The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) will hold a hearing in Austin on Sept. 30, 2009, to gather public comment on proposed changes to certification standards covering personal injury trial law, civil trial law, and labor and employment law.

TBLS certifies attorneys and paralegals through a voluntary program which requires that they meet certain standards regarding length of practice, experience, and knowledge in their chosen practice areas. Those who meet the criteria are designated "board certified" by TBLS.

In the areas of personal injury trial law and civil trial law, proposed changes cover the definition of a "trial" in the standards and adjustments to the amount of trial experience an attorney must have to be certified. The labor and employment changes require that an applicant maintain a certain amount of his or her practice in Texas.

TBLS director Gary McNeil related that initial feedback regarding proposed changes to the trial standards involves concerns that trial experience is harder to obtain because fewer and fewer cases are tried before juries. After public input is received, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization is expected to submit final proposed changes to the Supreme Court of Texas late this fall.

Click here to read the proposed changes, and visit for more information about specialty certification.