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Why Choose a Certified Municipal Court Trial Attorney?

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?

This section has been written to help you make that choice. It will answer your questions about choosing a qualified and highly trained attorney with expertise in the area of law relating to your special 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 Municipal Court Trial Attorney?

A. Certified Municipal Court 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 their municipal court 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 rigorous 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 Municipal Court 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 Municipal Court Law
  • Been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work
  • Taken and passed a written examination in Municipal Court Law.

Q.Why does New Jersey have a certification program?

A. The certification program helps the general 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 five specialty areas of practice that are approved for certification by the Supreme Court of New Jersey: Municipal Court Law; Civil Trial Law; Criminal Trial Law; Matrimonial Law; Workers Compensation Law.

Q. How many attorneys are currently certified in Municipal Court Law in New Jersey?

A. As of April of 2015, out of approximately 93,000 lawyers admitted to practice law in New Jersey, less than 30 have been certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as Certified Municipal Court Trial Attorneys.

Q. How does the consumer know if an attorney is Board Certified?

A. Although many practicing municipal court law attorneys now advertise on the internet, 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 Municipal Court Trial Attorney” on their letterhead, business cards, Yellow Pages listings, websites 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:

Board on Attorney Certification
P.O. Box 970
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0970