Michael L. Miller recently was recognized by the North Carolina State Bar for 25 years of being a board certified specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law. Mr. Miller is the leader of the Employee Benefits Practice Group for Ward and Smith, P.A. His practice concentrations include trusts and estates, employee benefits/ERISA, and taxation. Mr. Miller received his B.A. from University of Denver, his J.D. from University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and his LL.M. in taxation from the University of Denver.
Board certification is a notable accomplishment. Within the North Carolina legal community, board certification means that a lawyer has substantial, relevant experience in a select field of law as well as demonstrated, and tested, proficiency in that practice area.
There are more than 25,000 active lawyers licensed to practice in North Carolina. Only 826 are board certified. Board certified lawyers earn the right to publicly represent themselves as specialists in select areas of the law. In fact, they are the only attorneys allowed by the North Carolina State Bar to do so. This designation sets them apart as being lawyers with a public commitment to excellence in their area of law. The process is voluntary and can only take place after an attorney has been in practice for five years, with significant practice experience in the specialty area. Board certification requires an ongoing commitment to the specialty area which must be verified every five years with references from peers in that field. It also requires additional annual continuing legal education courses so that specialists stay abreast of current trends in law.