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

For immediate release 09/23/10

Contact:  Charles Hollenbeck

Director, NJ Commission on Professionalism in the law


Margolis to be Honored with Lawyer Professionalism Award

New Brunswick – An Essex County lawyer with a dedication to mentoring less experienced attorneys and serving the profession with integrity will receive the state’s top professionalism award.

Frances S. Margolis will receive the 2010 Daniel J. O’Hern Award from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law. The award is presented annually to a senior member of the bar in recognition of commitment to the highest ideals of the profession, career achievement, and service to the bar and community.

The award will be presented at the Professionalism Awards Luncheon, to be held on October 6 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.

“She is an outstanding lawyer and true professional who has for decades been an inspiration and mentor to lawyers. She certainly deserves to be recognized by her peers for outstanding contributions to the legal profession, particularly her investment in helping colleagues become the best lawyers possible,” said Dean Rayman L. Solomon of Rutgers-Camden Law School, the Chair of the commission.

Added Evelyn R. Storch, of the Harwood Lloyd firm in Hackensack: Frances Margolis “is the kind of person one gravitates toward because she is so warm and she is so knowledgeable and she is so open to help.”

Margolis, who originally pursued a career as an accountant, was admitted to practice law in New Jersey in 1953 following her graduation from Rutgers University School of Law.

“While I was working by day and going to school by night, I realized I didn’t really like accounting,” Margolis recalled.  “I was in a law firm that was really active. I just liked the excitement of it.”

She began in private practice with her husband, the late Hon. Harry A. Margolis, who later was appointed a Superior Court judge. She was a founding member of Greenberg Margolis, a firm that flourished under her direction and in which she and her partners were known for fostering a climate of quality and integrity. For the past 16 years Mrs. Margolis has been Of Counsel with Tomkins, McGuire, Wachenfeld & Barry, specializing in the areas of bankruptcy, business and commercial transactions and residential real estate.

Margolis is modest about her achievements. For example, while the letters nominating Margolis discuss at length her role as a mentor to countless young attorneys, Margolis seems surprised by the attention.

“For the most part, I was in firms where there were many attorneys, and as a result the young attorneys would come to me, and I really just loved to help them,” she said. “I wasn’t aware of the fact that it meant so much to them, but apparently it did.”

She has long been active in the organized bar, having served as a Trustee of the Essex County Bar Association, as well as a member of numerous committees within the association. She has been recognized by the Debtor-Creditor Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association with an award for Achievement and Contributions to the Bar. Margolis is also a Trustee and Master in the Bankruptcy Inn of Court of New Jersey, to which she has devoted countless hours to the development of the Inn’s younger members. She has been named a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a distinction that recognizes outstanding achievement and dedication to the advancement of the legal profession.

The New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law is a cooperative effort of the New Jersey State Bar Association, the state and federal judiciaries and the state’s three law schools – Seton Hall, Rutgers-Camden, and Rutgers-Newark. The commission seeks to encourage a spirit of professionalism