Law Professor Chosen President-Elect of National Accrediting Board

Aug. 24, 2007
News Photo 4233Jim Wren

Media Contact: Julie Carlson, director of communications, Baylor Law School, (254) 710-6681

Baylor Law Professor Jim Wren has been elected to serve as President-Elect of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certifications, the national board certifying organization for various legal specializations. The NBLSC, a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Bar Association, certifies attorneys as specialists in the areas of civil, criminal, family law trial advocacy, and social security disability advocates.

"Board certification of legal specialists is now following the same course as board certification of medical specialists. Both the public and the profession benefit," Wren said.

The NBLSC is the parent organization of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, which was founded in 1977. The NBTA certifies lawyers in the specialty areas of civil, criminal and family law trial advocacy. The NBLSC also is the parent of the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, and is in the process of expanding board certification into other areas of legal specialization. Additionally, some states such as Texas, California and Ohio have extensive state board certification programs. However, not all law specialties have certification on a state or national level. The NBLSC plans to rectify that.

"The NBLSC implements uniform guidelines for national certification," Wren said. "Over the next several years, we will develop more certification programs for various specialties. It takes time; this is a multi-year undertaking, because we have to establish the testing and requirements and must receive ABA approval, but we will continue to see specialties brought on line."

For attorneys to become board certified they must undergo a rigorous qualification and testing program. For example, applicants to the NBTA must be lead counsel on a minimum of 40 contested matters involving the taking of evidence and lead counsel in a number of trials to verdict or judgment. Additionally, applicants must pass a judicial and attorney peer review and a six-hour examination. Baylor Law School is a testing site for the national exam this fall.

Wren, a Baylor law alumnus, joined the Baylor law faculty in 2006 after 25 years of experience as a trial attorney specializing in business litigation. He has been named by Texas Monthly as a Texas Super Lawyer in Business Litigation each year since the designation originated in 2002, and is board certified by both the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Wren also served as coach for the Baylor mock trial team that recently won the American Association for Justice national championship. In April, he along with fellow Baylor law professor Gerald Powell were presented with awards of appreciation by the Texas chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

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