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Why Should You Retain a Certified Civil Trial Attorney?

How Do You Select a Qualified Lawyer for Your Needs?

It can be difficult to choose the right attorney. You may have never needed legal counsel before, so you ask a friend for a referral or consult the internet, which lists thousands of attorneys nationwide. But how do you choose one legal representative over another, and how can you be certain that you will select the best one to handle your specific issue?

Finding the appropriate legal advocate is beneficial for both you and the attorney. In an effort to increase the level of competence of lawyers in this state, the Supreme Court of New Jersey has instructed the Board on Attorney Certification to administer the certification program statewide. This program is intended to assist you in making an informed choice when seeking and hiring an attorney for your unique situation. 

Below, we will answer some commonly asked questions regarding selecting a skilled and highly trained certified civil trial attorney with specialized knowledge in the area of law pertaining to your particular case.

What is a “certified civil trial attorney”?

The New Jersey Supreme Court designates the title of “certified civil trial attorney” to attorneys who can demonstrate adequate levels of experience, education, knowledge, and skill in civil trial practice. Through its Board on Attorney Certification, the Supreme Court designates only those attorneys who submit an application to be certified and are able to meet the standards specified by the board and authorized by the court.

How many certified civil trial attorneys are there in New Jersey?

As of December 2016, around 1,650 out of over 75,000 practicing attorneys in New Jersey hold board certification.

Why is there a certification program in New Jersey?

The certification program assists the public in locating attorneys who have demonstrated aptitude in specialized fields of law. Certification aids attorneys by allowing them to make their experience known to the general public as well as to other attorneys. Certification also encourages attorneys to maintain and increase their competence in specialized areas of law.

In what areas of law can an attorney be certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey?

The Supreme Court of New Jersey currently recognizes five specialist areas of practice for certification: civil trial law, criminal trial law, matrimonial law, workers’ compensation law, and municipal court law.

What does it mean when a lawyer says that they’re officially certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey?

A certified attorney is more than just a lawyer who specializes in one area of law. A New Jersey attorney who is a certified civil trial attorney designated by the Supreme Court must have:

1. Been a member in good standing of the New Jersey bar for more than five years,
2. Completed ongoing continuing legal education requirements,
3. Demonstrated a substantial level of experience in civil trial law,
4. Received positive evaluations from other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work, and,
5. Taken and passed a written examination in civil trial law.

How can someone determine whether an attorney is Board-certified?

Only attorneys certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court may use the phrase “Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney” on their advertisements, letterhead, business cards, or print and online listings.

What if I have further questions or need additional information regarding the certified civil trial attorney program?

Whoever needs further information about the certification program should direct their inquiries to:

Board on Attorney Certification 
P.O. Box 965
Trenton, NJ 08625-0965

Phone: (609) 815-2930

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