The New Jersey State Bar Association is pleased the New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification is recommending adding municipal court law to the list of specialties for which lawyers can be certified.
The state bar brought the concept to the attention of the courts last year, saying municipal court law is a unique and meaningful area of law similar to the other categories the judiciary already certifies, including matrimonial, civil, criminal, and workers compensation.
"The profession and the public will be well served through the certification of municipal court lawyers. For many people, the only exposure to the court system is through the municipal courts which handle roughly 6 million cases each year," said State Bar President Richard H. Steen. "Allowing this certification means people will have an easier time finding a lawyer who is best able to represent them in a municipal court matter."
The state bar will study the proposal carefully and submit any comments it may have to the courts for consideration, President Steen said.
Attorney certification programs are the result of the U.S. Supreme Court opinion allowing attorneys to advertise their services. In New Jersey the certification program began in 1980. In order to become a certified attorney, lawyers must take continuing legal education courses for several years, show substantial involvement in litigation, have an unblemished reputation, and pass a written exam.
"I also want to applaud our Municipal Court Practice Section which continues to be at the forefront of urging changes to promote professionalism in this area of law," said President Steen.
The judiciary announced the proposal in a Notice to the Bar in late October. At the same time, it released a report on the issue that included recommended rule changes.
To read the report visit www.njcourtsonline.com.