Every attorney, licensed to practice by the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, can practice before every Texas state court; all Justice, County and District Courts, all Appellate Courts, and the Supreme Court of the State of Texas.
Certification is not required to practice law.
If an attorney has been licensed to practice for at least five years, practices law in one of the fourteen specialty fields, and meets the following requirements:
– Spend three years practicing law in the specialty field
– Handle a wide variety of matters within the specialty field to demonstrate substantial involvement
– Attend CLE seminars on the specialty field
– Be evaluated by fellow lawyers and judges
– Pass a 6-hour written examination on the specialty field
The attorney may then be certified by the board overseeing that specialty.
The specialty fields are:
|– Administrative Law
|– Civil Trial Law
|– Estate Planning & Probate Law
|– Bankruptcy Law
|– Civil Appellate Law
|– Immigration & Nationality Law
|– Family Law
|– Criminal Law
|– Labor & Employment Law
|– Real Estate Law
|– Consumer Law
|– Oil, Gas & Mineral Law
|– Tax Law
|– Personal Injury Trial Law
Every attorney, specialized or not, is required to complete at least fifteen (15) hours of Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) each year in order to keep their license in force. They are also required to complete three hours of CLE dealing with the ethics of law practice. Specialization requires additional CLE in the specialty.
Federal courts have their own bars, and attorneys have to apply to be licensed to practice before them. The federal districts in Texas are the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts. Appeals from the Texas federal district courts go to the Fifth Circuit.
Being licensed to practice in one federal district does not imply authority to practice in another. The federal appellate courts also have their own bar.