February 16, 2022

Benefits of Working with a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law

Michael & Russell, PLLC is proud to be the first law practice focused on adoption and collaborative family law in the Wilmington area. Our co-owner and managing attorney, Ashley Michael, brings over 15 years of experience in family law matters and is a board certified family law specialist by the North Carolina State Bar. As of 2022, Ashley is honored to be one of 275 specialists in family law and one of just six family law specialists in New Hanover County. This specialty relates to marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody and support, equitable distribution, contempt, domestic violence, termination of parental rights, and adoption.

There are many benefits to working with an attorney who is certified in a specialty by the North Carolina State Bar. As reported by the North Carolina State Bar Legal Specialization program, “Board certification is an indication that the lawyer has intentionally focused his or her legal practice to improve the proficiency and quality of the lawyer's legal services and to stay current in the specialty field. A lawyer who is certified as a specialist by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization has satisfied a number of rigorous standards for certification in the lawyer's specialty field.”

To earn this prestigious achievement, Ashley met various criteria for consideration including:

Here are some of the top reasons to work with Ashley Michael, board certified specialist in family law:

Experienced with Family Law Topics

The North Carolina State Bar recognizes Ashley’s work in family law and her expertise in this practice area. She passed the Bar Exam in 2006, and throughout her entire career as an attorney, she has been dedicated to various fields within family law. This includes adoption, assisted reproductive technology, separation, divorce, child custody, child support, marriage agreements, and more. Ashley is also committed to practicing collaborative family law, which is an alternative dispute resolution process that keeps families out of the courtroom. As a founding board member of the North Carolina Collaborative Attorney Network (NC-CAN), she has wide-ranging experience in this type of law which is rising in popularity across the state. You can learn more about Michael & Russell’s commitment to collaborative law and co-parenting by clicking here to read a recent blog on our website.

Skillful Expertise in North Carolina

The North Carolina State Bar reports that only 4% of all practicing attorneys in North Carolina have earned this recognition. As of February 10, 2022, there are 1,276 board certified specialists of more than 31,000 active attorneys in North Carolina. The State Bar uses this program to help the public in their selection of legal counsel by identifying lawyers who have demonstrated special knowledge, skill, and proficiency in certain areas of law. The program also gives lawyers a credible way of making their expertise known to the public and other lawyers. Ashley is honored to be included in this group of attorneys who are skilled experts in the field of family law in North Carolina.

Knowledgeable in Family Law Matters

Ashley is recognized by the state for her special skill and proficiency in the area of family law. As part of the process to become certified in the specialty, Ashley passed a written exam in family law exam that consisted of several modules. In all, the six-hour exam included questions in multiple choice, short answer, and short essay forms. Ashley demonstrated skillful knowledge in more than 30 subjects as part of the family law exam. These topics included but were not limited to the following:

(Credit: North Carolina State Bar Legal Specialization website)
Committed to Continuing Education

To maintain status as a board certified specialist, Ashley is passionate about continuing legal education (CLE). In addition to the hours of CLE she must complete annually to maintain status as an active member of the North Carolina State Bar, she must also earn hours that are focused specifically to family law. She has also taken CLE in related topics such as taxation, juvenile law, and negotiation. Ashley finds value in learning as much as she can about the field of family law. As it is ever-changing and evolving, she is dedicated to increasing her knowledge by staying up-to-date with legal topics and matters.

Recognized by Peers and Colleagues

Certified specialists in family law are some of the most sought-after attorneys in North Carolina. To achieve this status, Ashley was recognized by her peers and colleagues in the field of family law. She was recommended for this certification by ten other judges and specialists who demonstrated confidence in her qualifications and abilities as a family law attorney. During this process, she earned a showing of qualification in the specialty through peer review. In order to become re-certified every five years, she continues to demonstrate expertise in the field through peer review processes and evaluation procedures.


Our Commitment to Family Law

When you choose to work with Michael & Russell for family law matters, you will receive services provided by a highly skilled and educated legal team. Ashley Michael, Board Certified Specialist in Family Law, is continuously recognized as an attorney who prioritizes her clients. She is dedicated to putting their needs and wellbeing first and foremost in family law matters.

At Michael & Russell, PLLC, you can trust that we are committed to serving you and your family with compassion and empathy. Our attorneys are experienced in family law matters and will work to empower you during your decision-making process. Through our New Hanover County office, we are able to provide collaborative divorce and family law services to all of southeastern North Carolina.

Please reach out to our Wilmington-based legal team at 910-255-5722 to learn more about working with us for your adoption, collaborative divorce, or family law needs.