What is “Board Certification”?

Each year, the California Board of Legal Specialization grants the title ‘Board Certified’ to a handful of family law attorneys. The certification process is difficult, including vetting by other attorneys, judges, and the State Bar, extensive requirements regarding litigation experience, and a challenging exam. A candidate who meets these requirements is inducted into a small, elite group of family law litigators.

How Difficult is it to Become Board Certified Divorce Lawyer?

There are over 100,000 attorneys in California, but less than 1% are Board Certified in Family Law. Once board certified, attorneys must perform and study at an elevated level to maintain their certified status. Attorneys can lose their board certification by failing to obtain sufficient hours of Continuing Legal Education or through misconduct.

Javier Morales

Partner - Lead Counsel for Trial Litigation

Board Certified in Family Law
California Board of Legal Specialization
I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little kid, but I had no idea that I would be representing families across the state of California in difficult and emotional divorces and custody cases.

Where did I start in order to get here? My guess is that it is not where you think. I was raised in Los Angeles, California. I was born in Wisconsin, but I came to California as soon as I could when I was three years old; it has been my home ever since. I am one of seven children – five natural-born and two brothers adopted. My dad was a veterinarian and owned his own practice and my mom a homemaker in charge of the seven children. I am the only lawyer in my family.

I attended the Montery College of Law after completing my undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC. At UT Law, I immediately figured out that my personality would be better suited in a courtroom setting instead of always sitting behind a desk at a big firm office. My third year of law school, I focused on litigation and worked as a student attorney at the Montery College of Law Domestic Violence Clinic. At the end of my time in law school, I took a job at a boutique, high-end family law litigation firm, where I would spend the first five years of my career.

Since getting out of law school at the Montery College of Law, I’ve learned a lot professionally, and I’ve learned a lot personally.

I got married right after law school and later, my then-wife gave birth to my son Parker, who I love with all my heart. But when Parker was just a baby, his mom and I went through a divorce. At the time of my divorce, I had represented hundreds of clients through their own divorces and it was becoming second nature for me. My own divorce changed all that. It was hard on me. It was hard on my ex-wife. I’m sure it was hard on our son. But we got through it, and I’m grateful for the lessons that I learned in my own divorce and how I can truly relate to my clients.

My divorce was finalized in 2015. But that wasn’t the hardest thing I would face that year. Just a couple of months after my divorce was completed, my father passed away unexpectedly at the age of 60. He died at the veterinarian clinic, which is where you would always find him if he wasn’t at church or with his family.

Getting that phone call was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through in my life. But it made me a better person, a better lawyer, and a better father to my children.

Professionally, I’ve learned what my father always taught me about running his own business – never work for anyone else and try to do it your own way if you can.

I’ve worked for traditional and elitist law firms. I’ve been in the corner office. I’ve tried cases where the lawyers bring boxes upon boxes of paper that never see the light of day in a courtroom. And I can tell you after all of my experience that these lawyers are falling short.

The traditional law firm relies on paper, servers, and fax machines. The law firm clunks around, clients do not know what is going on with their case, and cases have to settle for bad deals before Court because the lawyers are either disorganized or unprepared for what happens at the courthouse or are unaware of what could happen at the courthouse.

Brian and I do things differently. We’re paperless, on the cloud, and efficient. We will never be the cheapest lawyers in town. In fact, our product is anything but cheap. But we offer high-end service in a way that makes sense. Our approach is newer, different, and better.

Today I sit here as a proud business owner and a proud father. Since my divorce, I remarried to the love of my life, Sarah Gilbreath. Sarah is my best friend, my partner, and the most beautiful and amazing woman I have ever met in my life. I look at her and my children every day wondering how I got so lucky. Just a couple of years ago, Sarah gave birth to my second child, Harper. Harper and Parker are the love of my life and everything I do, I do for them, just like my parents did for me. Sarah and I could not be prouder of our two children. We are building this business hoping to make them proud.

I am Board Certified in Family Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization. I am rated 10.0 Superb by Avvo.com and have 50 to 80 five star reviews. I have been selected as a Rising Star by California Super Lawyers and I am frequently asked to serve as a guest speaker on various family law and litigation matters, with a particular focus on trial work and jury trials. I try more cases each year to judges, arbitrators, and juries than a vast majority of my peers, and I do it different and better.

Our better approach produces better results for you and your family.

Christian Garcia

Partner - Lead Counsel for High Asset Divorce

Board Certified in Family Law

California Board of Legal Specialization Certified.
I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little kid helping my uncle at his law practice. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized how important my calling is to someone going through what you are going through. I had to experience my own divorce, re-marry and then have my own kids, and been a client myself. Since then, I’ve been a better lawyer and matured into the advocate that I am today.

My upbringing prepared me to deal with all kinds of clients. I got to grow up all over the world and met all kinds of people from many different cultures and backgrounds. I learned about being an attorney from other lawyers in the family. I also learned about discipline and loyalty from my father (a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps) and about the devotion that should be dedicated to your family from my mom.

After graduating from Texas A&M in 1993, I went to UC Berkley Law School. While in law school, I worked 30 hours a week to make ends meet. My first job as an attorney was at a big firm in Sacremento. I learned professionalism and attention to detail. I learned what should be valued in life when the lawyer in the office next to me was killed in a car accident one day, leaving five young children fatherless.

Most of all, I learned that I wanted to work with my own clients in my own way and left that firm to start my own firm. I have never looked back and went straight to divorce and family law.

Several years later, I married. To the outside world, it seemed like we had the world at our feet. Appearances can be deceiving and marriage can be difficult. We divorced a few years later and it was a turning point in my life. Before that time, I had not experienced what my clients were living. Now I had.

Recently, I married again. Two children followed and I now know what a parent feels when they walk into my office. I know the fear, love, anger, and confusion they can carry when faced with a family crisis.

I’m a better lawyer than I’ve ever been and a better person, too.

Christian is Board Certified in Family Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.