Learn About Certified NJ Civil Trial Attorneys


NJ_Certified_Civil_Trial_Attorney.pngJohn J. Scura III is one of approximately two percent of attorneys in the state that are certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Certified Trial Attorney. Court of New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification has published the following questions and answers in a brochure entitled "Why Should You Use a Certified Civil Trial Attorney?"  The pamphlet information has been provided below for your convenience and includes answers to the following questions: 

  • How do you choose the best attorney for your needs?
  • What is a certified Civil Trial Attorney?
  • What does it mean when an attorney is certified?
  • Why does New Jersey have a certification program?
  • In what areas of law does New Jersey certify?
  • How many attorneys are certified in New Jersey?
  • How does a consumer know if an attorney is certified?

Additionally you will find below information on Division of Fees for referring attorneys. Here is the Board on Attorney Certification website where you will find a list of certified attorneys across multiple areas of the law.  

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 article 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 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 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.

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. Routinely it us under 2% of the lawyers.

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 08625-0970

Prior to sitting for the examination to become a Certified Civil Trial Attorney, you have to demonstrate that you have sufficient contested cases and trials that have gone to a verdict. A list references from attorneys and Judges that you have 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, you are 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 you pass, then you are 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, you are also permitted to give referral fees to other attorneys in accordance with the applicable court rules, but only if you are so Certified by the Supreme Court.

John J. Scura III is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney

Presently, John J. Scura III of our firm has been Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney. John invites the referrals from clients, attorneys in New Jersey and Out-of-State Attorneys and will agree to pay a referral fee to referring attorneys. On Personal injury cases and other litigated civil matters, the Civil Trial Certification entitles John to pay a referral fee to the referring attorney without regard to the work done by the referring attorney.  Some attorneys only pay a referral fee on Personal Injury cases, but we also pay referral fees on hourly billed litigation cases as well.  We invite as little or as much involvement as the referring attorney wishes to have.

Referral Fees Permitted

The Pertinent part of Court Rule 1:39-6(d) provides: (d) Division of Fees. A certified attorney who receives a case referral from a lawyer who is not a partner in or associate of that attorney's law firm or law office may divide a fee for legal services with the referring attorney or the referring attorney's estate. The fee division may be made without regard to services performed or responsibility assumed by the referring attorney, provided that the total fee charged the client relates only to the matter referred and does not exceed reasonable compensation for the legal services rendered therein. 

For referring attorneys, both in state and out of state attorneys, we agree to provide a monthly status on the case referred so that you may monitor the case referral and the status of fees that you may earn.  The key provision on the rule on the division of fees provides that fees may be referred regardless of the work performed by the referring attorney.   Stated otherwise, the referring attorney is not required to do any work in order to earn a substantial fee.  For example, in a personal injury case, a 1/3 referral fee of the entire 1/3 contingency fee recovered by our firm is typical.  

One of our firm attorneys is always available to discuss any questions that a potential referring attorney may have as to our fee arrangements and representation.   Our firm provides a written agreement concerning the fee referral agreement.

Need a little more information? Read this blog post on splitting referral fees.