What are Certified Family Law Specialists
State of California “Certified” Specialists

Certified Family Law Specialists – Make a Difference

California Board of Legal Specialization - Certified Family Law SpecialistsSarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M and other attorneys at Schaffer Family Law Group, APC have earned the coveted designation of “Certified Family Law Specialists” (CFLS). Moreover, since the law practice is 100% focused on Family law, divorce and divorce mediation, it is Sarah’s goal that every attorney who joins the firm that they begin the long and arduous process of working toward earning their Certified Family Law Specialist designation.

Hire the BEST Possible Attorney You Can Afford

Outcomes in family law and divorce matters can affect the rest of your life. You do not want to hire an attorney that is a ‘Jack of all trades,’ who might do personal injury, employment law and some family law. Statistically, you will have a better outcome hiring a family law attorney who focuses their entire time – 100% focus on divorce and family law matters. Taking that a step farther, you should make every attempt seek out and retain a Certified Family Law Specialist for the best possible outcome.

Attorneys may only identify themselves as a State “Certified” Specialists in California if they are certified either by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, or an organization whose certification program has been accredited by the California State Bar.

California attorneys who are certified as “Specialists” must have taken and passed a written examination in their specialty field, demonstrated a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfilled ongoing education requirements, and been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work.


Sarah T. Schaffer - Child Custody & Visitation AttorneyCertified Family Law Specialist, Sarah T. Schaffer, CFLS, LL.M has the proven qualifications that every divorce or family law matter deserves.

When you chose divorce and family law attorneys who are designated Certified Family Law Specialists, you know that he or she has devoted those time, energy, study, displayed professionalism noted by fellow attorneys and judges and maintains the highest standards of legal knowledge and ability for their chosen specialty.

It is interesting that most of the state bars that license attorneys across the United States establish these “Certified Specialists” programs and then actively encourage ALL licensed attorneys to reach higher; to learn more; to meet new and tougher requirements to earn the Certified Family Law Specialist designation.


Here is a video that our California State Bar produced to encourage the 200,000 licensed California attorneys to choose to go further; to become better trained and agree to be more thoroughly tested and vetted by becoming a “Certified Specialist” in their chosen law section:

Fortunately for Sarah’s clients, she stepped up to the challenge. Sarah was willing and eager to reach for the top ring of the California State Bar challenge and did methodically earn by 2011, her “Certified Family Law Specialist” designation. Unfortunately for legal services shoppers, 19 of 20 licensed attorneys do not choose the difficult path of continued learning and training. Statistically, only 5% of all California attorneys choose to further their learning and vetting once they pass that initial bar exam after law school.

Moreover, it is now Sarah’s policy. Every attorney at Schaffer Family Law Group has either earned their CFLS Certification, or is actively working towards that professional goal as a requirement of the firm and our commitment to providing our clients the most skilled and proficient attorneys in San Diego County. Sarah Schaffer, Wayne Rice and Leslie Ryland have been certified by the State Bar of California as “Certified Family Law Specialists,” a distinction earned by family law attorneys who have “gone beyond the standard licensing requirements.”

Sarah is always learning and expanding her knowledge, earning new degrees (LLM in taxation recently) and this hard-earned Certified Specialist designation that requires continuing time and effort or it can be revoked. She learned from her professors at San Diego State University to never stop learning. She learned in the military, other lifelong traits. The US Army’s “be all you can be” is a well-known example that civilians can appreciate. A lesser known motto is one that Commander (select) Sarah T. Schaffer, an office in the USMC, was introduced to: “Ductos Exemplo,” “to lead by example”.1 These life lessons and Sarah’s constant striving to always learn; always grow in knowledge and experience translate into being a better attorney to the benefit of each and every client she represents.</p<


Certified Family Law Specialist, Sarah T. Schaffer

Very few attorneys ever earn “certified specialization” in their law section. In fact, fewer than 1 in 200 California attorneys are certified specialists in their law specialty. Considering there are more than 200,000 lawyers in California, it is very difficult to be “certified” such that there are less than 1,100 board certified attorneys in Family Law in the entire state of California with some 39-million residents.

* State Bar of California


Semper Fidelis / Ductos Exemplo

Semper Fidelis distinguishes the Marine Corps bond from any other. It goes beyond teamwork—it is a brotherhood that can always be counted on. Latin for “always faithful,” Semper Fidelis became the Marine Corps motto in 1883. It guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what. Becoming a Marine is a transformation that cannot be undone, and Semper Fidelis is a permanent reminder of that. Once made, a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values of the Corps.

Ductos Exemplo

1 In addition to Semper Fidelis, Marine Corps Officers also embrace the phrase Ductos Exemplo, “to lead by example,” the motto of Officer Candidates School (OCS). Instructors look for candidates who display self-reliance, discipline and responsibility. Desire and motivation to lead Marines are deciding factors in an officer’s success.

Call Schaffer Family Law Group, APC at (858) 509-7907 to schedule a strategy session today.


“Sarah Schaffer is the best. So too, are her staff. I had the opportunity to review my situation in 2017. No pressure to hire them. They were genuinely interested in me, my circumstances, and helping me understand what to expect. More a teaching moment for me and strategy session – not a sales session. I have returned to say “Thank You.” Thank you for good legal counsel. Thank you for asking me to ask myself “is this what I want?” It wasn’t. I never hired Sarah, but my marriage is back on course and a “divorce lawyer” was helpful for that rebirth. Bless you.”

Kevin Beckel ReviewKevin Beckel

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Call Schaffer Family Law Group at (858) 509-7907 to schedule a strategy session today.


Sarah T. Schaffer In The News

Recent Media Events

Sarah T. Schaffer Recognized in San Diego Discovery Magazine With over 220,000 attorneys in California, Schaffer is one of the few, numbering 178 within San Diego, to hold the distinction of Certified Family Law Specialist.

San Diego Magazine Women of the Year Awards Colonel Sarah T. Schaffer, USMC – Camp Pendleton recognized for her Military Service as JAG Officer.

Top 50 Influential Leaders in San Diego Sarah T. Schaffer is active in the San Diego County and North County bar associations and supports the programs of Kids’ Turn San Diego, a nonprofit that helps children through family separations, and Casa Cornelia Law Center, which provides pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations.

Dividing a Business - San Diego Discover Magazine Not all businesses have marital value, especially smaller businesses whose primary value is from the efforts of one spouse.

Sarah Schaffer on the cover of Discover Magazine
Read Sarah's Latest Article In Discover Magazine OVER 50 AND DIVORCING; Four Important Things To Keep In Mind
What Happened to My Inheritance? If you inherit money during marriage, would it be considered separate property? Learn More

Family law matters are never simple By your side every step of the way

Certified Family Law Specialist CFLS Sarah Schaffer, Wayne Rice and Leslie Ryland have been certified by the State Bar of California as “Certified Family Law Specialists,” a distinction earned by family law attorneys who have “gone beyond the standard licensing requirements.” Every attorney at Schaffer Family Law Group has either earned their CFLS Certification, or is actively working towards that professional goal as a requirement of the firm and our commitment to providing our clients the most skilled and proficient attorneys in San Diego County.

Take The First Step

What You Should Know

Top 10 Mistakes In A Divorce To avoid the top five mistakes in a divorce you must take a step back, remove the emotions and treat the process similar to a business transaction. Use these tips to help you expedite the process.

Divorce Over 50 How a 'gray divorce' will impact your retirement planning, including the timing of your retirement as well as the new economic reality divorce may bring to your life.

Top 4 Things To Know if Over 50 and Divorcing Getting a divorce after the age of 50 comes with its own set of challenges, both social and economic.

Professionals, Business Owners & Divorce Solving problems with the division of marital assets. The need for privacy and not leaving written records of your 'dirty laundry' for the world to see in the permanent public record and more...

Military Divorce Sarah serves as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. Military families find Sarah’s understanding of the military and issues servicemembers face enable her to provide superior counsel.

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