Two local lawyers have been named "Rising Stars" by the national Super Lawyer program.

This is the third year that Jason Rapa of Rapa Law Office in Lehighton has been named a Rising Star. Matthew Rapa, also of Rapa Law Office and Jason's brother, was named a Rising Star for the first time.

"It was nice to see my brother recognized, and to see myself recognized for what we do," said Jason. "It's a real compliment that other attorneys would recognize and nominate you."

Matthew's law practice focuses on criminal defense, and also works in family and civil law.

Jason focuses on consumer debt matters, including Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy, debt collection and credit reporting agencies.

To be named a Super Lawyer or Rising Star, lawyers are first nominated by their peers. Attorneys are invited to nominate the top attorneys that they have worked with or observed in action in their state. Clients can also suggest lawyers to be nominated.

Nominated attorneys are then vetted and evaluated by a research team. Each attorney is evaluated for their professional achievement and activities, including experience, honors, verdicts and settlements, and education.

The "Rising Star" recognition is reserved for attorneys under the age of 40, or those who have been practicing for less than 10 years.

The number of Super Attorneys named each year is limited to 5 percent of the state's attorneys.

"It's humbling. I deal with a lot of attorneys," said Matthew. "There are attorneys that I look up to. To be recognized through them makes me feel humbled."

Both hope that this recognition will encourage local residents to look first in their hometown for their legal needs, rather than automatically traveling outside the area for an attorney. They are the second and third lawyers in the county to be named a Super Attorney.

"It's nice to be recognized, but at the same time there are other attorneys in this area who are deserving of this award," said Jason.

"It's important for attorneys in Carbon County to be recognized. We have some fine attorneys in our area," he added.

The pair often received letters, thank-you cards and even baked goods from clients as thanks for their services. They noted that these thank-yous are as gratefully received as recognition from the Super Lawyer program.

"That's really the most rewarding part of it," said Jason. "It's nice when your clients recognize you and refer you to other people."