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Becoming a Certified Family Law Specialist in California

As of May 1, 2023, attorney Andrew McKeown has been certified by the State Bar of California as a Certified Family Law Specialist in the field of Family Law.


Family law is a complex and sensitive area of legal practice that deals with matters such as divorce, child custody, and spousal support. In California, becoming a certified family law specialist, or CFLS, demonstrates a higher level of expertise and commitment to the field. In order to become a CFLS, applicants must demonstrate to the State Bar that they have gone beyond the standard licensing requirements.


Meeting the Basic Requirements

To become a certified family law specialist, applicants must first fulfill the basic requirements set by the State Bar of California. These requirements include:

  • Possessing an active membership with the State Bar of California.

  • Having been in practice for a minimum of five years, with at least 25% of the applicants practice dedicated to family law.

  • Completing a minimum of 45 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) courses specifically in family law within the three years prior to the application.

Passing the Examination

The applicant will also be required to pass a written examination. The examination tests the applicants knowledge and expertise in various aspects of family law. It covers topics such as child custody and support, property division, spousal support, domestic violence, and adoption.


Obtaining References

Applicants need to gather references from three attorneys and/or judges who are familiar with their work in family law. These references should be individuals who can attest to the applicants competence, professionalism, and ethical standards.


Preparing The Application

The application requires detailed information about the applicants education, legal employment, percentage of family law practice, CLE courses completed, and a list of reported family law cases they have handled.

Demonstrating Substantial Experience and Competence

To become a certified family law specialist, the applicant must demonstrate substantial experience and competence in family law. This involves providing evidence of their involvement in complex family law cases, including trials and appeals. The applicants must also demonstrate their knowledge of procedural and substantive law through written work products and samples.

Upholding Ethical Standards

An aspiring certified family law specialist must maintain a high level of ethical conduct in their practice. The State Bar of California reviews the applicants ethical record, including any disciplinary actions, to assess eligibility for certification.


The Final Certification

Once the applicant has successfully completed all the requirements, including passing the examination and demonstrating their experience, competence, and ethical standards, the State Bar of California grants the applicant the designation of Certified Family Law Specialist. This certification acknowledges their exceptional expertise and dedication to family law practice.


Becoming a certified family law specialist in California requires a combination of experience, knowledge, and dedication to the field. A CFLS is dedicated to continuously updating their legal knowledge, staying committed to professional growth, and maintaining the highest ethical standards.

Andrew joins founding partner, Kaleen Harris, and a small percentage of California attorneys licensed as a Specialist in the field of Family Law. We would like to congratulate Andrew McKeown on his accomplishment and recognize his dedication to the practice of Family Law. To schedule a consultation with the newest California Family Law Specialist, Andrew McKeown, CFLS, click here.


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