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Certification FAQ

What are the benefits of becoming board certified?

Professionalism: Certification encourages attorneys to achieve and maintain a high level of experience and skill as a specialist.

Professional Recognition: Certification validates the lawyer's specialty. It allows the lawyer to explain the objective standards he has complied with in order to claim he is a legal specialist. Well recognized in other professional fields, certification allows discerning clients and referring attorneys to seek an attorney with proven credentials.

National Recognition: A MSBA Certified Legal Specialist may refer clients and referring attorneys to the American Bar Association's specialization website: www.abanet.org/legalservices/specialization/your.html

The MSBA Certified Legal Specialist program is listed as a certification source on the website.

Will becoming certified result in increased malpractice premiums?

Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company (MLM), with the approval and support of the Minnesota Board of Legal Certification, has created the Specialty Certification Credit program. Launched on April 1, 2008, for Minnesota attorneys only, MLM will offer a 5% credit on professional liability insurance to attorneys that are certified in Civil Trial Law, Criminal Law, Labor and Employment Law, and Real Property Law.

To take advantage of this credit an attorney must notify MLM of their certification prior to obtaining a quote for coverage. The credit will only be applied to policies in Minnesota with effective dates of April 1, 2008 or later. 

What are the requirements to remain a MSBA Certified Legal Specialist?

To remain certified, a specialist must complete an audit on a yearly basis attesting to substantial involvement and disclosing any ethical or professional misconduct. If the audit year coincides with the specialist's CLE reporting year, they must also attach a report showing compliance with the CLE credit requirement in the specialty area(s). 

What are the requirements to become a MSBA Board Certified Legal Specialist?

A lawyer who is a Certified Legal Specialist has been recognized as having an enhanced level of skill and expertise, as well as substantial involvement in an established legal specialty.

In order to be a MSBA Certified Legal Specialist they must:

  • provide evidence of substantial involvement in the specialty area and appropriate references from judges and other lawyers
  • pass a written examination in the substantive and procedural law in the specialty area
  • be admitted to practice and be in good standing in Minnesota
  • demonstrate that they have completed at least 30 hours of continuing legal education courses in the specialty area in the past three years