Why Board Certification?

What to expectIn the medical profession, many hospitals forbid doctors to practice without proof of board certification in their specialty.

Administrators realize the value of independent screening of credentials and experience.

Consumers are therefore afforded added confidence that the doctors treating their conditions are well and truly qualified. And because of its widespread acceptance, most people seeking medical assistance are unlikely to hire uncertified physicians.

Before the NBTA's 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.

The problem was (and remains) that lawyers admitted to their state bar were (and still are) free to accept cases in any area of the law. Apply to join NBTA today.

Lawyers Specialize

As with the medical profession where the body of knowledge is so large that it's impossible for one doctor to remain current in all areas of specialty, the body of law has grown so large and complex that attorneys can no longer be all things to all people.

But 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.

Truth in Advertising

Truth in online marketingUnfortunately, not all who claim expertise possess the experience and competence implied by their declarations or ads.

Founder Theodore I. Koskoff and several other nationally renowned attorneys formed the National Board of Trial Advocacy in response to this situation and out of a deeply held conviction that the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization dedicated to establishing objective standards by which to measure experience and expertise.

Becoming Board Certified

That dedication to achieving and maintaining a high standard of practice and to leveling the playing field for clients is shared by those who obtain National Board of Trial Advocacy certification.

Certificate holders undergo a thorough screening of their credentials, including: documentation of their experience, judicial and peer references, an exam, and they must report all disciplinary matters brought before any official body, whether public or private, for scrutiny by the NBTA Standards Committee.

Read the NBTA Standards (Civil, Criminal, Family Law , Civil Practice, Social Security disability or Truck Accident Law)

Staying Board Certified

Possessing the NBTA certificate means that the attorney has been held to a higher standard of professional and personal conduct.

NBTA lawyers maintain active trial practices and are required to submit a disclosure of misconduct annually and, at the end of each five-year term, prove once again they meet the standards for recertification.

Read the Recertification Standards (Civil, Criminal, Family Law , Civil Practice, Social Security disability or Truck Accident Law)

Demand Experience

All trial lawyers are not created equal. Don't settle for someone else's word when you require a lawyer's services. Demand an NBTA board certified attorney. There is no substitute.

How to Contact the NBTA

National Board of Trial Advocacy
850 Franklin Street, Suite 8
Wrentham, MA 02093


The benefits to board certification are many: better settlements, increased referrals, a defensible position when advertising your specialty, and access to nationalizing your practice.

Moreover, it can help rehabilitate the beleaguered image of the legal profession.

Certification adds another feather in your cap. You can ride the wave of the future, or providing the public with an objective means by which to choose counsel.

But why take our word for it. Here's what today's board certified attorneys have to say about board certification.


referrals"I only refer cases to out-of-state lawyers who are NBTA board certified. It is my first requirement",
Jim Crockett Las Vegas, NV

"The certification means a lot to other lawyers who do not have the expertise or the background necessary to qualify for an NBTA certification. Therefore, by merely explaining to the lawyer the steps and background necessary to be certified, I can make an immediate positive impact on that attorney, not only for referrals but general advice."
Curtis Krull Des Moines, IA

"[The NBTA] Directory is my first reference on referrals or contacts as I know those certified by NBTA have had real trial experience."
Terrence L. Meaney, Austin, MN

"Certification in trial advocacy puts you on the preferred list of attorneys in this country for referral purposes. I get clients everyday due to my certification."
William C. Killian, Jasper, TN

"The certification is tangible evidence of competence that separates me from the talking heads on TV."
Matthew B. Murray, Charlottesville, VA

"In a time of misleading advertising and rainmaking, NBTA certification is something real you can use to distinguish yourself and your practice."
Marcelino J. Huerta, III Tampa, FL

"What patient would go to an uncertified doctor? The NBTA is the best way for consumers to verify that the lawyer they are selecting is qualified."
Mark R. Kosieradzki, Minneapolis, MN

"No amount of self-aggrandizement will produce certification. This is important because there are many attorneys who claim, in their advertising, to be litigation experts but who lack experience and achievements."
Ronald H. Schneider, Wielmar, NM

"Board certification is a highly effective marketing tool and provides the legal consumer with a means by which they can better choose an attorney. The legal marketplace is more competitive than ever before. NBTA gives me an advantage over my non-certified competitor."
Russell D. Hunt, Waco, TX


"A national certification helps if you are handling nationwide cases. I am certified in California but that does not impress a potential client in Ohio,"
James Farragher Campbell,
San Francisco, CA

"NBTA certification is perhaps the only nationally recognized achievement which demonstrates to clients and other lawyers a degree of experience and competency that can definitely be relied upon for legal representation or referrals."
Steven C. Laird Fort Worth, TX

Objective Credentials

"The United States Supreme Court said it best--the requirements for NBTA certification are "objective and demanding." I am proud of our organization. We stand for excellence in advocacy and the pursuit of justice for our clients. I can't understand why any attorney who meets our qualifications wouldn't want to be NBTA certified."
David E. Rapoport, Chicago, IL

"Having tried over 200 jury cases to verdict, this certification has proved to be the accomplishment of which I am most proud."  M. Hatcher Norris, Hartford, CT

Wave of the Future

"Board Certification is the wave of the future. I highly recommend board certification by NBTA as a way to increase your professional image and expand."
Lawrence J. Smith New Orleans, LA

Take the Leap!

Sooner or later a client or fellow attorney will ask whether you are board certified. What will you tell them?