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 a 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 Jeffrey 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. Jeffrey Smith is one of only two Certified Bankruptcy Specialists practicing in Long Beach. Source: California Bar Association; (10/01/09)

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 percent (or 0.001 percent) of California attorneys are Certified Bankruptcy Specialists.

Jeffrey Smith is one of them.

To become certified as a Bankruptcy Specialist, an applicant must successfully complete a comprehensive, daylong written examination covering:

  1. General bankruptcy/creditors' rights law
  2. Legal ethics
  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 provide professional references and participate in at least 60 hours of continuing legal education over a three-year period.

Applicants must have letters of recommendation 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 California 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.

Learn More In Your First Consultation

Now that you know how Jeffrey 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 us online or call us at 562-485-9376. There's no obligation for our telephone consult. Se habla español.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.