There are more than 90,000 attorneys in Texas. As of 2018, there were only 834 Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists in the entire state. That means less than 1 percent of the attorneys in Texas have achieved this designation. It is the highest designation an attorney practicing criminal law can reach. When you consider that this 1 percent is spread across the state, and some are judges and others are prosecutors, you will understand why we are so proud to have three Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists at Varghese Summersett PLLC.
As the Texas Board of Legalization puts it, Board Certification “sets them apart as being attorneys with the highest public commitment to excellence.” To even sit for the Board Certification Exam, an attorney must have practiced in their specialty area for at least five years, with a significant portion of their time being spent on their specialty area. Our attorneys handle – with rare exceptions – exclusively criminal law.
Board Certification requires an extensive knowledge of the law as demonstrated through years of practice, numerous contested cases in the speciality area, and passing a strenuous written examination. To sit for the Board Certification Exam, a criminal lawyer must demonstrate substantial experience in misdemeanor criminal law, felony criminal law, federal criminal law, appellate and post-conviction criminal law. If an attorney demonstrates such substantial experience, they may provide three professional references to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and request the opportunity to sit for the exam. If approved to sit for the exam, the written test is 6 hours long and covers Texas criminal law, federal criminal law and ethics. Only half of the criminal law attorneys who sat for the six-hour exam in the last few years passed the exam. If the attorney passes the exam, they become a Board Certified Lawyer with the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Anna Summersett, Letty Martinez, and Tanya Dohoney are all Board Certified in Criminal Law. A partner at our firm, Anna Summersett, became Board Certified in 2014 and is one of the youngest attorneys in Texas to ever become Board Certified in Criminal Law. She has handled thousands of criminal cases in Tarrant County and has tried over 100 cases to juries in Texas. Letty Martinez, who was at one time the Chief of the Crimes Against Children Unit at the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office and formerly served as a federal prosecutor, is yet another partner at the firm who is Board Certified in Criminal Law. Tanya Dohoney is Of Counsel for Varghese Summersett and is a double certified attorney, a designation accomplished by very few other criminal law attorneys in Texas. She is certified in Criminal Law and Criminal Appeals, making her a specialist in both areas.