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Connell Foley happy to be back in Newark

Michael X. McBride is the managing partner at Connell Foley.-(PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

While many firms are focused on the future, one firm with deep roots in the state has gone back to where it started.Roseland-based Connell Foley opened the doors of a regional office at One Newark Center last month — a 12,000-square-foot office space that can serve 18 lawyers.

The firm, which began in Newark in 1938 but left for the suburbs in 1985, views returning to the city as an instrumental step to becoming a bigger statewide powerhouse.

“Newark is the major legal center in the state,” Managing Partner Michael X. McBride said. “We want to grow while staying true to who we are — a state firm.”

A lot has changed at Connell Foley since it left the Brick City.

The firm increased its footprint by opening additional offices in Cherry Hill and Jersey City, as well as smaller offices in New York City and Philadelphia.

And, McBride said, a lot has changed in Newark, too.

McBride said his firm believes there is resurgence in Newark, which is attracting clients and potential clients back to the city. Connell Foley is expanding its federal case practice and the new Newark office is in close proximity to the federal courthouse.

Staying connected to its roots is ingrained in the corporate culture at Connell Foley. The firm has a rich history and counts several former Superior Court justices and former New Jersey Gov. Richard Hughes as past partners.

In more recent history, the partners decided to take a hit financially rather than lay anyone off after the 2008 market crash. McBride feels that decision seven years ago helped the firm create a reputation of stability and support, which has helped it attract and retain quality lawyers.

“We have people who have worked here for 50 years,” he said. “If you stand by your people, the quality of the lawyers coming through your doors improves and the amount of work will continue to increase.

“In 2008, we had the office in Roseland with a small office in Jersey City. Since that time, we’ve grown to a large office in Jersey City, an office in New York City, an office in Cherry Hill and now Newark.”

McBride added that supporting its employees was instrumental to achieving the kind of growth it has managed to achieve in this economic climate.

Building on that legacy, Newark plays a strategic role in Connell Foley’s approach to attracting young legal talent to its firm.

“The suburban office parks are just not attractive to young lawyers,” he said. “Millennials are looking for firms in urban centers or suburban firms with rail access. There is excitement in Newark. It’s an important city in New Jersey and it will continue to grow.”

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