What is a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist? Does it really matter?

The easiest way to describe a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist is an attorney who has been recognized by the State Bar Association as having special expertise and experience in the field of bankruptcy.

The difference between an general attorney who “does” bankruptcies and a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist is analogous to the distinction between a primary care physician / family doctor and a specialist in a certain field (such as an oncologist).

Sometimes all you may need is a primary care physician if you have a minor cold. But, if you have a serious illness – whether physical or financial, you’d better head to the specialist. It is wise in these uncertain times to go to a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist (such as Jeff Smith) who knows the laws and procedures inside and out – and specializes in protecting your assets under the law.

Fact: According to the California State Bar Website, there are 48,962 practicing attorneys in Los Angeles County. Only 33 share the distinction of being a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist. Jeff Smith is one of only two Certified Bankruptcy Specialists practicing in Long Beach. Source: California Bar Association; (10/01/09)

We are proud of our specialization and commitment to knowing our craft. We invite you to check our credentials at the California State Bar Association website.

Don’t just take our word for it – here is what the Bar Association has to say:

(From the California State Bar): California attorneys certified as specialists must pass a written examination in their specialty field, demonstrate a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfill ongoing education requirements and be favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work.


What does a lawyer have to do to become Certified?

Becoming certified as a Bankruptcy Specialist is similar to taking a second, more detailed Bar exam. Many attorneys do not even attempt the certification process because it is very difficult to obtain, and only the top attorneys, with demonstrated expertise and success will become certified.

In fact out of over 100,000 attorneys in the state of California, only 105 are Certified Bankruptcy Specialists.

That means only 1/10 of 1% (or .001%) of California attorneys are Certified Bankruptcy Specialists.

Jeff Smith is one of them.

To become certified as a bankruptcy specialist, an applicant must successfully complete a comprehensive day-long written examination covering:

  1. General bankruptcy/creditors' rights law
  2. Legal ethics, and
  3. Substantive questioning in the specialty area.

In addition, each applicant must show significant experience in legal matters and a substantial dedication of their practice to such matters, as well as providing professional references and participating in at least 60 hours of continuing legal education over a three-year period.

Applicants must have letters of recommendations from all of the following:

  • Two (2) Judges they’ve appeared before
  • Eight (8) Colleagues (attorneys they have worked with in the past)
  • Four (4) Opposing Counsel (Yes -- at least four attorneys who have been opposed in court by the applicant must also recommend them for certification based on competency, quality of the legal work, and professional ethics)

Mr. Smith met all of these requirements and received his certification as a Bankruptcy Specialist from the CA State Bar.

These requirements help clients determine in a more objective manner who is truly qualified as a specialist in a certain area of law, such as Bankruptcy.

Now that you know how Jeff Smith became a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist, and how few attorneys have this distinction, why don't you give us a call and see if we can help your situation? Contact me, there's no obligation for our telephone consult.



Important notice required by Federal Law:
We are a debt relief agency pursuant to Federal Law §524 of Title 11 of the US Code. We provide legal assistance and help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.


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