About once a month, we receive a solicitation to purchase some made-up “honor” with a certificate suitable for framing designating the “best” or “top” lawyers in my practice area. Almost all are phony vanity distinctions for sale to anyone willing to pay the inflated price, but signifying nothing. I either toss them in the “round file” or post on the office refrigerator with sarcastic annotations.

This one, as Diplomate of the National College of Advocacy, actually signifies something — 400 hours of high quality, national level continuing legal education in my practice area. These hours were accumulated over the years through seminars and workshops from coast to coast in Chicago, Los Angeles,  Montreal, New Orleans, Boston, Cambridge, New York, Baltimore,  San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boca Raton, Atlanta and a lot of webinars.  I also spoke or was program chair at many of those seminars. Last year, I served as chair of the AAJ Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section.

The National College of Advocacy is the continuing education arm of the American Association for Justice. The goal of this program is to build and develop professional knowledge through a continuing commitment to improving members’ trial skills and understanding of substantive law.  “Diplomate” is the highest level of recognition for voluntary participation in programs of the National College of Advocacy.

Ken Shigley is a past president of the State Bar of Georgia, former chair of the board of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, lead author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation and Practice, a Certified Civil Trial Attorney of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and a Diplomate of the National College of Advocacy. A graduate of Emory University Law School, Ken Shigley is a candidate for the Georgia Court of Appeals in 2018.