Did you know that the State Bar of Arizona offers a Board Certified Legal Specialization designation in a number of practice areas? What does that mean and why should you care?
Board Certified Legal Specialist (BCLS) are lawyers who have substantial experience in a specific practice area, enjoy the respect of their peers and have demonstrated special knowledge, skills and proficiency in their area of practice. Becoming a BCLS can set you apart from your peers – and give you a nifty logo to display on your website, in your ads, and elsewhere – with the blessing of the Bar. Becoming a BCLS isn’t something that everyone can do – there is an application and screening process, and an exam to complete and pass. So, it’s not a cakewalk by any means.
So, why do it? Well, there are a number of good reasons – permit me to offer a few:
- If you are a solo practitioner, State Bar specialization is a way to show that you have achieved the gold standard. It’s a way to stand out among the hundreds, or thousands, of other solo practitioners . . . isn’t that what all lawyers want, to stand out in a good way?
- If you are seeking to serve as general counsel, in-house or outsourced, for big businesses or corporations, a BCLS on your resume can be the deciding factor between you and a hundred other lawyers applying for the same position.
- If you are seeking to have external validation that you have achieved the highest level in your field, the BCLS is one of the ways you can do that. The process is rigorous and presided over by Advisory Commissions who administer each specialty under the guidance of the BLS Rules and Regulations – and don’t you already know that your peers can be your harshest critics or your most staunch supporters?
You may current apply for the BCLS designation in administrative law, bankruptcy, criminal law, estate and trust law, family law, personal injury/wrongful death, real estate, tax and worker’s comp. Other specialties are under consideration even as we speak – so if your area of practice doesn’t have a certified specialty yet, stay tuned.