the applicant together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form;

b. The filing or submission of any allegation of unethical or inappropriate professional conduct with any court, grievance committee, social security administration or disciplinary board or body together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form.

c. The assertion of any claim of professional negligence or professional liability, whether or not suit has been filed, which is based in any part on alleged acts or omissions of the applicant or member or on the acts or omissions of any other attorney over whom the applicant or member had any responsibility together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form.

2. The National Board of Trial Advocacy shall determine, in accordance with its standards and procedures whether the conduct is such that certification should be granted, denied, suspended or revoked, or whether action should be deferred pending receipt of additional information.  The NBTA will take into consideration any findings made by other bodies concerning such conduct, but is not bound by any such findings and will make its own independent assessment concerning how such conduct bears on whether an attorney is qualified to obtain or maintain certification.

3.The failure of an applicant to disclose such conduct is a material misrepresentation and may be cause for rejecting an application or refusing to grant certification, or for suspending or revoking a certificate.  The applicant shall have a continuing duty to disclose such matters to the board.

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Recertification Standards for Social Security Disability Advocates

 

A.Good Standing and Period of Practice

1.   The applicant shall furnish evidence of his or her good standing in the state of his or her admission, or if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal  practice.

2. Immediately preceding application, the applicant must have spent five (5) years in the actual practice of Social Security Disability law.

B. Substantial Involvement

1. The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement relevant to Social Security Disability law.  Specifically, at least thirty (30) percent of the applicant’s practice must be spent on social security disability law five (5) years prior to filing the application.

2. The applicant must further demonstrate substantial involvement in specialized practice, by showing that he or she has performed the following:

a.  Appeared in no fewer than fifty (50) Social Security Disability Hearings;

b.  Filed no less than ten (10) appeals council briefs; (The applicant must list the submissions to provide privacy for the claimant to prevent a violation of SS Act 42 USC 1306(a) and the Privacy Act, 5 USC 552a.

c.  Filed no less than five (5) briefs in United States District Court, OR

d. A combination of hearings, appeals council brief filings and district court brief filings which demonstrates substantial involvement in social security disability practice equivalent  to requirements (a) through (c) above as approved by the Standards Committee.

C.Education Experience

The applicant must demonstrate that he or she participated in and completed at least thirty-six (36) hours of educational activity, as set forth in Part C of the Certification Standards, during the five (5) years preceding recertification.

Please note:
Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details.
NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

D.Peer Review

1. The applicant shall submit with application the names of six  references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant.  These references shall be substantially involved in the relevant field of social security disability law, and familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field.  The NBTA must receive at least five satisfactory references consisting of two administrative law judges before whom the applicant has appeared as a social security disability advocate not more than three years before the date of recertification. The remaining three references must be one or more of the following: peer practitioners, opposing counsel at the federal court level, district court judges or additional administrative law judges familiar with the applicant’s practice.

2.NBTA will solicit confidential statements from all persons listed as references and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s practice, not specifically named by the applicant.  All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has demonstrated an enhanced level of skill and expertise in the practice area, integrity and consideration for the interests of clients.

 E.Disclosure of Misconduct

1.   In order to assist the evaluation of whether the applicant possesses an enhanced level of skill and expertise in trial advocacy and has demonstrated integrity and dedication to interest of clients, the applicant shall, to the extent known, disclose to the National Board of Trial Advocacy as soon as permitted by law:

a. The filing of any criminal charges against the applicant together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form;

b. The filing or submission of any allegation of unethical or inappropriate professional conduct with any court, grievance committee, social security administration or disciplinary board or body together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form.

c. The assertion of any claim of professional negligence or professional liability, whether or not suit has been filed, which is based in any part on alleged acts or omissions of the applicant or member or on the acts or omissions of any other attorney over whom the applicant or member had any responsibility together with all details called for by the Disclosure of Conduct Form.

2. The National Board of Trial Advocacy shall determine, in accordance with its standards and procedures whether the conduct is such that certification should be granted, denied, suspended or revoked, or whether action should be deferred pending receipt of additional information.  The NBTA will take into consideration any findings made by other bodies concerning such conduct, but is not bound by any such findings and will make its own independent assessment concerning how such conduct bears on whether an attorney is qualified to obtain or maintain certification.

3.The failure of an applicant to disclose such conduct is a material misrepresentation and may be cause for rejecting an application or refusing to grant certification, or for suspending or revoking a certificate.  The applicant shall have a continuing duty to disclose such matters to the board.


Senior Specialist Standards

 

A. Good Standing

The applicant shall furnish satisfactory evidence of good standing in the state of his or her admission or, if admitted in more than one state, in the state of his or her principal practice.

B. Substantial Involvement

1.Substantial involvement in the specialty area for “Senior Specialist” shall mean that the applicant has been certified as a specialist in the specialty area by the NBTA for a total of at least ten continuous years preceding the initial application for “Senior Specialist.”

C. Educational Experience

The applicant must show that he or she participated in and completed at least thirty-six hours of educational activity, as set forth in Part C of the Recertification Standards, during the five years preceding senior status.

Please note: Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require a higher number of CLE credit hours in order to advertise or communicate the NBTA certification. Check with your local rules or the NBTA for more details. 

NBTA does not recognize an age or years in practice exemption for CLE.

D.  Peer Review

1. The applicant shall submit, for each specialty area, the names of five references, not present partners, associates, or relatives of the applicant. Such references shall be substantially involved in the relevant field of trial law, and should be familiar with the applicant’s practice in that field. At least two shall be judges before whom the applicant has appeared as an advocate in the relevant field not more than three years before application; and at least three shall be lawyers with whom, or against whom, the applicant has appeared as an advocate in that field within three years preceding application for senior status.

2. NBTA will solicit confidential statements from the references named by the applicant and may solicit confidential statements of reference from other persons, familiar with the applicant’s practice, not specifically named by the applicant. References satisfactory to the NBTA must be received from at least one judge and from at least two attorneys. All reference statements received will be reviewed by the NBTA to assess whether the applicant has maintained the enhanced level of skill and expertise in the practice area and the integrity and consideration for the interests of clients necessary to merit senior status.

E. Disclosure of Conduct

The applicant shall comply with Part E of the Recertification Standards in the same manner as an applicant for certification.


Annual Reporting

 

Annually, members will be required to submit a Disclosure of conduct form and annual dues. The member’s annual dues and Disclosure of Conduct must be current before an application for recertification will be granted. Disclosures of Conduct/Liability shall be submitted to the Standards Committee to determine if certification should be continued.


Denial of Revocation or Certification

A.           An application for certification may be denied for failure to comply with any of the requirements relating to good standing, substantial involvement, educational experience, peer review, examination, advocacy materials, disclosure of conduct, financial responsibility or any other failure to demonstrate possession of an enhanced level of skill and expertise in security disability advocacy and demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interests of clients.

B.           An application for recertification may be denied for failure to comply with any of the requirements relating to good standing, substantial involvement, educational experience, peer review, disclosure of conduct, financial responsibility or any other failure to demonstrate possession of an enhanced level of skill and knowledge in social security disability social advocacy and integrity and dedication to the interests of clients.

C.          An existing certification may be revoked for failure to demonstrate maintenance of an enhanced level of skill and experience in social security disability advocacy and integrity and dedication to the interests of clients as required for certification or for failure to maintain compliance with the financial responsibility requirements.

D.          Decisions of the Examination Committee and the Advocacy Materials Committee are final and not subject to further review or appeal. An Attorney who is refused certification for any other reason, or who is refused recertification or whose certification is revoked may pursue review under the Appeal Procedures of the NBTA. Exhaustion of this right shall be a condition precedent to judicial review.

E.           A lawyer who is refused certification or recertification, or whose certification is revoked, may not apply for certification until one year after the date of such refusal, denial or revocation.

F.           Suspension of the license to practice law shall operate as an automatic revocation of certification.

G.          A lawyer who publicizes certification or application for certification prior to its being granted, or continues to publish a certification after it has been revoked or suspended, may be barred from certification.

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