Retired New Jersey Appellate Division Judge Marie Lihotz has joined Haddonfield’s Archer & Greiner to bolster the firm’s alternative dispute resolution and appellate practice.
Lihotz, after a judicial career that spanned 20 years, joined the firm as of counsel on Oct. 18, following her retirement from the bench as of Sept. 1.
Archer & Greiner appears to be a firm of choice for judges looking to continue their careers after leaving the bench. Lihotz becomes the third retired Superior Court judge to join the firm’s burgeoning ADR practice.
Former Bergen County Family Part Presiding Judge Gerald Escala joined the firm, for a second time, in 2016 after ending a term on recall. And Cape May County Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten joined the firm a year earlier following his retirement.
“My primary focus will be on ADR and in appellate work,” Lihotz said in an interview, adding that within the ADR sphere, she plans to work primarily in family, business and probate matters.
“I’m pretty knowledgeable in those areas,” she said, noting that she will be available both as a mediator and arbitrator.
Lihotz said one of the reasons she chose to join Archer & Greiner is that when she was in her last years in private practice, her firm, Pluese & Lihotz, was next door to Archer.
“I’ve known them for years,” Lihotz said of the lawyers at the firm. “I’ve gotten to know how they work.”
Lihotz said that, coupled with Archer & Greiner’s status in southern New Jersey, drew her there.
“In these areas [ADR and appellate work], they are one of the biggest firms in the area and they have a lot of attorneys here who are very knowledgeable in what they are doing,” Lihotz said.
Lihotz said she does not foresee any major problems moving from the bench to private practice.
“After 20 years on the bench, I’m familiar with how things work,” she said. “I understand the systems and process of the courts.”
The firm’s managing partner, Christopher Gibson, said in a statement announcing the hire: “Judge Lihotz has earned an outstanding reputation from her years of service on the bench. Judge Lihotz’s breadth of experience in family, business and appellate matters will be a tremendous asset to our firm in our growing ADR and appellate practices.”
Lihotz was with Pluese & Lihotz until 1997, when Gov. Christine Todd Whitman nominated her to the Tax Court. Following her confirmation, Chief Justice Deborah Poritz immediately transferred her to the Superior Court Family Part in Gloucester County. She remained in Gloucester County until 1999, when she was transferred to Burlington County, where she eventually was named presiding judge of the Family Part.
Poritz elevated Lihotz to the Appellate Division in 2006, and she ultimately became the presiding judge of Appellate Division Part B.