Board Certified Specialist

In 2006, Jay Leiderman was awarded the designation of being board certified as a specialist in criminal law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS). Earning this designation permits him to identify himself as a “certified specialists” in California for the field of criminal law.

In addition to passing the California State Bar Exam and meeting the mandatory continuing legal education requirements, to become board certified in criminal law, Jay Leiderman had to pass another specialization test, a rigorous peer and judge review screening process, have many additional hours of classroom continuing legal education, and have substantial practical experience.

Even after board certified in criminal law by the CBLS, Jay Leiderman must undergo a “re-certification” process every 5 years in order to maintain his designation as board certified.

Being board certified in criminal law is relatively rare. With more than 250,000 attorneys licensed to practice in California, less than 400 attorneys have earned board certification in criminal law by CBLS. For this reason, board certified attorneys in “criminal law” are a very small and elite group.

If you need a board certified specialist in criminal law in California, then contact Jay Leiderman. Call (805) 654-0200.

CBLS’s Definition of “Criminal Law”

For purposes of the California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) certification program, the term “criminal law” includes both trial and appellate advocacy, and other ancillary proceedings such as civil and criminal forfeiture proceedings.

The definition of criminal law applies to both the defense and prosecution of persons accused of crimes in federal and state court. For this reason, both criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors can become board certified in criminal law.

The term “criminal law” also applies to minor children subject to wardship proceedings in juvenile court based on allegations of their criminal misconduct.

What is Board Certification in Criminal Law?

Attorneys in both private practice and in the public sector can seek certification as a specialist in criminal law. Board certified attorneys in criminal law work at every level of the criminal justice system including as private criminal defense attorneys, public defenders, or as prosecutors.

To become a certified specialist in criminal law by the CBLS requires:

  • passing a written examination;
  • demonstrating a high level of experience in criminal law as demonstrated by the number of jury trials conducted by the attorney to verdict;
  • completing rigorous continuing education requirements; and
  • being favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with the attorney’s work in the field of criminal law.

In addition to the standards for certification in criminal law, additional requirements can be found in the Rules Governing the State Bar of California Program for Certifying Legal Specialists.

To become board certified, the attorney must show criminal trial practice task requirements. The showing of substantial involvement in the practice area of criminal defense relates to the five years prior to submitting the application.

To become board certified, the attorney must meet certain task requirements. Those task requirements include a showing that the attorney was the lead counsel of record in certain types of proceedings including felony jury trials, additional jury trials and additional criminal matters, hearings, petitioners of answers in extraordinary writ proceedings, and appeals. The board might also consider whether:

  • the attorney has shown extensively research, writing and/or special studies of criminal law and procedure; or
  • the practice of law in a government agency in which the attorney is engaged in activities substantially equivalent to criminal law practice.

Additionally, to become board certified in criminal law, the attorney must meet certain educational requirements for certification within the three years prior to application for topics related to criminal law which can include substantive criminal law and procedure; writs, appeals and ancillary proceedings; evidence; and trial advocacy.

The attorney must also submit to independent inquiry and review requirements for certification. Requirements include recommendations from lawyers, judges, co-counsel and opposing counsel.

Additional Resources

Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law in California – Visit the Lawyer Legion website to find a directory of board certified criminal defense attorneys in California. The online attorney directory is unique because it allows the public to narrow their search to find only board certified attorneys.

Information on the California Board of Legal Specialization – Visit the Lawyer Legion website to find out more about the California Board of Legal Specialization.