September, 2005

As a business person, I find it interesting when I visit another city to look at the yellow page advertisements for attorneys. It’s amazing to see how many attorneys there are, even in the smallest of communities. The three most prevalent are usually criminal attorneys, personal injury attorneys and family law attorneys.

When choosing an attorney it is important to look at a couple of things, not just what appears in their advertisement. Make certain your attorney is qualified. The State Bar of California actually certifies attorneys in certain areas of the law as being experts in their area of practice. Those attorneys who qualify as experts in their feld are called “Specialists.” Family law is on of the areas of practice in which the State Bar designates an attorney as a Specialist if they have met certain criteria. A Family Law Specialist is required to take extensive training in their field, pass a rigorous bar exam ( in addition to the exam they took to become an attorney), demonstrate that they have had an extensive amound of litigated court matters and that they have been practicing family law for a number of years. They must also pass a review of their peers and of Judges they have appeared in front of as a family law attorney. In other words, passing the addtional bar exam is not enuogh. An attorney who is a specialist truly must demonstrate that they are an expert in their field.

It is easy to verify if your attorney is considered an expert in their field. Just visit the California State Bar website at and follow the prompts for a specialist. The specialists in California are listed by their area of practice and the county in which their office is located. Also, by typing in an attorney’s name under the “attorney search” prompt, their information will indicate whether or not they are a specialist in their area of practice. You can also check the same cite to see if the attorney has had any disciplinary action.