About the American Board of Certification
The American Board of Certification (ABC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the public and improving the quality of the bankruptcy and creditors' rights law bars. ABC has certified nearly 1,000 attorneys in consumer and business bankruptcy and creditor's rights law nationwide. ABC certification serves the public by allowing potential clients to make an informed decision in choosing bankruptcy and creditors rights counsel. In addition, ABC certification encourages attorneys to strive toward excellence and recognizes those attorneys who have met the rigorous ABC standards. ABC offers separate certification programs in business bankruptcy, consumer bankruptcy and creditors' rights law.
The ABC is sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Commercial Law League of America. All three ABC programs are accredited by the American Bar Association and several states have accredited the ABC programs. The ABC Board of Directors consists of many of the nation's finest bankruptcy and creditors rights professionals. ABC certification is available to all qualified bankruptcy and creditors rights attorneys, without regard to membership in the American Bankruptcy Institute or the Commercial Law League of America, and without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age.
The American Bar Association 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 Supreme Court's decision in the 1990 case of Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois struck down the most significant legal and regulatory obstacles to voluntary certification programs. Following the Peel decision, the leadership of the American Bankruptcy Institute worked for more than a year to design an objective certification program that distinguishes between lawyers with special expertise in the fields of business and consumer bankruptcy law and those without such expertise. Similarly, the Commercial Law League of America developed a separate program to identify commercial law practitioners with special expertise. On January 1, 1998, The two programs merged to become the American Board of Certification. Rather than to identify "elite" practitioners, the ABC program is designed to recognize lawyers who have met discrete, objective certification standards.
The ABC is committed to providing progressive and responsible leadership in the field of legal specialization. Since the ABC's inception, our goal has been to provide meaningful information to consumers of bankruptcy law services. To this end, we have created a Directory of Board Certified Attorneys and we distribute it free of charge. For the past several years, we have produced the directory with generous support from Thomson West. The ABC also provides references to any ABC certified attorney for consumers who need assistance locating a qualified attorney in their area.