Jacqueline Laurita

Testing Reality — A Franklin Lakes man who sat in on questioning with a couple of Bravo's Real Housewives of New Jersey stars following a brawl at a Ridgewood salon not only doesn't represent the couple but isn't even a lawyer, police say.

As Jacqueline and Christopher Laurita's case moved toward a Sept. 26 municipal court hearing, a new boil erupted when Mark J. McGuire, 53, was arrested by town cops for pretending to be their attorney and was charged with one count of unauthorized practice of law.

McGuire claimed to represent the Lauritas, also of Franklin Lakes, after the couple and their brother-in-law, fellow Housewives star Joe Gorga, were arrested and charged with assault and making terroristic threats in April. But upon finishing their investigation, Ridgewood police realized that McGuire wasn't a lawyer at all, they said in a press release.

Despite McGuire having appeared in a picture with the Lauritas outside the Ridgewood police station at their April arrest and leaving with them in a black Mercedes-Benz, Laurita tweeted on Wednesday: "Sorry to disappoint you haters but that man was not and IS NOT our attorney. Try again." She followed the tweet with another, claiming her attorney's name is actually "Mike."

McGuire was released on his own recognizance. A court date for him had not been scheduled as of press time.


No Age Discrimination Here — Hiring associates with experience is certainly a preference these days, but 30 years sounds a little much.

In a Sept. 6 Craigslist ad titled "Attorney Wanted" (http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/lgl/4050091413.html), an anonymous midtown New York firm states they're looking for part- and full-time criminal defense attorneys — admitted to both the N.Y. and N.J. bars — who can "handle large volumes of work" and "complete cases independently."

And, by the way: "At least 30 years in legal practice."

It is not a stretch to imagine that most job-seeking lawyers would be able to identify with the first two requirements. But as to the last, were they trying to cut out virtually the entire job-seeking universe? The blog Above the Law, suggesting the ad had a typo, pointed out that anyone out of law school for 30 years likely would not be seeking an associate job.

On the other hand, the job market for criminal defense attorneys may be worse off than is generally thought. On the chance it's legitimate, the job opening may in fact give lawyers long in the tooth an edge in the hiring process. (No salary was mentioned.)


Paul Escandon

Social Media Attack — A group of Monmouth County women are using Facebook to wage an impeachment campaign against Superior Court Judge Paul Escandon, who they claim harbors an anti-women bias and violated their legal and civil rights in their divorce or custody cases.

The campaign (https://www.facebook.com/RemoveJudgePaulEscandonOffTheBench) began after one disgruntled litigant, Rachel Alitoff, posted an ad on Craigslist looking for other women who had encountered similar shoddy treatment from the judge. Alitoff had temporarily lost custody of her son during her divorce case. Other women stepped forward and are exchanging views on the Facebook page.

In their petition, filed by Montvale solo Robert Tandy, the women allege that Escandon favored male litigants even in the face of their wrongdoing and denied the women's requests for attorney fees, leaving some of them destitute. One of them, Patricia Pisciotti, says she was denied child custody even though, she claims, her husband was an admitted affiliate of the Bonnano crime family.

Tandy distributed the petition to Gov. Chris Christie and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, among others. Impeachment would require a majority vote of members of the Assembly. Removal from office requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

Blue Moan — A group seeking to repeal Bergen County's Sunday-closing law has found out it's tougher than it looks.

Grass-roots campaign Modernize Bergen County — born out of the post-Hurricane Sandy suspension of the retail-closing blue laws last Nov. 11 — has been collecting signatures to let voters weigh in on the blue law in the upcoming November election.

Modernize member Mitch Horn claims they relied on legal advice that 2,500 signatures was the minimum number needed to secure the repeal vote. With that target, Modernize staked out countywide events over the summer and finished up with 2,600.

But County Clerk John Hogan told The Record of Hackensack this month that 2,500 was far too low; that the necessary amount is actually 55,000 signatures, or 10 percent of eligible county voters as of November 2012. The newspaper said that the county executive's office had earlier said that 2,500 was in fact the number.

With the Sept. 20 ballot submission deadline looming, it's fairly clear that Modernize won't come close to making up the 52,400 difference, but the ultimate decision on the minimum signature count required will fall to a Superior Court judge.

Bergen is the only county in the state with a blue law. The last effort to repeal it was defeated by voters in 1993.

— Compiled by Jennifer Genova