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Judge Joan L. Mott And Attorney William F. Perry Share Workers' Compensation Section's Jack O'Brien Award
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The NJSBA Workers’ Compensation Section presented its annual Jack O’Brien Award to retired Workers’ Compensation Judge Joan L. Mott and retired attorney William F. Perry at the association’s recent annual meeting in Atlantic City. The award is given to acknowledge and recognize the contributions and achievements of the recipients during their careers in the field of workers’ compensation law, as a practicing attorney, an innovator in continuing legal education and a Workers’ Compensation Section member.
“Both Judge Mott and William Perry are outstanding individuals personally and professionally,” said NJSBA Trustee Marie Rose Bloomer, a former chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section. “They are shining examples of how people should handle themselves, and they have devoted a lot of time not only to their clients, but also to attorneys who are practicing.”
As a young attorney, Judge Mott worked for Wharton Stuart and Davis in Somerville when the firm represented Johns Manville. From there, she went to Pellettieri and Rabstein, then on to New Jersey Manufacturers before her appointment to the Workers’ Compensation bench. A founding member of the Worker’s Compensation Judges Association in New Jersey, she is also a past president of that group.
“It was very exciting to see Judge Mott get the O’Brien Award because she’s been a real beacon and role model for women attorneys in the worker’s compensation field right from the beginning,” said Workers’ Compensation Judge Rose Mary Granados.
According to Granados, Mott spearheaded seminars for judges in her capacity as administrative supervising judge, and kept judges up-to-date on court cases in the works, and recent appellate division decisions. Mott also was a frequent panelist at Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) and Workers’ Compensation Section cosponsored programs.
“Judge Mott also put together a two-volume compilation of compensation law to be used by new judges coming in. It’s an extremely valuable tool and she’s still working on updates. This is particularly crucial now because the workers’ compensation bench has had such a high turnover with retirements,” she said.
Mott was a workers’ compensation judge for 21 years before her mandatory retirement at the age of 70.
“The Jack O’Brien Award is something that is well thought of among the workers’ compensation bar,” said Mott. “It is an award from one’s peers and that’s always nice.”
A long time member of the Workers’ Compensation Section executive committee, William F. Perry practiced compensation law at Morgan Melhuish Monaghan Arvidson Abrutyn & Lisowski in Livingston for 40 years.
“The firm was Snyder and Morgan when I started there and I saw the name change four times over the years,” he said.
In 1958, Perry began his work in the field with the Hartford Insurance Company before moving on to the Levinson firm in New Brunswick, a Brooklyn insurance company located in East Orange, then finally to Snyder and Morgan. Active in local Basking Ridge politics, Perry served on the township committee and was mayor in 1988. He was also a member of the planning board and the board of adjustment, in addition to serving as secretary to the governing officials of Somerset County.
Perry fondly recalled the award’s namesake Jack O’ Brien, an attorney he faced in court on occasion. “The only case I tried in the Supreme Court was with Jack O’Brien. I admired him, a decent chap and good lawyer who was entitled to his reputation. I’m proud to receive an award named after him, and an award that many good lawyers have received over the years,” he said.
Thomas H. Green of Florham Park presented the Jack O’Brien Award to his friend and colleague. Green and Perry have known each other for around 40 years and did the same kind of defense work, though always working for separate firms.
“Our expertise is in the field of workers’ compensation defense at the trial level and also in the appellate division courts defending carriers in claims filed by petitioners in addition to companies that do not have their own self insurance,” he said. “Bill is well regarded as a man of integrity and good faith, you could always rely on his word. He also handled his business with a degree of humor that would set people at ease and made him a good negotiator.”
Green added that Perry felt that there were many others in the field deserving of the award and was surprised at the acknowledgement. “Bill was very happy that members of the bar recognized him,” he said.
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.
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