So what if you're board certified?

On its website, the NBTA offers a helpful analogy to help answer the "so what" question: the medical profession. Most of us have heard about "board certified" doctors. Did you know that many hospitals forbid doctors to practice without proof of board certification in their specialty? It’s for a simple reason. There is real value in independent screening of credentials and experience.

The problem

Unlike the medical profession, which has embraced specialization and specialty certification, the legal profession has been slow to acknowledge publicly what it has known for years—nearly all lawyers specialize, but do so without substantiation beyond “reputation” or simply saying it’s so.

The solution

Enter the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Prior to its founding in 1977, no such mechanism existed for lawyers. Potential clients were forced to rely on word of mouth or advertisements when seeking help in situations often as dire as failing health. No longer. There is another way to go about it. A better way.

Proven, Tested Excellence

Proven, tested excellence. That is the NBTA's trademark. As the NBTA explains on its website, board certification is not for all legal professionals. NBTA attorneys must be proven, educated, and active in order to achieve this distinction.

Those who want board certification must do the following: (1) be in practice for a minimum of five years; (2) be in good standing in the state of admission; (3) pass the NBTA's board certification examination; (4) demonstrate substantial legal involvement and CLE attendance; and (5) receive favorable references.

Click/tap or zoom in on the standards below for more detailed information.

Let’s compare the alternatives.

There are other companies and organizations out there who review, rate, or certify lawyers or provide forums for others to do something similar. But none of them compares to the what the National Board of Trial Advocacy has to offer.


The NBTA is the review of reviews.

Some lawyers prove their worth. Others don't or can't. Instead, they rely on reviews from Google, Facebook, Avvo, etc. for promotion. The problem is, some people game the system. Even clueless lawyers have some happy clients. If lawyers solicit reviews only from happy clients, they look better than they are. Some go further and pay for reviews or use black hat tactics. It helps explain why so many “5-star" lawyers have little if any trial experience. You can game a review, but you can't game the NBTA. You have to earn board certification.


The NBTA is not about the money.

The National Board of Trial Advocacy is a nonprofit organization. It offers board certification in criminal trial law and other areas. The NBTA is devoted to improving the quality of trial advocacy and aiding consumers, people like you, in the selection of experienced legal representation. So unlike Google and Facebook and Avvo and the rest of their kind, who are in it to make a buck, the NBTA is in it for you and to train lawyers how to represent people like you more effectively. Board certification from the NBTA is a credential you can trust.


The NBTA is approved by the courts.

Google can't provide certifications. Facebook can't. And neither can Avvo. And none of them are boards. They are for-profit businesses. Even among those organizations that do certify lawyers in the area of criminal law (or a sub-speciality, such as DUI), the NBTA has street cred where it matters, on "Court Street." The certification is specifically approved by the Pennslyvania Supreme Court. That is important. Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer is not allowed to advertise a certification without such approval. NB