Paul Grosso: Personal Injury Specialist

What is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney?

It can be confusing when trying to choose an attorney to meet your legal needs. You may have never needed an attorney before, so you ask a friend to refer you to someone or you look in the Yellow Pages where hundreds 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 the benefit of both you and the attorney you choose. That is why the Supreme Court of New Jersey has directed the Board on Attorney Certification to administer the attorney certification program in an effort both to protect consumers from false advertising and 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 a lawyer.

The Board on Attorney Certification was established by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in 1980 for the purpose of helping consumers find attorneys who have a recognized level of competence in particular fields of law. Attorneys may be designated by the Supreme Court as “certified attorneys” if they: are able to demonstrate sufficient levels of experience, education, knowledge and skill in a specific area of law or practice; have passed a rigorous examination; and have been recognized by their peers as having sufficient skills and reputation in the designated specialty.

The Supreme Court, through recommendation by the Board, currently certifies attorneys in four areas: civil trial law, criminal trial law, matrimonial law, and workers’ compensation law.

An attorney must meet the following requirements to become certified:

  • has been a member in good standing of the New Jersey Bar for at least five years;
  • has taken a specific number of continuing legal education courses in the three years prior to filing an application;
  • demonstrates substantial involvement in preparation of litigated matters;
  • demonstrates an unblemished reputation by submitting a list of attorneys and judges who will attest to the applicant’s character and ability; and
  • passes a written examination covering various aspects of practice in the designated specialty.