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Dear Reader, We present in these pages the results of the Law Journal‘s fourth cyclical survey of New Jersey lawyers about the quality of judging on the state’s trial bench. We undertake the survey because without it there is no publicly available data about the comparative strengths and weaknesses of judges, their demeanor or their potential biases, all of which are highly relevant to users of the courts. As in the past, the survey has been conducted without the cooperation or endorsement of the Administrative Office of the Courts or the state’s chief justice. Our methodology appears below. Since our last survey five years ago, there has been a one-third turnaround of the judges in the N.J. Superior Court’s civil, criminal, family and general equity parts, so roughly 120 of the 366 judges included have not been graded before and are still within their initial seven-year appointments. Comparative ratings necessarily produce rankings, which unavoidably means bests and worsts. Still, it is not the point of the survey to heap accolades on some judges and derogate others. It is rather to give context to the results and thus to explain practitioners’ perceptions of the judges’ performance. We hope that the survey will be read and used in that spirit. Ronald J. Fleury Editor in Chief


Contents

Judging the Judges: a Methodology

How the Judges Fared

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