Above the law: Three named ‘Super Lawyers’

Above the law: Three named ‘Super Lawyers’

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…Super Lawyer!
Three Teaneck lawyers were recently named to the prestigious Super Lawyer list of the country’s top lawyers. Sam Davis, Marc Saperstein and Garry Salomon, partners in the firm Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. were added to the ‘006 listing of the top 5 percent of lawyers in America. But in Teaneck, it’s business as usual.

"I don’t think it’s going to mean anything in particular, it’s just something we’re being recognized for," Salomon said. "It’s nice to be recognized by your peers [though]. It’s nice to know that all the hard work and all the cases we’ve tried and clients we’ve represented have been recognized."

From representing 9/11victims to fighting the tobacco industry, the law firm runs the gamut of cases to protect the rights of individuals.

"The law in America affords a unique opportunity and forum for people who have had things taken from them, be it their health, their rights, their dignity; and we’re dedicated to leveling the playing field," Davis said.

The three met in Hebrew school at the Bergenfield-Dumont Jewish Center in the ’60s. They were bar mitzvah students of Rabbi Jerome Blass — a psychologist who wrote the "Family Counselor" column for this newspaper — and also went through Young Judea together.

"We grew up together," Davis said. "Judaism and Zionism were important values. We went to each other’s bar mitzvahs, we would share Pesach seders, and hang out at services. Then we separated and it was our common interest in personal injury that brought us together [again]."

In 1981, at the beginning of their careers, Saperstein and Davis formed a small practice in Hackensack. Salomon joined them in 1987. "It was bashert," Saperstein said.

"A lot of our original clientele were referred to us by family and friends at the Jewish Center," Salomon said.

There are 1,663 Super Lawyers in New Jersey and seven in Teaneck, including Davis, Saperstein, and Salomon. The list is published in ‘3 states and growing. The Super Lawyers list is published annually by Law & Politics magazine and appears in regional publications, like New Jersey Monthly, which ran the ‘006 list for New Jersey in its April issue.

Super Lawyers uses a three-step process to make its selections.

First, it sends a survey to virtually all the lawyers in the state who have been in practice for five years or more. The surveys request nominations for the best lawyers seen in action.

Next, Super Lawyers conducts research on all the people nominated, through an attorney-led research department in Seattle. The team follows a 1′-point criteria list that includes an examination of cases and transactions; position within the firm; bar activities; and honors and awards received.

In the third step, Super Lawyers divides the final candidate list by practice area. (Law & Politics publishes almost 60 areas of practice.) The panel then reviews and scores a list of candidates within their area.

The list is composed of approximately 5 percent of the total active bar in the state — there are no regional quotas or focuses. Each year brings a new list and there is usually 10 percent to ‘5 percent turnover each year.

The Super Lawyer designation isn’t the only benchmark for the firm this year. In June, Saperstein will be installed as the president of the New Jersey State Association of Trial Lawyers. The group works to protect consumers in the state from various legislative bills that they deem to be detrimental to consumers.

"I am honored that my peers have chosen me as their president this year to lead them," Saperstein said. "I feel well-qualified to do the job."

Educating the public on what he calls the "erosion of their consumer rights" is Saperstein’s main cause. "New Jersey is moving back into the 19th century," he said. "We’re seeing many immunity bills coming out of the Assembly. We feel that the automobile insurance industry [for example] is taking advantage of the drivers in New Jersey. If you enter in from any state into New Jersey, you lose your rights. There has to be awareness of what’s going on."

As for the firm, the three lawyers believe it’s their attention to detail and each specific case that makes them stand out.

"We still take each case individually in an environment where litigation has become more high stakes," Davis said. "The attitude of ‘fight until you starve to death’ is more prevalent."

That dedication is what Salomon wants to pass on to new lawyers looking for their first job. "They should look for the quality of the lawyer they’re working for rather than the salary they’re getting. Don’t worry about the legal fee, worry about justice for your client," he said. "It’s not about me, it’s about them. My clients employ me — I work for them. It’s the way I look at things and the way my firm looks at things."

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