Wakefern is the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the country. Factor in corporate structure with all the regulations faced by the food industry and anyone would guess Berger’s job is complex. She has been with Wakefern for over a decade, making her way from assistant general counsel to vice president of compliance and risk management to her current title, senior vice president and general counsel. Berger’s work landed her on a recent list of finalists for the NJBIZ General Counsel of the Year awards.
McCarter & English, where Boccassini serves as managing partner, has grown to 400-plus attorneys in nine offices. In 2019, revenues totaled about $245 million, according to Law.com, while headcount remained steady at around 400. The combination produced strong numbers for revenue per lawyer and profits per partner. The firm has attracted some heavy hitters in recent history, including former Federal District Court Chief Judge Jose Linares, who joined last year after 17 years on the bench. Boccassini was also instrumental in the hiring of Abdul Rehman Khan as the City of Newark’s full-time pro bono fellow, the first position of its kind in Newark. Khan will work with the city’s corporation counsel to assist underserved residents facing eviction and housing-related issues. There are about 40,000 eviction cases each year in Essex County, and the majority of tenants face the process on their own.
Kathleen Boozang, David Lopez, Kimberly Mutcherson
Boozang, Lopez and Mutcherson run the law schools at Seton Hall, Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden respectively. Lopez joined Rutgers as co-dean in August 2018 and was the longest-serving general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In that position, Lopez led the litigation program for the nation’s primary administrative agency charged with enforcing federal employment anti-discrimination laws and oversaw 15 regional attorneys and a staff of more than 325 people.
Mutcherson, a bioethics and health law scholar, was appointed to lead Rutgers-Camden on Jan. 1, 2019, becoming the first woman, the first black American, and the first LGBT law dean at the school, according to Rutgers. She was most recently vice dean at the school and her scholarship addresses issues related to reproductive justice, with a particular focus on assisted reproduction and its relationship to how the law understands and constructs the meaning of family, maternal-fetal decision-making and health care decisions for minors.
As dean at Seton Hall, Boozang was instrumental in offering law school classes on weekends to accommodate the schedules of students. In the summer of 2016, Boozang asked the faculty curriculum committee to meet to identify alternatives to law school students so they could take classes other than on weeknights in response to their changing needs. Many students are police officers, firefighters, accountants, business and information technology professionals who are working from Monday to Friday and cannot attend classes during the week even in the evenings. Three years ago, Seton Hall Law began offering classes on weekends and online.
Carpenito has maintained a relatively low profile in the political and business realm. Still, the chief federal prosecutor – previously a partner at Alston & Bird LLP where he co-chaired the firm’s Litigation and Trial Practice Group – controls a powerful office. He has prosecuted a variety of high-stakes criminal targets, including a Hudson County health official who accepted bribes for patient referrals, an accountant who embezzled nearly $1 million from her employer, a New Brunswick accountant who skipped $672,000 of tax payments by filing false tax documents, and most famously, Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino over tax evasion charges. In March, he helped establish the New Jersey COVID-19 Fraud Task Force with Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and State Comptroller Kevin Walsh.
Profits per partner at Sills Cummis & Gross have grown by 40 percent since Crane became managing partner just over a decade ago. And Sills Cummis has handled some high-profile cases, including that of activist investor Third Point LLC in a proxy fight against Campbell Soup Co. that nabbed Third Point two spots on the soup-maker’s board, and acting as co-counsel in a class action brought by Wyckoff, Glen Rock and Midland Park against the Ridgewood Water Utility to invalidate a 37 percent rate increase over five years. Due to profiteering on personal protective equipment and disinfectants during the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm recently expanded its price gouging practice to include white collar criminal defense attorneys, along with attorneys in its life sciences and health care practices.
Deutsch expanded his firm from a two-man outfit in 1983 with the late James Mulvaney to a New Jersey law powerhouse, boasting nearly 300 attorneys in nine states. McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter’s acquisition of 19 lawyers from Graham Curtin was one of the state’s largest law firm deals and it followed a string of sizeable mergers and acquisitions: 13 lawyers from Kalison, McBride, Jackson & Robertson PC in 2011, and the merger of New England firm Pepe & Hazard LLP the year prior, bringing on 44 attorneys. On the litigation front, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of MDMC client New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in Murphy v. NCAA, a landmark decision that legalized sports betting and brought a billion dollar industry to New Jersey.
Gibbons may not be the biggest firm in the state, but its influence is undeniable: it’s been the top lawyer-lobbying firm in the state for 12 years running, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. Dunican has been running the shop since 2004. Law360 called him one of the most innovative managing partners at a U.S. law firm, and named Gibbons a regional powerhouse. Gibbons represented the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and state in a bid to get the final match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup – which had been expected to be the biggest ever – scheduled for MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Additionally, the firm represented the New Jersey Legislature in the case that forged the way for sports betting legalization, a fast-growing business in the state.
Kathleen Barnett Einhorn
Kathleen Barnett Einhorn is the first female attorney to serve as an executive committee member in Genova Burns’ three-decade history, and the first to chair a practice group at the firm. Busy woman she is, though, she chairs two: the complex commercial litigation and intellectual property law practices. She’s a partner at the firm’s Newark office, and also a member in the ethics and compliance and procurement law, government contracts and bid protest litigation, and criminal defense, investigations and compliance practice groups, appellate, class action defense, construction law and litigation, crisis management, employment law and litigation, trade secrets & non-competes, franchise law, the education industry group, among others (yes, seriously). In 2019 Einhorn launched a unique fashion industry practice. Last year also brought the culmination of her work with Triple Five Group, owners of the American Dream megamall: She represented the firm in connection with litigation over bond issues, successfully obtaining dismissal of an appeal involving its construction, thus allowing the property to open. The fanfare and success have, of course, been stifled by COVID-19 for now, but without Einhorn, the project never would have reached this stage.
A partner at Newark’s McCarter & English LLP, Feeney represents hospitals and health care facilities statewide in property tax disputes. Through trials, appeals, negotiations and legislation, she has helped create a New Jersey property taxation landscape that allows hospitals, health care systems and other entities to operate cost-effectively and efficiently. Perhaps Feeney is best known for recent tax court and appellate cases that clarified what constitutes legitimate exemptions for health care companies and expanded the state’s definition of hospital purpose. Working with the New Jersey Hospital Association and government affairs officials at various health care systems, she helps write and secure approval of legislation that would resolve taxation issues for hospitals statewide.
As one of the top lawyers in Gov. Murphy’s office, Garg has played a key role in drafting restrictions on business and travel in the state, all meant to prevent, or at least slow, the spread of COVID-19. He and Matt Platkin, Murphy’s chief counsel, are two of the administration officials who’ve defended the governor’s authority to impose the restrictions. Garg and Platkin have frequently played tag team to be on hand at the governor’s daily COVID-19 media briefings in Trenton, where Murphy updates the state’s residents and members of the press on where things stand with restrictions, and the status of New Jersey’s health care infrastructure as it battles the virus. The pair offer details at those sessions, fleshing out the governor’s answers to many questions asked by reporters.
The founder of Genova Burns LLC is a fixture in New Jersey’s two biggest cities. Ten years before Amazon.com Inc. considered opening its second headquarters in Newark, Genova moved his firm there from Livingston. He continues to be a champion of the city’s redevelopment efforts. “The city has a variety of assets, from technological to cultural and educational,” he told NJBIZ recently. “There’s high-speed broadband connectivity, and educational institutions to support the labor force.” In 2018, he was recognized with a Jersey City Leadership Award for his work there. In March, the firm launched an autonomous vehicles law practice, focusing on the legal and business needs relating to this new technology and associated industries.
Gavzy serves as executive vice president and chief legal officer, Transactions and Corporate Services for Hackensack Meridian Health, one of the state’s largest health care systems and one based in the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak here. She previously served as senior vice president of legal affairs and general counsel for Meridian Health System, responsible for initiating, overseeing, and coordinating all legal services for the health system, and guiding it through the evolving health care landscape. Before joining Meridian Health System, Gavzy was a partner at Kalison & McBride PA in Liberty Corner, and at Norris, McLaughlin and Marcus in Somerville. She is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the Health Care Roundtable, a limited membership group of chief legal officers from around the country. Gavzy has been named by NJBIZ as one of the 50 Best Women in Business and as a General Counsel of the Year. Gavzy is also a First Chair Award Recipient, which recognizes America’s most innovative and accomplished in-house counsel for their achievements and contributions to the legal community.
The former lieutenant governor and current Connell Foley partner has maintained her profile since an unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 2017. Most recently, Guadagno was named president and CEO of Fulfill, formerly the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The organization provides 13.2 million meals every year in an effort to alleviate hunger and build food security. She was also elected as a trustee of NAIOP New Jersey, the commercial real estate development trade association, and was named as one of the top women in business for 2019 by NJBIZ.
Harris was appointed executive vice president and general counsel for Prudential Financial in October 2015, serving as the head of Law, Compliance, Business Ethics and External Affairs. He was appointed deputy general counsel of Prudential in 2008, serving as chief legal officer for company’s U.S. businesses. His role expanded to include chief operating officer of LCBE in 2014, while he continued the deputy general counsel role. Before assuming his current role, Harris served as chief investment counsel for Prudential from 2005 through 2008, and earlier was the chief legal officer of Prudential Annuities. Harris also previously served as the chief legal officer for Retirement Services and Prudential Asia. In addition to his legal roles, Harris served as chief risk officer for Prudential Investments, responsible for qualitative and quantitative risk assessment and management initiatives across Prudential’s retail investment product businesses.
All health care M&A activity in New Jersey goes through Kobler, as does the development of hospitals and other health care facilities. A partner at Newark’s McCarter & English, he has been involved in the state’s largest and most complex health care transactions, representing lenders and acute, subacute and specialized lay and faith-based providers.
Executive vice president and general counsel at PSE&G, Linde joined the law department of the company as an attorney in 1990 handling a variety of natural gas and electric regulatory and transactional matters. After holding several other legal positions at PSE&G she became general solicitor in 2000. In that position she was responsible for regulatory affairs including electric, gas, and nuclear matters. She has significant experience working on regulatory matters before various state and federal agencies on industry issues relating to electric transmission and distribution and energy markets.
The pharmaceutical industry is a huge segment of the New Jersey economy and Lizza helps those drugmakers protect one of their most valuable resources: intellectual property. A partner at Saul Ewing in Newark, Lizza is handling cases for about 20 major pharmaceutical companies, according to the firm. Examples of his work include representing Celgene Corp. in defending its Revlimid drug, a treatment for multiple myeloma and blood disorders, which produces annual sales of about $6 billion. Lizza also represented Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy subsidiary in a patent suit involving Stryker over medical devices with sales of about $200 million.
Julia López is a partner at Reed Smith in the firm’s Life Sciences Health Industry Group, handling product liability and commercial litigation for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Her experience includes working on single plaintiff matters, coordinated cases, and multidistrict litigation in both federal and state courts and handling all aspects of general litigation. She has also counseled clients in breach of contract matters, business torts, other complex business disputes, and in government pharmaceutical pricing investigations. Committed to the firm’s diversity initiatives, Lopez is an associate liaison on the firm’s Diversity Committee and previously served as the associate liaison for UNIDOS, Reed Smith’s Hispanic/Latino Affinity Group. She has been an active member of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey since 2003 and an active board member since 2008, serving in various leadership positions, including a term as president last year.
Ronald Masciantonio is senior vice president and general counsel at discount chain Five Below, a role he took on after 13 years with Destination Maternity in Moorestown. He began at Five Below in November of 2018, and in that time, the brand has grown even in the face of a tariffs on Chinese imports. In the first quarter of 2019, the retailer expanded to Iowa, Nebraska and Arizona, bringing its state count to 36. Additionally, Masciantonio serves as vice chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey, the region’s largest business organization.
David A. Mebane
Mebane, executive vice president and general counsel for RWJBarnabas Health, is responsible for the legal affairs and insurance of New Jersey’s largest integrated health system. He is also president of its captive insurance company. Mebane joined the system 28 years ago. He was integral in the development and growth of Barnabas Health’s legal department and the merger of Robert Wood Johnson Health System and Barnabas Health, which resulted in the establishment of RWJBarnabas Health in 2016. Mebane provides advice and counsel RWJBH’s transactions, litigation and contracts, risk financing, compliance and day-to-day operations and advocacy.
Moles has helped steer Resorts Casino through rough waters over the years, including the Great Recession of a decade ago and the subsequent closures of many long-time gambling establishments in Atlantic City. Now, just as the casino seemed to have entered much calmer waters, it faces the challenge of a deadly global pandemic that silenced its slots. Fortunately Resorts introduced sports betting for both mobile and online platforms, which began producing strong revenues for the gaming industry even before the COVID-19 outbreak. Obviously, neither system requires large crowds indoors –something Atlantic City won’t be seeing for a while. Resorts, despite its relatively small size compared to the Borgata or Harrah’s, was one of the few casinos in the past year that actually made a profit, according to the most recent data from state gaming regulators. So the company may actually be positioned for a strong rebound, if the lockdown ends relatively soon.
Murphy is executive vice president and chief legal officer, operations for Hackensack Meridian Health. She has played an integral role in some of the health network’s most significant endeavors. Murphy began at Hackensack University Medical Center as associate counsel and director of risk management in 1992 and previously served as executive vice president/chief legal officer at Hackensack University Medical Center and Hackensack University Health Network. She boasts dual expertise as an attorney and as a nurse, navigating high-level strategic operations with a particular understanding of patient care – a dual specialty that will be especially useful as the system navigates the pandemic and its aftermath. Murphy was recently named General Counsel of the Year for Healthcare by NJBIZ and was honored by NJBIZ among its Best 50 Women in Business.