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Distinguished Jurists Honored with NJSBF’s Most Prestigious Award
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Retired New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Stewart G. Pollock and retired New Jersey Appellate Court Judge William A. Dreier will receive the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s highest award, the Medal of Honor, for their longtime commitment to New Jersey’s legal legacy on June 12. The awards, given each year to candidates who have made exemplary contributions to improving the justice system, will be presented at the Foundation’s Annual Medal of Honor Awards Reception at the NJ Law Center. In addition, Susan Feeney, the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Second Vice President and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, will be presented with the Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
A Landmark Case
“I am deeply honored to be a recipient of the NJSBF’s Medal of Honor,” said Justice Pollock. “For 50 years the Foundation has been committed to educating the public about New Jersey law. As one who shares that deep commitment, I am especially grateful for this award.”
As an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for 20 years, he produced a number of decisions that have become standards in Property and Tort Law, among them and O’Brien v. Muskey. According to his son, attorney Jeffrey M. Pollock, his father sensed that the Ventron case, which was concerned with whether a corporation is liable for acts of pollution by its employees, was one that would garner the attention of The New York Times and national media attention. That It did—as well as herald an era that recognized such corporate responsibility as a given.
The younger Mr. Pollock cites his father’s integrity: “His transition to the Court was personally difficult. He knew his fellow lawyers as friends and colleagues. Because of the potential appearance of impropriety, he had to question whether he could have lunch with lawyers he had known for years. He was then and to this day remains very concerned about any action that would tarnish the reputation of the Court.”
Integrity and Service
The chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on the Professional Rules of Responsibility and co-chair of Gov. Jon Corzine’s Judicial Advisory Panel, Justice Pollock has led a remarkable career divided between private practice and public office. He has served as an assistant United States Attorney, Commissioner on the Board of Public Utilities, Commissioner on the State Commission of Investigation, and chief counsel to Gov. Brendan Byrne. “He was an outstanding trial attorney, outstanding Justice, and the kind of guy who had a real concern for his fellow citizens,” said Gov. Byrne, “and a national reputation as a jurist. No question, one of the finest people I’ve ever met.” Jeffrey Pollock echoes that sentiment: “For my father, his law clerks have become additional family members.”
Upon retiring from the Court in 1999, Justice Pollock became of Counsel to the law firm of Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti in Morristown. A life member of the American Bar Foundation and former chairman of both the Supreme Court Commission on Rules of Professional Conduct and the Appellate Judges’ Conference of the American Bar Association, he is a former president of the Morris Bar Association and past Commissioner of the State Commission of Investigation. The former Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia Law School and current lecturer at law schools nationwide is a trustee of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, New York University School of Law and the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In addition to many written opinions for the Court, he is the author of numerous published articles on health care, public utilities, product liability and constitutional law.
“Justice Pollock is well deserving of the Foundation’s highest honor,” said Foundation president Mary Ellen Tully. “The dedication he displayed during his two decades on the state’s highest court, his willingness to share his insights at law schools, his publications, and his continuing commitment to his profession make the Foundation proud to award him the Medal of Honor.”
A graduate of Hamilton College, he was chosen for the prestigious Root-Tilden scholarship at New York University School of Law with the proviso that the recipient take on opportunities for public service. Justice Pollock’s estimable career is the embodiment of a promise fulfilled—and then some.
Decades of Dedication
“I am honored and thrilled to be selected for the Medal of Honor,” said Judge Dreier. “It is very gratifying when your work over the past 47 years is recognized to such an extent by your peers. I am thrilled to be in the company of prior Medal of Honor recipients, many of whom I have long admired throughout my career.”
Sustained outstanding achievement in mediation and arbitration has been the hallmark of Judge Dreier’s distinguished career. Named among the Best Lawyers in America, 2005-2008 (Alternative Dispute Resolution), Judge Dreier has mediated hundreds of complex commercial cases of all kinds, including corporate, insurance, professional associations, employment, securities and financial, construction, general tort claims, products, liability, telecommunications and environmental. He has served as arbitrator in more than 50 substantial New Jersey, national and international disputes with a mediation success rate topping 90 percent. Notably, he was a Special Master and Discovery Master in a number of high-profile cases including the W.R. Grace bankruptcy proceedings, Owens-Corning bankruptcy proceedings, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. nationwide class action.
“The New Jersey State Bar Foundation is proud to bestow its highest honor on Judge Dreier for his distinguished career and his commitment to the organized bar,” said NJSBF President Mary Ellen Tully. “With his 380 judicial opinions and his lecturing and writing, both before and after retiring from the bench, to his continued commitment to the Bar as chair of ICLE [Institute of Continuing Legal Education], he epitomizes the qualities a Medal of Honor recipient should have.”
A Masterful Master
Called to the bench in 1973 in the New Jersey Superior Court Law Division, Judge Dreier was elevated to the Appellate Division ten years later. He served as presiding judge in the Superior Court, Appellate Division, from 1994 through his retirement in 1998. That year he became a principal in the law firm of Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, Bridgewater, where he heads the Product Liability Group and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Group.
Judge Dreier has written numerous books including New Jersey Products Liability and Toxic Torts Law, Products Liability and Toxic Torts Law in New Jersey: A Practitioner’s Guide, Chancery Practice in New Jersey and Secured Transactions Under the Revised Uniform Commercial Code. The author of more than 40 articles published in various Law Reviews and the New Jersey Law Journal, he has also served as Special Master and Discovery Master in federal and state proceedings. He has lectured at the American Law Institute, the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, New Jersey Judicial College, the New Jersey Law Journal Lecture series, and the law schools of the Universities of Texas, Michigan and Kansas, as well as Rutgers and Seton Hall.
The former president of the New Jersey Association of Retired Judges, Corporation Counsel for Plainfield and twice member of the Plainfield City Council was designated Plainfield’s Outstanding Citizen. Among his many noteworthy current affiliations, he is on the Columbia University Board of Visitors of the Faculty of Law, a member of the Somerset County Bar Association and