What is Board Certification?

What is the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA)?

The National Board of Trial Advocacy, or NBTA, was created in the public interest to identify lawyers who demonstrate that they are skilled, capable, ethical trial lawyers.
Why should it matter to me whether my lawyer is a board certified trial lawyer? I want my case resolved without having to go to trial.

What will motivate your opponent to want to settle with you out of court? Being represented by an experienced trial lawyer. The Insurance Companies know it would probably be foolish to take the case to trial against an experienced, skilled litigator who makes a reasonable demand to settle.

On the other hand, if the opposition knows something you don’t know – that your lawyer has virtually no experience in court or has demonstrated a serious lack of skill in court – the opposition is much less likely to meet your settlement demands because they feel confident about their chances of success against your lawyer in court.

For these reasons, the most powerful advantage you can have is a lawyer who is known to be highly-skilled trial lawyer. The odds are much greater that such a lawyer will be able to successfully negotiate an out-of-court settlement for you.

Litigation is often times compared to war. In litigation, as in war, the side with the greatest skill and experience is usually able to avoid conflict because the opposition is not willing to risk the consequences against such a capable opponent.

Therefore, as strange as it may seem at first, your chances of successfully resolving your case out of court are much better when you are represented by a skilled, experienced trial lawyer who is well-known and respected by the opposition. The NBTA simply makes these lawyers known to the public by identifying them as “Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.”

What do lawyers have to do to be “certified” by the organization?

1. They must submit a list of names of judges and lawyers who are contracted by the NBTA to independently verify the lawyer’s skill, experience and even the lawyer’s reputation for ethical and professional conduct.

2. They must establish that they are in good standing with their state bar association.

3. They must pass a day-long written examination.

4. They must submit actual copies of their written legal work for review.

5. They must provide documentation to prove their active involvement in multiple trials before judges and juries.

There are additional requirements that the lawyer must obtain continuing legal education and remain in good ethical standing with the bar association to keep their certification active.
Okay, this makes a lot of sense. How do I find an attorney who has been certified by the NBTA?

Some attorneys who are board certified by the NBTA indicate this information in their advertising or printing materials. In addition, you can call or write the NBTA for a complete and current listing of board certified attorneys in your area, or visit them on the web at www.nbtanet.org where you can find a list of certified attorneys through the “Find Qualified Counsel” heading

Accredited by the American Bar Association, the National Board of Trial Advocacy maintains rigorous standards for the certification of civil, criminal, and family law trial advocates.

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed NBTA’s mission and purpose, finding that “Information about certification and specialties facilities the consumer’s access to legal services and thus better serves the administration of justice.” The Supreme Court went on to say that the NBTA’s certification “both serves the public interest and encourages the development and utilization of meritorious certification programs for attorneys” Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois 110 S. Ct. 2281 (1990).

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