-- Legal practice - Law Firms
The practice of law in New Jersey, dominated for many years by sole practitioners and small firms providing legal counseling and diverse legal services, has increasingly consolidated into larger firms with attorneys focused on narrow specialties.
Much of the trend toward consolidation has been driven by the economics of practice as attorneys seek to share costs of offices, staff, and other overhead with others. The largest firms also have come under pressure to raise salaries to attract the top law school graduates; in 2016, the starting base salary for first-year associate lawyers at the most prestigious firms in New York City reached $180,000 and leading New Jersey firms have been forced to increase their own compensation levels to remain competitive.
Technology also has reduced the demand for lawyers to handle simpler matters like wills and business start-ups, with legal forms and advice now widely available to the public on the Internet. Legal research traditionally conducted within firms also is now easily outsourced to lower-cost locations in the US and abroad. Advertising for clients, for many years prohibited in New Jersey and most other states, also is now common to advise the public of services and fee levels, stimulating competition among lawyers promoting their expertise or lower costs. Even the largest firms, which traditionally resisted visible marketing for clients or adjusting their standard fee schedules, have been forced to modify their business models as they find themselves compelled by major clients to submit competitive proposals, including fee levels, for continuing retainers or for representation on specific matters.
Those attorneys who continue to practice on their own or in small firms have come under increasing pressure to maintain profitability, which has been cited as one of the factors leading to many attorneys leaving private practice. In some cases, attorneys have pursued legal careers within corporations or other organizations without the need to attract and maintain their own client base; in others, they have left the profession through obtaining employment in positions apart from the practice of law. Nationally, student applications to US law schools have steadily declined, and in fall 2015 fell to their lowest level in 15 years, a trend attributed at least partially to rising costs of tuition and resulting student debt as not warranting the risks of seeking decreasing opportunities in private practice. For graduating students at private law schools throughout the nation, the average debt in 2011 was $125,000, an increase of over 70% from the $70,000 in 2001.
For most of the state's history, New Jersey's legal profession was highly protective of its state-based firms and attorneys, restricting the ability of out-of-state lawyers not admitted to the New Jersey bar to practice in the state, largely due to the fear that lawyers and firms in New York City and Philadelphia would solicit clients within the state. While many states allowed out-of-state attorneys privileges to perform occasional services or appear in court to represent clients on specific matters, the New Jersey judicial rules maintained barriers which frequently required out-of-state counsel to retain New Jersey attorneys to conduct legal business within the state.
Several of the larger law firms also maintain active government lobbying practices, although some have reduced or eliminated government relations work as a result of "pay to play" laws and other restrictions on political activity by firms which also represent state or local government clients. In March 2016, the New Jersey Law Journal's annual survey of the leading lawyer-lobbying firms based on their 2015 revenues ranked the top firms as Gibbons ($2,639,902); Optimus Partners ($1,780,700); Archer Public Affairs/Archer & Greiner ($1,262,612); Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti ($1,243,069); and Porzio Governmental Affairs/Porzio, Bromberg & Newman ($1,165,672). Gibbons, as the leading law firm in lobbying, ranked fourth overall of all lobbying firms, behind the government relations firms of Princeton Public Affairs Group ($9,400,869); Public Strategies/Impact ) $6,399,513); and MBI Gluck-Shaw ($3,764,159. Overall, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission reported that a total of just over $70 million was spent on lobbying in 2015 by all firms and associations required to report their expenditures.
* 'Revenues Rebound for NJ Lawyer-Lobbyists in 2015,' 3/3/2016, New Jersey Law Journal (registration required)
* Total Spending by Lobbyists 2010-2015, New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission
* Top 20 NJ Law Firms in NJ Revenue 2016, NJ Law Journal
* NLJ 350, National Law Journal (subscription)
* AmLaw 200, American Lawyer (subscription)
* Top NJ Law Firms, NJBIZ (subscription)
* Law Firm Rankings, Chambers USA (subscription)
- Major Law Firms
Other offices: NY City; Philadelphia; Boston; Hartford; Stamford; Wilmington
Total lawyers: 400 (ranked 116th in US by National Law Journal)
NJ-based lawyers: 185
Gross revenue: $233 million (ranked 128th in US by American Lawyer)
NJ gross revenue: $106.5 million (ranked 2nd by NJ Law Journal)
Oldest law firm based in New Jersey and among oldest in nation, founded 1845 in Sussex County, relocated 1865 to Newark. Two sons of founding partner, brothers Thomas Nesbitt McCarter and Robert H. McCarter each served as NJ Attorney General, with Robert succeeding Thomas in 1903, who resigned to organize Public Service Corporation of New Jersey, where he served as president for 36 years, overseeing growth to become one of largest public utilities in US as current Public Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G). Firm clients have included Buffalo Bill Wild West Show sharpshooter and Nutley resident Annie Oakley, who successfully sued for libel William Randolph Hearst newspapers publishing article in 1903 falsely claiming she was destitute and was in jail in Chicago for "stealing the trousers of a negro in order to get money with which to buy cocaine."; firm also represented companies founded by Thomas Edison as well as Edison's estate after his death in 1931. Robert McCarter also won acquittals in famous Hall-Mills murder cases in 1926, representing defendants on trial for murders of a New Brunswick pastor, Edward Hall, and one of his choir members, Eleanor Mills. Practice areas include corporate; securities; antitrust; mergers and acquisitions; bankruptcy; litigation; insurance; real estate; construction; tax; labor and employment; product liability; estates and trusts. healthcare; international trade; environment; government affairs. Mergers completed in 2014 added lawyers from East Brunswick firm SorinRand specializing in venture capital finance and Washington DC firm Miller Balis & O'Neil in energy law. Pro bono work includes representation of sex trafficking victims; child refugee seeking asylum in US. Awarded 2016 Gold Standard Certification by Women in Law Empowerment Forum citing record in advancing women in hiring and management, one of only 11 other firms nationwide with 300 or more lawyers achieving gold standard certification for each of six consecutive years.
Other offices: NY City; Philadelphia; Boston; Rochester; Hartford; Southport; Wilmington
Total lawyers: 300
NJ-based lawyers: 210
Gross revenue: $118.5 million
NJ gross revenue: $82.2 million (ranked 6th by NJ Law Journal)
Headquarters and largest office in Morristown with 145 attorneys, over 200 of all 300 attorneys at NJ offices. Founded 1983 as two-man firm by litigators Edward B. Deutsch and James M. Mulvaney, soon joined by former NJ Superior Court Judge William T. McElroy. 2004 merger with 60-lawyer Newark law firm of Carpenter Bennett & Morrissey founded in 1898, nationally known for representation of corporate clients in litigation, employment and labor law. 2010 acquisition of Pepe & Hazard, based In Hartford with practice throughout New England. 2011 acquisition of 13-attorney healthcare firm Kalison, McBride, Jackson & Robertson. Other specialties include construction; real estate; pharmaceutical, medical device and life sciences; securities; municipal and local government, labor and employment; bankruptcy/restructuring; insurance; environmental; fidelity and surety; corporate transactions; white collar crime and corporate compliance. Named 2016 Large Firm Litigation Department of Year in Insurance Law by NJ Law Journal.
Other offices: NY City; Brooklyn Entrepreneurship Center; Washington, DC; Palo Alto, CA; Centerville, UT
Total lawyers: 275 (ranked 163rd in US by National Law Journal)
NJ-based lawyers: 180
Gross revenue: $252 million (ranked 122nd in US by American Lawyer)
NJ Gross revenue: $144.6 million (ranked 1st by NJ Law Journal)
Founded 1961 in Newark, relocated headquarters in early 1980's to Roseland. One of firm's founders Alan V. Lowenstein (1913-2007), also a leader of Newark's charter reform movement, a leading philanthropist and supporter of NJ Symphony, represented State of NJ in negotiations with unions to create NJ Transit and known as corporate and banking law expert, founded with wife New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, nonprofit to advance freedom from discrimination, equal education and access to judicial system for minorities and poor. Firm represents investors and sponsors of hedge funds, private-equity funds, venture funds and technology companies, other areas mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, product liability, antitrust, trade regulation, insurance, corporate Investigations and Integrity. Issues Management LLC subsidiary located in Princeton advises clients in public affairs areas ranging from lobbying and regulatory work to advocacy campaigns and marketing. Ranked as leading firm in NJ gross revenue 2015 of $144.6 million by NJ Law Journal. Ranked among 50 Best Law Firms for Women in US 2016 by Working Mother magazine (women comprise 16% of equity partners and 23% of non-equity partners)
Other offices: NY City
Total lawyers: 130 (ranked 263rd in US by National Law Journal)
NJ-based lawyers: 105
Gross revenue: $84.9 million (ranked 122nd in US by American Lawyer)
NJ gross revenue: $84.9 million (ranked 4th by NJ Law Journal)
Founded 1970 by Arthur J. Sills (1917-1982), who served as NJ Attorney General 1962-70 during administration of Governor Richard Hughes, including overseeing law enforcement responses during riots in Newark and Plainfield. Cclients range from Fortune 500 to emerging growth and foreign corporations. Firm named 2016 General Litigation Department of the Year, Midsized Firm by NJ Law Journal. Nationally ranked in practice areas of: Labor Law–Management, Litigation–Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy) and Land Use and Zoning Law in 2017 "Best Law Firms" list by U.S. News & World Report. Other practice areas include corporate; bankruptcy; mergers and acquisitions; real estate; criminal defense; employment and labor; healthcare; intellectual property; tax; trusts and estates.
Other offices: NY City; Philadelphia; Wilmington
Total lawyers: 183 (ranked 207th in US by National Law Journal)
NJ-based lawyers: 110
Gross revenue: $108 million (ranked 185th in US by American Lawyer)
NJ gross revenue: $85.6 million (ranked 3rd by NJ Law Journal)
Founded 1926 as Crummy & Rossbach, founding partner Andrew Crummy a former Internal Revenue Service agent, firm later known as Crummy, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione, assumed current name after John J. Gibbons, who joined firm 1950 and resigned 1969 to serve as judge of US Circuit Court of Appeals for 3rd Circuit, returned as senior partner in 1990. Judge Gibbons established John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest & Constitutional Law, represents poor and under-represented parties, often on pro bono basis, cases have included opposition to racial profiling of Muslims, protection of due process rights of immigrants facing detention and defending child custody rights of mothers in drug rehabilitation programs. Practice focus on middle-market legal services to Fortune 500 clients and middle market businesses with annual revenues of $100 million to $2.5 billion and mid-market matters for major companies, primarily in Mid-Atlantic region. Subject areas include litigation; securities; corporate; mergers and acquisitions; international trade; tax; intellectual property; real estate; product liability; federal and state government affairs; public finance; healthcare; environment; insurance; construction; business insolvency and creditor rights; employment and labor law; white-collar criminal defense; Ranked as one of top 50 firms nationwide for working women by Working Mother magazine (women comprise 14% of equity partners and 27% of non-equity partners) and among top 100 for diversity by MultiCultural Law magazine. Ranked as state's leading lawyer-lobbying firm in 2016 for eighth year in a row and fourth overall among all lobbying firms based on report of NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission. Ranked 44th nationwide for 2015 on American Lawyer’s Pro Bono Scorecard. Christopher Porrino, head of national litigation practice, nominated June 2016 by Governor Christie as NJ Attorney General. Of Counsel to firm include James Zazzali, former chief justice of NJ Supreme Court; Bill Palatucci, confidante of Governor Christie and key fundraiser for Christie, other national, state Republicans. Four lawyers (Michael Griffinger, Lawrence Lustberg, Fredrick Alworth, Christine Amalfe) included in 2015 "New Jersey Top 100" list published by SuperLawyers magazine, highest number of any firm.
Other offices: total 22 offices in US with headquarters inPhiladelphia, others locations include Los Angeles; San Francisco; Houston; Dallas; Chicago; Miami; NY City
Total lawyers: 750 (ranked 74th in US by National Law Journal)
NJ-based lawyers: 170
Gross revenue: $364.5 million (ranked 85th in US by American Lawyer)
NJ gross revenue: $84.5 million (ranked 4th by NJ Law Journal)
Philadelphia-based national law firm founded 1907, only firm with out-of-state headquarters among ten largest firms in NJ attorneys. Largest NJ office in Princeton with 80 attorneys; others in Roseland (42); Atlantic City (35); Morristown (13). Princeton-based partner Phillip Griffin serves as co-chair of national firm, named as one of leading health care attorneys in NJ by Chambers USA in 2015, 2016. Firm cited as Litigation Department of Year 2015 by NJ Law Journal. One of largest gaming law practices in world based in NJ, including representing casinos, internet gaming clients in NJ. Other practice areas include corporate; securities; antitrust; real estate; construction; energy; environmental; bankruptcy; entertainment; hotels; healthcare; labor and employment; government relations; international trade.
Other offices: NY City
Total lawyers: 140
NJ-based lawyers: 110
Gross revenue: $65.6 million
NJ gross revenue: $65.6 million (ranked 8th by NJ Law Journal)
Former Wolff & Samson, changed name April 2015 following resignation from firm of former senior partner David Samson, who served as NJ Attorney General in Florio Administration, chaired Chris Christie transition committee, appointed by Christie as chair of Port Authority of NY & NJ, entered guilty plea to federal charge of using Port Authority role to pressure United Airlines to maintain money-losing flight to airport near South Carolina vacation home. Senior member Jeff Chiesa formerly U.S. Senator, appointed June 2013 by Governor Christie to fill vacancy and remaining term created by death of Senator Frank Lautenberg, appointed 2016 by Christie as overseer of Atlantic City pursuant to state takeover legislation, previously served as NJ Attorney General and Chief Counsel to Governor under Christie and as top aide to US Attorney Christie. Clients range from Fortune 10 corporations to family-run businesses, practice groups in corporate; litigation; government; real estate; intellectual property; environmental; fidelity and surety law; white collar; public finance; trusts and estates; renewable energy. Ranked among top firms in US in public finance. Sponsors Women's Initiative and Diversity Initiative to assist women and minority attorneys in networking and career growth.
Other offices: NY City headquarters with total 38 offices in US and abroad
Total lawyers: 2,000 (ranked 2nd)
NJ-based lawyers: 75
Gross revenue: $1.3 billion
NJ gross revenue: $55.6 million (ranked 12th by NJ Law Journal)
Global firm with some 2,000 attorneys at 38 offices in US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Middle East. .Ranks behind only Latham & Watkins (2,200 attorneys) in size. Founded in Miami in 1967, initial focus on South Florida real estate, in 1990s began rapid national expansion with offices in NY City and other major US locations followed by London office in 2009. NJ office established 2002, now with over 75 attorneys. Serves local, national and international business and technology clients. Practice areas include commercial litigation; corporate law and securities; bankruptcy; construction; intellectual property; labor and employment; trusts and estates; tax. Financial Institutions Group represents major commercial banks. Also a leading government lobbying firm. Ranked highest on 2015 Law360 Most Charitable Firms list, 2nd largest in US on 2016 Law360 400, Top 20 on 2015 Am Law Global 100. For 6th consecutive year, received most overall first-tier rankings and most first-tier metropolitan rankings in 2017 edition of U.S. News–Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” report, also recognized as “Law Firm of the Year” in two practice areas, Litigation-Banking & Finance and Litigation-Real Estate.
Other offices: NY City 30; Baltimore 5; Wilmington 7; Boca Raton 2; Dallas; Fort Worth 3
Total lawyers: 125 (ranked )
NJ-based lawyers: 80
Gross revenue: $94.9 million (ranked 9th
NJ gross revenue: $64.9 million (ranked 9th by NJ Law Journal)
Founded 1928 by David L. Cole, noted labor arbitrator and mediator who counseled presidents from Harry S. Truman to Gerald R. Ford in national labor crises, and Mendon Morrill, a leading trial lawyer and later a judge of US District Court. Ranked nationally in practice areas of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation- Bankruptcy in 2017 Edition of U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” report. Practice areas include bankruptcy; corporate restructuring; construction; corporate, finance & business transactions; employment; environmental; healthcare; intellectual property; litigation; real estate; tax; trusts and estates; white collar defense.
Other offices: Philadelphia, NY City and Wilmington
Total lawyers: 175
NJ-based lawyers: 125
Gross revenue: $87 million (ranked 199th in US by American Lawyer)
NJ gross revenue: $72.5 million (ranked 7th by NJ Law Journal)
Former Archer & Greiner, changed name 2016. Headquarters in Haddonfield, largest South Jersey-based firm, 2011 acquisition of 31-lawyer Hackensack-based firm of Herten, Burstein, Sheridan, Cevasco, Bottinelli, Litt & Harz. Practice includes corporate; labor; commercial litigation; family; real estate; government affairs; public finance; trusts and estates; environment; healthcare; Lynne Abraham, partner in 36-lawyer Philadelphia office, former Philadelphia District Attorney and unsuccessful mayoral candidate in 2015 Democratic primary.
Other offices: NY City
Total lawyers: 137
NJ-based lawyers: 127
Gross revenue: $67.1 million (ranked 199th in US by American Lawyer)
NJ gross revenue: $64.7 million (ranked 10th by NJ Law Journal)
Founded 1882 as Riker and Riker in Newark. Known for litigation and banking practice, expanded into energy; tax; trusts and estates; financial services; labor and employment; mergers and acquisitions; insurance; bankruptcy; real estate; environmental; white collar criminal defense; arbitration; government regulation. Late partners include Nicholas Katzenbach (1922-2012), former US Attorney General and Undersecretary of State in Kennedy and Johnson administrations; William Hyland (1923-2013), NJ Attorney General in Governor Brendan Byrne administration and Peter Perretti (1931-2016), NJ Attorney General in Governor Thomas Kean administration. Of Counsel include Stewart Pollock, former Associate Justice of NJ Supreme Court; William Hughes, former Congressman representing Atlantic-Cape May region district
Other offices: Philadelphia; NY City
Total lawyers: 175
NJ-based lawyers: 165
Gross revenue: $58.2 million (ranked 199th in US by American Lawyer)
NJ gross revenue: $53.9 million (ranked 13th by NJ Law Journal)
Founded 1919 by David T. Wilentz (1894-1988) in Perth Amboy, as NJ state attorney general from 1934 to 1944, Wilentz prosecuted Bruno Hauptmann in famed Lindbergh baby kidnapping in 1935 "trial of the century" in Flemington, leading to Hauptmann's conviction and execution, after return to firm Wilentz became powerful Democratic national, state and Middlesex County political leader. Sons Warren and Robert Wilentz also practiced at firm, Robert appointed chief justice of NJ Supreme Court by Governor Brendan Byrne in 1979, served until resigning shortly prior to death from cancer in 1996. Long-time close family, business relationship with late Leon Hess, head of major client Hess Oil Co., other clients have included Caesars Casino, banks, insurance companies, state agencies. Practice areas include litigation; product liability; environment; real estate; labor and employment; personal injury; trusts and estates; government regulation; workers' compensation. Former partners include Barry T. Albin, appointed 2002 as Associate Justice of NJ Supreme Court.
Other offices: Philadelphia; NY City; Chicago; Washington DC; Wilmington; Albany; Los Angeles; San Francisco; London
Total lawyers: 600
NJ-based lawyers: 105
Gross revenue: $410 million (ranked 75th in US by American Lawyer)
NJ gross revenue: $64.3 million (ranked 11th by NJ Law Journal)
National law firm founded in Philadelphia in 1849 as Bullitt and Fairthorne by Kentucky native John Cristian Bullitt. First established NJ practice through 1999 acquisition of Shanley & Fisher, whose senior partner Bernard Shanley served President Dwight Eisenhower as Deputy Chief of Staff, Appointments Secretary, and Special Counsel to President. Practices include corporate and securities; corporate restructuring; intellectual property; real estate; health care; investment management; environment and energy; litigation and investigations; insurance; trusts and estates; labor, employment and benefits; and government regulation, lobbying and advocacy. Also counsel and legal services in manufacturing and distribution; nonprofits; pharma and life sciences; professional services; retail and technology. Major NJ clients include Johnson & Johnson; Merck; Aventis; Honeywell International; Selective Insurance; Wakefern Food. Cited by American Bar Association as a “Top 10 Health Law Firm” in Northeast and Midwest. Recognized by Working Mother Magazine as one of “50 Best Law Firms for Women.” Of counsel to firm include Deborah Poritz, former chief justice of NJ Supreme Court.
* New Jersey's Top 20 Law Firms 2016, New Jersey Law Journal
* What are New Jersey's top grossing Law Firms?, NJBIZ.com
* Legal Profession Statistics 2016, American Bar Association
* Ten-Year Trend in Lawyers by State 2005-2015, American Bar Association
* Lawyers by state, The Last Gen X American
* Lawyer Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, US Bureau of Labor Statistics
* New Jersey Law Firms and Attorneys, Martindale Hubbell
* Best Law Firms in New Jersey, US News & World Report
* New Jersey Lawyers, Attorneys, and Law Firms, FindLaw.com