It is important to hire a certified civil trial attorney. The Supreme Court of New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification has published questions and answers in a pamphlet titled “Why Should You Use a Certified Civil Trial Attorney?” The Board on Attorney Certification website can be found here.
The pamphlet reads:
Q. How do you choose the best attorney for your needs?
A. It’s confusing trying to choose an attorney. You may have never needed an attorney before, so you ask a friend to refer you to someone, or look in the Yellow Pages where hundreds or even thousands of attorneys are listed. But how do you choose one attorney over another and how can you be sure that you will choose the right attorney to handle your particular legal problem?
Finding the right attorney is to your benefit and to the attorney’s as well. That is why the Supreme Court of New Jersey has directed the Board on Attorney Certification to carry out the certification program in an effort to raise the level of competence of attorneys in this state. This program is designed to help you make an informed decision when seeking and selecting an attorney.
Q. What is a certified civil trial attorney?
A. Certified Civil Trial attorney is a designation granted by the New Jersey Supreme Court to attorneys who are able to demonstrate sufficient levels of experience, education, knowledge and skill in civil trial practice. The Supreme Court, through its Board on Attorney Certification, designates only those lawyers who apply for certification and who are able to meet the standards set by the Board and approved by the Court.
Q. What does it mean when an attorney is certified?
A. A certified attorney is more than just an attorney who specializes in a particular area of law. A New Jersey attorney who is certified by the Supreme Court as a civil trial attorney must have:
– · Been a member in good standing of the New Jersey bar for over five years
– · Fulfilled ongoing continuing legal education requirements
– · Demonstrated a substantial level of experience in civil trial law
– · Been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work
– · Taken and passed a written examination in civil trial law
Q. Why does New Jersey have a certification program?
A. The certification program helps public find attorneys who have demonstrated proficiency in specialized fields of law. Certification helps lawyers by giving them a way to make their experience known to the public and to other lawyers. Certification also encourages the maintenance and improvement of attorney competence in specialized fields of law.
Q. In what areas of law does the New Jersey Supreme Court certify attorneys?
A. At present, there are four specialty areas of practice that are approved for certification by the Supreme Court of New Jersey: civil trial law; criminal trial law; matrimonial law; and workers compensation law.
Q. How many attorneys are currently certified in New Jersey?
A. As of December 2008, out of approximately 60,000 active lawyers in New Jersey, 1,550 currently hold Board certification.
Q. How does the consumer know if an attorney is Board certified?
A. Although many practicing matrimonial law attorneys now advertise in newspapers, on television and in the Yellow Pages, only attorneys certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court are entitled to use the designation “Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney” on their letterhead, business cards, Yellow Pages listings or in their advertisements.
Q. What if I have more questions or need to find out more about certification?
A. Anyone in need of more information regarding the certification program should address his or her questions to:
Supreme Court of New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification
P.O. Box 970, Trenton, NJ 08625
Prior to sitting for the examination to become a Certified Civil Trial Attorney, the applicant must demonstrate that he has sufficient contested cases and trials that have gone to a verdict. A list of references from attorneys and Judges that he has tried cases before and against must be provided to the board for review. Details on all cases, the results and opposing attorneys and Judges must be submitted to the Board. If the application is approved and accepted by the Board on Attorney Certification, the applicant is permitted to sit for the exam. The exam consists of simulated video trial situations with written exam questions and answers. The Board grades the exam and if passed, then the applicant is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney and permitted to use that designation and the Supreme Court’s approved logo as a Certified Attorney. In New Jersey, he is also permitted to give referral fees to other attorneys in accordance with the applicable court rules, but only if he is so Certified by the Supreme Court.
Jim Martin, Jack Kane, and John Harding of our firm are all Certified Civil Trial Attorneys, and invite referrals from clients, attorneys in New Jersey, and out-of-state attorneys.