Minnesota Creates Certification for Lawyers Who Specialize in Criminal Law

Posted On January 20, 2010 by Charles Ramsay

The State Bar Association has created a new certification for Minnesota Lawyers: Specialist in Criminal Law. The Association has not created DWI or DUI Specialization for Minnesota Attorneys.

Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Andrew Birrell, who chaired the committee that worked on the criminal law certification project, said that the specialist designation is meant to be a meaningful thing. "We think the exam is fair and will recognize attorneys who are very well qualified to represent people accused of crimesâ?¦ and to represent the government [as prosecutors]|, he said. |We're hopeful people will avail themselves of the opportunity.|

The standards and requirements for Certification of lawyers as Criminal Law Specialists include:

1. Demonstrating |Substantial Involvement in Criminal Law Practice.| This is includes demonstrating five years of continuous practice in the area of criminal law with 25% of their full-time practice devoted to participation in criminal law;

2. Passing a written exam to demonstrate sufficient knowledge, proficiency and experience in criminal law;

3. The standards require Lawyers to show trial experience direct and cross examination of a lay witness, time in trial, contested hearings and by providing writing examples;

4. Lawyers are also required to provide references of Judges, opposing counsel and others.

5. The board also ensures the lawyer meets the ethical requirements.

Certification is good for a period of six years, unless the Specialist is decertified as provided for under these Standards. Specialists are required to be recertified at the end of every six year period. During that period, the lawyer must maintain minimum continuing legal education requirements. After six years, the lawyer must be recertified in order to maintain the designation.

This first exam for criminal law specialist is Saturday, April 24, 2010.

I clearly meet the litigation requirements and plan to sit for the exam in April.

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