New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification

New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification

In 1980, the Supreme Court of New Jersey authorized the Board on Attorney Certification to administrate the state's program for certifying lawyers. The Board on Attorney Certification is responsible for administering the program and making rules for certification.

The program was created to raise the level of competence of attorneys in certain practice areas while helping members of the public find an attorney in New Jersey.

The program also sought to protect consumers from misleading advertising claims by creating an objective and reliable standard for specialization. Only attorneys who are board certified are allowed to say they are recognized as a specialist in any field on their attorney advertisements, either online or in print advertising unless they include a disclaimer stating the certification is not accredited. Patent attorneys and proctors in admiralty are not required to seek state certification to advertise as such.

Patent attorneys and proctors in admiralty are not required to seek state certification to advertise as such.

The program requires attorneys to demonstrate a certain threshold of experience, education, skill, and knowledge in a particular field of the law. Additionally, the attorney must pass a written examination and be recognized by other attorneys or judges for their skills and reputation in a certain practice area of the law.

Board-certified attorneys in New Jersey may also be certified by any organization that is accredited by the American Bar Association.

Types of Certified Specialty Areas in New Jersey

The Supreme Court of New Jersey, through recommendation by the Board on Attorney Certification, currently certifies attorneys in four specialty areas of the law:

Attorneys who have earned the designation should use the phrase "Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a _____________ Attorney." The type of certification for either civil trial law, criminal trial law, matrimonial law, or workers' compensation law should be inserted in the blank space.

NJ Supreme Court Approves Trial Certification for Municipal Court Attorneys

The New Jersey Supreme Court has authorized trial certification in the area of municipal court practice. The new trial certification became available on September 1, 2011. Amendment to the rules and regulations that implement this change begin on page 9 of the Appendix. Read more at Notice of Certification for Municipal Court Trial Law.

Finding a Board Certified Attorney in New Jersey

The website for the New Jersey Courts maintains a list of certified attorneys for each practice area. The board certified attorneys are listed in alphabetical order. Only the attorney's name, the name of the firm and the attorney's phone number are listed. The board certified attorneys are also listed by county on the New Jersey Judiciary website.

The website allows members of the public to search for a certified specialist in New Jersey's largest cities including Newark, Woodbridge Township, Jersey City, Edison, Paterson, and Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Minimum Requirements for Board Certification

At a minimum, the New Jersey program for specialty certification requires attorneys meet the following criteria for eligibility, the attorney must:

  • Be a member in good standing in the State Bar New Jersey for at least a five-year period before making the application;
  • Take a certain number of continuing legal education (CLE) classes within the three years before submitting the application;
  • Demonstrate substantial involvement in the preparation and litigation of matters related to the specialty;
  • Submit a list of judges and other attorneys who are familiar with the attorney's practice and will attest to the attorney's good character and qualifications;
  • Show completion of certain task requirements related to the practice area; and
  • Must pass a rigorous written exam testing the attorney's knowledge on the specialty area of the law.

Additional Resources

Sources of Certification in New Jersey - Visit the website of the American Bar Association to find a current list of lawyer specialty certification programs and a summary description of the offerings of each program.

Contact Information:

Board On Attorney Certification
Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex
P.O. Box 970
25 Market Street
Trenton, NJ 08625-0970
Phone: 609-984-3077

Disclaimer: At Lawyer Legion, we understand the importance of specialty certification programs. We created a feature on our directory to narrow the search to only New Jersey attorneys who have earned specialty certification. Lawyer Legion is not endorsed or approved by any state or national board certification program or by any bar association, including the State Bar of New Jersey.

This article was last updated on Friday, April 8, 2017.