About ABC

The American Board of Certification (ABC) is a non-profit organization committed to providing progressive and responsible leadership in the field of legal specialization. ABC offers separate certification programs in business bankruptcy, consumer bankruptcy and creditors' rights law. ABC certification is designed to recognize lawyers who have met discrete, rigorous and objective certification standards.

ABC is dedicated to encouraging lawyers to develop expertise and identifying the lawyers that have developed such expertise in bankruptcy and creditors' rights law. Nationwide, ABC has certified over 1,000 attorneys in consumer and business bankruptcy and creditor's rights law. ABC certification provides a standard to assist potential clients to make an informed decision in choosing lawyers in the fields of bankruptcy and creditors’ rights.

ABC is sponsored by American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) and Commercial Law League of America (CLLA). All ABC certification programs are accredited by American Bar Association (ABA). Several states have accredited ABC programs. The Board of Directors of ABC consists of many of the nation's preeminent lawyers in the fields of bankruptcy and creditors’ rights law. ABC certification is available to all qualified bankruptcy and creditors’ rights lawyers, without regard to membership in ABI, CLLA, or ABA, and without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age. Please read Long Range Strategy Plan for the American Board of Certification.

ABA first debated the issue of professional certification in legal specialties more than 50 years ago and, in 1969, decided to "not promulgate a national plan to regulate voluntary specialization." With very limited exceptions, the certification of legal specialists did not become a reality until the decision of the Supreme Court in 1990, in Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois, which struck down the most significant legal and regulatory obstacles to voluntary certification programs. Following the Peel decision, ABI and CLLA each designed objective lawyer certification programs. ABI’s program was to form what is now known as the ABC.  On January 1, 1998, the certification programs offered by ABC and CLLA were merged to become the certification program offered by ABC.

ABC has created and distributes free of charge, a Directory of Board Certified Attorneys, identifying lawyers by area of specialization and location. The Directory is also available on the ABC website.

If you are interested in the certification process, or locating a certified lawyer, then we encourage you to review the tools and other information on the ABC website.