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Badolato and DeSimone to Receive McLaughlin Award

The Civil Trial Bar Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association will present its prestigious James J. McLaughlin Award to two long-time NJSBA members on Sept. 26. Richard J. Badolato and the Hon. Samuel G. DeSimone will be honored at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick. Presented annually by the section, the award recognizes civility, legal competence and professionalism in the practice of civil trial law.

Richard J. Badolato

Recognized for his ability to seamlessly blend hard work with humor and compassion, Richard Badolato is a partner in the Roseland firm of Connell Foley LLP. President of the NJSBA in 2002-2003, he was awarded the association’s Distinguished Legislative Service Award in 2003 for his work on the issue of medical malpractice reform. The award is the highest recognition bestowed by the NJSBA on its members for advancing the association’s legislative agenda.

“Rich understands what it means to work very hard to represent a client, yet at the end of the day he doesn’t lose sight of the importance of family and friends,” says Superior Court Judge Heidi Willis Currier, a 20-year friend and colleague. “That’s something that is very hard to accomplish, and he does it all with an amazing attitude and sense of humor.”

Currier credits Badolato with mentoring her when she joined Connell Foley as a young lawyer, and turned to him to speak on her behalf when she was appointed to the bench. She will return the favor at his request, when Badolato receives the McLaughlin Award.

“He definitely deserves it,” says Currier. “Rich would drop everything to do anything he can for people. He puts everyone before himself. And he has always taken the time to mentor younger lawyers. While many other experienced attorneys focus only on their own work, Rich is always ready to give his time to others as a mentor.”

Kenneth Javerbaum, who has been friends with Badolato since law school in the early 1960s, wholehearted agrees. “He is, in my opinion, the best of the profession and the best of humanity. He has made an impact and is respected in every endeavor. Whether he’s playing a game of golf…or representing a client, he is always, always vibrant, enthusiastic and sincere.”

A member of the NJSBA for 41 years and a trustee from 1993 to 1997 and Executive Committee member from 1997 to 2003, Badolato served on the General Council for more than a quarter of a century, the Civil Trial Bar Section’s Executive Committee since 1982 and the Certified Trial Attorneys Section since 1988. He chaired the NJSBA Committee on Reinstatement of Attorneys, and was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Professionalism and the Membership, and Malpractice and Auto Insurance Reform committees. Badolato also served as chair of the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law for a term of two years.

In addition to his bar association involvement, Badolato served on the Supreme Court of New Jersey Professional Responsibility Rules and the Paralegal Education and Regulation committees. He was also a member of the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, serving as chair from 1997 to 2000.

Samuel G. DeSimone

Professionalism and hard work best describe the legal career of Samuel DeSimone, who retired as a superior court judge in 2000. Appointed to the bench in 1975 by Governor Brendan Byrne, DeSimone served in every division of the superior court, and was the first appointed assignment judge of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties, a position he held for 18 years.

“We will definitely miss the leadership he has shown in his 25 years of service. But we will also miss his warmth, his wisdom, and his way of making you feel welcome whenever he meets you,” Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz said at the time of DeSimone’s retirement. Pointing to his intelligence, compassion and commitment to the fundamentals of justice, she noted that “the Gloucester vicinage could not have had anybody better at the helm for its first quarter century.”

“Although he retired from the bench six years ago, he definitely hasn’t slowed down,” notes his son and law partner John DeSimone. “He called me on a Friday, his birthday, to tell me he had just retired, and in the next breath asked if I worked on weekends. It turned out he wanted to get into my office and set up a desk so he would be ready to work first thing Monday morning.”

Father and son practice in Woodbury’s DeSimone Law Offices. The senior DeSimone, a 46-year member of the NJSBA, handles the firm’s arbitration and mediation services, and is recognized as an expert in the field of dispute resolution. He currently serves as chair of the Commission of Judicial Performance and Evaluation for the New Jersey Supreme Court and is a faculty member at the National Judicial College and the New Jersey Judicial College. He is the former vice-chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Dispute Resolution Skills and co-chaired the Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution.

“If I had to sum up dad professionally and personally, I’d have to say that he has always been a complete gentleman in every way,” says John DeSimone, who will present his father with the McLaughlin Award. “He taught me that you can have an adversarial posture, but still be a consummate gentleman. No one who appeared before him in court ever left his courtroom with a loss of dignity.”

Samuel DeSimone’s ability to maintain civility and professionalism in the courtroom was the result of a decidedly clear vision of the law and an open mind.

“He has always had a knack for satisfying both sides in any case,” says John DeSimone. “He takes the knowledge he has in dispute resolution, among other things, and masterfully applies it to everyday circumstances of the cases he handles. He did this as a judge and he continues doing this in practice today. He prides himself on his ability to identify and resolve the issues of a case with the utmost professionalism.”

For more details and to register for this event, please call the NJSBA meetings department at 732-249-5000.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice .