To practice law, an attorney must be certified in the state in which he or she is to work. Certification requires passing a written examination which is held once or twice a year by the state bar office. This examination can take two or three days to complete. Once the lawyer has passed the bar exam, he or she becomes a member of the bar association in that state and is permitted to practice law. The state bar association works to promote and regulate the fair practice of law. Lawyers can also become certified in specialty areas such as criminal law, appellate law, family law, immigration law, bankruptcy law, taxation law, or workers' compensation law. This generally requires passing another examination in the specific area of law. In most states, these specialty exams are held every two years, and this certification is valid for five years. To renew a specialty certification, a lawyer must meet certain ongoing educational and experience requirements. To find out more about bar certification, contact an attorney in your area.