Certified Attorney Questions

  1. How do I maintain my certification annually?
  2. Where can I find TBLS approved continuing legal education (CLE) courses to fulfill the recertification requirement?
  3. How can I change my name or contact information with TBLS?
  4. What will happen to my certification if I relocate my office out of Texas?
  5. Do I need to disclose to TBLS if I have had discipline proceedings, malpractice lawsuits, court sanctions, and/or criminal matters?
  6. Can I order duplicate certificates?
  7. What are the attorney advertising guidelines as related to certification?

Q1. How do I maintain my certification annually?

TBLS requires all certified attorneys and paralegals to report annual substantial involvement percentages and pay annual fees. Attorneys report the annual information and pay fees using "Attorney MyTBLS" online member services. Paralegals are mailed a form for reporting the annual information and paying the fees. Both attorneys and paralegals must complete the annual process each year. For current fees and deadlines, see the fee schedule.

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Q2. Where can I find TBLS approved continuing legal education (CLE) courses to fulfill the recertification requirements?

TBLS reviews hundreds of CLE courses for specialization approval, and updates our database daily with course approval information. You can now access TBLS CLE information on-line at "Attorney MyTBLS". To help you comply with recertification CLE activity requirements we added two new significant enhancements to the web site. You can now access your TBLS CLE Summary of activity at anytime and search for upcoming TBLS approved CLE courses in your specialty area(s). These new options will provide you with up-to-date information and quick access through out the year.

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Q3. How can I change my name or contact information with TBLS?

TBLS accesses and displays your current SBOT contact information. You will need to access your SBOT profile to make changes to your State Bar Contact Information or call the SBOT Membership Department at 800-204-2222, ext. 1383 if you need assistance.  Once you have modified your SBOT record, your TBLS contact information will reflect that change the next day.  TBLS is not authorized to perform name changes, you will need to contact the State Bar of Texas.

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Q4. What will happen to my certification if I relocate my offices out of Texas?

Each case is reviewed by the TBLS. All board certified attorneys and recertification applicants must continue to meet the substantial involvement requirements pertinent to each applicable specialty area whether or not an office is maintained in Texas. The substantial involvement requirements are found in the Specific Area Requirements.

(Standards for Attorney Certification, Part I, Section II, 2,a and 2,b)

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Q5. Do I need to disclose to TBLS if I have had discipline proceedings, malpractice law suits, court sanctions, and/or criminal matters?

Yes, Board Certified attorneys and paralegals have a continuing duty to disclose the following matters at any time during the certification period: (i) any sanction(s) imposed against the Board Certified attorney (i.e., disbarment, resignation, suspension, reprimand [private or public], order of rehabilitation, or referral to the Professional Enhancement Program of the State Bar of Texas); (ii) a criminal indictment or information filed against the Board Certified attorney and paralegal for a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or other serious crime. (iii) a conviction of (including probation or deferred adjudication), or fine, for a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or other serious crime as defined in the Attorney Standards - General Requirements, Section III, B,1; (iv) a suit for legal malpractice or other private civil action alleging attorney misconduct that has been CONCLUDED (by settlement, dismissal, or judgment) for or against the Board Certified attorney, or (v) a finding of inadequate representation made against the Board Certified attorney in a criminal case. All such matters must be reported to TBLS within 30-days after the initiation of such proceedings or imposition of sanction or judgment, as appropriate.

You should report these matters to Odessa Bradshaw, Associate Executive Director.

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Q6. Can I order duplicate certificates?

Yes, call the TBLS at 1-855-277-TBLS(8257)or at 512-453-7266, or FAX your request to 512-453-7220, or e-mail TBLS.

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Q7. What are the advertising guidelines as related to attorney certification?

(1) Rule 7.04(b)(2)( i ) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (TDRPC) allows an attorney who has been awarded a certificate of special competence by TBLS to state that he or she is "Board Certified - [area of law] - Texas Board of Legal Specialization". The very next portion of the Rules allows an attorney who is certified by an organization that has been accredited by TBLS to state that he or she is "Certified - {area of specialization} - {Name of Certifying Organization}".

TBLS encourages certified attorneys to become familiar with all advertising provisions in the TDRPC, especially with the amendments which took effect June 1, 2005. This information can be found on the website of the Advertising Review Department at www.texasbar.com/adreview. Any advertising questions can be addressed to that department. Please pay special attention to the filing requirements for public advertisements (including websites) and solicitations. You can insure that these communications comply with the TDRPC by submitting them to the department for pre-approval. TBLS urges you to avail yourself of this service.