Once again, we feature 40 lawyers we think are worthy of attention, using a selection method that is unapologetically unscientific but that we’re nonetheless sure is calculated to produce excellent results. We do not presume to say that these attorneys are the best in the state in their age group — only that they have distinguished themselves in ways that draw our interest as observers of the legal profession.
Our basic criteria for selection of these rising stars, now in their second decade of practice, are that they have developed practice niches, amassed strong books of business, demonstrated leadership qualities, shown expertise in litigation or transactional work and committed themselves to pro bono, charitable and professional volunteer work. All of these factors tend to make an individual stand out among his or her peers and also signal greater accomplishments ahead.
We did not single out for preference partners at larger firms, but it is evident that they make up the largest share of the group. Why? Generally because one who has made partner before age 40 — by any standard a splendid achievement — has demonstrated to his or her firm precisely the qualities that we also focus on in this survey.
Neither did we give preference to characteristics like gender and ethnicity, yet it is rewarding to see that the measurements we did use have produced a slate of honorees that is far more diverse than in the past. The methodology has not changed — the profession has.
No two of the 40 were selected for identical reasons. They all have unique attributes and have structured their careers differently, yet each stands out in some way, however nuanced, and we believe each is deserving of this distinction. We hope our readers agree.
— Ronald J. Fleury, Editor in Chief
Born: April 12, 1976
Position: Senior Associate, Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis, Iselin
Practice Areas: Corporate and real estate
College: The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, B.S. in economics (concentration in finance), 1997
Law School: New York University School of Law, J.D., 2001; NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, article and note editor
Career History: Current firm, senior associate, 2010-present, 2005-07; Drinker, Biddle & Reath, associate, 2007-2010; Ma’ayergi & Akhtar, Stamford, Conn., partner, 2002-05; Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, New York, NY, associate, 2001-02
Profile: In her 10-year career, Akhtar has developed a multifaceted practice in commercial real estate transactions and business law, both at her present firm and at Drinker, Biddle & Reath. Among her major clients is K. Hovnanian Homes, which she represents on land acquisitions throughout the state and for which she was lead associate in a $45 million acquisition of properties in Somerset County approved for residential development. In her extensive work on negotiation of leases for office, retail and industrial properties, she has been instrumental in the drafting and finalization of forms of leases now in use by major New Jersey developers such as Woodmont Properties, Matrix Realty, Inc., and Normandy Real Estate Partners. Other major real estate clients are Mack Cali Realty Corporation, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, Henkel Corporation and the Morristown Parking Authority, the last of which she represented in connection with the Epsteins Redevelopment Project on the Morristown Green, a public-private venture involving multiple parties. In transactional work, she represented PNC Bank in a $40 million construction loan to finance the development of vacant land and pre-existing structures into condominium units and town homes in Connecticut, and she represented Bohler Engineering, Inc. in its acquisition and financing of an $11 million multitenanted industrial property in Somerset County. She is a LEED Accredited Professional, credentialed by the U.S. Green Building Council for advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices. Akhtar has been active in promoting professional diversity efforts. At Drinker Biddle, she was a member of the Diversity Committee, serving on the Subcommittee for Minority Attorney Development and Retention. Since 2009, she has been a member of the Women of Color Working Group, meeting regularly with other minority women lawyers in New Jersey to discuss issues unique to professional minority women and advising junior attorneys about career goals and business development objectives. She has been on the N.J. Women Lawyers Association’s board of directors since 2008.
Diane Fleming Averell
Position: Partner, Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, Morristown
Practice Areas: Toxic tort, pharmaceutical and medical device, mass tort, product liability and life sciences litigation
College: Villanova University, B.A., political science/economics, cum laude, 1997
Law School: Villanova University School of Law, J.D., 2000
Clerkships: Hon. Ainsworth H. Brown, U.S. Department of Labor, 2000-01
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2002-present; Daller Greenberg & Dietrich, Fort Washington, Pa., associate, 2001-02
Profile: In her 10 years of practice, Averell has defended products ranging from over-the-counter decongestants to prescription diet drugs and hormone therapeutics. Representing large manufacturing companies, she has also defended failure-to-warn product liability claims related to industrial chemicals, petroleum products, handheld power equipment and tobacco products. Major clients defended in product litigation have been Wyeth, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, ExxonMobil and Cytec Industries, Inc. As a partner at her firm, she supervises a team of six attorneys and three paralegals and serves on the Business Development, Lateral Recruitment and Workplace Diversity committees. She is also a member of the Women’s Initiative Network, which focuses on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women attorneys at the firm and in the legal profession. This year, she personally designed and launched two mentoring programs to support Porzio’s women attorneys. The Mother-to-Be Mentoring Program provides guidance and support to expecting female lawyers, such as in preparing for maternity leave, becoming a mother and returning to the practice of law after leave. The 360 Mentoring Program is comprised of four groups of nine to 10 women lawyers, lobbyists and managers at various stages of their careers, who combine diverse practice areas and roles at Porzio, years of experience and personalities to create a full-circle mentoring experience and tackle issues such as work-life balance; navigating the political climate in the legal profession; professional advancement opportunities; strategies for combating gender issues facing professional women; and social topics to encourage relationship building. Averell has been active for the past decade in the Defense Research Institute, now serving on its Women in the Law Committee and helping run its Sharing Success seminars.
Michelle H. Badolato
Position: Senior associate, Brown & Connery, Westmont
Practice Areas: Commercial litigation; banking; bankruptcy and creditor’s rights; construction law
College: Gettysburg College, B.A., political science, 1995
Law School: Widener University School of Law, J.D., 1998
Clerkships: Hons. Donald C. Davis, D. William Simpson and Richard D. Warren, Wicomico County Circuit Court, Maryland, 1998-99
Career History: Current firm, associate, 2007-present; Parker McCay, associate, 2001-07; Fine & Mather, Salisbury, Md., associate, 1999-2001
Profile: Since joining Brown & Connery in 2007, Badolato has helped build the firm’s creditor’s rights practice, and more specifically the firm’s involvement with foreclosure and banking litigation. She has been entrusted to supervise the residential foreclosure, bankruptcy and collection department, including four associates, three paralegals and a support staff; and is a member of the firm’s Creditor’s Rights Committee. She represents TD Bank, N.A., in foreclosure, bankruptcy, collection and banking matters, and previously represented Commerce Bank, N.A., before the TD merger, in the same areas. Major clients in her creditors’ rights practice are Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation, Camden; Johnson & Towers, Inc., Mount Laurel; L&R Construction Co., Inc., Cherry Hill; and SAP America, Inc., California. She frequently litigates in bankruptcy court and federal district courts and in appeals courts. Among her appellate wins is Drew v. Commerce Bank, N.A., A-5691-05 (2007), in which the Appellate Division upheld a trial court ruling that a depositor must bear the burden of the loss for a counterfeit check. Badolato is an active lecturer and moderator of continuing legal education seminars for the Bankruptcy Inns at Court, in which she has been a barrister since 2004, and the Camden County Bar Association. She has also been a contributing author to New Jersey ICLE’s Bankruptcy Practical Skills Series. As a trustee of the Camden County Bar Foundation since 2007, she has assisted in planning numerous charitable events.
LaTonya N. Bland
Position: Of counsel, Richard Press & Associates, Pleasantville
Practice Areas: General litigation, personal injury, construction litigation, school law, employment and labor, appellate work
College: Howard University, B.A., philosophy, 1993
Law School: Rutgers Law School-Camden, J.D., 1998
Career History: Capehart & Scatchard, partner, 2000-11; Sumners, George & Dortch, associate, 1998-2000; Office of the Public Defender, Mercer Region, assistant deputy public defender, 1998
Profile: Bland is a veteran litigator well versed in a wide range of substantive areas. Her clientele have included municipalities insured through joint insurance funds, such as Burlington County; New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway, in personnel and Federal Employment Labor Act matters; Art Anderson, Inc. in construction litigation; Family Service of Burlington County, in landlord tenant and employment matters; and D.U.E. Season Charter School, Camden, in unemployment, administrative and Superior Court matters. Among her successful trials were Mitchell & Mack v. Atlantic City (Atlantic County Superior Court), which resulted in a verdict in favor of her clients in the amount of $2.14 million, and Alliance Electric v. Atlantic City Board of Education v. Art Anderson, Inc. (Atlantic County Superior Court), which resulted in a verdict in favor of the client on a counterclaim in the amount of $2 million. In the latter case, Bland was co-counsel of the brief to the Appellate Division, which upheld the verdict. At Capehart & Scatchard, which she left only recently, Bland supervised associates, paralegals and legal assistants in trial- and appellate-related work. In her volunteer activities, she is a member of the Supreme Court’s District IV Ethics Committee.
Position: Partner, Reed Smith, Princeton
Practice Areas: Data privacy, security and management
College: Drew University, B.A., philosophy and economics, magna cum laude, 1997
Law School: University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., cum laude, 2002; University of Pennsylvania Law Review, articles editor
Clerkships: Hon. Peter G. Verniero, New Jersey Supreme Court, 2002-03
Career History: Current firm, partner, 2004-present; Dechert, associate, 2003-04
Profile: Bond is an established talent in an emerging practice area, involving litigation, compliance and regulatory enforcement, that requires agility and a mix of legal skills. His trial work has been largely devoted to defense of putative class actions over data security, such as In re Countrywide Financial Corp. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, MDL No. 1998 (W.D.Ky.), which resulted in a settlement for a class exceeding 17 million members claiming theft and resale of mortgage-related consumer information. In Giordano v. Wachovia Securities, LLC and United Parcel Service, No. 2006-cv-476 (D.N.J. 2006), he successfully defended a national financial institution against a consumer class action that stemmed from consumer financial information being sent via a national carrier and getting lost in transit. The published case established as a matter of first impression that increased risk of identity theft is not an injury-in-fact and cannot confer federal court subject matter jurisdiction. Bond’s other major litigation clients include Bank of America, for which he helped negotiate and gain final approval for a federal class action settlement in North Carolina, and Philips Electronics North America Corporation, for which he defended a class action regarding Internet privacy. Clients for whom he provides data privacy and security compliance advice include Avis Budget Group of Parsippany, Verizon, Inc. of Arlington, Va., and Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, LLC, of Horsham, Pa., one of nation’s largest servicers of commercial mortgage loans. Bond is also a published author and frequent lecturer on the topics of data security compliance and litigation.
Heather M. Eichenbaum
Position: Partner, Spector Gadon & Rosen, Marlton
Practice Areas: Commercial litigation, insurance & casualty litigation, professional liability and malpractice litigation
College: University of Rochester, B.A., political science and philosophy, with honors, 1993
Law School: Temple University Beasley School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1996; Political and Civil Rights Law Review, note & comment editor and published author
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 1997-present; Britt, Hankins, Schaible & Moughan, Philadelphia, associate, 1996-97
Profile: Primarily a litigator, Eichenbaum has made a subspecialty of amusement ride safety issues, defending amusement venues such as Six Flags Great Adventure (N.J.), Gillian’s Wonderland (N.J)., Gillian’s Island Water Park (N.J.), Holiday World (Ind.), Reithoffer Shows (Pa.), Jim Houghton Enterprises (Pa.), Playland’s Castaway Cove (N.J.), and Storybook Land (N.J.). She has produced a string of defense verdicts in accident ride injury cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania courts. Other clients include Atlantic Pier Amusements, Inc. (“Steel Pier”), Moser Rides (Italy) and Rides-4-U (N.J.), in corporate, commercial, employee training and defense matters; American Specialty and ACE Insurance Company, in defense of amusement, sports, and recreation association and venue insureds; Great American Insurance Company, in defense of amusement venue insureds and professional malpractice suits; T.H.E. Insurance Company, defense of amusement and sports venue insureds; Haas & Wilkerson, defense of amusement venue insureds; and International Rides Management amusement ride purchase and performance contracts negotiation, review and preparation (nationally and internationally performing New Jersey-based client). She serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials and serves as its national legal counsel, in which capacity she is regularly called upon to evaluate legal issues, analyze ethics complaints and advise the executive committee. At her firm, Eichenbaum supervises a staff of associates and paralegals and also serves on the Business Development and Marketing committees.
David A. Filippelli
Position: Partner, Gibbons, Trenton
Practice Areas: Government affairs
College: Fairfield University, B.A., political science and sociology, 1995
Law School: American University, Washington College of Law, J.D., 2000
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2003-present; U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., legislative and communications director, 2001-03, 1997-2000; Appia Group, LLC, vice president, public affairs, 2000-01
Profile: Filippelli chairs Gibbons’ Government Affairs Department, a four-attorney practice that for the past three years has led all New Jersey lawyer-lobbying practices groups in gross revenues. Major clients include Cablevision, Virtua, Wyndham Worldwide, Autism New Jersey (a not-for-profit organization for families affected by autism), New Jersey Citizens’ Coalition for Cures (a grassroots advocacy organization for the advancement of stem cell research) and Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, for which he is also communications and media relations strategist. Filipelli was also Government Affairs Counsel and Communications and Media Relations Strategist for New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, the organization whose efforts led New Jersey to become the first state in the country to abolish the death penalty since capital punishment was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 1976. Gibbons credits Filipelli with fostering the growth of two new successful areas of government practice — federal government affairs and media relations/crisis communications consulting — that have generated significant added revenues. Gibbons is now one of a handful of New Jersey-based lobbying firms that interacts daily with members of Congress and their staffs on behalf of the state’s corporate entities. Filippelli counsels clients specifically on how the media impacts the formation of public policy. Prior to joining Gibbons in 2003, Filippelli served two stints as legislative and communications director for Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-8th), focusing extensively on complex health care, public safety, and environmental matters.
Tricia M. Gasparine
Position: Counsel, Wolff & Samson, West Orange
Practice Area: Public finance
College: Villanova University, B.S., accounting (minor: sociology), cum laude, 1996
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1999; Seton Hall Law Review, notes editor
Clerkship: Hon. Richard Newman, J.A.D., 1999-2000
Career History: Current firm, counsel, 2009-present, associate, 2000-05; McManimon & Scotland, partner, 2005-09
Profile: In her decade of experience in public finance, Gasparine has advised on billions of dollars worth of public financings involving the state of New Jersey and its agencies and authorities. She has acted as bond counsel in transactions involving the state, the N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority, the N.J. Economic Development Authority, the N.J. Transportation Trust Fund Authority, the N.J. Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, the N.J. Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and municipal and county-level issuers. In 2009, she assisted as bond counsel to the Economic Development Authority in the state’s first qualified school construction bond issue, a $19 million transaction to help finance the expansion of a charter school in Newark. In 2003, she assisted as bond counsel to the N.J. Turnpike Authority in connection with the issuance of nearly $2.5 billion in revenue bonds to effectuate consolidation of the N.J. Highway Authority into the Turnpike Authority. She assisted in drafting enabling legislation for major financing initiatives on behalf of the Economic Development Authority and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. She participated in more than $5 billion in notional amount of interest rate swaps and other derivative transactions. Gasparine also represents underwriters, trustees, credit enhancers, developers and derivative transaction counterparties. Among the major clients she serves as underwriter’s counsel are Citigroup Global Markets Inc., JP Morgan Securities LLC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Position: Counsel, Fahy Choi, Rutherford
Practice Areas: Charitable organizations, small businesses, matrimonial and family law
College: Ohio State University, B.A., political science, 1998
Law School: Rutgers Law School-Newark, J.D., 2003; Women’s Rights Law Reporter, articles editor
Career History: Current firm, counsel, 2009-present; N.J. Office of the Public Defender, Office of Parental Representation, assistant deputy public defender, 2006-09; Northeast New Jersey Legal Services, staff attorney, 2003-06
Profile: Gomez came to private practice from a background as both a public defender and a legal services attorney, which gave her a thorough immersion in public service law. Her litigation successes included representing the parent in Department of Youth and Family Services vs. D.H. and J.V., 398 N.J. Super 333 (App. Div 2008), which held that Kinship Legal Guardianship is a permanent plan by statute. She drafted Northeast New Jersey Legal Services’ amicus curiae brief on behalf of a tenants association in LBK Associates et al. v. Borough of Lodi et al., A-1829-05T2 (App. Div. 2007), which overturned the use of eminent domain for commercial development. In her present practice, Gomez represents small businesses like Trends Boutique LLC of Hoboken, in commercial and litigation matters, and nonprofits like
Kelly Fund for Lupus Inc. of Tenafly and AmpleHarvest.org of Newfoundland, N.J., performing corporate services and advising on ancillary matters. She has been highly active in charitable efforts, including serving on the boards of trustees of the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation of New Jersey and of Rutgers University, where she is active on the Audit and Nominating committees. Last March, she co-founded the Student Achievement Network, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to enhancing the long-term educational and professional opportunities of low-income and working-class youth in Ohio. Gomez created and hosted a public access show, “Legally Speaking,” which informs Passaic County residents about their legal rights and responsibilities
Richard Grungo Jr.
Position: Partner, Archer & Greiner, Haddonfield
Practice Areas: Personal injury, catastrophic injury, medical negligence, vehicle crashes, construction accidents, product liability, consumer fraud, alcohol-related injuries and insurance coverage
College: St. Joseph’s University, B.S., psychology, with honors, 1995
Law School: Rutgers Law School-Newark, J.D., with honors, 1998
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 1998-present
Profile: One of the youngest attorneys ever to make partner at Archer & Greiner, Grungo directs and supervises other attorneys, paralegals and support staff in the Medical & Personal Injury Group in litigation and prelitigation activities. In the last five years, Grungo has obtained more than $50 million in verdicts and settlements, according to the firm, which credits his record of recoveries not only to his legal acumen and trial skills but also to his ability to lead a team. Among his notable trial victories are Estate of Rodriguez v. Abramowitz (Superior Court, Atlantic County, May 31, 2006), a $4 million medical malpractice verdict on behalf of the estate and survivors of a man who died of a heart attack; Riley v. Keenan and State Farm Ins. Co. (Superior Court, Camden County, May 2007), a $2.75 million verdict in a suit by an injured couple against a drunk driver and a bar and liquor store that had served him; B.H., a minor v. Christine Mischenko (Superior Court, Morris County, December 2009), a $26 million verdict against a behavioral therapist for the physical and sexual abuse of a 4-year-old autistic boy, which was caught on a hidden camera; and Kearney v. Eurest Dining Services (Superior Court, Ocean County, May 2005), a $1.97 million settlement for a woman injured by slipping on a puddle of water from a leaky ice machine at her office’s cafeteria.
Joshua N. Howley
Position: Partner, Sills Cummis & Gross, Newark
Practice Areas: Commercial litigation
College: Rutgers University, B.S., political science (minor: criminal justice), with highest honors, 1997
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 2001
Clerkship: Hon. Charles J. Walsh, J.S.C., 2001-02
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2006-present; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, associate, 2002-06
Profile: Howley made partner at Sills Cummis at the age of 36 in 2010, just four years after joining the firm. He has a reputation as an aggressive litigator, having first-chaired trials in both the New Jersey Superior Court and the federal District Court and Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey. The firm says he has been spearheading its burgeoning foreclosure practice on behalf of Fortune 500 lending institutions. His client list includes Bank of America, N.A., for work on resolving commercial loan defaults; Hudson Advisors of Dallas, Texas, in commercial foreclosure litigations and loan modification negotiations; and Yorkville Advisors, LLC, Jersey City, in a range of disputes including for emergent injunctive relief, breach of insurance contracts, enforcement of loan documents and alleged fraudulent transfers. Among his significant trial victories is Bank of America v. 744 Elroy Urban Renewal Investors, LLC et al., No. F-12621-10 (Superior Court, Essex County, Chancery Division), where, representing Bank of America as agent for a syndicate of lenders in connection with a $72 million loan secured by a 33-story office tower, he obtained summary judgment and dismissal with prejudice of the borrowers’ counterclaim and affirmative defenses. As a partner, he is responsible for daily supervision of associates and paralegals in his practice group. Among his volunteer efforts, Howley is an appointed member of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s District V-A Ethics Committee, where he investigates ethics grievances against attorneys in Newark.
Position: Partner, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, Cherry Hill
Practice Areas: Mortgage and lending litigation, mass tort, products liability, health care, UCC, construction, fidelity and surety, insurance, and general commercial litigation
College: University of Texas at Austin, B.A., magna cum laude, 1996
Law School: Boston University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1999
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2003-present; Pepper Hamilton, associate, 1999-2003
Profile: A partner since 2009, Hurwitz focuses a good deal of his practice on litigating claims against lenders under federal and state consumer finance laws, including the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and state unfair trade practices and consumer protection laws. He represents clients in matters involving title insurance claims, lien priority disputes and class actions involving financial products and services. His practice includes representing consumer and commercial lenders in a variety of claims, such as litigation arising out of troubled loans, fraud, credit reporting, debt collection practices and claims involving the origination, servicing, reporting and collection of loans; defending banks from claims involving converted, forged and altered checks under the Uniform Commercial Code, as well as claims under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act; representing multinational companies in litigation and regulatory matters stemming from alleged injuries from exposure to pharmaceutical products; defending sureties in litigation arising from payment and performance bond claims stemming from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey construction projects; representing both owners and contractors in a range of construction disputes involving construction defect, breach of contract and mechanics’ lien claims; and representing property-casualty insurers in commercial and personal lines coverage disputes, including home-
owners, motor vehicle and flood-related coverage litigation.
Anthony C. Iacocca
Position: Partner, Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas, New Brunswick
Practice Areas: Redevelopment, real estate, municipal government, admiralty/maritime law, green building law
College: New York University, B.A., psychology, 1996
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1999
Clerkship: Hon. Maurice Gallipoli, J.S.C., 1999-2000
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2000-present
Profile: A partner since 2009, Iacocca is prized by his firm for his ability to embrace work that does not fit neatly into a specific practice area. “A throwback to the days of general practitioners,” says partner Paul Dolan. Hoagland, Longo credits Iacocca with single handedly starting its admiralty/maritime practice. And he is one of the pioneers of the firm’s newly formed Green Building Practice group, becoming credentialed as a LEED Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council. His clients include the Sayreville Economic and Redevelopment Agency, which he assists with agency attorney services, such as representation at public meetings and subcommittee meetings; negotiation and preparation of redevelopment and acquisition agreements, including Brownfields redevelopment; and preparation of resolutions and various land acquisition documents. He assisted the agency in the sale of the first and largest section of the former National Lead Industries, Inc., site, the largest waterfront Brownfield Redevelopment project on the East Coast. Another major client is the Township of Bethlehem, for which he provides township attorney services, including representation at committee meetings; open space acquisitions and various land use projects; and preparation of legal opinions, various agreements, ordinances and resolutions. And in the area of admiralty, he represented Poling & Cutler Marine Transportation Inc. in the construction financing and permanent facility financing for a new 80,000 BBL raised, double-hull oil tank barge, including the acquisition of a 5,000 HP commercial tug.
Position: Assistant General Counsel, Honeywell, Morris Township
Practice Areas: Corporate transactions, mergers & acquisitions
College: Yale University, B.A., economics and political science, 1995
Law School: University of Pennsylvania, J.D., cum laude, 1998; University of Pennsylvania Law Review, articles editor
Clerkship: Chief Justice Herbert P. Wilkins, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1998-99
Career History: Current firm, assistant general counsel, 2005-present; Davis Polk & Wardwell, associate, 1999-2005
Profile: As Honeywell’s assistant general counsel for corporate transactions, Kent is an essential part of an M&A team which has successfully completed more than 60 acquisitions and 40 divestitures since 2002. He has been personally involved in more than $4.8 billion worth of transactions for the company since 2008, including the acquisitions of companies that have been successfully integrated within Honeywell and, according to management, are achieving very positive results. The companies acquired include Sperian Protection, a French publicly traded personal protection equipment (PPE) company, in a 2010 contested transaction for cash (approximately €900 million, plus assumption of debt); Matrikon Inc., a Canadian publicly traded (TSX) software-application provider (process optimization) for the petrochemical, power, and mining industries, for cash (approximately CAN$140 million), also in 2010; Metrologic Inc., a handheld scanner manufacturer headquartered in the U.S., from Francisco Partners for cash (approximately $720 million), in 2008; and Safety Products Holdings Inc., a personal protective gear manufacturer marketed primarily under the “Norcross” and “North Safety” product brands and headquartered in the U.S., from Odyssey Partners for cash (approximately $1.22 billion), also in 2008. This past year, Kent was integrally involved in the acquisition of EMS Technologies Inc., a U.S. publicly traded provider of wireless connectivity solutions, for cash (approximately $491 million, net of cash acquired). The transaction, announced June 13, is expected to close this quarter.
Alan B. Leeds
Born: Born: April 17, 1974
Position: Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Princeton
Practice Areas: Business and finance
College: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, B.S., economics with concentrations in finance and accounting, summa cum laude, 1996
Law School: Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1999; Harvard Journal on Legislation, line editor
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2003 to present; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, associate, 2000-03
Profile: A partner since 2008, Leeds has extensive transactional experience representing and advising life sciences companies that range from early-stage biotechnology startups to global pharmaceutical companies, on corporate transactions that include joint ventures, commercial collaborations and product divestitures. He advises them on negotiation and structuring of strategic alliances, corporate partnering arrangements, licensing transactions, supply and distribution arrangements, co-promotion arrangements and other collaborations. In addition, he advises on financing transactions such as equity investments and royalty monetizations with a focus on the life sciences industry. A major client is Merck & Co., whom he represented in several transactions, including in the creation of a joint venture this year with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., a leading Indian multinational pharmaceutical company, to develop, manufacture, and commercialize new combinations and formulations of innovative, branded generics in the emerging markets. He has represented Biovail Corporation (now Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.) in multiple transactions, including its subsidiary’s license agreement with Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co. Ltd. to acquire the U.S. and Canadian rights to commercialize products containing istradefylline, a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. He represented H. Lundbeck A/S in its agreement with Myriad Genetics, Inc., pursuant to which Lundbeck acquired European commercialization rights to Myriad’s Flurizan® (tarenflurbil), an anti-amyloid drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. And he represented Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals of Parsippany, a generic pharmaceutical developer, to help it obtain venture capital financing to fund its operations.
Position: Partner, Pashman Stein, Hackensack
Practice Areas: Commercial litigation, appeals
College: College of the Holy Cross, B.A., political science (minor: peace and conflict studies), 1996
Law School: Rutgers Law School-Newark, J.D., witht honors, 1999
Career History: Current firm, partner, 2005-present; Debevoise & Plimpton, associate, 1999-2005
Profile: Mack’s litigation practice covers several substantive areas of law, which he crosscuts with seeming ease and with a high rate of success. He made headlines in 2009 for helping former N.Y. Giant Michael Strahan in a divorce-case appeal, overturning what was likely the largest child support award in New Jersey history, Strahan v. Strahan, 402 N.J.Super. 298 (App. Div. 2008). And his legal work on behalf of asylum seekers detained in a private jail resulted in Hawa Abdi Jama et al. v. Esmor Correctional Services, 343 F.Supp2d 338 (D.N.J. 2004), the first court ruling that U.S. citizens could be held liable for violations of international law under the Alien Tort Claims Statute. His main concentration area is commercial litigation, and his significant cases include National Lighting Company, Inc. v. Bridge Metal Industries, LLC, 601 F.Supp.2d 556 (S.D.N.Y. 2009), where as lead counsel he successfully defended Bridge Metal Industries against federal Lanham Act and New York State claims and later, in New Jersey Superior Court, against New Jersey state law claims. In Burns v. Anderson, 123 Fed.Appx. 543 (4th Cir. 2004), Mack represented an individual lender in a loan default matter, handling discovery and trial testimony, successfully defending an $11.3 million judgment on appeal and leading an international effort to collect it. In the bankruptcy arena, he has represented Owens Corning in a nationwide asbestos roofing- product liability class action. His volunteer work includes service on the District II-B Ethics Committee in Bergen County since 2006.
Thomas R. McConnell
Position: Senior Associate, Winne, Banta, Hetherington, Basralian & Kahn, Hackensack
Practice Areas: Family law
College: Saint Thomas Aquinas College, B.A., criminal justice/sociology, magna cum laude, 1995
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1999
Clerkship: Hon. Ellen Koblitz, P.J.S.C., 1999-2000
Career History: Current firm, senior associate, 2010-present; Kleeblatt, Galler & Abramson, associate, 2000-09
Profile: As assistant to the chair of his firm’s Family Law Department, McConnell plays key roles by maintaining the research and brief banks, drafting the family law blog and working on client and departmental development. His notable trial work includes Pennello v. Pennello, FD-12-1181-03, where he secured the right of his client and her daughter, who had been returned to the U.S. under the Hague Convention after absconding to South Africa, to go back to that country. Other successful cases include Piemonte v. Piemonte, FM-02-208-09, where he represented the husband in a matter that involved high income support, assets, complex custody issues and domestic violence cases and prevailed in having him designated as parent of primary residence of the minor child of the marriage; and Netelkos v. Netelkos, FM-02-1403-02, where after a five-day trial he persuaded the court to impute income to the husband in excess of $100,000, as he underreported his income. In a reported case, Shah v. Shah, 373 N.J.Super 47 (App.Div 2004), McConnell secured an appellate ruling that a husband who was a resident of Illinois and had never visited New Jersey could not be sued here under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act due to lack of personal jurisdiction. The state Supreme Court eventually ruled that even a hearing on a final restraining order was outside the trial court’s jurisdiction, 184 NJ 125 (2005). McConnell consistently logs 40 hours a year handling domestic violence cases pro bono.
Valarie H. McPherson
Position: Senior associate, Proskauer Rose, Newark
Practice Areas: Immigration and nationality law
College: American University, B.A., Latin American studies, 1996
Law School: Rutgers Law School- Camden, J.D., 2000; Rutgers Law Journal
Clerkship: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, 2000-01 — attorney advisor to 30 immigration judges
Career History: Current firm, senior associate, 2001-present
Profile: A mainstay of Proskauer’s Immigration & Nationality Group for almost 10 years, McPherson manages a large, diverse case load consisting primarily of applications for legal immigration status for workers and others. The firm credits her with originating several new, substantial clients through her community involvement and marketing efforts, specifically, Portfolio Media, Inc. (Law360) — a publisher of news and data for litigators — and Icelandic Glacial Water, which is partially owned by Anheuser-Busch. McPherson is national co-head of the immigration team handling HSBC Bank, N.A., the largest client of the group with more than 500 cases. She supervises an associate, seven paralegals and a project assistant in sundry tasks. Other major clients for which she manages employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions include Swatch Group (U.S.) Inc. of Weehawken; Church & Dwight Co., Inc., of Princeton; Pilot Training College, Melbourne, Fla., and Waterford, Ireland; Ossur Americas, Inc., of Foothill Ranch, Calif.; StereoD LLC of Van Nuys, Calif.; Altima Partners of New York City and London; and Element Capital Management of New York City. Notably, she secured an “Extraordinary Ability Green Card” for the chief financial officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb, demonstrating her international acclaim as one of the top in her field — a difficult bar for business people in a category that lends itself more directly to artists and performers. McPherson is a member of the firm’s Associates Committee and acts as a mentor and trainer for junior associates.
Sandra S. Moran
Position: Partner, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Princeton
Practice Areas: Litigation
College: Rutgers College, B.A., political science and communications, cum laude, 1998
Law School: Rutgers Law School-Newark, J.D., 2001;, Rutgers Law Review, notes and comments editor
Career History: Current firm, partner, 2005 to present; Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, associate, 2001-04
Profile: Moran became a partner in 2010 at age 33, making her the youngest partner in the firm, and she has assumed several management roles. She serves on the Associates Committee, which handles hiring of associates and sets compensation; the Recruiting Committee for the Princeton office; the Summer Associate Committee; and the Website Committee, which has been instrumental in the design and launch of firm’s new website. Moran also is the Princeton Office’s pro bono coordinator, which involves facilitating the assignments of pro bono cases for 15 Princeton attorneys. In her practice, she is a team leader in the Business Litigation and Trial Practice Group, with 15 attorneys reporting to her. Her litigation clients include CareOne Management, LLC, of Fort Lee; BAE Systems, Inc., of Johnson City, N.Y.; and The Lash Group of Charlotte, N.C. She also represents Xenna Corporation, of Princeton, in general advice and counseling. In her volunteer activities, Moran has held leadership roles in organizations that advocate on behalf of women in the profession. Notably, she is the president-elect of the Junior League of Greater Princeton, a charitable organization. She has also been a board member of the Zonta Club of Trenton/Mercer, a service organization that seeks to improve the lives of women and children through hands-on service projects and fundraising events, and of Women’s Fund of New Jersey, which invests in organizations that provide housing, health care, education, counseling, job and life skills training to women and girls throughout the state.
Michael N. Morea
Position: Special Counsel, Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, Hackensack
Practice Areas: Employment law, business litigation
College: Villanova University, B.A., philosophy, 1994
Law School: Pace University School of Law, J.D., 1997; Environmental Law Review
Clerkship: Hon. Peter Boggia, J.S.C., 1997-98
Career History: Current firm, special counsel, 2002-present; Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, associate, 2001-02; Durkin & Boggia, associate, 1998-2001
Profile: Morea is a busy, seasoned litigator who also provides day-to-day supervision of associates and paralegals in his practice group. His major clients include EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services, Inc. of Secaucus, in trademark, employment and business litigation; Capintec, Inc., of Ramsey, business litigation; Crown Financial LLC of Houston, Texas, business litigation; Farmland Dairies LLC of Wallington, employment and business litigation; Inserra Supermarkets Inc. of Mahwah, employment litigation; and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Herndon, Va., employment litigation and counseling. Among his significant trial cases that resulted in positive dispositions, he was lead defense counsel for Millennium Automatic Group and Prestige Motors Inc. in In re Mercedes Benz Anti-Trust Litigation (District of New Jersey, No. 99-4311), a class action suit alleging price fixing by Mercedes Benz and Mercedes Benz dealers. In Armstrong v. Volkswagen of America Inc. (Superior Court, Law Division, Hunterdon Co, No. L-364-07), he was lead defense counsel in a suit alleging handicap discrimination. In Salman v. Farmland Dairies Inc. et al. (Superior Court, Law Division, Bergen Co., No. L-6723-08), he was lead defense counsel in a suit alleging national origin discrimination and assault. And in ITelegen, Inc. v. Aprima Medical Software Inc. et. al (Superior Court, Chancery Division, Hudson Co., No. C-105-09), he was lead defense counsel in a case alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and tortious interference. Morea is co-editor of the Cole Schotz Employment Law Monitor blog and is a published author on employment law topics.
Thomas A. Morrone
Position: Partner, Chasan, Leyner and Lamparello, Secaucus
Practice Areas: Insurance defense; public entity defense
College: Boston University, B.S., health sciences (minor in rehabilitation counseling), 1996
Law School: Villanova University School of Law, J.D., 1999
Clerkship: Hon. Richard F. Connors, J.S.C., 1999-2000
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2002-present; Grossman, Kruttschnitt, Heavey & Jacob, associate, 2000-02
Profile: Morrone is head of his firm’s Public Entity/Title 59 Department and responsible for coordinating and managing several attorneys in the defense of public entities. He is also assistant to the chairman of the Insurance Defense Department. Among his public entity clients are Bergen County; the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners; and the township of North Bergen. Other major clients are United Water Company, in liability defense, and Allstate New Jersey Ins. Co. and New Jersey Manufacturers Ins. Co., in insurance defense. Morrone is credited with winning more than 35 jury trials in the Superior Courts of Hudson, Bergen, Passaic and Essex counties since 2004. Among them are Turner v. NJM (Superior Court, Bergen Co.), where as trial counsel for the UIM defendant he won a defense verdict after a six-day trial involving questions of proximate cause and permanency of injuries; Ramirez-Rivas, Christian v Fitzpatrick, Mark et al. (Superior Court, Hudson Co.), where he won a defense verdict as trial counsel for a defendant trucking company and driver; and Rogers v. Farrand et al. (Superior Court, Essex Co.), where we won a defense verdict in a case with issues of proximate cause and permanency. As defense counsel in Griffin v. County of Bergen et al. (Superior Court, Bergen Co.), a suit alleging catastrophic injuries related to roadway maintenance and design, he won summary judgment at the close of discovery.
Elliot D. Ostrove
Position: Partner, Day Pitney, Parsippany
Practice Areas: Commercial litigation, noncompete/restrictive covenant/trade secret litigation-related employment litigation, real estate litigation, class-action defense, shareholder litigation
College: Rutgers College, B.A., political science/music, 1994
Law School: Rutgers Law School-Newark, J.D., 1997
Clerkship: Hon. Wilfred P. Diana, A.J.S.C., 1997-98
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 1998-present
Profile: Ostrove is a litigator in a diverse range of substantive areas as well as an emerging leader at his firm. He is the youngest sitting member of the firm’s Conflict, Ethics, and Loss Prevention Committee, and he serves as a partner mentor to associates, with respect to both substantive legal matters and firm and professional life issues. Ostrove’s major clients include Marc Ecko Enterprises, New York, N.Y., for commercial litigation, intellectual property and general advice; Quest Diagnostics Inc., Madison, for noncompete, nonsolicit and trade-secret litigation; Fidelity National Title Ins. Co., Jacksonville, Fla., for real estate litigation; and Poly-Plus Corporation, Quebec, Canada, for general litigation, noncompete agreement/employment advice for U.S.-based employees. Among his notable cases are OSS Nokalva Inc. v. European Space Agency, 617 F.3d 756 (3d Cir. 2010), where he represented the European Space Agency in a matter alleging breach of certain software license agreements. He represented the New Jersey State Bar Association as amicus curiae in N.J. Lawyers Fund v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co., 203 N.J.208 (2010), which held a title company not liable for an attorney’s misappropriation of closing funds because no agency relationship existed. In his pro bono work at the firm, Ostrove serves as captain of the Bet Tzedek project, overseeing more than 20 attorneys and paralegals assisting Holocaust survivors with the submission of applications for certain payments from the German government.
Position: Associate, Hill Wallack, Princeton
Practice Areas: Real estate, banking and financial services and public finance
College: Rutgers College, B.A., history and political science (minor: English), 1994
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 2001
Career History: Current firm, associate, 1999-present
Profile: As an experienced banking and finance attorney with seniority, Perdoni-Byrne exercises a supervisory role within the Commercial Real Estate and Banking & Financial Services Groups, delegating matters to other lawyers while keeping hands-on control of others. Her major clients, principally in the preparation and review of loan documentation, are TD Bank, N.A., of Cherry Hill, Amboy Bank of Old Bridge, First Bank of Hamilton, Sovereign Bank of Princeton and Trenton Business Assistance Corporation of Mercerville. As to the latter, Perdoni-Byrne is engaged in preparation and review of documentation for loans under the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 Loan Program, a federal program that affords small business borrowers the opportunity to obtain financing for a longer period of time than traditional commercial financing at a fixed rate. Perdoni-Byrne is a Designated Attorney under the program, making her one of the few lawyers in the state to hold that distinction, according to her firm. The designation involved taking a week-long intensive training course in Georgia, and obtaining formal recognition from the SBA District Counsel. In her volunteer work, Perdoni-Byrne is an active member of Habitat for Humanity, Millstone Basin. She serves on the organization’s Family Selection Committee, helping to disseminate information to the public as to the current build project, to educate applicants in the application process to become a selected family, analyze applications for compliance with the program and participate in the final selection of a family. She also participates in the grant-writing process.
Laurie A. Poulos
Position: Of Counsel, Greenberg Traurig, Florham Park
Practice Areas: Commercial litigation
College: State University of New York at Albany, B.A., criminal justice (minor: Spanish), 1996
Law School: Brooklyn Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2001
Clerkship: Hon. William Bassler, U.S.D.J., 2001-02
Career History: Current firm, of counsel, 2006-present; Holland & Knight, associate, 2002-06
Profile: In five years at her firm, Poulos has swiftly developed a strong practice focused largely on class-action defense and health-care litigation. She also represents clients in arbitrations before the AAA and ICC. Her major clients include Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Verizon Wireless and Hitachi. She served as lead defense counsel for Horizon in fraud cases in Essex and Sussex counties filed by hospitals alleging excessive and inaccurate claims. She is also lead defense counsel in McDonough and Helfmann/NJPA v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (District of New Jersey), two putative class actions — one by a class of subscribers and the other by a class of providers — alleging underpayment of benefits relating to the manner in which Horizon processed and paid claims for services provided by out-of-network providers to insureds. In Cellco Partnershp d/b/a Verizon Wireless v Worldwide Investigations Inc. et al. (District of New Jersey), she was counsel for Verizon Wireless in an action to enjoin “pretexters” from using fraud, deceit and trickery to obtain access to confidential information about company’s cellular phone customers. She obtained a permanent injunction. In firm management, Poulos is the New Jersey liaison for Greenberg Traurig’s Women’s Initiative and oversees implementation of local programs. She is an active member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association.
Melissa Ann Provost
Position: Counsel, Saiber, Florham Park
Practice Areas: Insurance coverage litigation; employment and labor law; education law; environmental compliance & litigation; professional liability counseling and litigation
College: University of Maryland, B.A., government & politics/Spanish, 1995
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1998; Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal, notes and comments editor
Clerkship: Hon. Mahlon L. Fast, J.S.C., 1998-99
Career History: Current firm, associate then counsel, 1999-present
Profile: Provost has a strong combination of experience in the fields of insurance coverage and employment law. She defends carriers in declaratory judgment actions and bad-faith lawsuits brought by insureds and others, and counsels carriers and drafts opinion letters that analyze coverage issues arising out of general liability, professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability and homeowners’ policies. Major insurance clients include Allstate New Jersey and Chartis Insurance. In employment law matters, she defends claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, hostile work environment, and violations of CEPA and ERISA; litigates breaches of restrictive covenants, employment and severance agreements, as well as improper disclosure of trade secrets and proprietary information; and counsels corporate clients on matters of employee discipline and discharge. Provost also has performed a number of internal investigations regarding employee issues for the firm’s clients, including the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Princeton University; Allegiance Community Bank; Mennekes Electrical Products; CFK Oakwood Urban Renewal, LLC; and Integrated Resources, Inc. In addition to serving as the responsible attorney on a number of litigation matters, and supervising associates and staff, Provost participates in developing and presenting in-house associate seminars on a variety of topics, including employment law and the art of taking depositions. She actively mentors junior associates about litigation and firm life.
James T. Prusinowski
Position: Managing Partner, Knapp, Trimboli & Prusinowski, Florham Park
Practice Areas: Labor and employment, commercial litigation, corporate
College: University of Northern Colorado, B.A., English literature (minor: creative writing), 1996
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 2001
Clerkships: Hon. Roger F. Mahon, P.J.S.C., 2001-02
Career History: Current firm, partner, 2008-present; Laufer, Knapp, Dalena, Trimboli & Cadicina, associate, 2003-08; Fogarty & Hara, associate, 2002-03
Profile: As managing partner of his growing seven-lawyer firm, Prusinowski handles all day-to-day administration, including personnel, finances, marketing, advertising, client relations and other necessary tasks. He does this while carrying a full load of litigation, employment and corporate clients, among them the County of Sussex, for which he counsels regarding personnel matters; conducts departmental hearings for employee discipline; serves as lead counsel in disciplinary matters before the Office of Administrative Law; handles unemployment appeals and labor arbitrations; and advises concerning labor union disputes and unfair practices. He has also defended the City of Trenton in numerous litigation matters brought by whistleblowers or claimed victims of discrimination, including Parker v. City of Trenton (Superior Court, Mercer Co.) and Flores v. City of Trenton (Superior Court, Mercer Co.), both resulting in summary judgment for the city. Other major clients include Harding Township, for counseling regarding personnel matters and representation in labor arbitrations; PBA Local 29, Irvington, for labor issues including negotiations, arbitrations and litigation; and ProtecHockey, Somerset, which he serves as general counsel and also represents in pending litigation concerning the construction and maintenance of a facility. Prusinowski is also a frequent lecturer for the Morris County Bar Association on employment law issues.
Brian D. Reynolds
Position: Partner, Mantell, Prince & Reynolds, Murray Hill
Practice Areas: Estate Planning and administration; business planning; estate litigation
College: York College of Pennsylvania, B.S., criminal justice (minors: sociology and criminal procedure), 1997
Law School: New York Law School, J.D., 2000; New York University School of Law, LL.M., taxation, 2005
Career History: Current firm, associate, tier partner then equity partner, 2000-present
Profile: Reynolds became a full equity partner this year and had his name added to the masthead at his firm, an eight-attorney tax, trust and estate boutique. The firm credits Reynolds with quickly grasping the complex practice area and beginning to generate his own client base after only a couple of years as an associate. He has been assigned direct responsibility for handling many of the firm’s most important clients, many of whom now choose to deal directly with him, according to his partners. Many of his clients have also been referred by individuals with a long-standing relationship with the firm. He represents over 60 individuals, families and businesses from various counties in the states of New Jersey and New York in connection with their estate planning and business transaction, and he currently represents five estates that are in various stages of the estate administration process. Over the past several years, he has also taken on significant administrative responsibilities for the firm, including overseeing its 401(k) profit sharing plan, health insurance benefits, personnel matters, file management and other various day-to-day operations. Reynolds has lectured extensively to various chapters of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and the general public through several charitable organizations, including The Jointure and the the New Jersey Bar Foundation. He has also developed a significant network of other professionals, including fellow attorneys, accountants, bankers, money managers and brokers.
Angela M. Scafuri
Position: Partner, Bressler, Amery & Ross, Florham Park,
Practice Areas: Commercial litigation, insurance litigation, family law
College: Colgate University, B.A., Spanish and English literature, 1996
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 2000; Certification in International Law
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2003-present; Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, associate, 2000-02
Profile: Scafuri runs a solid commercial and insurance litigation practice at Bressler, Amery, where she has thrived since moving there eight years ago. She is active in firm management, serving on the Hiring and Professional Development committees. She is a published author in such diverse topics as e-discovery, property settlement agreements in divorce cases, employee injuries, intentional interference with contractual relations and international organization immunities. Scafuri also stands out in her ability to combine a busy docket with extensive work in pro bono and volunteer matters, notably serving as a team leader for the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project and handling numerous court cases herself. She is also active in the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Women in the Profession Section, the National Association of Women Lawyers, the New Jersey Defense Association and the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.
Position: Partner, Trenk, DiPasquale, Webster, Della Fera & Sodono, West Orange
Practice Areas: Bankruptcy, debtor/creditor rights, and commercial litigation
College: Lehigh University, B.A., government (minors: philosophy and Jewish studies), 1995
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1998; Seton Hall Legislative Journal
Clerkship: Hon. Robert Feldman, J.S.C., 1998-99
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 1999-present
Profile: Schiff’s practice is primarily in bankruptcy court, frequently representing Chapter 7 trustees and also appearing for Chapter 11 debtors. Among her notable cases is In re Bernea Smith, where as counsel for the Chapter 7 trustee she won a ruling from the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that prepetition counsel for the debtor was not entitled to an attorney’s lien on the settlement of the debtor’s personal injury claim. A partner since 2007, Schiff chairs the firm’s Records Management Committee, which is responsible for implementation of its document management system and supervision of its Records Management Department. She also serves on the firm’s Hiring Committee, supervising the hiring process for attorneys, summer associates and paralegals, and she co-chairs the Summer Associate Program Committee that coordinates each year’s program. In her volunteer activities, she has since 2007 been a board member of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, New Jersey, and since last year has been a board member of Partners for Women and Justice, for which she chaired this year’s annual gala that the firm says was well-attended and successful in fund raising. For several years through 2009, she chaired the Essex County Bar Association’s Law Day program, enlisting dozens of attorneys to educate children in schools throughout the county, the state’s largest, about the importance of the rule of law in our society.
Jennifer L. Schwartz
Position: Partner, Fox Rothschild, Lawrenceville
Practice Areas: Corporate, health law
College: Denison University, B.A., 1994
Law School: Widener University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1997
Career History: Current firm, partner, 2010-present; Our Lady of Lourdes Health Care Services, Inc., Camden, general counsel, 2007-10; Gluck Walrath, partner, 2003-07
Profile: Schwartz made the jump from in-house to outside general counsel at Lourdes Health System, where she had worked for three years. The three-hospital New Jersey health system, previously known as Cathedral Health System, was the subject of a state-supported acquisition that resulted in the closure of two hospitals and the redevelopment of the third to become part of the newly created Catholic Health East–New Jersey, Lourdes’ parent. Schwartz advised on all issues relating to the acquisition, including the review and negotiation of more than 70 physician arrangements prior to closing. At Fox Rothschild, she continues to provide the hospital system with general counsel support services in health care, corporate and tax-exempt matters. Among her significant transactions, she is lead counsel for Lourdes’ purchase of a 31-physician cardiology practice and another 16-physician cardiology practice this year. As lead counsel for Lourdes, she was also instrumental in the establishment of an affiliation relationship between Deborah Heart and Lung Center and Lourdes Health System, including the establishment of emergency department on site of Deborah. And as lease counsel for Lourdes, she performed all of the legal and regulatory work necessary to establish one of the first programs for the all-inclusive care of the elderly (PACE Programs) in New Jersey. Schwartz provides like services for Sacred Heart Health System in Allentown, St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, Somerset Medical Center in Somerville and Greater Trenton Behavioral Healthcare in Trenton.
Willard C. Shih
Position: Partner, Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, Woodbridge
Practice Areas: Commercial litigation
College: Columbia University, B.A., political science, 1993
Law School: Fordham University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1996; Fordham Law Review, associate editor
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2001-present; Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, associate, 1998-2001; Cahill Gordon & Reindel, associate, 1996-98
Profile: Joining Wilentz Goldman in 2001 after stints at two major Wall Street firms, Shih was elevated to partner in 2005, making him the firm’s first partner of color. He is the founder and chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and also serves on the Professional Evaluation Committee, which monitors the performance of all associates. A significant portion of his litigation practice is devoted to representing some of the largest law firms in New Jersey, as well as nationally, including Day Pitney, Norris McLaughlin & Marcus and Nixon Peabody. He is also lead counsel in lawsuits in which he has represented a range of clients, from the firm’s largest (Hess Corp. and Verizon) to individual business owners. Shih is also active in volunteer efforts, having served as an appointed member of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s committees on Civil Trial Practice, Complementary Dispute Resolution and the Rules of Evidence and as a panel chair of a fee arbitration committee. He has also devoted his time to the Asian Pacific American Lawyers’ Association of New Jersey as an officer and director, working to further diversity initiatives as well as professional development of attorneys and law students. In that capacity, he developed a long-running mock interview workshop and a mentor program. He also was responsible for all panel presentations during the 2010 Northeast Regional Conference for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association that New Jersey hosted and that was attended by attorneys from six states.
Jaimee Katz Sussner
Position: Partner, Herrick, Feinstein, Newark
Practice Areas: Real estate, commercial and creditors’ rights litigation, real estate loans, title insurance
College: Emory University, B.A., political science and philosophy, 1993
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1996
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2000-present; Friedman Siegelbaum, associate, 1998-2000; Wong Tsai & Fleming, associate, 1996-98
Profile: In 2000, Sussner was one of seven members of a practice group that left Friedman Siegelbaum to establish Herrick’s Newark office. She had already built expertise in the areas of real estate, commercial litigation and creditors’ rights, but she saw the firm’s clients were in need of a concentration in real estate litigation. She helped to create from scratch the firm’s New Jersey title insurance practice, which she now heads. Among her most significant cases representing title insurers is N.J. Lawyers Fund for Client Protection v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co. et al., 203 N.J.208 (2010), which resulted in a New Jersey Supreme Court victory limiting the scope of a title insurance company’s liability for attorney misconduct. Sussner litigated and argued the case for the title insurance company at all phases of the litigation. In U.S. v. Esdale (District of New Jersey), Herrick, Feinstein was brought in by a title insurer after three years of protracted litigation to defend an insured property owner in a suit by the federal government over purchase of a parcel of real estate at a U.S. Marshal’s sale. Sussner litigated and argued the case, and in a relatively short amount of time won summary judgment dismissing the claims. Sussner co-chairs the firm’s Insurance Litigation Practice Group and is a member of the Real Estate Litigation Practice and Construction and Real Estate Practice groups. She also co-chairs the firm’s mentoring committee.
Mitchell W. Taraschi
Position: Partner, Connell Foley, Roseland
Practice Areas: Complex business, construction and banking litigation
College: Lafayette College, B.A., government & law, magna cum laude, 1995
Law School: University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1998
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 1998-present
Profile: Taraschi has spent his entire career so far at Connell Foley, and the firm credits him with delivering successful outcomes for clients across a range of industries, from private and public works contractors, to cosmetics companies, pharmaceutical companies and banks. His notable cases include representation of a national bank, TD Bank, N.A., in a variety of cases totaling millions of dollars, including claims of fraud, embezzlement and forged checks. Other major litigation clients and matters are Pulte Group, Inc., a developer in a multi-million dollar construction case including claims by a homeowners’ association relating to alleged deficient design and/or defective construction of various buildings, roadways and irrigation systems; Gilbane Building Company, a national construction management firm in multimillion dollar construction litigation with the New Jersey Schools Development Authority; and Rainmaker Capital of North Haledon, a developer, relating to the multimillion dollar foreclosure of two parcels of property to be developed for residential use. Taraschi’s leadership role at the firm involves mentoring younger associates and volunteering to serve on committees, such as the firm’s Hiring Committee. He also supervises a group of associate attorneys. He was instrumental in identifying expansion opportunities to grow the firm’s presence by opening an office in the Cherry Hill area, the firm says. In his off hours, Taraschi has for five years volunteered as a board member and chief administrative officer of Amenity LLC, a humanitarian organization. In addition to fundraising efforts, he is solely responsible for identifying which charities the company will donate to through each calendar year and for communicating with each charity to effectuate the gifts.
S. Jason Teele
Position: Partner, Lowenstein Sandler, Roseland
Practice Areas: Bankruptcy
College: Rutgers University, B.A., political science and history, 1993; Seton Hall University, M.P.A., public administration, 1997
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2001
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2001-present
Profile: As a member of the firm’s Bankruptcy, Financial Reorganization & Creditors’ Rights Group, Teele represents debtors, unsecured and secured creditors in Chapter 11 cases throughout the United States. He currently serves as counsel for Meridian Behavioral Health LLC and its affiliates in Chapter 11 cases pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, and as counsel for U.S. Eagle Corp. and its affiliates in Chapter 11 cases pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. He also represents a substantial constituency in the Raser Technologies, Inc., Chapter 11 case pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Other recent representations have been as debtor’s counsel to EPV Solar, Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of solar panels; Nicos Polymers LLC, a leader in the post-industrial recycling industry; Creative Group, Inc., a leading media and television post-production company; and IFL Corp., a sports entertainment company that supervised a leading mixed martial arts league. Recent engagements by creditors’ committees or creditors holding substantial claims in Chapter 11 cases include: Mount Vernon Monetary Monetary Management Corp., Pliant Corporation, Stant Parent Corp., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Lyondell Chemical Company, General Growth Properties Inc., General Motors Corp., Idearc Inc., MES International Inc., Thornburg Mortgage Co. and Fremont General Corp. Teele has lectured on preference actions, issues affecting secured creditors and the role of unsecured creditors’ committees in bankruptcy and is a frequent author on bankruptcy issues. He also serves on Lowenstein’s Strategic Planning-Entrepreneurial Culture Implementation Task Force.
Helen E. Tuttle
Position: Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Florham Park
Practice Areas: Labor & employment
College: Franklin & Marshall College, B.A., 1994
Law School: Temple University Beasley School of Law, J.D., 1998
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2006-present; K&L Gates, associate, 2002-06; Day Pitney, associate, 2001-02
Profile: Tuttle, who was made a partner last year, had been successful at generating significant business revenue for the firm well before her elevation. The firm says her book of business had grown each year, a rare feat for associates or partners, especially in the current economic climate. Tuttle concentrates her practice in management-side labor and employment issues, listing among her major clients BMW of North America LLC, Fujifilm Holdings America Corporation, Halliburton and Rémy Cointreau U.S.A. Inc. Her representation includes counseling on employment issues such as obligations under federal and state laws, disciplinary actions, terminations, reorganizations, and reductions in workforce; reviewing company policies; conducting training sessions designed to create workplace cultures that mitigate the risk of legal action; and litigating where necessary in federal and state courts and administrative agencies. In firm management, Tuttle co-chairs the firm’s Regional Diversity Committee and its Regional Women’s Committee and also serves as a mentor to associates. She is also co-director of Women’s Leadership for the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. Her volunteer work includes spearheading a one-week “suit drive,” collecting over 250 suits and close to 500 outfits for Dress For Success of Morris County, a local nonprofit organization that promotes the economic independence of women going from public assistance to work, and participating in a Morris Habitat for Humanity building event co-sponsored by Drinker Biddle’s Women’s Committee and the firm’s Sunshine Committee.
Allen J. Underwood II
Position: Partner, Becker Meisel, Livingston
Practice Areas: Bankruptcy, debtor-creditor, commercial litigation, corporate
College: Hamilton College, B.A., history and creative writing, 1994
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1997
Clerkship: Hon. Edward V. Torack, J.S.C., 1997-98
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 1999-present; Robert T. Corcoran, P.C., associate, 1998-99
Profile: Underwood was the first associate hired by Becker Meisel soon after its formation in 1998 and has remained with and grown with the firm ever since, becoming a partner in 2004. He has decision-making authority as to key bankruptcy, insolvency and creditor clients and cases and has oversight regarding a pool of four bankruptcy-related associates, one secretary and one paralegal, frequent consult and oversight of all attorneys and staff as to bankruptcy and litigation matters. Underwood is a seasoned and experienced bankruptcy attorney and litigator, representing Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 trustees as well as creditors in complex cases. Examples are In re Neuman Distributors, Inc., 00-33443 (D.N.J.), representing a trustee in a large, complex Chapter 11 matter resulting in confirmation of a liquidating plan and recovery of dividend for creditors; In re Bridgewater Sports Arena, L.P., 03-35809 (D.N.J.), representing hedge-fund secured creditor in Chapter 11 bankruptcy of sports arena owner; In re Valairco, Inc., 05-22042 (D.N.J.), representing union pension fund as creditor in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where after opposition to proposed plans and threat of a cram-down, a fifth amended plan was confirmed providing for substantial distribution to funds and reserving funds’ rights as against principals of the debtor. Underwood assisted former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Daniel O’Hern, since deceased, in the successful mediation of substantial environmental and tort claims among Jersey City and various municipal entities, state entities, citizen watchdog groups and Honeywell International Inc. regarding chromium contamination in the city.
Iram P. Valentin
Position: Partner, Kaufman Dolowich Voluck & Gonzo, Hackensack
Practice Areas: Complex commercial litigation; professional liability defense; environmental litigation
College: College of the Holy Cross, B.A., sociology and international studies, 1998
Law School: Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 2001; Journal of Corporate & Financial Law, notes & articles editor
Clerkship: Hon. Joseph P. Perfilio, J.S.C., 2001-02
Career History: Current firm, partner, 2006-present; DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, & Cole, associate, 2003-06; Harwood Lloyd, associate, 2002-03
Profile: As a partner in professional liability defense group, Valentin is the main attorney of the firm assigned to handle such matters in New Jersey, supervising the work of various attorneys, paralegals and assistants on various tasks as needed. Major clients in his professional liability practice are Chartis, CNA, Hartford, Allied World, OneBeacon and Arch Insurance Group. Among his significant legal malpractice cases are West 133rd Street Realty Corp. v. F&L, BER-L-1530-09, arising from an attorney’s representation of a corporation in the sale of commercial real estate (no-cause jury verdict for defense); Viglione v. Biagiotti, Marino et al., BER-L-009652-04; BER-L-323-10 (2010), arising from an attorney’s representation of client in a divorce action (no-cause verdict for defense at binding arbitration); Shah v. S&K, BER-L-4663-07 (2009), resulting from an attorney’s appointment as an attorney-in-fact during an underlying divorce action (no-cause jury verdict for defense); and Rego v. Giordano, SOM-L-991-04 (2008), arising from a lawyer’s handling of a fire insurance claim. The court allowed defendants to prosecute plaintiffs for committing a fraud on the court when it was discovered that they had altered documents in discovery (jury verdict for the defense). One of the youngest partners at his firm, Valentin also chairs its Education Committee and is charged with developing firm-wide legal education and attorney training programs.
Matthew G. Wapner
Position: Partner, McCarter & English, Newark
Practice Areas: Business and financial services litigation
College: University of Pittsburgh, B.A., philosophy and communications, summa cum laude, 1996
Law School: University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 1999
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2002-present; Krugman & Kailes, associate, 2000-02; Swartz Campbell, associate, 1999-2000
Profile: Most of Wapner’s time over the past two years has been devoted to In re: Solomon Dwek, No. 07-11757 (KCF), the litigation of the bankruptcy of Solomon Dwek’s $500 million Ponzi Scheme. Dwek became an FBI informant, whose testimony led to a sting operation that resulted in the arrest of 44 people in New Jersey and New York, including public officials, politicians and three Orthodox rabbis. Wapner led the team responsible for litigating all adversary proceedings against Ponzi investor defendants. He started out with over 50 cases and over the past two years has been responsible for reducing them to eight. In the process, Wapner has obtained over $10 million for trustee Charles Stanziale Jr., through settlements and judgments. In the course of it, Wapner obtained the grant of summary judgment against one of the investors on the issue of actual fraud, which forced the settlement of almost a dozen investor actions. In another case of notoriety, Wapner was counsel for management company SMG in Exxxotica New York, LLC v. Town of Secaucus, 10-cv-04536, a challenge by the town of Secaucus to the Meadowlands Exposition Center award of a contract for hosting the 2008 Exxxotica New York adult-themed trade show. Secaucus brought an order to show cause why the show should not be enjoined as lewd and obscene. When Exxxotica sued Secaucus, SMG and Hartz Mountain, the facility’s owner, alleging constitutional torts and negligence, fraud and breach of contract, Wapner succeeded in getting the claims against SMG and Hartz dismissed.
Position: Partner, Dilworth Paxson, Cherry Hill
Practice Areas: Bankruptcy, commercial litigation, government, emerging businesses
College: Widener University, B.S., history, 1997
Law School: Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 2001; Journal of Sports Law, member
Career History: Current firm, partner, 2007-present; Parker McCay, associate, 2001-06
Profile: Wiltsey, a member of Dilworth Paxson’s Bankruptcy and Litigation departments, has developed a practice representing major financial institutions and local and regional businesses. He supervises these cases with the assistance of approximately five associates and three paralegals. Representative cases and matters are TD Bank, N.A., for litigation, work-out and bankruptcy; Bank of America, for litigation; The Original W. Hargrove Demolition, Inc., for litigation, real estate and land use; Morris & Ritchie Associates Inc. and Geo-Technology, Inc., for litigation; and Keystone Digital Imaging, for general corporate representation. Wiltsey is also general counsel to the state association of tow truck operators, Garden State Towers Association. In firm management activities, he is chair of Dilworth Paxson’s New Jersey Election Law Committee and is responsible for reviewing all of the firm’s political contribution to insure compliance with New Jersey’s pay-to-play legislation. Wiltsey also sits on the firm’s Strategic Planning Committee, made up of the chairman and managing partner of the firm as well as several other equity partners, the purpose of which is to develop a plan for future growth.
Daniel W. Zappo
Position: Partner, Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti, Morristown
Practice Areas: Employment litigation, employment counseling and business litigation
College: Rutgers University, B.A., history and political science, magna cum laude, 1994
Law School: Rutgers Law School-Newark, J.D., cum laude, 1998; Rutgers Law Review, articles editor and published author
Clerkship: Hon. Donald Coburn, J.A.D., 1998-99
Career History: Current firm, associate then partner, 2002-present; Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, associate, 1999-2002
Profile: Zappo maintains a strong and vibrant employment litigation and counseling practice, overseeing a staff of three associates, two paralegals and an assistant. Representative clients and matters are A.M. Best of Oldwick, for which he successfully prosecuted a claim to recover monies stolen by an employee and assisted the company with other instances of employee misconduct; Cmed Inc. of Murray Hill, which he defended on a charge of age discrimination by the EEOC, sheparded through several claims of disability leave and helped revise its contracts and policies to protect its confidential and proprietary information; NuVasive Inc. of San Diego, for which he successfully resolved litigation that alleged it hired a sales representative in violation of an agreement with a competitor; and The Fountain European Day Spa Inc. of Ramsey, which he successfully defended on a claim of pregnancy discrimination before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and helped update its policies. He is now defending The Spa on a claim of national origin discrimination. Zappo serves as a partner mentor to summer associates; trains associates in direct and cross-examination; trains paralegals on the preparation of privilege logs; and trains partners, associates and staff regarding Riker’s fair employment practices and anti-discrimination and harassment policies.