Bill Castner has joined Connell Foley LLP as a partner in its Cherry Hill office.
He joins the firm from the governor’s office, where he was Gov. Phil Murphy’s senior advisor on firearms. Castner will practice primarily in the firm’s health care group, where he will provide counsel to senior management and entrepreneurs on policy issues throughout New Jersey.
Castner has had a long presence at the intersection of law and government. He was appointed general counsel to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2002, and in 2006 became the youngest executive director in the history of the New Jersey General Assembly Office. He was appointed chief counsel to Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009, and in 2010 was appointed by Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts to serve on the State Commission of Investigation. He was appointed the following year to chief counsel to the Democratic members of the New Jersey Apportionment Commission, and the year after that to chief counsel of the New Jersey Redistricting Commission.
He left the public sector to become partner at Gibbons PC, where he was chair of the firm’s government affairs department. In 2015, he was named senior vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, where he helped navigate challenges while serving the company’s three million members.
He took the position in the governor’s office with Murphy in May 2018.
“Bill has operated at the most senior levels of large corporations, health care institutions, and government,” said Managing Partner Philip McGovern Jr. in a statement. “He is well regarded for his strategic insights and ability to problem solve on behalf of his clients. His record of providing sound guidance to Gov. Murphy as Senior Advisor on Firearms Policy, as well as his earlier success at both Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Gibbons PC, will make him an invaluable member of our firm, particularly as we continue to grow our Cherry Hill office.”
Castner said he was drawn to the Connell Foley by McGovern and Partner Nevins McCann, and by the firm’s history of government and legal heavyweights like the former governor and former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Hughes.
“They have an incredible history of reputable attorneys who also have a public service background,” Castner said.
While at Gibbons, he represented some of the largest health care organizations and health insurance providers in the state.
“What’s really interesting about health care systems is they’re often the largest employer in every county. They’re large businesses and those businesses have different needs. They have regulatory needs, transaction needs, employment law,” Castner said. “Health care is half of our state’s economy. [Being a part of Connell Foley’s health care practice], that’s a very exciting proposition to me.”
During Castner’s tenure in the governor’s office, Gov. Murphy was able to advance some of the most progressive gun legislation in the country.
“Bill Castner has been a tremendous asset to my administration,” said Murphy in a statement. “I have come to count on Bill’s sensible advice and counsel. Although I’m sad to see him depart his Senior Advisor role with us, I’m pleased he will continue his work on gun violence prevention at Connell Foley. I know his new firm has gained a very smart and talented public servant.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include comments from Castner.