CHICAGO – The American Bar Association is making its Concise Guide to Lawyer Specialty Certification available online.

The Guide helps specialty bar associations and section leaders determine whether to create a certification program and the steps for doing so. Certification allows lawyers who have acquired specialized knowledge in a practice area formalize their competency through board certification.

Board certification signals consumers that lawyers who claim competency in a practice area have substantial experience in the area, that they have completed a certain number of continuing legal education courses, that they are in good standing with their state licensing organizations and that they have passed a written examination.

Certification, which is purely voluntary, was developed in the early 1990s when lawyers were first allowed to advertise in order to assure the public that claims of special competence are valid. In recent years, board certification has become an accepted measure of professionalism and a commitment to specialty practice.

The guide is available at:

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.

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