Being board certified means that the lawyer has successfully demonstrated to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization that they are actively involved and are sufficiently competent in Personal Injury Law, have gathered positive references from other lawyers and judges, and have passed a comprehensive examination.
To become board certified for personal injury trial law, lawyers have to meet the following criteria;
- The lawyer must demonstrate substantial involvement and competence in the personal injury trial law. In addition to that, the lawyer must have also devoted at least 25 percent of their time to personal injury trial law and have taken on, as a lead counsel, at least ten civil cases to verdict.
- The lawyer must also obtain at least four positive references from attorneys in Texas and one positive reference from a judge of record in Texas whom the lawyer has appeared before as an advocate on a personal injury case.
- The lawyer must pass a written comprehensive examination to prove the level of understanding and competence in personal injury trial law.
Board-certified vs. non certified lawyers
There are a few differences between a board-certified attorney in personal injury trial law and a non certified lawyer. If you seek a reliable lawyer, given you have been in an accident, these differences must be kept in mind.
Most attorneys claim that they have helped their clients win millions of dollars and have worked on hundreds of cases. But in reality, most of these attorneys have never taken a case to trial, have rarely won a successful verdict for their clients, and have most probably never taken a case such as yours.
Regardless of how successful and qualified they claim to be, unless they can claim that they are board-certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, their claims lack the integrity of a good lawyer. Moreover, if you have been in a catastrophic accident or are severely injured, then chances are that these non-certified lawyers will not be able to help you.
A board certified attorney in Texas has been recognized and vetted by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as someone who excels in personal injury trial law and has had a successful track record in such an area of the law. The complexity and nature of your case determine the type of competence a lawyer will need to have.
The more serious the problems and the more companies and people involved, the more experienced your lawyer will need to win the case. This begs the question, would you rather risk hiring a lawyer who merely has any experience in your type of case, or would you rather hire a board-certified lawyer who is experienced in your type of case and is known to have successfully won their clients a favorable verdict in the past?
What does it mean to be a board-certified lawyer?
According to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, being board certified “is a mark of excellence and distinguished accomplishment within the Texas legal community”. It is also worth noting that achieving this distinction is no easy feat and that it extracts a heavy-duty dedication to this field.
In addition to that, obtaining this level of certification is entirely optional and depends on the attorney’s intention. However, not all lawyers are automatically eligible to take on this challenging task.
An attorney needs to check a few boxes before they can apply. For example, the lawyer must have practiced law for at least five years, including three years that have been especially devoted to a particular field of law.
Furthermore, when a lawyer initially applied for board certification in criminal law, they must demonstrate that they dedicated a fourth of their time to that particular field of law.
The lawyers applying for board certification in criminal law must also prove that within at least three years before applying, they have experience in and handled the following cases as a lead counsel;
- 5 state felony jury trials
- 10 state misdemeanor jury trials or five additional state felony jury trials
- 5 federal jury trials
- 5 state or federal appeals
Not only do lawyers aspiring for board certification in criminal law demonstrate that they have sufficient experience in the field of criminal law, but they also provide supporting evidence such as recommendation letters from other attorneys and a current judge in Texas. In addition to that, the lawyers must not be associates or partners of an attorney applying for board certification.
Attorneys applying for board certification must have also completed up to 60 hours of further education in the legal field and passed an exam. To add to that, the lawyer must also apply for a recertification every five years.
About the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
The Supreme Court of Texas established the Texas Board of Legal Specialization back in 1974 at the request of the State Bar of Texas to advance and promote the availability and accessibility of the highest quality of legal services to the public and improve the legal standards of the profession of lawyers.
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization ensures that only the most qualified and distinguished attorneys are certified. In addition to that, it is the only official board that is authorized to certify attorneys in specific legal areas in Texas.
The certification process was established to ensure that clients find the most distinguished lawyers. The latter deliver exceptional legal services—from the perspective of a client, hiring an attorney that has been board certified guarantees you that you will be provided the highest quality of legal services.
Being a board-certified is not just a one-time honor given to exceptional lawyers; it is rather a certification that demands constant practice. Board-certified attorneys must maintain their competence and expertise in the law to keep their certification and be eligible for recertification.
What is also interesting is that less than 10 percent of attorneys across 20 different areas of law are certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. This reflects how the competence of a board-certified lawyer places them among the group of elite lawyers.