General Questions

  1. What does "Board Certified" mean?
  2. What legal areas of specialty paralegal certification are available?
  3. Where can I find listings of Board Certified Paralegals?
  4. How many Board Certified Paralegals are in Texas?
  5. Who governs the TBLS Board Certified Paralegal process?
  6. Who are the members of the TBLS staff and how can I contact them?

Q1. What does "Board Certified " mean?

Board Certification is a voluntary designation program for paralegals. Initial certification is valid for a period of five years. To remain certified, a paralegal must apply for recertification every five years and meet substantial involvement, and continuing legal education requirements for the specialty area.

To become Board Certified in a specialty area, a paralegal must:

Have at least 5 years experience as a paralegal (3 years in Texas);

Currently work under the supervision of a licensed attorney doing business in Texas;

Have at least 50% of paralegal duties concentrated in specialty areas;

Attended continuing education seminars regularly to keep legal training up to date;

In addition to the above, successfully complete one of the following:

NALA certification, or

Baccalaureate or higher degree, or

ABA approved paralegal program, or

Paralegal program consisting of a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of which 18 hours are substantive legal courses, or

Paralegal program consisting of a minimum of 18 semester credit hours of which 18 hours are substantive legal courses in addition to a minimum of 45 semester credit hours of general college curriculum courses, or

2 additional years of actual paralegal experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney;

Pass a 4-hour written examination.

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Q2. What legal areas of specialty paralegal certification are available?

TBLS currently certifies paralegals in the following eight (8) specialty areas of the law: Bankruptcy, Civil Trial, Criminal, Estate Planning and Probate, Family, Personal Injury Trial and Real Estate. Listed below is a brief description of the types of matters and expertise defined by each of our specialty areas.

  • Certified Bankruptcy Law specialists can deal with matters related to business and non-business debtors and creditors in all areas which involve the Bankruptcy Code and other aspects of debtor/creditor relations. 
  • Certified Civil Trial Law specialists have participated in the preparation and trial of significant civil cases. They are familiar with the negotiation and pre-trial process, as well as with the rules of evidence, procedure, and other substantial law involved in these civil cases.
  • Certified Criminal Law specialists have experience in the preparation and trial of serious criminal matters. They have extensive knowledge of state and federal constitutional law, evidence, procedure and penal laws involved in these matters.
  • Certified Estate Planning & Probate Law specialists have dealt with the analysis, planning and disposition of property owned by clients. They have prepared various documents, such as wills, trusts, and business agreements. They have dealt with different types of probate procedures. They are familiar with the tax laws that govern these matters.
  • Certified Family Law specialists have participated in the contested trial of cases involving matters such as divorce, property division, child custody, child support, adoption, paternity or other matrimonial matters.
  • Certified Personal Injury Trial Law specialists have handled various aspects (including jury trials) of matters such as vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or defective products which cause physical or mental injury to a person.
  • Certified Real Estate Law specialists have experience with the statutes and regulations governing the acquisition, transfer and use of land and improvements on the land. Residential Real Estate deals with matters affecting homes, Commercial Real Estate with matters involving business operations, and Farm and Ranch Real Estate with matters involving agriculture.

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Q3. Where can I find listings of Board Certified Paralegals?

The best source is this site's on-line directory, the "Search" page. It contains the most current and complete information and allows you to search the database using a variety of criteria. You may search the TBLS database by any combination of name, city, county, zip code, or specialty area.

Alternately, call the TBLS at 1-855-277-TBLS(8257) or at 512-453-7266, or e-mail TBLS.

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Q4. How many Board Certified Paralegals are in Texas?

Board Certified Paralegals in Texas:

Bankruptcy Law

LABK

8

Civil Trial Law

LACT

100

Criminal Law

LACR

8

Estate Planning and Probate Law

LAEP

21

Family Law

LAFM

137

Personal Injury Trial Law

LAPI

68

Real Estate Law

LARE

24

Total Active Paralegal Certificates

366

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Q5. Who governs the TBLS Board Certified Paralegal process?

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) was created by an order of the Supreme Court of Texas in July 1974. TBLS members are appointed by the President of the State Bar. The program is self-funded by certification fees and receives no money from the State Bar of Texas general revenue fund.

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Q6. Who are the members of TBLS staff and how can I contact them?

The "Contact Us" page lists all TBLS staff members information.

Molly Galvez, Certification Analyst, focuses on the TBLS Board Certified Paralegal certification process. Any TBLS Certification Analyst= can assist you.

Phone: 512-453-7266, ext. 102
Fax: 512-427-4379

Address, Phone and Directions

TBLS
CENTENNIAL TOWERS
505 E. HUNTLAND DRIVE, SUITE 400, L.B. 28
AUSTIN, TX 78752

1-855-277-TBLS(8257), 512-453-7266, Fax: 512-453-7220