This survey of federal court practitioners about federal judges comes after a five-year period of relative stability in the District of New Jersey. Though there has been turnover, the continued presence of senior-status judges and the elevation of magistrate judges to the district court have kept many familiar faces on the bench.

What’s more, the district, magistrate and bankruptcy judges included in this survey and in our last, in 2008, have gained experience on the job, and with that the opportunity to improve their scores.

As with the last survey, we gather and publish anonymous responses. Anonymous surveys have their flaws. They are designed to encourage candor, but they also provide cover for critics.

Yet, the results reflect a thoughtful assessment of the federal judiciary in this district. The range of scores form a bell curve, and even the lowest-rated judges earned respectable grades.

In other words, the lawyers who took the time to complete the survey questionnaire did so with seriousness and careful consideration, just as they did in the prior survey in 2008.

I thank them for again helping us produce what we believe is a valuable practitioners’ guide to the New Jersey federal bench.

— Ronald J. Fleury, Editor in Chief


How the Survey Was Done

Federal Bench Rated Favorably By Litigators on a Tough Scale

District Judge Scores

District Judge Biographies:

Stanley S. Brotman Renee Marie Bumb Dennis M. Cavanaugh
Claire C. Cecchi Stanley R. Chesler Mary L. Cooper
Dickinson R. Debevoise Katharine S. Hayden Noel L. Hillman
Faith S. Hochberg Joseph E. Irenas Robert B. Kugler
Jose L. Linares William J. Martini Kevin J. McNulty
Joel A. Pisano Joseph H. Rodriguez Esther J. Salas
Peter G. Sheridan Michael A. Shipp Jerome B. Simandle
Anne E. Thompson William H. Walls Susan D. Wigenton
Freda L. Wolfson

N.J. Magistrate Judges: Fast and Not So Furious

Magistrate Judge Scores

Magistrate Judge Biographies:

Madeline Cox Arleo Douglas E. Arpert Tonianne J. Bongiovanni
Ann Marie Donio Joseph A. Dickson Mark Falk
Lois H. Goodman Michael A. Hammer Steven C. Mannion
Joel Schneider Cathy Waldor Karen M. Williams

Bankruptcy Judges Continue To Be the Highest-Rated Federal Jurists

Bankruptcy Judge Scores

Bankruptcy Judge Biographies:

Gloria M. Burns Kathryn C. Ferguson
Rosemary Gambardella Michael B. Kaplan
Donald H. Steckroth Morris Stern
Novalyn L. Winfield Judith H. Wizmur