The State Bar Association has announced the contenders running for leadership posts in the upcoming May election — including two positions for which there are no Nominating Committee favorites.
Three lawyers — Thomas Prol, Nancy Erika Smith and Kenneth Vercammen — are running for second vice president.
Four others — Christine Amalfe, Amy Sara Cores, Christina Vassiliou Harvey and Marla Marinucci — are competing for an at-large trustee seat.
All seven earned places on the ballot by collecting signatures on petitions in time for Monday’s deadline.
Another petitioner, Bonnie Blume Goldsamt, is running for the secretary post, challenging John Keefe Jr., the Nominating Committee’s pick.
The unusually competitive race is due in part to the trustees’ decision not to name ballot replacements for two officers who resigned when they were appointed as state court judges. Angela White Dalton, who was treasurer in 2012-13, was the endorsed candidate for second vice president and Mitzy Galis-Menendez was picked for a two-year, at-large trustee post.
Another factor was the Nominating Committee’s decision not to nominate Prol, who had held the post of secretary, to the treasurer’s job for 2013-14. The committee said it was concerned that Prol now lives and works in New York.  Prol is associate general counsel in the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, though he says he also serves as counsel to the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority.
The committee instead picked Robert Hille of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter in Morristown. He is running unopposed for treasurer, since Prol chose to run instead for second vice president.
Prol’s perceived status as an out-of-stater was the impetus for a proposed bylaw change that the trustees are also putting to members for a vote in May.
It reads: “Consistent with existing bylaws that apply to trustees who represent geographical counties, in order to be eligible to serve as an officer … a member’s practice of law shall primarily be in New Jersey.”
It is unclear whether the new bylaw, if approved, would prevent Prol from taking office if elected as  second vice president, but it certainly would prevent him from ascending to the job of first vice president the next year.
Prol declines to discuss the bylaw amendment as it applies to him, but says he considers it vaguely worded and thinks it could cause federal practitioners, immigration lawyers and those with significant out-of-state clientele to be excluded from serving as officers.
Smith, an employment and civil rights lawyer with Smith Mullin in Montclair, may be the insider candidate for second vice president.
She has received endorsements from the Labor and Employment Section that she once chaired, the New Jersey Association for Justice (formerly ATLA-NJ) and the National Employment Lawyers Association-NJ.
She may also win the support of the Essex County Bar Association, the state’s most populous county bar.
ECBA president Robert Scrivo says he has asked the trustees to endorse Smith for second vice president and Amalfe for at-large trustee. Both practice in Essex County and Scrivo says they have been active in the local bar.
The trustees will vote on the endorsements within the next week, says Scrivo, who expresses confidence his recommendations will win support.
Prol claims the endorsements of the State Bar’s Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Lesbian Rights Section (which he cofounded) and the Women in the Profession Section, as well as the Sussex County Bar Association.
Vercammen, who practices criminal defense and municipal court law at his own firm in Edison, is a past chairman of the State Bar’s Municipal Court Practice Section, whose endorsement he claims in the current election.
An important contingent of the State Bar, the 2,200-member Young Lawyers Division, has endorsed Harvey for the at-large trustee job.
Harvey is a personal injury associate at Lomurro, Davison, Eastman & Munoz in Freehold, where YLD chairman Jonathan Lomurro is an associate.
The YLD supported Prol in his 2012 candidacy for secretary but it would be incorrect to assume he has backing this year, Lomurro says.
The YLD has met with Prol, Smith and Vercammen but has not decided who it will endorse. “Right now, anybody can get it,” he says. The YLD has not met with the secretary candidates.
Goldsamt, a solo in Hackensack and Verona, practicing civil and family law mediation and arbitration, is a former chairman of the State Bar’s Dispute Resolution Section.
She says that her local bar activity has been in Bergen County and she is seeking the endorsement of that county bar, though it is not yet decided.
ECBA president Scrivo says his group has not endorsed Goldsamt or Keefe, whom, he adds, “I know as a first-rate lawyer.”
Keefe specializes in personal injury, product liability and mass tort litigation and is co-managing partner of Keefe Bartels in Red Bank.
Amalfe is the human resources general counsel for Gibbons in Newark, sits on its executive committee and chairs the labor and employment practice.
Cores, a Howell solo practicing matrimonial and family law, ran for a trustee position in a contested race in 2011 but was defeated.
Marinucci practices matrimonial and family law and is an associate at April & Marinucci in Marmora.