Biopsy of the kidney should never be undertaken without careful consideration of the risks vs benefits. Given the importance of a correct diagnosis in the treatment and prognosis of renal disease, the pathological evaluation should use all available modalities. Native kidney biopsies require examination by light microscopy, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. The processing of the renal biopsy is complex and requires the support of a fully equipped anatomic pathology laboratory. Technical expertise is required to process the small fragments of tissue and to produce sections of highest quality. The correct diagnosis requires a well-trained renal pathologist with thorough knowledge of not only renal pathology but also renal medicine in order to correlate intricate tissue-derived information with detailed clinical data. In view of the importance and consequences of the pathologic diagnosis, the Renal Pathology Society appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on Practice Guidelines, to define the essential ingredients necessary to provide quality renal pathology diagnoses. This document incorporates the consensus opinions of the committee and the RPS membership at large.