You have looked for a bankruptcy specialist. The problem is that you find many attorneys who claim to be bankruptcy specialists or that “specialize” in bankruptcy. How can you know the real specialists from the ones that only claim to be a specialist?
How Does an Attorney Become a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist?
Some states do not certify bankruptcy law specialists and there is no way to tell whether a lawyer is a real specialist. However, many states, including California, actually have programs where the State Bar certifies an attorney as a Bankruptcy Law Specialist. Those programs may differ from state to each state. However, they typically require:
1. Passing a detailed and difficult test on bankruptcy laws;
2. Several years of experience in the field of bankruptcy (in California it is 5 years);
3. A practice that is primarily bankruptcy law; and
4. Requesting information as to the attorney’s skill and integrity from Bankruptcy Judges, Bankruptcy Trustees, the U.S Trustees’ Office and even other attorneys who practicing bankruptcy law.
These specialist certifications are extremely hard to obtain. In California, for instance, there are only about 130 attorneys Certified as a Bankruptcy Law Specialists.
You would think that any attorney using any form of the term “specialist” or “bankruptcy specialist” or “specializing in bankruptcy” must be certified by the State Bar. Unfortunately, that is not the case, at least in California.
In California, an attorney can call himself a “bankruptcy specialist” or say that they “specialize in bankruptcy” even if they are not certified by the California State Bar as a Bankruptcy Law Specialist.
If a bankruptcy attorney uses the term “specialist” in describing themselves, ask them what state bar or agency certified them as a “bankruptcy specialist.”
If an attorney claims that they are a bankruptcy specialist knowing that:
They are not a Certified Bankruptcy Law Specialist; and
They know clients do not know the difference so you have to wonder what else they are willing to mislead you on.
How do I Find if an Attorney is a California Certified Specialist?
Click on the link below;
Select “Bankruptcy” from the drop down list of certifications;
Type in the attorney’s name;
Type in the county the attorney’s main office is in.
This will give you the information as to what certification, if any, the attorney has. Also look for this logo on their web page: