Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification

The Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification ("Board") oversees the process by which lawyers in Minnesota are certified as specialists. The certification process gives the public information about certain attorneys who have earned the right to call themselves specialists in certain fields of law.

 The Board:

  • Defines the fields of law that are subject to specialty designation.
  • Accredits agencies so that they can certify lawyers as specialists in a particular field of law.
  • Sets standards that certifying agencies must meet when certifying lawyers as specialists. 
  • Reviews and evaluates the agencies' programs.
  • Denies or revokes an agency's accreditation if it fails to comply with the Board's standards.

The Minnesota Supreme Court appoints the twelve members of the Board.  There are nine (9) lawyer members and three (3) public members. 

The members of the Board of Legal Certification are:

M. William O'Brien, Chair

 Marc J Manderscheid

Charles H. Andresen

 Todd Peterson

Patricia Y. Beety

 Raj Pillai, public member

Howard L. Bolter 

 Lawrence M. Rocheford

V. John Ella

 Ralph Scorpio, public member

Justice Ericson Lindell

 Aimee Zweber, public member

Margaret Fuller Corneille, Director

(651) 297-1857
(651) 296-5866 (FAX)

Emily Eschweiler, Assistant Director and Counsel

(651) 201-2719

To contact the Board of Legal Certification via email contact the Webmaster


The Minnesota Board of Legal Certification is responsible for accrediting independent agencies to certify certain Minnesota attorneys as specialists. 

This program gives licensed Minnesota attorneys the ability to become certified as specialists in particular areas of law.  An independent agency that is accredited by the Minnesota Board of Legal Certification has been evaluated to assure that their programs meet certain minimum standards established and required by the Board. Certification is a voluntary process that requires a commitment to excellence. Minnesota attorneys who are certified as specialists must:

  • Provide evidence of substantial involvement in the specialty area and appropriate references from lawyers and judges
  • Take a written examination in the substantive and procedural law in the specialty area
  • Demonstrate that they have completed at least 20 hours of continuing legal education courses in the specialty area in the three-year period preceding the lawyer's application for certification
  • Be licensed and on active status in Minnesota
  • Be re-certified at least every five years and be subject to revocation of certification if they fail to continue to meet the program's requirement

Currently a total of 941 Minnesota attorneys are certified as specialists in the following ten (10) fields of law:

  • Business Bankruptcy
  • Child Welfare Law
  • Civil Trial Practice
  • Consumer Bankruptcy
  • Creditors' Rights
  • Criminal Law
  • Elder Law
  • Family Law Trial Advocacy
  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Real Property

The five (5) organizations authorized to certify specialists are:

  • American Board of Certification
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • National Association of Counsel for Children
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • National Elder Law Foundation



Site updated 2/292016