NARRAGANSETT - Last week, the magazine Super Lawyers named its top 10 attorneys in Rhode Island as part of its annual national ranking of lawyers by state. The magazine recognized Mark B. Decof, a resident of Narragansett, as a top 10 “Super Lawyer” in Rhode Island.

This is Decof’s 10th straight year appearing on Rhode Island’s top 10 list. The attorney, who works at a firm in Providence, said he was honored by the distinction.

“It is a privilege to be named to the Top 10 Super Lawyers List for another year, through this respected peer-review process that ranks the highest vote totals among all practice areas in the state,” said Decof.  “This distinction, as well as the Super Lawyer and Rising Star titles bestowed on several of our personal injury trial lawyers, help demonstrate our team’s dedication to integrity and quality and our determination to assist clients in pursuing these difficult cases. I am truly proud of the commitment of our team.”

Decof, a senior trial lawyer, has lived in Narragansett for the past 26 years and has been practicing law for the past 30. He is currently employed at Decof, Decof and Barry (DD&B), a law firm based in Providence specializing in personal injury law he started as a founding partner.

Decof was also named a top 100 Super Lawyer throughout all of New England. A part of Thomson Reuters, Super Lawyers is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers. The mission of Super Lawyers is “to bring visibility to those attorneys who exhibit excellence in practice.”

The process begins with a nomination system, during which lawyers must be recommended to the magazine by their colleagues. Further, for every in-firm recommendation, meaning attorneys recommending others from the same firm, there has to be an out-of-firm recommendation as well.

“Each nomination carries a point value and out-firm nominations have a greater point value than in-firm nominations,” the Super Lawyers website explains. “Lawyers cannot nominate themselves, and must limit their nominations to others who practice in the same state.”

The process then moves onto the research phase, where Super Lawyers evaluates each nominee based on 12 indicators including: verdicts, transactions, representative clients and experience. The candidates are then peer-reviewed by a panel of attorneys sharing a practice area with the candidate.

Here, prospective attorneys are rated on a scale from 1-5. Finally, Super Lawyers reviews the candidates for a final time, making sure they have never been subject to disciplinary or criminal proceedings themselves. The finalized list of honorees never includes more than 5 percent of the total number of lawyers in each state. The organization is careful to make sure no wrongdoing interferes in the selection process.

“Our procedures and database have several safeguards that prevent lawyers from ‘gaming’ the system. For example, we track who nominates whom. This helps us detect any excessive “back-scratch” nominations (lawyers nominating each other) and “block nominations” (where members of the same law firm all cast identical nominations),” the website continues.

"We also prohibit lawyers from engaging in ‘campaigning’ or solicitation of nominations from other lawyers.”

The organization also names “Rising Stars,” with candidates falling under the criteria of being under 40 years old and practicing law for a limited time. DD&B is a personal injury law firm that represents clients in the practice areas of wrongful death, medical malpractice, defective products, automobile accidents and construction accidents, among others.

Three attorneys from DD&B were selected as Super Lawyers this year in addition to Decof. Two of its lawyers were selected as Rising Stars.

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