Family Law Specialist – Board Certification
Columbus Family Law Specialist
Nancy L. Sponseller has been certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in family relations law. This certification makes Ms. Sponseller one of a small group of attorneys in Ohio to have earned this distinction. This enables Ms. Sponseller to offer her clients this added expertise.
All attorneys licensed to practice law in Ohio must have graduated from an accredited law school, passed an intensive examination, and attended continuing legal education courses as required by the Supreme Court of Ohio. Attorneys such as Ms. Sponseller who devote a large part of their practice to a particular area of law may choose to go beyond these requirements to earn specialty certification. To become certified, they must:
- Demonstrate substantial Involvement in family law.
- Provide peer review/recommendations from seven (7) separate individual references, at least one (1) of which must be from a judge or magistrate familiar with the attorney applicant’s competency level in the specialty. References must come from attorneys already certified in family relations law (or from an attorney who meets the “substantial involvement” requirement), sitting judges, and magistrates, each of whom must be familiar with the applicant’s competency in the specialty.
- Pass a detailed written examination to test the knowledge and skills of the substantive and procedural law in family relations law, and include professional responsibility and ethics as they relate to family relations law. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: dispute resolution, allocation of parental rights, annulments, antenuptial agreements, bankruptcy, child support, COBRA, dissolution, division of property, domestic violence, ethics, federal and state income tax laws, jurisdiction/venue, legal separation/divorce, parentage, practice and procedure, retirement benefits/QDRO, separation agreements, spousal support, taxation, and parenting time/companionship.
- Complete a minimum of thirty-six (36) hours of continuing legal education in the three-year period preceding his or her application and thereafter twelve (12) hours every two (2) years of certification that are in the field of family relations law. Eligible courses are only those that are determined to be courses which are intermediate to advanced in nature.
- Provide financial responsibility by maintaining minimum professional liability insurance coverage
- Be and remain in good standing with the Supreme Court of Ohio
- To maintain certification, OSBA certified specialists must file an annual report showing continued good standing, and every four years the specialist must apply to be re-certified.
The Supreme Court of Ohio established a Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists to identify specialties and set minimum standards for specialty certification.
Agencies that provide ongoing education for lawyers may submit their certification programs to the Court for approval. Once accredited by the Supreme Court of Ohio, these agencies can then offer their certification programs to Ohio attorneys who wish to become specialists in those particular fields of law.
The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) is the largest certifying agency in Ohio and was responsible for certifying Ms. Sponseller.
For more information on attorney certification, please go to the web site for the Ohio State Bar Association, www.ohiobar.org. Click on “Public”, then click on “Attorneys”, then “Certification.”