The American Board of Certification is the nation's premier legal specialty certification organization - certifying attorneys as specialists in business bankruptcy, consumer bankruptcy and creditors' rights law.

Rules and Regulations of the American Board of Certification

As Amended December 7, 2013

SECTION 1. Administration.

1.1. Standards Committee. The Standards Committee shall be composed of a Chair and such Committee members as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Certification ("Board") shall appoint. The Standards Committee shall: (1) review and approve the format of all application and reference forms used by the American Board of Certification ("ABC"); (2) determine whether particular applicants have met the standards for certification; (3) grant waivers or modifications of specific certification requirements or deadlines for good cause shown; (4) decide all requests for reconsideration of denials, expirations, or revocations of, certification, except reconsideration requests relating to the certification examination. As contemplated and required by Section 4.03 of the American Bar Association Standards for Specialty Certification Programs for Lawyers, all members of the Standards Committee shall be certified by the ABC in Business Bankruptcy, Consumer Bankruptcy or Creditors' Rights, and as required by these Rules as a prerequisite for such certification shall have substantial involvement in their respective areas of certification.

1.2. Faculty. The Faculty shall be composed of a Dean and such Faculty Members as the President shall appoint. The Dean and Faculty shall prepare and grade the certification examination, and shall prepare model answers to the examination questions. Prior to the administration of the examination, the Dean shall review and approve all examination questions prepared by the Faculty. The Faculty shall have primary responsibility for grading the examination questions that they prepare, however, the Dean shall review and re-grade any applicant's answer that receives a failing grade from the responsible Faculty member. The Faculty shall decide all requests for reconsideration of failing grades on the certification examination.

1.3. Meetings. The Standards Committee and the Faculty may meet in person or by means of communication by which all members participating may simultaneously hear each other during the meeting. Meetings of the Standards Committee shall be held once each calendar quarter unless otherwise scheduled by the Chair. Meetings shall be held upon reasonable notice to all committee members. A majority of the members of the committee participating in a meeting shall constitute a quorum and therefore permit the transaction of business.

1.4. Term of Service. The Dean and Faculty, and the Chair and members of the Standards Committee shall serve at the pleasure of the Board and may be removed and replaced as provided in the Bylaws of ABC ("Bylaws").

SECTION 2. Application Procedures and Fees.

2.1. Application Forms. Applications shall be accepted for certification in Consumer Bankruptcy Law, Business Bankruptcy Law, Creditors' Rights Law, or any continuation of these areas. Applications for certification shall be made in writing on such forms as the Standards Committee may approve. The Standards Committee shall develop both a Short Form and Long Form Application, both of which must be completed by each applicant. The Standards Committee may require an applicant to submit information in addition to that called for on the application forms.

2.2. Application Testing and other Fees. All fees shall be set by the Board and may be changed at any time.

2.2.1. Application Fee and Forms. Each applicant shall submit an application fee along with the completed Short Form Application.

(a) Short Form Application. No Short Form Application will be processed until the application fee has been paid. If the information disclosed on the Short Form Application indicates that the applicant may be able to meet the minimum standards for certification, the Short Form Application shall be accepted, a file shall be opened for the applicant, and the applicant shall be sent a Long Form Application. Once the Short Form Application has been accepted, the application fee becomes non-refundable. If the information disclosed on the Short Form Application indicates that the applicant will not be able to meet the minimum standards for certification, the Short Form Application shall be rejected, the applicant shall be sent a letter of rejection explaining why the applicant does not meet the standards for certification, and the application fee shall be refunded to the applicant. Applicants applying for certification in more than one area must pay application fees for each area.

(b) Long Form Application. The Long Form Application shall set out the applicant's compliance with the requirements of § 3.1.1 through § 3.1.5 and § 3.1.7, and shall be submitted only after the applicant has met the practice and licensure requirement of § 3.1.1.

2.2.2. Annual Fee and Disclosure Affidavit. Commencing January 1, 1994, each certified attorney must: (1) pay, by January 1 of each year following the initial year of certification, an annual fee for each area of certification, to defray the costs of operating the certification program; (2) complete and return a disclosure affidavit on the form approved by the Standards Committee which shall disclose any outstanding informal or formal disciplinary actions, malpractice claims, and shall certify continuing compliance with the Rules and Regulations and covenants in the original application; and (3) pay such charge as may be allocated by ABC among certified attorneys in a jurisdiction from time to time, as jurisdictions or other licensing authorities assess ABC a fee on account of certified attorneys practicing in that jurisdiction.

(a) Special Rule for Judges.A certified attorney who is serving as a full time judge as of October 1 of a given year must complete and return a disclosure affidavit for the following year on the form for full time judges approved by the Standards Committee, which shall disclose any outstanding informal or formal disciplinary actions or malpractice claims, and shall certify continuing compliance with the Rules and Regulations and covenants in the original application as applicable to judges. Any certified attorney who is sitting as a judge shall not be required to pay the amounts referenced in §2.2.2(1) and (3) above for the following calendar year.

2.2.3. Examination Fee. Each applicant must pay a non-refundable examination fee as a prerequisite to taking the certification examination. Applicants seeking certification in more than one area may take such sections of the certification examination for a single examination fee. The fee should be submitted with a completed examination registration form, and both the fee and examination registration form must be received by ABC at least fifteen days before the date on which the applicant wishes to take the certification examination. In the event that the applicant does not pass all sections of the certification examination on the first attempt, the applicant may retake the failed section(s) with a second examination registration at no additional cost. There will be a charge of one-half of the then-current examination fee for the third and each subsequent registration. The applicant must submit a new examination registration form for each examination date. A request for the accommodation of a disability in connection with the certification examination must be made at least thirty days before the date scheduled for the examination to which the request applies.

2.2.4. Late Examination Registration Fee. Applications to sit for the certification examination received fewer than fifteen days prior to the scheduled examination date shall be subject to a late fee of ten percent of the then-current examination fee.

2.2.5. Application Extension Fee. Applicants desiring a one-time, six-month extension of the certification application completion term may obtain an automatic extension, provided the extension does not cause the applicant's exam to be stale under § 3.1.6, by written request and the payment of an extension fee of one-half of the then-current application fee, delivered to the ABC before the end of the deadline to complete the file.

2.3. Procedures.

2.3.1. Opening Files. Upon receipt of a completed Short Form Application, the staff of ABC shall review the application to determine whether (1) the information disclosed on the Short Form Application indicates that the applicant may be able to meet the minimum standards for certification, and (2) the appropriate application fee has been paid. If so, the Short Form Application shall be accepted and a file shall be opened for the applicant. If the information disclosed on the Short Form Application indicates that the applicant will not be able to meet the minimum standards for certification, the Short Form Application shall be denied, the applicant shall be sent a letter explaining why the applicant does not meet the standards for certification, and the application fee shall be refunded to the applicant.

2.3.2. Completion of File. Following the acceptance of the Short Form Application, the applicant shall be sent the Long Form Application. The applicant must complete his/her file (including all necessary reference forms) and must pass all three sections of the certification examination by December 31 of the calendar year following the date on which his/her Short Form Application was accepted; provided however, that an applicant may begin the application process if the applicant has been engaged in the continuous practice of law for at least a three-year period ending on December 31 of the next calendar year in which the applicant files the Short Form Application, in which case, the applicant must file a Long Form Application and otherwise complete the above requirements by December 31 of the calendar year in which the applicant completes the practice length requirement set out in § 3.1.1(a). The applicant may complete these requirements in any order and may take the certification examination before completing the Long Form Application. If the applicant has not met all of the requirements for certification by the above deadline, then the application for certification shall be denied. Pursuant to § 2.2.5, the applicant may submit a written request for a one-time, six-month extension of deadline. Once an application is closed, the Applicant may reapply for certification; however, in such a case, all examination and application requirements satisfied in connection with the earlier application must again be satisfied with the new application and all applicable fees must be paid.

2.3.3. Reapplication for Certification. An applicant who fails to meet the certification requirements during the initial application period, who is denied certification, denied recertification, or a certificate holder whose certificate was revoked, expired or was voluntarily surrendered, may reapply for certification in accordance with these Rules and Regulations. The applicant must file a Short Form Application and pay the appropriate application fee, must complete all requirements of the Long Form Application and must retake the exam. In addition, the applicant must disclose that he/she had previously been denied certification or recertification, that his/her certificate had been revoked, had expired or had been voluntarily surrendered and the reasons for the denial, revocation, expiration or voluntary surrender of certification or recertification. The applicant will receive no credit for requirements that were satisfied in connection with the earlier application. However, the applicant's prior file will be available to the Standards Committee and the applicant may be required to provide additional information relating to the denial, revocation, expiration or voluntary surrender.

2.3.4. Confidentiality.

(a) By filing an application, the applicant agrees that the reference forms submitted in connection with the application shall remain confidential. Further, the applicant waives the right to review or discover the reference forms. The identity of applicants and the results of certification examinations shall not be disclosed to the officers and Directors of ABC except as necessary for the fulfillment of their functions and duties.

(b) In the event that ABC receives a request for the status of an applicant, ABC shall only advise that an applicant is certified, is not certified, or the application is pending.

SECTION 3. Minimum Standards for Certification.

3.1. Standards for Initial Certification. All attorneys who meet the requirements set forth in these Rules and Regulations shall be eligible for board certification without regard to and without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age. Members and former members of the Faculty are ineligible for initial certification for a period of three years from the date of their last Faculty service; provided, however, that this three year limitation may be waived by the Standards Committee so long as the Committee ensures that the applicant had and shall have no direct or indirect participation in the preparing or grading of her/his examination. Members of the Board are eligible for initial certification subject to all requirements of these Rules and Regulations, but they shall have no direct or indirect participation in the evaluation of their own applications for certification. In order to qualify for certification, the applicant must pay all required fees and must meet the following minimum standards, irrespective of the standards of any other certification or licensing body.

3.1.1. Licensure and Practice.

(a) Practice. The Applicant must be engaged in the continuous practice of law, for at least the five-year period ending on December 31 of the calendar year in which the applicant files the Long Form Application; provided, however, that an interruption in continuous practice of up to one year for a sabbatical or leave of absence shall be permitted so long as the applicant has otherwise engaged in the continuous practice of law for at least five years exclusive of the interruption. Service as a judge of a state trial court having general civil (e.g., not exclusively family or probate law) jurisdiction, of a federal court, or as a full-time professor of law at an accredited United States law school may be substituted in the discretion of the Standards Committee.

(b) Licensure. The applicant must be licensed to practice law and an active member of the bar in at least one or more states or territories of the United States or the District of Columbia. The applicant must be a member in good standing of the bars of all states in which the applicant is licensed to practice (or must have been a member in good standing at the time any license may have been voluntarily surrendered). The applicant is responsible for ensuring that each state in which the applicant is licensed to practice law provides ABC a good standing report.

3.1.2. Integrity. The applicant must be a person of professional integrity, as that concept is interpreted by the ethical rules of the state or states in which the applicant is licensed to practice. By filing an application, the applicant agrees to disclose to ABC any pending or prior formal or informal reprimand, disciplinary action, complaint or inquiry with a grievance committee of any bar association or with the designated disciplinary entity of any state, any pending or prior criminal charge or conviction, and any pending or prior malpractice complaint, judgment, settlement, or admission of malpractice. If an applicant fails to disclose any of the foregoing, the Standards Committee, in its discretion, may deny the application. Additionally, at any time, ABC may initiate its own inquiry and applicant agrees that the application authorizes ABC to obtain confidential information from any person or association having knowledge of facts that are relevant to the applicant's personal integrity. ABC may suspend the processing of an application while any of the above proceedings is pending. ABC will accept as final the findings of any court or body authorized to impose professional discipline. In such instances, the application shall be denied and the applicant may not reapply for certification for a period of three years following the imposition of formal or informal discipline, any criminal conviction, malpractice judgment or admission of malpractice, unless the applicant establishes to the satisfaction of the Standards Committee that such factors are not relevant to the applicant's fitness to be recognized as a specialist. The Standards Committee may deny an application for other good cause related to an alleged disciplinary violation, alleged criminal conduct, or alleged malpractice.

3.1.3. Substantial Involvement.

(a) Bankruptcy Law. The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of experience through substantial involvement in the practice of bankruptcy law. Substantial involvement shall mean both (1) that the applicant has devoted a minimum of thirty percent of practice time to bankruptcy law during each of the three years immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application, and (2) that the applicant has devoted a minimum of 400 hours to the practice of bankruptcy law during each of the three years immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application.

In addition, the applicant must satisfy one of the following requirements:

(1) Applicants seeking certification in Consumer Bankruptcy Law must have substantially participated in at least thirty adversary proceedings or contested matters (as defined in Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 7001 and 9014) in cases involving individual debtors, with no more than five of any such matters being of a single type.

(2) Applicants seeking certification in Business Bankruptcy Law must have substantially participated in at least thirty adversary proceedings or contested matters (as defined in Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 7001 and 9014) in cases where the debtor had been engaged in business prior to filing a petition in bankruptcy, with no more than three of any such matters being of a single type.

Substantial involvement is not necessarily limited to court appearances, but may include briefing, argument, interrogation of witnesses, negotiation of settlements or workouts, or drafting. The activity must relate to an adversary proceeding or contested matter and must have been substantial in relation to the total efforts devoted to the adversary preceding or contested matter. The substantial involvement requirements shall be applied to all applicants, including but not limited to private practitioners, government lawyers, professors of law, United States Trustees, Bankruptcy Administrators, Assistant United States Trustees, or Trial Attorneys for United States Trustees; but shall be waived for an applicant who has served as a full-time judge (but not as a magistrate judge, administrative law judge, commissioner or special master) of a federal court during at least three of the five years immediately preceding the application. Service as a professor of law does not constitute the practice of law for the purposes of this sub-section.

(b) Creditors' Rights Law. The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of experience through substantial involvement in the practice of creditors' rights law. Substantial involvement shall mean both (1) that the applicant has devoted a minimum of thirty percent of practice time to creditors' rights law during each of the three years immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application, and (2) that the applicant has devoted a minimum of 400 hours to the practice of creditors' rights law during each of the three years immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application. In addition, the applicant must have substantially participated in at least thirty creditors' rights matters, with no more than three of any such matters being of a single type. Creditors' rights matters include, but are not limited to: standard collection suit; standard execution upon judgment; post-judgment debtor's examination; attachment proceeding (pre- or post-judgment); garnishment proceeding; foreclosure action; secured party sale under UCC; consumer or business collection action; fraudulent conveyance action or claim; create an Article 9 security interest; involuntary bankruptcy case; objection to Chapter 13 plan; claim objection; reply to a counterclaim or new matter; take or defend deposition in litigation; preference action; foreign judgment domestication action; and proposed distribution objection. Substantial involvement is not necessarily limited to court appearances, but may include briefing, argument, interrogation of witnesses, negotiation of settlements or workouts, or drafting. The activity must relate to such matter and must have been substantial in relation to the total efforts devoted to the matter. These requirements shall be applied to all applicants, including but not limited to private practitioners, government lawyers, professors of law, United States Trustees, Bankruptcy Administrators, Assistant United States Trustees, or Trial Attorneys for United States Trustees; but shall be waived for an applicant who has served as a full time judge of a trial court having general civil (e.g., not exclusively family or probate law) jurisdiction during at least three of the five years immediately preceding the application. Service as a professor of law does not constitute the practice of law for the purposes of this sub-section.

3.1.4. Continuing Legal Education.

(a) Bankruptcy Law. The applicant must have participated in at least sixty hours of continuing legal education (CLE) in bankruptcy law within the thirty-six months immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application. If the applicant cannot meet this requirement as of the date of the Long Form Application, the Standards Committee shall not be required to consider the application until such time as the applicant has satisfied the requirement by attending such additional CLE programs as are necessary so that sixty CLE hours have been earned within a 36-month continuous period. At least thirty hours of the CLE requirement must be satisfied by participation as an attendee (i.e., not as a speaker) at live, in-person CLE programs (not including at in-house CLE programs, i.e., CLE programs offered by the applicant's own law firm or employer as a state-approved CLE provider). Participation in other forms of CLE, including in-house CLE programs and in non-live or interactive CLE programs (including internet-based, televised or teleconference CLE programs) may satisfy the CLE requirement only to the extent that one or more of the state bars or other licensing authorities governing the applicant's right to engage in the active practice of law authorizes participation in such programs to be credited towards satisfaction of the applicant's state CLE requirement (alternatively, for applicants whose states do not have a mandatory periodic CLE requirement, such credit may be allowed in the discretion of the Standards Committee). In the discretion of the Standards Committee, CLE credit may be allowed for teaching courses at an accredited United States law school, speaking at seminars (including speaking at in-house CLE programs and internet-based, televised or teleconference CLE programs), authorship of books or articles, and other similar activities, but is not permitted solely for self-study activities. No more than one half of the CLE requirement may be satisfied by such speaking or writing credit. In addition, in the discretion of the Standards Committee, an applicant may be awarded up to a maximum of twenty hours CLE credit per year for each full year of service as a full-time judge of a federal court during the thirty-six month continuous period immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application.

(b) Creditors' Rights Law. The applicant must have participated in at least sixty hours of CLE in creditors' rights law within the thirty-six months immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application. If the applicant cannot meet this requirement as of the date of the Long Form Application, the Standards Committee shall not be required to consider the application until such time as the applicant has satisfied the requirement by attending such additional CLE programs as are necessary so that sixty CLE hours have been earned within a 36-month continuous period. At least thirty hours of the CLE requirement must be satisfied by participation as an attendee (i.e., not as a speaker) at live, in-person CLE programs (not including at in-house CLE programs, i.e., CLE programs offered by the applicant's own law firm or employer as a state-approved CLE provider). Participation in other forms of CLE, including in-house CLE programs and in non-live or interactive CLE programs (including internet-based, televised or teleconference CLE programs) may satisfy the CLE requirement only to the extent that one or more of the state bars or other licensing authorities governing the applicant's right to engage in the active practice of law authorizes participation in such programs to be credited towards satisfaction of the applicant's state CLE requirement (alternatively, for applicants whose states do not have a mandatory periodic CLE requirement, such credit may be allowed in the discretion of the Standards Committee). In the discretion of the Standards Committee, CLE credit may be allowed for teaching courses at an accredited United States law school, speaking at seminars (including speaking at in-house CLE programs and internet-based, televised or teleconference CLE programs), authorship of books or articles, and other similar activities, but is not permitted solely for self-study activities. No more than one half of the CLE requirement may be satisfied by such speaking or writing credit. In addition, in the discretion of the Standards Committee, an applicant may be awarded up to a maximum of twenty hours CLE credit per year for each full year of service as a full-time judge of a trial court having general (e.g., not exclusively family or probate law) jurisdiction during the thirty-six month continuous period immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application.

3.1.5. Peer Review. The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of qualification in the specialty area through peer review by providing nine references by lawyers familiar with the competence and qualification of the applicant in the specialty area. Four of the lawyers providing references must be bankruptcy or creditors' rights lawyers and must be familiar with the applicant's practice ("Attorney Reference"). Five of the lawyers providing references must have handled a bankruptcy or creditors' rights matter against the applicant within the three years immediately preceding the application ("Opposing Counsel Reference"). None of the persons submitting references may be related to the applicant by blood, marriage, or civil union, a current partner or current associate of the applicant, a current member of the ABC Board, or a bankruptcy judge. The applicant may use as references persons who previously applied for certification and used the applicant as a reference (each, a "Reciprocal Reference"), provided that in order for the applicant to be considered eligible for certification, at least one reference that is not a Reciprocal Reference must be returned with a positive recommendation, as determined by the Standards Committee, regarding the applicant. ABC may contact any reference to clarify any ambiguity or statement made in the reference. In the event that three or more references are returned with negative recommendations as determined by the Standards Committee, the application shall be denied.

Special Rule for Judges. For applicants who have served as a full-time judge of a state trial court having general civil (e.g., not exclusively family or probate law) jurisdiction or of a federal court during a thirty-six month continuous period within the five years immediately preceding the date of the Long Form Application and who have not departed from office as the result of disciplinary action, the applicant may elect to be excused from the requirement of providing five Opposing Counsel References, but must substitute instead thereof five additional Attorney References, so that a total of nine Attorney References will be provided by such applicant.

In the event that five references fail to return completed reference forms (including a minimum of three opposing counsel where Opposing Counsel References are required), then the applicant may be required to provide additional references, or additional information as to existing references, in order to meet the peer review requirements of this section within the time specified in § 2.3.2 above. The applicant may provide no more than a total of twelve references.

Should the applicant not be able to obtain the necessary number of references within the time period set forth in § 2.3.2, the application shall be denied. If an application is denied, the applicant may not reapply for at least one year.

3.1.6. Examination.

(a) Bankruptcy Law. The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of competence in the specialty area by successfully completing a written examination prepared and graded by the Faculty. The bankruptcy examination shall be divided into three parts: (1) a multiple choice examination focusing on bankruptcy, (2) a professional responsibility (ethics) section, and (3) a specialized section focusing on consumer bankruptcy law for applicants seeking certification in Consumer Bankruptcy law and focusing on business bankruptcy law for applicants seeking certification in Business Bankruptcy law. Each section will be graded separately, and applicants must pass all three sections in order to qualify for bankruptcy certification. In the event that the applicant does not pass all three sections of the certification examination on the first attempt, the applicant may retake the failed section(s) in accordance with § 2.2.3. Applicants seeking dual certification must pass both versions of the specialized section of the certification examination in order to receive dual certification. The applicant must retake the exam if for any reason the application has not been approved within two years after any portion of the exam was successfully completed.

(b) Creditors' Rights Law. The applicant must make a satisfactory showing of competence in the specialty area by successfully completing a written examination prepared and graded by the Faculty. The creditors' rights examination shall be divided into three parts: (1) a multiple choice examination focusing on creditors' rights, (2) a professional responsibility (ethics) section, and (3) a specialized section focusing on creditors' rights law. Each section will be graded separately, and applicants must pass all three sections in order to qualify for creditors' rights certification. In the event that the applicant does not pass all three sections of the certification examination on the first attempt, the applicant may retake the failed section(s) in accordance with § 2.2.3. The applicant must retake the exam if for any reason the application has not been approved within two years after any portion of the exam was successfully completed.

(c) Examination Process. Once an applicant has submitted a Short Form Application and paid all applicable application fees, an applicant may sit for the certification exam, even if the applicant's Long Form Application has not been completed. Should the applicant fail the exam at the initial seating, the applicant may register a second time to take the appropriate section or sections of the exam which the applicant failed. The applicant must retake the exam, if for any reason the application has not been approved within two years after any portion of the exam was successfully completed. All examinations and results of examinations are the confidential property of ABC. Applicants shall not be entitled to review any examinations after they are submitted to ABC.

3.1.7. Conformity to Individual State Requirements. In the event the state(s) in which the applicant is licensed has established additional or more rigorous standards for certification of bankruptcy or creditors' rights specialists than those established herein, ABC, through its Standards Committee, shall require the applicant to certify compliance with any such additional or more rigorous standards to qualify for certification in that state. The applicant shall advise ABC of any such additional or more rigorous standards a state may impose. Failure to comply with all applicable standards may result in a denial of the applicant's application or a revocation of the applicant's certification.

SECTION 4. Recertification Application Procedures and Fees.

4.1. Application for Recertification. Initial certification shall expire on December 31 of the fourth calendar year following the date of initial certification, and any recertification shall expire on December 31 of the fourth calendar year following the effective date of such recertification, in each case unless a properly completed application for recertification has been timely filed in accordance with this Section and is approved by the Standards Committee; provided that the certification of an applicant that, prior to December 31 of the calendar year during which the applicant's current certification otherwise expires, has properly filed a request under § 4.3 for an extension of time for the filing of a recertification application and paid the non-refundable late filing fee for each sub-specialty in addition to all other required fees shall not expire pending review of the extension request and a final decision on such request by the Standards Committee. The effective date of any recertification shall be deemed to be January 1 of the fifth calendar year following the initial certification, or following the most recent prior recertification, whichever is later. Example: an initial certification granted in July of 1980 ordinarily will expire on December 31, 1984, unless an application for recertification is properly filed. If recertification is granted in October of 1984, the effective date of that recertification is January 1, 1985, and ordinarily it will expire on December 31, 1989, unless an additional application for recertification is properly filed.

4.2. Recertification Forms. Applications for recertification shall be made in writing on such forms as the Standards Committee may approve. The Standards Committee may require an applicant to submit information in addition to that called for on the recertification forms.

4.3. Time of Application for Recertification. A properly completed application for recertification and subsequent fee must be received by ABC not earlier than January 1 or later than October 31 of the calendar year during which the applicant's current certification otherwise expires; provided, however, that the deadline for ABC's receipt of a recertification application will be automatically extended to December 31 of such calendar year if the recertification application is accompanied by the non-refundable late filing fee for each sub-specialty in addition to all other required fees. The deadline for ABC's receipt of a recertification application may be extended further by the Standards Committee for good cause shown, provided a written request for the further extension and payment of the non-refundable late filing fee for each sub-specialty in addition to all other required fees are received by ABC. The certification of an applicant that has filed a properly completed application for recertification prior to the applicable deadline, or prior to any extension of the deadline granted by the Standards Committee upon request made before the December 31 deadline, shall not expire pending review of the application and a final decision by the Standards Committee, provided the applicant corrects any deficiency in the application under these Rules and Regulations noted by the Standards Committee within the later of one year following the date of notice from the Standards Committee or sixty days after the date of notice of termination of the period to correct any deficiency. If the Standards Committee approves an application for recertification received after the most recent certification has expired, the applicant's certification shall be reinstated as of the date of such approval or such other (including any earlier) date as the Standards Committee may determine, but for purposes of § 4.1 the effective date of the recertification shall be deemed to be January 1 of the fifth calendar year following the initial certification, or following the most recent prior recertification, whichever is later.

4.4. Recertification Fee. Each application for recertification must be accompanied by a recertification fee for each area in which the applicant seeks recertification, plus any applicable late filing fee.

4.5. Minimum Standards for Recertification. In order to qualify for recertification, the applicant for recertification must pay all required fees and must establish as of the date of the recertification application that the applicant meets the minimum standards for Licensure and Practice set out in § 3.1.1(a) and (b); for Integrity set out in § 3.1.2; for Continuing Legal Education set out in § 3.1.4; and for Peer Review set out in § 3.1.5. Sixty hours of Continuing Legal Education must be submitted for the three-year period ending on the date that the application for recertification is submitted. No examination will be required for recertification, provided that the applicant has fully complied with the requirements for recertification set out in this Section. Section 3.l.7 regarding Conformity to Individual State Requirements is applicable for recertification. In addition, the applicant for recertification must attest to continued substantial involvement in the practice of bankruptcy or creditors' rights law, which means that during the period following the initial certification, or following the most recent recertification, the applicant has both (1) devoted a minimum of thirty percent of his/her practice time to the specialty during each such year, and (2) devoted a minimum of 400 hours to the practice of law in the specialty area during each such year. An interruption in continuous practice of law during the period since certification or the last prior recertification of up to one year for a sabbatical or leave of absence shall be permitted so long as the applicant has otherwise engaged in the continuous practice of law for at least five years exclusive of the interruption.

4.6. Members of the Board. Certified attorneys who are members of the Board shall be eligible for recertification, subject to all requirements of these Rules and Regulations. Members of the Board shall not have any direct or indirect participation in the evaluation of their own application for recertification.

4.7. Recertification of Attorneys Serving as Full Time Judges. For a certified attorney serving as a full time judge during the twelve months immediately preceding the expiration of the certification, the requirement of a recertification application shall be suspended until December 31 of the calendar year following the date on which the certified attorney ceases to serve as a full time judge and the certification will expire on that date. (Example: a certified attorney ceasing to serve as a full time judge on December 31, 1998 must submit an application for recertification before the certification expires on December 31, 1999.) While the recertification requirements are suspended by the attorney's service as a full time judge, the certified attorney shall remain certified. A certified attorney whose certification was extended by serving as a full time judge must satisfy all of the requirements for recertification except the substantial involvement requirement, which as provided in §3.1.3, shall be waived for an applicant who served as a full-time judge (for an applicant certified in Bankruptcy law) or a judge of a trial court having general civil (e.g., not exclusively family or probate law) jurisdiction (for an applicant certified in Creditors' Rights law) during at least three of the five years immediately preceding the application. The Board shall establish the recertification fees for attorneys affected by this Rule.

4.8. Conformity to Individual State Requirements. In the event the state(s) in which the certificate holder is licensed establishes additional or more rigorous standards for certification of bankruptcy or creditors' rights specialists than those established herein, ABC, though its Standards Committee, shall require the applicant to certify compliance with any such additional or more rigorous standards to qualify for recertification in that state.

SECTION 5. Revocation, Suspension, Expiration and Surrender of Certification.

5.1. Revocation of Certification. ABC may revoke a certificate of certification if: (a) The certificate was granted contrary to the rules and regulations of ABC; or (b) The certificate was granted to a person who was not eligible to acquire a certificate, or who made any false representation or misstatement of material fact to ABC; or (c) The certificate holder has failed to abide by all rules, regulations and standards covering the certification programs promulgated by ABC; or (d) The certificate holder no longer meets the qualifications established by the ABC; or (e) The certificate holder has been disciplined, reprimanded, disbarred or suspended from practice by any state or federal court or agency, or is the subject of a final malpractice judgment, or has admitted to malpractice.

5.1.2. Revocation Procedure. Prior to revocation of a certificate of certification, ABC shall advise the certificate holder of the proposed action, the reasons therefore, and the certificate holder's right to file a written response. Said notice shall be in writing sent by certified mail (return receipt requested) to the certificate holder's last known address on file with ABC. The certificate holder's written response must be received by ABC within thirty days after the date of the notice. After the thirty-day response period has passed, the Standards Committee shall decide whether to revoke the certificate after considering the grounds for revocation, the certificate holder's response, if any, and any additional information obtained by the committee. The certificate holder shall be advised, in writing, of the Standards Committee's decision. Following revocation of certification, the reconsideration and appeal provisions of § 6 shall apply.

5.2. Suspension of Certification.

5.2.1. Grounds for Automatic Suspension. The certification of any certificate holder shall be automatically suspended without prior notice if: (a) The certificate holder has been disbarred; or (b) The certificate holder has been suspended from practice by any state or federal court or agency; or (c) The certificate holder's right to accept clients has been suspended pending an investigation by a federal or state agency, provided the investigation is for an offense that would likely reflect negatively on the certificate holder's professional integrity.

5.2.2. Notice of Suspension. The certificate holder shall notify ABC in writing of the occurrence of any grounds for automatic suspension as identified in § 5.2.1. ABC shall notify the certificate holder in writing of any suspension of certification and the certificate holder's right to petition for reinstatement pursuant to § 5.2.3; however, suspension shall be automatic upon the occurrence of an event within the scope of §5.2.1, regardless of whether such notice has yet been transmitted.

5.2.3. Reinstatement of Certification after Suspension. After a suspension of certification has occurred, the certificate holder may petition ABC for reinstatement of his/her certification. The petition may be informal, but must be in writing and must adequately identify the reason for the suspension, the date on which the suspension first became effective, the reasons for which the certificate holder believes that his/her certification should be reinstated after having been suspended, and the relief requested. Nothing in this section in any way limits the ABC's ability to seek revocation of a certificate of certification upon learning of a certificate holder's suspension of certification.

5.3. Expiration of Certification. The failure of a certificate holder to timely file a properly completed annual Disclosure Affidavit or pay the Annual Fee as required by §2.2.2; or to timely file an application for recertification or pay the Recertification Fee in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of these rules, or to cure any deficiency in any annual statement or recertification as found by the Standards Committee will result in an expiration of the certification. The certificate holder shall be advised, in writing, of the Standards Committee's decision. Said notice shall be in writing sent by certified mail (return receipt requested) to the certificate holder's last known address on file with ABC. Following expiration of certification, the reconsideration and appeal provisions of § 6 shall apply.

5.4. Resignation/Voluntary Surrender. A certificate holder may resign as a certified attorney and voluntarily surrender his/her certification by notifying the Executive Director of the ABC in writing. Unless otherwise directed by the certificate holder, so long as the certificate holder remains eligible for certification and has paid all fees due, such resignation shall be effective at the end of the calendar year upon which such resignation is tendered. Otherwise, such resignation shall be immediately effective.

5.5. Effect of Revocation, Suspension or Expiration. If a certificate is revoked pursuant to § 5.1, suspended pursuant to § 5.2, expires pursuant to § 5.3, or is voluntarily surrendered pursuant to §5.4: (a) The former certificate holder or suspended certificate holder shall not hold himself/herself out, advertise or represent to the public that he/she is certified by ABC. (b) To the extent that ABC is required by state certification rules to notify any board, court or bar association of any certificate holders, then ABC shall notify said board, court, or bar association that such certificate has been revoked, suspended has expired or has been voluntarily surrendered. (c) ABC shall promptly notify any state certification authority relying on the certificate or certification issued by ABC of (i) the final revocation or expiration of certification previously issued by the Board, (ii) the suspension of a certification previously issued by the Board; or (iii) the voluntary surrender of a certificate. (d) The certificate shall be surrendered to the ABC.

5.6. Investigation. ABC shall have the authority to contact any person or entity having relevant information with respect to any proceeding pursuant to this Section.

SECTION 6. Reconsideration and Appeal.

6.1. Petitions for Reconsideration. Within thirty days of receiving notice from ABC that (1) an application has been denied, either for deficiency of the application or for failure to fulfill the requirements for certification, or for recertification, or (2) a certificate has been revoked pursuant to § 5.1, suspended pursuant to § 5.2, has expired pursuant to § 5.3, or has been voluntarily surrendered pursuant to § 5.4, the applicant may petition ABC for reconsideration. The petition may be informal, but must be in writing and must adequately identify the determination for which reconsideration is requested, the date on which notice thereof was received, the reasons for which the petitioner believes the determination should be altered, and the relief requested.

6.1.1. Determinations Relating to the Certification Examination. If a petition for reconsideration raises a question relating to the applicant's performance on the certification examination, the petition shall be forwarded to the Faculty for handling. The Faculty shall decide whether to grant the requested relief after considering the applicant's petition and any additional information obtained by the Committee. The applicant shall be advised, in writing, of the Faculty's decision within fifteen days after the decision has been made.

6.1.2. Determinations Relating to the Certification Application or Standards. If a petition for reconsideration raises a question relating to some aspect of the certification program other than the applicant's performance on the certification examination, the petition shall be forwarded to the Standards Committee for handling. The Standards Committee shall decide whether to grant the requested relief after considering the applicant's petition and any additional information obtained by the Standards Committee. The applicant shall be advised, in writing, of the Standards Committee's decision within fifteen days after the decision has been made.

6.2. Appeal. An appeal may be taken to the Appeal Hearing Committee (as described in § 6.2.2) from a decision of either the Faculty or the Standards Committee denying a petition for reconsideration. The appeal must be in writing and must be received by ABC within thirty days after the date of the notice advising the petitioner of the denial of the petition for reconsideration. The appeal must adequately identify the determination that is being appealed, the date on which notice thereof was received, the reasons for which the appellant believes the determination should be altered, and the relief requested. The applicant shall be advised, in writing, of the Appeal Hearing Committee's decision within fifteen days after the decision has been made. The decision of the Appeal Hearing Committee shall be final.

6.2.1. Examination Appeals. Before any appeal of a failing grade on any section of the certification examination will be considered by the Board, the appellant must re-take the failed section(s) at a regularly scheduled examination session. Should the appellant pass the failed section(s) on re-take, the appeal shall be dismissed as moot, and the appellant shall receive a passing score on the examination. Should the appellant fail the failed section(s) on re-take, the appeal of the originally failed section(s) shall be taken up by the Appeal Hearing Committee.

6.2.2. Appeal Hearing Committee. Upon receipt of a timely appeal of a determination to reject an application or to revoke a certificate, the Chair of the Board shall appoint an Appeal Hearing Committee comprised of no less than seven members of the Board. The Appeal Hearing Committee may not include the Chair of the Standards Committee or the Dean of the Faculty, depending on which one was involved in the prior decision, and any other member of the Board who was a member of the Standards Committee or the Faculty who participated in the action that is being appealed. The Appeal Hearing Committee may request the Standards Committee or the Faculty to submit a report (i) detailing a chronology of the prior events leading up to the appeal, (ii) providing a copy of all correspondence and other relevant documents pertaining to the appeal, and (iii) explaining its reasons for denying or revoking the certification. If such a report is requested, a copy of the report will be delivered to the appellant at the time it is submitted to the Appeal Hearing Committee (provided that any information which is confidential as provided in §2.3.4(a) shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to the appellant). Within fifteen days of receipt of the report, the appellant may respond in writing to the report by adding any additional relevant correspondence or documents.

6.3. Hearings. Although there is no right to a hearing on a petition for reconsideration or appeal, the appropriate committee may, in its sole discretion, grant the petitioner an in-person or telephonic hearing.

SECTION 7. Amendments.

7.1. Procedure. These Rules and Regulations may be amended from time to time as provided in the Bylaws.

SECTION 8. Communication of Certification.

8.1. Written Disclosure. Except as restricted by applicable law, an attorney holding a current certificate from ABC shall use the following language to disclose his/her certification in written communications: (1) for Consumer Bankruptcy law certificate holders, "Board Certified - Consumer Bankruptcy Law - American Board of Certification"; (2) for Business Bankruptcy law certificate holders, "Board Certified - Business Bankruptcy Law - American Board of Certification"; and (3) for Creditors' Rights law certificate holders, "Board Certified - Creditors' Rights Law - American Board of Certification." The phrase "American Board of Certification" may in any case be expanded to: "American Board of Certification of Bankruptcy and Creditors Rights Attorneys".

8.2. Certification an Attribute of Individual. All requirements for and all benefits to be derived from recognition as a certified attorney are individual and may not be fulfilled by nor attributed to the law firm of which the certified attorney may be a member, nor to the certified attorney's partners or associates.