Privacy Law Specialist™

The next submission period to become an ABA-accredited specialist ends 30 June 2024.

IAPP's PLS certification accredited in Texas

(Apr. 28, 2020) Joining Minnesota and Alabama, the State of Texas granted accreditation of the IAPP's Privacy Law Specialist certification. On March 6, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization fully approved the PLS designation as an official specialization. Full Story

The IAPP is accredited by the American Bar Association to certify lawyers in the specialty area of Privacy Law. U.S. attorneys who meet the IAPP’s rigorous specialist designation requirements may be permitted under their state’s rules of professional responsibility to advertise their specialization in privacy law. Privacy Law is the 15th specialty accredited by the ABA.

The Privacy Law Specialist™ designation instantly places you among the elite in privacy law. It’s the first designation that verifies you’ve met stringent experience and knowledge requirements in this crucial and rapidly growing area of the law.

ABA Seal

Application requirements:

  • Be an attorney admitted in good standing in at least one U.S. state
  • Earn/Hold a CIPP/US designation from the IAPP, plus either a CIPM or CIPT designation
  • Pass the PLS Ethics Exam administered by the IAPP, or submit a recent MPRE score of 80+ (within 5 years preceding your application submission)
  • Provide proof of “ongoing and substantial” involvement practicing privacy law (at least 25% of your full-time practice over the last three years)
  • Supply evidence of at least 36 hours of continuing education in privacy law for the 3-year period preceding your application
  • Provide at least 5 peer references from attorneys, clients or judges attesting to your privacy law qualifications
  • Pay the application fee upon submission


  • Need the requisite credentials? Prepare with PLS training offerings expand_more

    Looking to achieve our recognized CIPP/US and CIPM certifications? IAPP training can help you get started on the path to PLS designation.

    Training offerings include online and instructor-led classes, textbooks and official IAPP practice exams. Choose the tools, class format and dates that work best for you and your schedule. If you have additional questions, check out our FAQ page.

  • Already certified? Apply now to earn the distinction expand_more

    Earn the distinction. Stand out from your peers.

    If you’re interested in becoming a candidate, email to get the process started. We will reply with the forms you’ll need to submit by the end of the next submission period on 30 June 2024. All applications will be reviewed at that time.

    If your application is approved, you will receive a digital designation badge from the IAPP to add to your credentials.

    For details on applying to become a Privacy Law Specialist™, including a complete review of all requirements and forms, email


Accreditation by the ABA indicates solely that the IAPP’s Privacy Law Specialist™ designation has met the ABA’s standards.

Not all states allow attorneys to claim specialization even if certified by an ABA accredited body like the IAPP. You should check the Rules of Professional Conduct of your state (typically covered in Rule 7) to see what your state’s requirements are regarding advertising specialization.




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    Requirements for Outside Counsel and In-House Lawyers with Transactional Practice:

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    Requirements for Attorneys Engaged in Data Breach Response, Adversarial, Proceedings and/or Litigation:


PLS Recertification

Privacy Law Specialists must apply for recertification at the end of their 5 year term in order to maintain the certification. If a recertification application has not been submitted 3 months after the current designation expires, then a brand new Privacy Law Specialist application will need to be completed to obtain the designation.

Candidates for recertification must:

  • Complete and submit the recertification application where they must:
    • Demonstrate that they are still attorneys in good standing with their state bar
    • Provide proof, through a personal statement, of “ongoing and substantial” involvement practicing privacy law (at least 25% of their full-time practice over the last five years)
    • Supply evidence of at least 60 hours of continuing education in privacy law for the 5-year period preceding their application for recertification
  • Provide at least 3 peer references from attorneys, clients or judges attesting to your privacy law qualifications
  • Hold a CIPP/US designation, plus either a CIPM or CIPT designation in good standing
  • No recertification fee will be required

The PLS Review Board will review the candidate’s recertification application to determine whether the candidate merits recertification. Should you choose not to reapply to become a Privacy Law Specialist, the designation will be automatically removed from your IAPP account upon the 5-year term expiration date.

Individuals who are certified in non-ABA states may have different recertification requirements. Please reach out to for additional information.