Trial Attorney FAQs

What is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney?

Certified 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 Trial 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 Supreme Court.

Why is board certification important?

In the medical profession, many hospitals forbid doctors to practice without proof of board certification in their specialty. Administrators realize the value of independent screening of credentials and experience. Consumers are therefore afforded added confidence that the doctors treating their conditions are well and truly qualified. And because of its widespread acceptance, most people seeking medical assistance are unlikely to hire uncertified physicians.
Before the National Board of Trial Advocacy’s founding in 1977 no such mechanism existed for lawyers. Potential clients were forced to rely on word of mouth or advertisements when seeking help in situations often as dire as failing health. The problem was (and remains) that lawyers admitted to their state bar were (and still are) free to accept cases in any area of the law.

Michael Maggiano is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney, one of only 1,450 such lawyers certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Why do lawyers specialize?

As with the medical profession where the body of knowledge is so large that it’s impossible for one doctor to remain current in all areas of specialty, the body of law has grown so large and complex that attorneys can no longer be all things to all people.
But unlike the medical profession, which has embraced specialization and specialty certification, the legal profession has been slow to acknowledge publicly what it has known for years: nearly all lawyers specialize but do so without substantiation beyond simply saying it’s so. This is where board certification comes in. The lawyers at MDL&R are specifically skilled and experienced in trial law.

What are the requirements for Board Certification?

An attorney must meet the following requirements to become Board Certified:
Must be a member in good standing of the New Jersey bar for at least five years.
In the three years prior to filling an application, must have taken continuing legal education courses.
Must show a substantial involvement in preparation of litigated matters and demonstrate primary responsibility for a specific number of completed trials in the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Must demonstrate an unblemished reputation by submitting a list of attorneys and judges who will attest to the applicant’s character and ability.
Must pass written examination covering various aspects of trial practice.