The California Bar Association’s Board of Legal Specialization recognizes lawyers qualified to claim certification as specialists in a particular area of the law. There are relatively few Certified Specialists in Criminal Trial Advocacy.

Specialists in Criminal Trial Advocacy are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, an organization “dedicated to the identification of lawyers who possess an enhanced level of skill and expertise in trial advocacy, and have demonstrated integrity and dedication to the interests of their clients, thus improving the professional competence of lawyers.”

Once certified, a specialist can claim certification for five years, contingent upon maintaining good standing with the state bar. After five years, a specialist must apply for re-certification.

Mr. Lemon became a certified specialist in Criminal Trial Advocacy in 2005 and re-certified in 2010 and 2015.


Candidates for specialization are thoroughly vetted by the NBTA. In addition to being a member of the bar in good standing with at least five years of actual criminal trial practice, a candidate for certification in Criminal Trial Advocacy must:

  1. Demonstrate substantial experience as lead counsel in actual criminal jury trials and contested evidentiary hearings;
  2. Manifest an ongoing commitment to participation in continuing legal education well beyond the minimum requirements of the state bar;
  3. Pass a thorough peer review process, which includes evaluations from co-counsel, opposing lawyers, and trial judges;
  4. Pass a thorough written examination in the area of criminal trial law; and
  5. Demonstrate legal writing ability through the submission of a substantial writing sample.