judge robe books gavel Credit: shutterstock

New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has promoted three sitting Superior Court judges to the Appellate Division.

The judges being promoted are Lisa Firko of Bergen County, Stephanie Mitterhoff of Essex County and Arnold Natali Jr. of Middlesex County, the state judiciary announced on July 3.

Firko, currently assigned to the Family Part in Bergen County, had been on temporary assignment to the Appellate Division from April 16 to June 24.

She is a graduate of Seton Hall University and its law school.

Firko was nominated to the bench in 2008 by Gov. Jon Corzine, and was granted tenure in 2015.

Before joining the bench, she was with Lum, Drasco & Positan in Roseland and Gillespie, Gillespie & Jablonski in Kearny.

In the Law Journal’s 2015 survey of Superior Court judges, Firko ranked 21st out of the 24 judges ranked in the Bergen vicinage with an overall competency score of 7.45 out of a possible score of 10. Her best score, 8.56, was for being unbiased as to race, gender or party identification. Her lowest score, 6.78, was for being able to handle complex cases.

Mitterhoff currently is assigned to the Civil Division in Essex County. She was nominated to the bench by Gov. Chris Christie in 2014, and will be eligible for tenure in 2021.

Before her appointment, she was with what is now Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan.

She was not ranked in the Law Journal’s 2015 judicial survey.

She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Rutgers University Law School-Newark.

Natali currently is the presiding judge of the General Equity Division in Middlesex County.

He was nominated to the bench by Christie in 2013 and will be eligible for tenure in 2020. Before his appointment, he was with Newark’s McCarter & English.

In the 2015 survey, Natali ranked 20th out of the 28 judges surveyed in the Middlesex vicinage, with an overall score of 7.55. His best score, 8.25, was for being unbiased, while his lowest score, 7.04, was for his ability to handle complex cases.

Natali is a graduate of Fairfield University and Seton Hall University School of Law.

The 32-judge Appellate Division handles about 6,500 appeals per year as well as about 8,500 motions.

The promotions announced by Rabner are not subject to Senate confirmation.