NEW MEXICO BOARD OF LEGAL SPECIALIZATION AN AGENCY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW MEXICO

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1 NEW MEXICO BOARD OF LEGAL SPECIALIZATION AN AGENCY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW MEXICO Post Office Box Albuquerque, New Mexico (505) Fax (505) STANDARDS FOR LEGAL SPECIALIZATION TRIAL SPECIALIST - CRIMINAL LAW By virtue of the authority vested in the Trial Specialist Criminal Law Specialty Committee (Committee), and the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization (Board) by the New Mexico Supreme Court (Court), the Board adopts the following standards and procedures for certification, recertification, and decertification as a specialist in Trial Specialist Criminal Law. I. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS AND DEFINITIONS A. All applicants for certification or recertification in Trial Specialist Criminal Law must be active members in good standing with the New Mexico Bar and shall meet the requirements for certification or recertification governed by the Rules of the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization and prescribed by the Committee. B. Forms, documents, applications, questionnaires, and examinations involved in the certification, recertification, or decertification process, as well as fees required of applicants and certified lawyers shall be as prescribed by the Committee and the Board. C. Certification shall be for a period of five years at the end of which time recertification shall be permitted as indicated in IV, below. D. Trial Specialist Criminal Law is the practice of law dealing with the prosecution or representation of persons, including witnesses, at all stages of the criminal process, whether before or after the formal institution of criminal charges. Prisoner rights and constitutional rights litigation are within the criminal law specialty field only if the litigation involves substantial criminal law issues, including but not limited to the presentation of claims involving search and seizure, confessions, right to counsel and legality of sentences. E. Applicants for certification or recertification shall furnish satisfactory evidence of their good character and reputation. Unless otherwise prohibited by the Supreme Court Rules on Disciplinary Procedures, they shall also provide information in whatever form required by the Committee as to whether they are now subject to an investigation, complaint, inquiry, or other disciplinary proceedings by any segment of the Bar, including but not limited to any local, state, or other grievance board, committee, or commission; and if so, the details of such investigation, complaint, inquiry, or proceedings including whether they have ever been reprimanded, suspended, disbarred, or otherwise disciplined by any court or grievance committee

2 F. The Committee may recommend denial of certification or recertification on a finding of a grievance committee, a court, or administrative agency or other governmental agency that an applicant has been guilty of professional misconduct, or defer its recommendation on certification or recertification based upon the pendency of such proceedings. However, the Committee will consider the seriousness of the underlying facts of the grievance, the passage of time since such discipline, applicants experience since that time, and any history of other disciplinary actions or pending actions. Failure to disclose such information is a material misrepresentation and may be cause for denial of the application. G. An applicant shall apply for certification or recertification as a specialist by completing and filing with the Committee an application form furnished by the Board calling for information indicative of and relevant to the applicant's involvement experience, competency, and practice in the field of Trial Specialist Criminal Law in accordance with Rule NMRA. By completing and filing such application, the applicant shall be deemed to have authorized the Committee and the Board to take all appropriate action to resolve any questions with respect to the applicant's involvement, experience, competency, and practice in the field of Trial Specialist Criminal Law and to verify the information furnished by the applicant in making the application. In the appraisal of each applicant, the Committee will take such steps as it deems advisable or necessary under the circumstances to assure that the applicant presented to the Board for certification as a specialist is a lawyer who is technically competent in the field and of whom the Committee has no notice of any personal or ethical deficiencies that might impair his/her professional performance as a specialist. Accordingly, the Committee shall require each applicant to disclose any information needed to determine whether to present his/her application to the Board for certification. The Committee not only may verify information submitted by the applicant, but may, in its discretion, conduct its own investigation into the applicant's competency, experience, involvement and reputation. Should the Committee determine that an applicant's competency, character, experience, involvement, or reputation does not support his/her application for certification, the Committee shall recommend denial of the application subject to such rights of hearing and appeal as may be promulgated by the Board and the Court. H. In accordance with Rule NMRA and II D, applicants for certification or recertification as a specialist shall submit the names and addresses of seven (7) references of whom one (1) shall be a district court or appellate judge, four (4) attorneys, at least two (2) of whom have opposed the applicant in evidentiary hearings, and two (2) former clients. The references provided must be familiar with the competence and qualifications of the applicant within the three (3) years preceding application and who are not partners, associates or members of this Committee, the Board or NM Supreme Court, to be contacted as references to attest to applicants' experience, involvement, and competency in the practice of Trial Specialist Criminal Law. The Committee may, in its discretion, and without notice to an applicant, secure information concerning an applicant's practice, involvement, experience, and competency in the specialty area from lawyers and judges other than those whose names are submitted by an applicant. I. In addition to other requirements herein, the Committee may, in its sole - 2 -

3 discretion, require additional information from a particular applicant when in its judgment such additional information is necessary to a decision with respect to certification, recertification, or decertification. II. MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR CERTIFICATION A. REQUIRED PERIOD OF LAW PRACTICE Applicants shall have been engaged in the practice of law for a period of 5 years on a full-time basis. Practice of law means full-time legal work done primarily for the purpose of providing legal advice or representation services, after admission to the Bar of any state or the District or Columbia, including service as a judge of any court of record, as an administrative law judge, arbitrator, law teacher or judicial clerk (at state and federal courts and administrative agencies). Corporate or government service, including military service, as an attorney, after admission to the Bar of any state or the District of Columbia, shall be considered practice of law if the work done was legal in nature and primarily for the purpose of giving legal advice to, or representation of, the corporation or government agency or individuals primarily connected with the corporation or government agency. B. SUBSTANTIAL INVOLVEMENT Applicants must show substantial involvement and special competency in Trial Specialist Criminal Law practice as a licensed New Mexico attorney during the five years immediately preceding application by providing such information as may be required by the Committee and as set forth in Rule19-203(C) NMRA. Substantial involvement shall be demonstrated by showing of effort and experience measured as follows: 1. During each of the five (5) years preceding application, the applicant's time spent in the practice of Trial Specialist - Criminal Law as defined herein (see I D) was not less than 33.3% of a normal full-time practice of law, or the equivalent annual hours (i.e. 686 hours based on a work year of 2080 hours); 2. During the five (5) years preceding application, the applicant shall have been principal counsel in at least five (5) felony jury trials and authored two (2) appellate briefs or petitions for post-conviction relief which demonstrates substantial research and writing effort and during the two (2) years preceding application the applicant shall have been principal counsel in at least one (1) felony jury trial. The term "principal counsel" as used herein means the attorney who presents the entirety or substantial portion of a case to the court or jury. 3. During the five (5) years preceding application, the applicant shall have performed no fewer than one (1) of the following: a. Been principal counsel in at least fifty (50) criminal matters reaching final disposition; or b. Been the principal author of at least ten (10) appellate briefs; or c. Been principal counsel in at least ten (10) felony non-jury trials; or d. Been principal counsel in at least thirty (30) evidentiary hearings in criminal cases or combination of evidentiary hearings and felony non-jury trials; or - 3 -

4 e. Worked extensively in post-conviction litigation or civil rights cases involving substantial criminal law issues; or f. Presided over criminal cases as a judge on a regular basis for at least five (5) years. C. CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION - MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS During the three years preceding application for initial certification, applicants must have earned credit for not less than hours of continuing legal education (CLE) in approved courses or programs dealing with Trial Specialist Criminal Law. For the purpose of this requirement, approved courses or programs shall mean courses/programs approved by the Committee for the Trial Specialist Criminal Law specialty or courses/programs that would qualify for such approval and as set forth in Rules (D) and NMRA. D. PEER REVIEW Applicants must make a satisfactory showing of qualification through peer review by providing seven (7) references of whom one (1) shall be a district court or appellate judge, four (4) attorneys, at least two (2) of whom have opposed the applicant in evidentiary hearings, and two (2) former clients. The references provided must be familiar with the competence and qualifications of the applicant within the three (3) years preceding application. Except as modified herein, all provisions set forth in Rules (E) and NMRA shall be applicable to peer review. E. FEES Applicants shall timely pay the fees established from time to time by the Committee and the Board, including but not limited to application fees, filing fees, examination fees, and certification fees. F. FAILURE, TO FURNISH INFORMATION; MISREPRESENTATION Certification or recertification may be denied because of applicant's failure to furnish requested information or because of misrepresentation of any material fact requested by the Committee. III. REQUIREMENTS FOLLOWING CERTIFICATION A. The annual continuing legal education (CLE) requirement for all certified Trial Specialist Criminal Law specialists shall be hours of approved specialty CLE. CLE credit in excess of hours may be carried forward to the next calendar year. Provided, however, that each calendar year, certified specialists in Trial Specialist Criminal Law shall complete at least 7 6 hours of specialty CLE without regard to any carry forward credit from the prior year. Approved specialty continuing legal education means educational activities approved by the Committee for the specialty as set forth in Rules (B)(2) and NMRA

5 B. Each certified specialist must pay such fees as the Board may from time to time prescribe. C. During the period of certification, all certified specialists must continue to practice law and to be substantially involved in the practice of Trial Specialist Criminal Law (see II,A & B, regarding the meaning of practice of law and substantially involved in the practice of Trial Specialist Criminal Law). Should any certified specialist cease to practice law or to be substantially involved in the practice of Trial Specialist Criminal Law, he/she shall promptly notify the Committee for such action with respect to decertification as the Committee shall deem to be appropriate. The failure of a certified specialist to notify the Committee that he/she is no longer engaged in the practice of law or substantially involved in the practice of Trial Specialist Criminal Law may constitute grounds for decertification of the individual concerned. D. During any period of initial or subsequent certification, each certified specialist shall report to the Board any administrative action or malpractice claim in which settlement is made or suit is filed and unless otherwise prohibited by Supreme Court Rules on Disciplinary Procedures, shall likewise report to the Board any case in which he/she learns that he/she is the subject of an investigation, inquiry or other disciplinary proceedings by any segment of the Bar, including but not limited to any local, state or other grievance board, committee or commission. IV. RECERTIFICATION A. Renewal of certification shall be required every five years as set forth in Rule NMRA and the additional standards set forth above for initial certification as a Trial Specialist in Criminal Law. B. Applicants must demonstrate their continuing substantial involvement and special competency in the practice of Trial Specialist Criminal Law as may be required by the Committee. However, except as provided in IV C below, requirements for recertification shall not exceed the requirements for original certification. C. To qualify for recertification, applicants must demonstrate the completion of a minimum of hours of approved specialty continuing legal education (CLE) in the five years since their original or latest certification. V. WAIVERS In cases of rare and unusual circumstances, the Trial Specialist Criminal Law Specialty Committee may request a waiver from compliance with any of the standards for certifying or recertifying an individual as a specialist in Criminal Trial Law. The Board, upon recommendation from the Trial Specialist Criminal Law Specialty Committee, may waive a showing of compliance with these standards for certification or continued certification as a specialist in Criminal Trial Law if circumstances so warrant. Such waiver must be based upon specific findings of fact by the Committee showing why such waiver is not inconsistent with the objectives of these Criminal Trial Law standards. Such waiver may be conditioned by the Board upon meeting substitute requirements. A waiver may not be granted to certify an individual who has not practiced law for at least three years and who has not been substantially involved in the practice of Criminal Trial Law - 5 -

6 for at least three years, or who does not meet the minimum standards set forth in the Rules of the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization (Rules to NMRA). VI. AMENDMENT The Board reserves the right at any time, and from time to time, to amend the standards for specialization in Trial Specialist Criminal Law, whether or not applications are pending. VII. EFFECTIVE DATE These Standards and Procedures shall be effective January 1997 or whenever approved by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization, whichever date is later. [Effective January 1997; amended August 14, 2004; December 11, 2004; February 4, 2006] - 6 -

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