National Board Certifies Attorney to Exclusive Group

BRIDGEPORT, 2013 – Continuing a tradition begun by its founder, Theodore I. Koskoff, the law firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder announced today that one of its attorneys has been certified to the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

J. Craig Smith is the latest Koskoff attorney to meet the requirements to become certified with the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the Bridgeport-based firm said.

Smith specializes in cases involving complex legal questions and the vindication of plaintiffs’ rights. His multimillion dollar settlements and verdicts include a case against a trucking company for the wrongful death of a truck mechanic, a substantial verdict against a major automobile credit company involving fraud, and a $1.7 million verdict against the Town of Darien in Connecticut on behalf of a motorist who was struck by a tree on a town road.

He is perhaps best known nationally for appearing before the United States Supreme Court in 2009. The case, Mohawk Industries Inc. v. Carpenter, went into the history books both as Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s first written opinion, and also as a substantial victory for civil rights plaintiffs battling large corporate defendants who seek to use the appellate process to delay trial.

A graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law and DePaul University, Smith hails originally from Woodstock, Georgia. Before entering the legal profession, he had a successful career in the theater, movies and television, with national appearances on stage and in several motion pictures.

“Craig is an experienced litigator with emphasis on personal injury, product liability, complex litigation and civil rights cases, and is always finding new ways to impress us with his achievements,” said James Horwitz of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder. “This certification is not easy to come by; candidates must meet steep standards of active trial participation, including numerous experiences as lead counsel, direct and cross-examination of dozens of both lay and expert witnesses, and presentations of many opening and closing arguments. The educational requirements are also stringent.”

The applicant must also supply 10 to 12 references for peer review, excluding current associates. Additionally, references must be received from at least three judges before whom the applicant has recently tried a relevant matter. There are several other requirements, including a written exam.

According to its website, the National Board of Trial Advocacy Division of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification was the first American Bar Association accredited attorney board certifying agency in the world. Founded in 1977, NBTA offers board certification for Trial Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers, and Family Lawyers. To qualify for one of these certifications lawyers must have extensive experience in their specialty and meet rigorous objective quality standards.

Theodore Koskoff, a nationally known trial lawyer, established his own law firm in 1936. Over the next several decades he was a leading figure in a national drive for certification of specialists in civil and criminal trial advocacy. As Chairman and Founder of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he helped determine the standards for trial specialization and, in fact, wrote those standards.

“My father conceived of the notion to certify trial lawyers out of a deeply-held conviction that the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization dedicated to establishing objective standards by which to measure experience and expertise,” said Michael Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder. “The testing and requirements are rigorous, and as a result, this is a fairly exclusive group.”

Theodore Koskoff’s name remains on the National Board of Trial Advocacy letterhead.

Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, nationally known for personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, and class actions, concentrates its practice in handling cases for people who suffer serious personal injury or economic harm. Attorneys from Koskoff have been responsible for important changes in the conduct of corporate and government defendants.