Why should I become certified?
Certification of lawyers in workers' compensation law gives consumers valuable guidance when choosing lawyers to handle their cases. Certification also provides legal practitioners the opportunity to more effectively highlight their knowledge and expertise in the area of workers' compensation law to current and future clients.
Who is responsible for certification?
A 12-member Certification Committee of the PBA Workers' Compensation Law Section is responsible for the certification process. By order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (No. 105), "And now this 12th day of January, 2012, upon consideration of the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Review and Certifying Board, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers' Compensation Law Section is hereby accredited as a certifying organization in the area of Workers' Compensation Law for the period from January 12, 2012 to January 12, 2017."
Reaccreditation by order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (No. 141), “And now, this 1st day of July, 2016, upon consideration of the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Review and Certifying Board, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Law Section is hereby reaccredited as a certifying organization in the area of Workers’ Compensation Law for a period of five years commencing January 12, 2017.
Certification is also governed by Rule 7.4 (Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, beginning on page 83.
What qualifications do I need to take the workers' compensation law specialty certification examination?
To qualify to take the specialty certification examination, you must establish by documentation the following:
- that you are admitted to practice in Pennsylvania;
- that you have been actively engaged in the practice of law for a minimum of five years ;
- that you devote a minimum of 50 percent of your practice to the specialty field of workers' compensation.
You must also submit a variety of documents showing active practice in the workers' compensation law field and participation in mandatory Continuing Legal Education in workers' compensation law. (Refer to the Bylaws, Section 6, Criteria for Certification.)
What can I expect during the examination process?
Following the Certification Committee's approval for you to take the examination, you will receive notice of the location, date and time for the examination. The examination will be given annually or more frequently if circumstances require. The examination will include essay questions and multiple-choice questions. The questions will be revised annually to incorporate new developments and eliminate repetitive questions. (Refer to the Bylaws, Section 8, Certification Examination.)
How is the test scored?
In order to receive a passing grade an applicant must score 80 or more points on the entire examination. If an applicant scores 80 or better on the multiple choice questions the essay questions will not be read. (For details on scoring, refer the Bylaws, Section 8 a. 3. and 4., Scoring and Grading Procedure.)
When will I be notified of my exam results?
You will receive notification of your examination results several months after the test date.
How much will I pay to take the exam and to maintain certification?
The initial application fee is $325 and is due when the application is submitted. Upon verification and qualification to sit for the exam, applicants will be required to pay a $150 exam fee. Certification is for a period of five years; however, there is an annual fee for years two, three, four and five. (Refer to the Bylaws, Section 9, Terms of Certification and Recertification.)
When is the certification year?
The certification year is July 1 through June 30 of each year.
What happens in years two, three, four and five? What are the requirements to maintain my certification?
- Upon certification as a legal specialist in workers’ compensation law, attorneys are required to pay an annual fee to cover administrative fees and maintain their certification with the Review and Certifying Board. The certification year runs from July 1 through June 30.
- Certified attorneys are also required to submit reports of continuing legal education from the Supreme Court Continuing Legal Education Board, for the period July 1 through June 30, evidencing the completion of at least nine hours of mandatory continuing legal education in the field of workers’ compensation as required by Section 6.a.1.g) of Article IX of the PBA Workers’ Compensation Law Section Bylaws.
- Certified attorneys will receive an invoice and letter in June reminding them of this requirement. No fee will be due during the reporting year immediately following Recertification.
What happens after the initial five-year certification?
Certification is for a period of five years. Attorneys are required to submit an Application for Recertification six months prior to the expiration of their certificate and pay a recertification application fee. The Recertification Application shall contain all of the information required in the initial application for certification; however, no test is required. Upon verification and qualification, the applicant will be recertified for a new term of five years. (Refer to the Bylaws, Section 9, Terms of Certification and Recertification.)