The State Bar continues to self-analyze its programs and is pondering the future of the California Board of Legal Specialization, which was established in 1996, and currently certifies specialists in 11 areas. Is certification a public protection function that increases attorney competence? Or is it an associational activity for attorney marketing? Should the State Bar's certifications be discontinued or outsourced? The CBLS has some Bar staffers, but most work is done by volunteers. Indeed, the 114 CBLS volunteers comprise about a third of all State Bar volunteers. The Bar is considering 3 options:
1. Eliminate certification for legal specialization
2. Contract out the entire function
3. Retain State Bar specialization but streamline the process.
See this report here.
Interesting stats: About 5,150 California attorneys are certified by the CBLS. Given the 168,746 active California lawyers, this is 3%
There are 316 certified appellate specialists (Cf. there are 35 Admiralty & Maritime specialists and 1,423 Workers' Comp specialists).
[Update: The Board opted to retain State Bar Specialization but "streamline" administration of the program. So stay tuned for what this means...]