The Texas Board of Legal Specialization’s newly certified attorneys and paralegals were inducted at the annual induction ceremony on March 24 at the A&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin.
“Congratulations to our newest class of board-certified attorneys. We’re honored to have them be a part of this elite class of legal specialists in our state,” Texas Board of Legal Specialization, or TBLS, Executive Director Leo Figueroa said. “As exemplified by this year’s Tom Garner Award and Jon F. Sheehy Jr. Distinguished Attorney Award recipients, we’re seeing an uptick of involvement and activity with TBLS, its board certification process, and advancement of the legal sector overall. With this newest class of members that are very active in the legal space, we don’t see that movement slowing down.”
More than 300 attorneys and paralegals attended the ceremony, joined by family members from across Texas as well as Texas Supreme Court justices. Justice Jane Bland, certified in civil appellate law and civil trial law by TBLS, swore in the newest class of certified legal professionals.
Of the more than 110,000 licensed Texas attorneys, only about 7,100 are certified by TBLS in the organization’s 27 practice areas. Attorneys who are certified in a practice area are required to be licensed for at least five years, devote a certain percentage of their practice to a specialty area for at least three years, attend continuing education, be evaluated by lawyers and judges, and pass a written exam. Attorneys who remain certified apply for recertification every five years.
Paralegals can become certified in eight areas of law and must similarly satisfy experience requirements, attend continuing education, and pass a written exam. Paralegals apply for recertification every five years to remain certified.
In addition to the inductions, TBLS honored attorney Roy R. Barrera Sr., certified in criminal law, with the John F. Sheehy Distinguished Attorney Award for more than 25 years of board certification and Christopher Ayres and Craig Cherry, both certified in civil trial law and personal injury trial law, with the Tom Garner Award.
“For me, serving TBLS has been nothing short of an honor and a privilege, particularly given its dedicated and top-notch staff,” Ayres said. “Being a TBLS board-certified lawyer matters. It impacts how judges and lawyers see us. More importantly, it tells the public they can trust in our competency and ethics. My hope is that I’ve given back to TBLS a small fraction of what it has given me.”
For more information about the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and its certifications for attorneys and paralegals, go to tbls.org.