New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

CONTACT:Kate Coscarelli
Director of Communications

Hundreds of Attorneys and Judges Gather in Atlantic City New Jersey State Bar Association Holds its Annual Meeting

For three days next week, the state’s legal community will come together at the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention for educational seminars, speeches and networking events.

A wide range of prominent legal experts, programs on hot issues such as the current economic crisis, and debate on law and public policy will be at the center of the event, which runs from May 13 to 15 at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City.

This year marks the association’s 110th annual meeting. Animal cruelty, prayer in schools, home foreclosures, the real “American Gangster,” trends in pharmaceutical litigation and eyewitness identification are just some of the topics to be explored over 100 events.

Reporters are welcome to cover the state bar association’s premiere event.

Here are some of the highlights:

New President:

Allen Etish will become the head of the state’s largest lawyers group when he is installed as president Thursday. New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner will administer the oath of office.

The 59-year-old Cherry Hill resident is known for having a big voice, an exuberance for the law and no hesitation to share his opinions. He grew up in Englewood and worked in his parents’ furniture store from the time he was a kid, before pursuing the law.

A partner with Archer and Greiner in Haddonfield, Etish said he plans to marshal the energy of the association to help lawyers adapt and thrive during these difficult economic times.

“I am ready to hit the ground running,” said Etish. “My time practicing law shadowed my earlier retail training. Nothing can replace passion in the preparation and trial of a case or the sale of a roomful of furniture. There is nothing I am more passionate about than being a lawyer. And I am going to make sure that during this economic crisis – and moving forward - the members of this profession are gainfully employed and that law school students are getting the opportunities they need to start a career in this noble profession.”

State of Judiciary Speeches:

New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and U.S. District Court of New Jersey Chief Judge Garrett Brown will deliver remarks about their respective judiciaries Friday morning.


The economic recession facing the country has touched nearly every sector of the business world, from retail to construction to banking.

And the legal profession has not been immune. Many in the industry have suffered a body blow at the hands of the financial downturn. At the Annual Meeting over a dozen seminars will explore how those issues touch lawyers – from getting tips on insurance rates to handling divorce matters in an economic downturn.

“These are extremely difficult times,” said Bar Association President Peggy Sheahan Knee. “The bar association wants to make sure we do everything we can to help the members of this profession to develop the tools and education to not just make it through, but to thrive.”

Work-Life Balance:

For the past year a NJSBA Presidential Task Force has studied the issue of balancing personal obligations with the pressures of professional life. The panel members have scoured the research in the field, held public forums and met extensively to discuss this critical topic that covers not just working moms and dads, but those who care for elderly parents, want to work part-time or would like to get involved in volunteer activities. On Thursday, the panel will hold a session to discuss what it learned.

Supreme Court Justices:

In addition to Chief Justice Rabner’s address, several other members of the state’s high court will participate in the convention. Justices Helen Hoens and Virginia Long will be panelists at a “Dos and Don’ts of Oral Appellate Arguments” seminar on Thursday afternoon. The same day Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto will take part in a seminar on evidence and Justice Barry Albin will deliver a lunchtime lecture on individual rights.

Attorney Advertising Public Hearing:

What’s in a name? For law firms this can be a loaded question. Traditionally, firm names amounted to long lists of the names of partners, many who were deceased. In recent years, the shift has been toward shorter lists or even just a single name. Now the question before the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Attorney Advertising at a Friday morning hearing will be whether firms can be more general in their selection of names by using trade names.

Mentoring Success:

The association’s Young Lawyers Division kicks off a new mentoring program meant to match up its members with veteran lawyers. The idea behind the program is to match a lawyer with at least 15 years of experience, with a young lawyer who needs guidance in a specific area of law, or has a specific question, such as how to handle a motion in court. The program will provide young lawyers a chance to get answers to the kind of questions they may not feel comfortable asking of their supervisors, or learn about a new area of expertise beyond their current caseload, said Kimberly Yonta Aronow, chair of the Young Lawyers Division.

“A young lawyer is always faced with a career decision, a choice to leave or enter a particular practice area, or the lawyer has a complex legal question for which guidance is necessary. This program will provide a young lawyer with a confidante,” she said.

To find out more about the Annual Meeting visit To obtain credentials, contact Kate Coscarelli at 732-937-7548 or