Elie Honig, Lowenstein Sandler/courtesy photo Elie Honig, Lowenstein Sandler/courtesy photo

Elie Honig, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice director for five years and a former federal prosecutor, has joined Lowenstein Sandler’s white-collar criminal defense group.

Honig will be working under his old boss, former Attorney General Christopher Porrino, who, after the administration of Gov. Chris Christie came to an end in January, became chairman of the firm’s litigation group.

Honig officially joined the firm as special counsel as of June 1, Porrino said, noting that one of the first tasks he assumed after moving to Lowenstein Sandler was to recruit Honig.

“I know Elie very, very well,” Porrino said. “I’m impressed with his smarts.”

“This guy’s just methodical in his work ethic,” Porrino added. “I called him up on a Saturday and told him he would be a good fit.”

Honig, who aside from a brief period after passing the bar has been a career prosecutor, foresees no problems transitioning into representing defendants.

“There are a lot of the same skills,” he said, adding, “It’s not all that different” from being a prosecutor.

In a release, Roseland-based Lowenstein Sandler pointed up Honig’s experience as litigator, investigator, manager, and policymaker. The release quoted Porrino as calling Honig “a force multiplier in the litigation arena” with a “unique and extraordinary” background.

Honig, according to the firm, oversaw more than 900 cases per year, including those involving corporate crime, public corruption, and health care fraud. Before that, he worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York from 2004 to 2012, focusing on organized crime, including investigations and prosecutions related to the Gambino and Genovese crime families.

Lowenstein Sandler has been active in recruiting former prosecutors and government lawyers. In addition to Porrino, currently practicing at the firm are: Anne Milgram, New Jersey attorney general under Gov. Jon Corzine; Matthew Boxer, New Jersey’s first comptroller, appointed by Corzine; and Kathleen McGee, former bureau chief of internet and technology with the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

In addition joining Lowenstein Sandler, Honig was chosen as executive director of the Rutgers Institute for Secure Communities, recently launched to address such issues as community policing and bail reform, the firm noted.

Honig, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Rutgers University, took a key role in litigating appellate cases requiring courts to fine-tune the law related to New Jersey’s revamped bail system.

Porrino resigned in January, on the inauguration of current Gov. Phil Murphy, who chose Gurbir Grewal, then the Bergen County prosecutor, to serve as attorney general. Grewal in March announced leadership changes. Honig, Division of Criminal Justice director since 2013, was leaving for a new role, Grewal said then, but he didn’t provide details.