Section .1800 - Hearing and Appeal Rules of the Board of Legal Specialization


27 NCAC 01D .1801         Incomplete Applications; Reconsideration of Applications Rejected by Specialty Committee; and Reconsideration Procedure

(a)  Incomplete Applications. The executive director of the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization (the board) will review every application to determine if the application is complete. An application is incomplete if it does not include complete answers to every question on the application and copies of all documents requested on the application. The applicant will be notified in writing if an application is incomplete. The applicant must submit the information necessary to complete the application within 21 days of the date of the notice. If the applicant fails to provide the required information during the requisite time period, the executive director will return the application to the applicant together with a refund of the application fee less a fifty dollar ($50.00) administrative fee. The decision of the executive director to reject an application as incomplete is final unless the applicant shows good cause for an extension of time to provide the required information. This provision does not apply to an application with respect to which fewer than five completed peer review forms have been timely filed with the board.

(b)  Denial of Application by Specialty Committee. The executive director shall refer all complete applications to the specialty committee for review for compliance with the standards for certification in the specialty area for which certification is sought.

After reviewing the applications, the specialty committee shall recommend to the board the acceptance or rejection of the applications. The specialty committee shall notify the board of its recommendations in writing and the reason for any negative recommendation must be specified.

(1)           Notification to Applicant of the Specialty Committee's Action. The executive director shall promptly notify the applicant in writing of the specialty committee's recommendation of rejection of the application and the board's intention to act in accordance with the committee's recommendation. The notification must specify the reason for the recommendation of rejection of the application and shall inform the applicant of the right to petition pursuant to paragraph (c) of this rule for reconsideration of the recommendation of the specialty committee.

(c)  Petition for Reconsideration. Within 14 days of the date of the notice from the executive director that an application has been recommended for rejection by a specialty committee, the applicant may petition the board for reconsideration. The petition shall be in writing and shall include the following information: the applicant's election between a reconsideration hearing on the written record or in-person; and the reasons for which the applicant believes the specialty committee's recommendation should not be accepted.

(d)  Reconsideration Procedure. Upon receipt of a petition filed pursuant to paragraph (c) of this rule, a three-member panel of the board, to be appointed by the chairperson of the board, shall reconsider an application pursuant to the following procedures:

(1)           Notice. The chairperson of the panel shall set the time and place of the hearing to reconsider the applicant's application as soon as practicable after the applicant's request for reconsideration is received. The applicant shall be notified of the date at least 10 days prior to the time set for the hearing.

(2)           Reconsideration on the Written Record. If the applicant elects to have the matter decided on the written record, the applicant will not be present at the hearing and no witnesses will appear before the panel except the executive director of the specialization program, or a staff designee, who shall provide administrative support to the panel. At least 10 days prior to the hearing, the applicant shall provide the panel with copies of any documents that the applicant would like to be considered by the panel.

(3)           Reconsideration In-Person. If the applicant elects to be present at the hearing, the applicant may be represented by counsel or represent himself or herself at such hearing. The applicant may offer witnesses and documents and may question any witness. At least 10 days prior to the hearing, the applicant shall provide the panel with copies of any documents that the applicant wants considered by the panel and, if the reconsideration is in-person, with the names of prospective witnesses. At least ten days prior to the hearing, the applicant shall be provided with copies of any documents that the executive director will submit to the panel, except confidential peer review forms or information, and with the names of prospective witnesses. Additional documents may be considered at the discretion of the panel.

(4)           Burden of Proof. The applicant must make a clear and convincing showing that the application satisfies the standards for certification in the applicable specialty

(5)           Conduct of Reconsideration Hearing.

(A)          Preservation of Record. The hearing shall be recorded unless the applicant agrees in writing that the hearing shall not be recorded or, if the applicant wants an official transcript, the applicant pays the costs associated with obtaining a court reporter and makes all arrangements for the court reporter's services and for the preparation of the transcript.

(B)          Procedural Rules. The reconsideration hearing shall not be conducted according to technical rules relating to evidence and witnesses. Any relevant evidence shall be admitted and may be considered by the panel according to its probative value if it is the sort of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of any common law or statutory rule which might make improper the admission of such evidence over objection in civil actions.

(C)          Decision of the Panel. The decision of the panel shall be by a majority of the members of the panel and shall be binding upon the board. Written notification of the decision shall be sent to the applicant. If the board's decision is unfavorable, the notification shall set forth the grounds for the decision and shall notify the applicant of the right to appeal the decision to the North Carolina State Bar Council (the council) pursuant to Rule .1804 of this subchapter.

(e)  Failure of Applicant to Petition the Board for Reconsideration Within the Time Allowed by These Procedures. If the applicant does not petition the board for reconsideration of the specialty committee's recommendation of rejection of the application within the time allowed by these rules, the board shall act on the matter at its next board meeting.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 84-23;

Readopted Eff. December  8, 1994;

Amended Eff. September 24, 2015; March 11, 2010; February 5, 2009; November 16, 2006; June 1, 1995.