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Attorney Highlight – John Cinti


My name is John Cinti. I grew up in North Jersey, in Essex County.

What Is Your Background?

I grew up in Essex County. On both sides of my family, I’m the descendant of coal miners. We’re all from the Northeast Pennsylvania area near Wilkes-Barre. I’m three quarters Italian and one-quarter Irish. I went to the University of Scranton, which is also up in Northeast Pennsylvania. That school is a Jesuit school, which has an absolutely outstanding focus on educational rigor, and it has been the source of education for a lot of my family. They really provide an outstanding education because their basic concept, which I endorse, is that we don’t want to turn out somebody who’s excellent in one field but doesn’t have any background in the other fields that they may run into during the course of their life; they really want to turn out well-rounded and well-educated individuals. And then, when I graduated, I went to get my law degree at Rutgers Law School in New York, which is literally down the street from where I grew up.

What Areas of Practice Do You Focus On?

I am a certified civil trial attorney and have been since 2004, which means I try a lot of civil cases in New Jersey. And they run the gamut from personal injury cases to complex commercial cases, sometimes very complex personal injury cases, to contract disputes and professional disputes. It’s actually a nice mix, and it keeps it interesting because you’re not looking at the same thing every time. So I enjoy it.

What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

I’ve had very good success in trying cases. That said, I think some of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had were not simply winning the case. You don’t do what I do if you don’t enjoy that interaction with your adversary and your effort to win the litigation. But I really get a sense of satisfaction when I have a younger attorney that I’ve either given advice to or mentored come back to me and say, “Do you remember when you told me ___? I’ve been relying on that, and it’s really worked out well for me.” That is really a very satisfying feeling to know that you’ve helped the next generation with what you’ve experienced, and I enjoy doing it. Part of the reason I teach a lot of seminars, including trial skills seminars, to other attorneys is that I enjoy the sense of interaction with other attorneys as well as the sense of having helped someone, given them advice, or given them the benefit of my experience.

What Do You Like About Being an Attorney?

I like problem solving. Every case is a new experience. I’ve been doing this for 32 years now. Each case is unique, and it presents different problems and different ways that you need to approach them. You can’t simply sit back and say, Well, it was just like every other case, and do it. And it also makes us kind of dangerous in the fact that we become mini-experts in very narrow fields. I have no background in biology or medicine, but since I’ve done so many personal injury cases over the years and have had to put on my own medical experts or cross-examine the other side’s medical experts, I’ve derived a fairly decent understanding of human biology, human anatomy, and medicine to the extent that I’ve had doctors tell me, “Have you ever thought about going to medical school?” No, but thank you for the thought, because, again, it’s in a very narrow band; it’s certainly not as broad as these people who dedicated their lives, as physicians, understand the discipline. But we all have that same experience—not just myself but most trial attorneys. And not just in medicine, but in engineering, as an example, or other fields of endeavor, where you really begin to understand how these people who do it for a living and have advanced degrees in it approach the problems. And certainly, you’re never going to be on a par with them in terms of their level of knowledge. But it’s very interesting when you begin to be able to communicate with them at a level where you both understand what the other one has to say.

What Do You Like About Living in Your City?

I grew up in East Orange, which is a city that has more people per square mile than downtown Manhattan. It was a city by any definition. Where I live now, they kind of roll the sidewalks up when the sun goes down. It’s a very different experience, but I enjoy it. You get to have really nice and excellent neighbors in the neighborhood. My whole family has kind of settled down in South Jersey now, so it’s nice having everybody in the same general area.

What Is A Fun Fact About You?

I’ve been to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro a number of times. I love to travel. And the funny thing is, I didn’t really start to travel until I was an adult. The first time I was on an airplane, I was already in law school. Since that time, I’ve liked going to different places and seeing different things. I’ve been to Brazil about a dozen times. I’ve been to London probably half a dozen times. I’ve been to Germany, France, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Italy, and a bunch of other places too. What I enjoy doing is landing and spending some time, maybe a week or so, in a particular city that I’m interested in seeing, and then I’ll rent a car and drive because that’s how you get to experience the other culture and the other lifestyle as opposed to just being in one city. It really is magnificent. You find out things about yourself, and you find out things about other people. I really, really enjoy doing it, and then I really enjoy coming home. I’ve had a lot of fun.

What Are Your Charitable Endeavors?

I dedicate a lot of my time to my local parish. Every charitable organization needs money. To do the work that they need to do and that they want to do, they need donations. But they also need your time. So, whatever charitable organization you want to support, think in terms of giving not just a check that you may send them but also getting out there and doing some work with your time. There are boards that need intelligent minds on them, and there is work that needs to be done. Any school that has a school carnival needs people to show up and help break down the carnival when it’s over, in addition to volunteers that help work the booths through the duration of the carnival. I’ve always found it very fulfilling and have gotten a lot out of the time that I’ve donated to the various organizations and groups that I’ve given my time to. I think that most people would. Especially as attorneys, we are very conscious of our time. But when you give it to someone other than yourself, I think you’ll find it very rewarding.