How can you possibly know who to choose as the best lawyer for your car accident? You can’t possibly review the qualifications for dozens of attorneys and word of mouth from friends and family or TV ads can be unreliable and incomplete.
Fortunately the Texas Board of Legal Specialization helps you make an intelligent decision.
The board tests and screens attorneys who want to specialize in one area of law. It whittles down 100,000+ lawyers to about 1,500 in the field of Personal Injury Trial Law. That’s only 1.5% of all Texas attorneys.
I joined this select group of lawyers back in 1994.
Board certification is a rigorous process
The State Bar of Texas prohibits a lawyer from claiming to be specialized or certified unless the Texas Board of Legal Specialization has certified him or her. So if you see those words, you know the lawyer has undergone a rigorous vetting and examination process.
A certified personal injury trial lawyer has met these criteria:
- Concentration on personal injury law
The applicant must have dedicated at least 25 percent of his practice to personal injury law. I devote my practice 100% to injury law and subspecialize by only representing people injured in car and truck collisions.
- Trial experience
While most cases settle out of court, if yours is the one that reaches a jury, you want your lawyer to be experienced.
- Respected by peers in the field
The applicant must submit references from 10 peers who are themselves vetted by the Board. References must include at least four other personal injury lawyers and one judge familiar with the attorney’s skills and abilities.
- Passage of a challenging PI exam
The challenging daylong PI board certification exam is similar to the Texas Bar exam required for a law license.
- Continuing education in PI law
To remain certified, the attorney must complete multiple hours of TBLS approved classes every year. I study for many more hours to learn about the constantly changing laws, regulations and trial tactics that affect my clients’ cases.
Every five years the lawyer must submit to proof of his skills, education and experience.
Board certified lawyers charge the same fee
All things being equal, a consumer should choose the more experienced, knowledgeable specialist over a general practitioner, especially since he or she will not have to pay anything extra. And a board certified attorney should be able to obtain a higher recovery of money.
The importance of a professional specializing
Doctors have been specialists in just one field for over 100 years. Almost every doctor is board certified in his or her field, so a patient can rest assured that his physician has the knowledge and experience to get them the results the want. There is no way your surgery would be performed by a psychiatrist, for example.
But the injured person can be easily confused about how to find a good car crash lawyer. That’s because a general practitioner can and often does represent injured victims and doesn’t have to disclose that he is not board certified in injury law.
How do you find a Texas Board certified personal injury attorney?
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization retains a list of all currently certified attorneys. We have many good injury lawyers in Fort Worth. You can search the board’s website to find an attorney in any Texas city who is certified in personal injury trial law.