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                           Philip L. Chapman, Esq.
  New Jersey Monthly


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Adapted From Best Lawyers In America

Edited by Cara Birnbaum

If the truth be told, none of us wants to think about the day we might need a lawyer. After all, for most of us, the thought of calling an attorney implies some not-so-nice turn of events in life--a divorce, a lawsuit, or some kind of criminal charges. But on the day you need a lawyer, you may not have time to do the kind of research it takes to find out who would be best able to handle your case.

That doesn't mean you won't need the best. Choosing a good lawyer can mean the difference between winning and losing a case. It can dictate whether you'll be seeing your kids every day after school, or only on alternate Saturdays. It's hardly a decision to take lightly.

The sheer number of lawyers out there is enough to fluster even the most seasoned Court TV fanatic. In 1960, there was one lawyer for every 836 New Jersey residents. Today, that ratio has jumped to one for every 132 state residents. And there's a big difference in lawyers' backgrounds. Some train at big law firms as associates to big-deal attorneys. Others learn their craft by putting out a shingle and handling whatever cases come through the door. You'll also need to consider the wide variety of legal specialties. You wouldn't want a specialist in public utility law defending you in a criminal case.

Given all these variables, how do you find a lawyer with the skills, the education, and, most important, the stamina to see you through the legal maze? While you could ask friends and colleagues about their recent tangles, you may worry that you're still missing out on the expert professional advice that might give you a leg up.

Luckily for us, publisher Woodward/White Inc. has compiled The Best Lawyers in America¨, 1996-1997. The list that follows is the portion of the book that pertains to New Jersey. To make this list, Woodward/White researchers spent hours on the phone talking to lawyers and getting their recommendations. They asked attorneys across the state which lawyers they would seek out if they needed help themselves. Then they tallied the hundreds of responses. The result is this comprehensive list of the state's top lawyers, as named by their peers. We're pleased to have the opportunity to provide this list to you--without the hourly fee.

These lists are adapted from The Best Lawyers in America, 1996-1997, which includes 13,829 attorneys in virtually every major specialty of law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Best Lawyers in America is published by Woodward/White Inc. of Aiken, South Carolina, and can be ordered directly from the publisher. For information, call 803-648-0300; or write 129 First Avenue SW, Aiken, SC 29801; or E-mail woodward.white@groupz.net. For a fee, Woodward/ White also undertakes specialized searches for lawyers.

As Listed by New Jersey Monthly Corporate Law

Philip L. Chapman, Chapman, Kessler,   Peduto & Saffer;
  425 Eagle Rock Avenue,  Roseland, NJ 07068.   (973-403-8800)

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