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The survey presents lawyers’ ratings of the 366 judges assigned to the Superior Court’s law and chancery divisions as of the last general assignment order, dated June 30, 2004, and who had been on the bench for at least six months as of that date. (The survey did not include judges in recall status, nor does it include Tax Court judges, even though they often serve in the Superior Court trial parts.) The results are tabulated from questionnaires, mailed in September, which asked lawyers to grade judges in 12 distinct categories on a 1-to-10 scale, 10 being the highest. (A sample questionnaire appears here.) Questionnaires were sent to lawyers who, in their registrations with the 2004 Lawyers Diary and Manual (published by Skinder-Strauss Associates), identified themselves as being in trial-related practice areas, namely general practice, commercial litigation, medical malpractice, civil litigation, family, insurance, labor, personal injury, criminal, municipal and employment. We also mailed questionnaires to all identifiable attorneys in the county prosecutor and public defender offices, and to certified civil and criminal and matrimonial lawyers. All told, we sent out 14,454 questionnaires and received 1,609 replies, for a response rate of 11 percent. The questionnaire’s instructions asked respondents to rate only judges before whom they had appeared and based only on their personal experiences with those judges. For the task of counting the responses and tabulating the results, we retained South Amboy’s CRT Support Corp., a company with extensive experience with surveys. The responses, which were anonymous, were checked twice – once for data entry and again for verification. The data were sorted on a spreadsheet program, from which we produced the charts on these pages. The data are presented by vicinage. Judges are ranked based on their overall scores, which are averages of their scores in the 12 separate categories. The number of responses for each judge in each category appears next to the score. Similarly, we computed average scores for each vicinage in each of the 12 categories and averaged them to produce overall scores for the vicinages, which we ranked from highest to lowest in the chart here. We also present a statewide ranking of all 366 judges based on overall score. The data are presented in raw form. There has been no weighting of scores to reflect differences in grading by lawyers in the various vicinages nor any other manipulation of the results. Comments about the survey are welcome and may be sent to me personally. Ronald J. Fleury, Editor in Chief

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