Q and A

Why Should You Use A Certified Civil Trial Attorney And How Do You Choose The Best One For You?

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 information is designed to help you make an informed decision when seeking and selecting an attorney.

What is a certified civil trial attorney?

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.

What does it mean when an attorney is certified?

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:

Why does New Jersey have a certification program?

The Certification program helps the 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.

In what areas of law does the New Jersey Supreme Court certify attorneys?

There are five specialty areas of practice that are approved for certification by the Supreme Court of New Jersey: civil trial law; criminal trial law; matrimonial law; workers' compensation law; and Municipal Court law (just recently approved).

How many attorneys are certified in New Jersey?

As of June 2012, approximately 1,600 hold Board certification out of roughly 72,000 active lawyers in New Jersey.

How does the consumer know if an attorney is Board certified?

Although many practicing trial 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.

What if I have more questions or need to find out more about certification?

Anyone in need of more information regarding the certification program should address his or her questions to:

Board on Attorney Certification
P.O. Box 965
Trenton, NJ 08625-0965
(609) 984-3077