What Is A Certified Civil Trial Attorney And Why Do You Need One?

Posted on: June 26, 2017

If you’ve experienced an injury at work or at the hands of a medical professional, if you’re involved in a criminal trial or in a worker’s compensation case, then not just any attorney will do.

There are instances when a certified civil trial attorney is vital, and for good reason. Certified civil trial attorneys are required to meet standards set by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, proving that they have the education, experience and skill to effectively handle a case.

These are some of the rigorous standards that certified civil trial attorneys must meet and why they are uniquely qualified to achieve a better outcome for you.


Achieving the designation of certified civil trial attorney requires more than simply specializing in an area of law. It requires stringent education, both before receiving the designation and in order to maintain it.

First, an attorney must submit proof of a specific number of continuing legal education courses in the three years prior to filing an application, in addition to passing a written exam covering various aspects of practice.

Then, if the designation is achieved, it requires a minimum of 15 hours per year of ongoing education in an area of specialty, which can include civil trial law, criminal trial law, matrimonial law, municipal court law, and workers’ compensation law.

These education standards mean that a certified civil trial attorney is not only knowledgeable in an area of law, but continues to advance his or her knowledge throughout the years to stay on top of complexities and the evolution of laws.


To become certified, attorneys must then take their book knowledge and translate it into real-world experience. Part of that experience is spending a minimum of 30 days in trial within a 5-year period. That’s the equivalent of about two trials per year, in which an attorney practices the skills necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for clients.

They must submit written documentation to the Supreme Court of New Jersey demonstrating their involvement in cases, and what was accomplished in each one.

Certified civil trial attorneys must be members in good standing of the bar for more than 5 consecutive years, and must be recertified by the Supreme Court every five years.

There are also minimum proficiencies that an attorney must demonstrate in other areas, including cross examinations, preparing opening statements and closing arguments, voire dire jury examinations and more.

Education combined with practical experience means that you can rely on a higher level of competence.


In addition to gaining the requisite experience, a certified civil trial attorney must also have the skills necessary to earn a positive reputation amongst peers and superiors. He or she must secure the favorable recommendation of co-counsel, judges and even adversaries who can attest to the attorney’s reputation, character and ability.

That means an attorney must try enough cases to become familiar with the various people in the legal community, and understand how to negotiate, build trust and earn respect.

Given the demanding requirements, you can understand why less than 2% of attorneys in New Jersey have received the designation of certified civil trial attorney. It requires that an attorney pass tests, fulfill stringent educational requirements, demonstrate a recognized level of competence, and earn the confidence and respect of peers.

If you’re involved in a civil or criminal case, or one that includes personal injury or worker’s compensation, knowing that your attorney has the education, experience and skill to represent you can bring you greater peace of mind and result in a better outcome.

If you’re looking for a certified civil trial attorney, contact us for a free consultation and we’ll explore your options together.