The Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers is the Minnesota chapter of trial lawyers certified by experience in the courtroom and rigorous testing by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
The Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers’ stated purpose includes: Educating lawyers, judges and students concerning all phases of civil and criminal trial practice, particularly as it affects the rights, liabilities, and duties of the public. Educating other lawyers and judges on legal and practical information regarding all phases of civil and criminal litigation relating to trial preparation and trial.
Sponsoring informal opportunities in the form of meetings to be attended by lawyers, judges and law students as a vehicle for discussing common practical legal problems, attaining growth and expertise in the process, and sharing the problems occasioned by the experience.
Monitoring and analyzing current procedural and substantive law proposals and issues, and where appropriate, asserting public position or statements on such issues.
Standing committees of ACTLM include the Judicial Nominations Committee, which considers requests of judicial candidates for ACTLM endorsement, and the Distinguished Jurist Award committee, which identifies and recommends to the board a judge to receive the organization’s annual recognition.
Eligibility for certification by the National Board of Trial Advocates or the Minnesota State Bar Association generally requires successful testing, peer review from lawyers and judges, and documentation of relevant experience. The legal specialist certification programs measure a lawyer’s expertise in the specialty area. In Minnesota, although many lawyers limit their practice areas, only lawyers who successfully complete the application process and continue to meet all program standards may call themselves MSBA Board Certified Specialists. Currently there are 335 certified civil trial specialists, or about 25% of the Minnesota Bar Association Civil Trial Section. Civil and criminal trial specialists comprise approximately one-tenth of one percent of all Minnesota licensed attorneys.