Board of Legal Specialization
What is the application process?
- Applications for initial certification and recertification are submitted electronically to BLS by August 1 each year. The application fee is $300. Applications received after August 1 are assessed a $75 late fee. Applications received after October 1 may not be accepted for the application cycle. (Section VI. BLS Rules & Regulations).
- Initial Certification Applicants: Applications are processed by the State Bar. Once ready for review, applications are submitted to the Advisory Commissions (AC). The AC reviews the applications and peer reviews. If favorable, the applicant is notified – typically by the end of January - that they have been approved to sit for the specialization examination. The examinations are usually scheduled in April. Exam results are submitted to the Bar and if the applicant receives a passing score, the AC will recommend certification to BLS who act upon the recommendation at the next available meeting. The application process, including the examination, may take up to twelve (12) months.
- Recertification Applicants: Applications are processed by the State Bar. Once ready for review, applications are submitted to the Advisory Commissions (AC). The AC reviews the applications and peer reviews, then submits their recommendations for recertification to BLS. BLS act upon the recommendations at the next available meeting. The application process may take six (6) to eight (8) months from receipt of the complete application.
Where can I find the forms to apply or renew my certification?
Links to standards, applications, and rosters are contained in the following table:
What is the Board of Legal Specialization?
The Board of Legal Specialization (BLS) regulates the certification of legal specialists in eight (8) practice areas: Bankruptcy, Criminal Law, Estate and Trust, Family Law, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death, Real Estate, Tax and Workers’ Compensation. BLS is subject to the jurisdiction of the Arizona Supreme Court (Rule 44, Ariz. R. Sup. Ct.) and is governed by the Rules and Regulations of the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization (BLS Rules & Regulations).
Advisory Commissions (AC) are established for each area of law. The AC for each filed is charged with administering the program in its particular field, in cooperation with and under the guidance of BLS. (Section IV, BLS Rules & Regulations).
What are the Standards for Specialization?
A member must meet the following minimum standards for specialization:
- Admission to the practice of law for five years (seven for criminal law and real estate law)
- Admission to the State Bar of Arizona for two years immediately preceding submission of the application (three years for real estate)
- Devotion of at least 50% of a full time practice to the specialty area (70% for family law)
- Substantial involvement in the certification area for four of the six years immediately preceding submission of the application (five of seven years for real estate)
- Additionally, peer review is conducted and a written examination must be passed.
- Arizona Board of Legal Specialization Rules and Regulations, click here.