New Jersey Expungement Lawyer Katherine O’Brien Selected for 2023 Rising Star Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine

New Jersey Expungement Lawyer Katherine O’Brien Selected for 2023 Rising Star Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine

Katherine O’Brien recently received the esteemed Rising Star Lawyer award granted by Super Lawyers Magazine. Super Lawyers Magazine bestows this award on top-performing attorneys in their state. All Rising Stars are below age 40 or have been practicing for less than 10 years. It’s an incredibly selective process, with only 2.5% of attorneys receiving the Rising Star Award. 

O’Brien is familiar with this accomplishment. She received the same award from 2020-2022 and added 2023 to the bank this year. That’s an incredible feat. She’s now a four-time Rising Star winner. Each year, the nomination and subsequent win indicate that Katherine made commendable contributions to her field, earned the respect of her peers and colleagues, and demonstrated expert, quality performance. 

What Does it Mean to be Selected for This Award?

Winning this award indicates that an attorney passed a rigorous selection and research process and is an up-and-coming force within their field. A Rising Star delivers consistent, excellent performances backed up by positive case outcomes. In short, an attorney selected for the Rising Star award gets results. 

Fellow licensed attorneys nominate Rising Stars. To submit a nomination, an attorney must personally observe the nominee in the field, and any nominations submitted by coworking attorneys require out-firm nominations to match. In short, the Rising Star award is not simply a pat on the back from the people who work beside you. Winning indicates that an attorney has made real, tangible contributions to their field of law. Other attorneys and the research body behind Super Lawyers find the contributions of Rising Stars worthy of reward and acknowledgment. 

Rising Stars are the future of law. They’re top-tier attorneys and take their jobs seriously. Katherine O’Brien demonstrated her dedication and commitment to criminal defense law to an admirable degree. Independent researchers deemed her worthy of the Rising Star award not once, not twice, but four separate times and counting. 

How Are Candidates Selected?

Selecting Rising Stars and Super Lawyers occurs annually. It’s a multi-step, proven process that combines peer review and recognition, set criteria, and research conducted by an independent staff. 

As mentioned above, the initial formal nomination typically comes from a fellow attorney. If a coworking attorney submits a nomination, it’s backed up by a matching out-firm nomination. Nominations are assigned a point value with out-firm nominations granted the highest number of points. 

Clients, ineligible attorneys, readers, and others can submit “informal” nominations. Informal nominations trigger research from the Thomson Reuters staff but do not earn points in the evaluation process. Research staff also look into other lawyers who perform well in their field but were not nominated independently. The Rising Star pool is comprehensive, with over 70 practicing districts involved, so winners are truly worthy of recognition. 

With the nominations locked in and other qualifying attorneys identified, the research staff begins evaluating the nominees with a set of 12 criteria. The criteria represent different areas of achievement, peer recognition, and accomplishment. They are as follows: 

  • Verdicts/settlements
  • Transactions
  • Representative clients
  • Experience
  • Honors/awards
  • Special licenses/certifications
  • Position within the law firm
  • Bar and/or professional activity
  • Pro bono and community service
  • Scholarly lectures/writings
  • Education/employment background
  • Other outstanding achievements

Like the nominations, there’s a different point value attached to each piece of criteria. Some categories have a higher maximum point value than others and are weighted to be fair. 

Peer evaluation comes next. Those candidates with the highest number of points in each practice area sit on a “blue ribbon panel.” From there, they rate the provided list of candidates on a scale from one to five. 

The final step in the process is dividing firms into four separate categories based on size. Those with the most points in each category get selected, with the top 5% selected for Super Lawyers and only 2.5% selected as Rising Stars.

Is This a Real Award?

The Rising Star award and Super Lawyer designation are both legitimate, real awards. Neither award is a scam, and they aren’t given because someone wrote a check or cut a deal. While it’s true that plenty of things can be bought (awards are no exception) being a Rising Star is an indication of actual knowledge, expertise, and contributions made by the recipients. A “Rising Star” is not a hollow title to put on a wall or website. It represents the top achieving attorneys and is given on a merit-based system. Super Lawyers issues the Rising Star award to showcase the pinnacle of success and expertise among up-and-coming attorneys. 

What Is the Difference Between Super Lawyers and Rising Stars?

The evaluation process for super lawyers and rising stars is the same. Both awards are determined with the same point system. Nominations are submitted in the same fashion and the 12 criteria are the same. However, being a Rising Star is more exclusive than being named a Super Lawyer. It comes with a couple of additional requirements. Rising Stars must be age 40 or younger or have 10 years or less experience practicing law.

Beyond that, both are impressive accolades. Super Lawyers magazine uses the Rising Star and Super Lawyers awards to aid people in finding a lawyer capable of best suiting their needs. Both categories list only attorneys that can be hired or retained by the public. 


Katherine O’Brien’s fourth consecutive Rising Star award is worthy of celebration. It’s a notable accomplishment for any attorney. Only those who put in hard work to succeed and grow in their field hope to become Rising Stars, and the pool of winners is remarkably small. Ranking among them for four years in a row is an honor earned through knowledge and commitment. Congratulations to Katherine and all 2023 Rising Star winners. 

Katherine O'Brien

New Jersey expungement lawyer Katherine North O’Brien has been practicing expungement law for her entire career and has handled hundreds of complex criminal record expungements. She has also assisted in the drafting of briefs on expungement issues before the New Jersey Supreme Court. Katherine is passionate about helping people clean their criminal records and, therefore, started Katherine O’Brien Law to offer those with criminal convictions a fresh start.