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

The NJSBA Arthur T. Vanderbilt Award For Excellence in Judicial Administration

The Arthur T. Vanderbilt Award for Excellence in Judicial Administration recognizes outstanding efforts by individuals in the legal community who assist in fulfilling the mission statements of the NJSBA and the Judicial Administration Committee.

Award Criteria

The Arthur T. Vanderbilt Award for Excellence in Judicial Administration was created to recognize outstanding efforts by individuals in the legal community who assist in fulfilling the mission statements of the NJSBA and that of the Judicial Administration Committee in the area of judicial administration. The recipient may not be a current sitting member of the Judicial Administration Committee. In addition, it is not necessary that the recipient be an attorney or NJSBA member (so that judges and court staff may qualify to receive the award).

Nominations for the award are solicited from members of the Judicial Administration Committee and members of the NJSBA Board of Trustees during the current and past five years. Once received, the Judicial Administration Committee will review the nominations and make recommendations to NJSBA Executive Committee.

Nominations are accepted until July 1st annually by downloading and using the nomination form and forwarding it to Jena Morrow, Legal and Government Affairs Paralegal, at the NJSBA via mail, fax 732-937-7512, or e-mail at jmorrow@njsba.com.

2008 Recipients

Martin L. Haines was a former NJSBA President, serving from 1972-73, as a Superior Court Judge for 12 years, and an assignment judge for eight of those years. From 1996-1998, Judge Haines served as   co-chair of the Judicial Administration Committee with Holly Bakke and continued his longstanding advocacy for NJSBA involvement in judicial policymaking. Ms. Bakke and he were the founding chairs to start the bench bar conference known as “The Judicial Administration Forum” which has brought together lawyers, judges and court staff to discuss the pressing issues of the day in a collegial atmosphere.

Theodore J. Fetter retired in 2008 as Deputy Administrative Director of the Courts. He has been an invaluable consultant to the Judicial Administration Committee for over a decade and for the last five years as an ex officio member of the committee. Mr. Fetter resigned as a member of the Committee in mid-March in anticipation of his retirement. Mr. Fetter is not a lawyer by trade. However, his knowledge and counsel to the committee proved a significant help to the NJSBA in being able to secure a deeper understanding of judicial policymaking issues.

2009 Recipients

Paula T. Dow spent an unprecedented tenure of 12 years on the NJSBA Judicial Administration Committee. During that time she served in various capacities including co-chair for two years and also a facilitator and speaker at several forums. She concluded her time on the committee in 2008. In addition, she helped to expand the committee’s membership and remained active even after becoming Essex County Prosecutor.

Robert D. Pitt has worked primarily with the NJSBA and its Special Civil Part Committee appearing at meetings, and NJSBA programs throughout the years. He assisted in the production of a Judicial College program with the Special Civil Part Committee on best Special Civil Part practices. Mr. Pitt also helped produce the 1999 Symposium on Technology where he shared the New Jersey judiciary's plans to start electronic filing in the Special Civil Part at the NJSBA Annual Meeting.

2010 Recipients

Edwin J. McCreedy: A former chair of the Judicial Administration Committee. Ed made expanding the involvement of the NJSBA in judicial policymaking a top priority during his elevation through the chairs to become president. His efforts culminated in a renewal of the NJSBA/Judiciary communications protocol, and a commitment from then-Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz that enabled the NJSBA to appear at Judicial Council meetings to express our issues before the leaders of the NJ courts annually. Mr. McCreedy also participated as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Best Civil Practices in their evaluation of “best practices” recommendations for the Conference of Civil Presiding Judges for the Board of Trustees.

Nancy Erika Smith was a member of the committee for a number of years. Prior to her membership, she helped to moderate a program on the committee’s behalf on federal and state appellate advocacy. She has also participated as a facilitator at past forums. Last year, she presented two panels at the Judicial College on our behalf: the first is the Conscientious Employee Protection Act; and the second is a panel on the law against discrimination. This year she was a moderator of the panel of current and part female Supreme Court justice at the Women in the Profession Section’s Women in the Courts Bench Bar Conference which the committee co-sponsored.

2012 Recipients

David P. Anderson: David Anderson during his tenure as Director of Professional and Governmental Services at the AOC was responsible for driving the court’s legislative and judicial appointments. He also replaced Ted Fetter as the Judiciary’s liaison to the NJSBA for over a decade in response to the adoption of the Supreme Court’s Strategic Planning Report and to the Judicial Administration Committee attending a number of meetings to discuss issues of mutual concern.

Senator Robert Martin: Senator Robert Martin, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was an outspoken critic of senatorial courtesy and proponent of the appointment of qualified judicial appointees. Toward this end, he authored and implemented his own form of judicial review on which he elaborated in a Rutgers Law Review article entitled "Reinforcing New Jersey's Bench: Power Tools for Remodeling Senatorial Courtesy and Refining Judicial Selection." This model became the basis for the NJSBA’s recommendations in its Report on Judicial Selection. In the past, he has appeared at several NJSBA events on these subjects. Senator Martin was also a cosponsor of municipal public defender legislation, which was signed into law in 1997 to eliminate mandatory pro bono assignments in New Jersey’s municipal courts, and authored another Rutgers Law Review article entitled "A Matter of Simple Justice: Enactment of New Jersey's Municipal Public Defender Act." Each of these actions have been calculated to improve the administration of justice in New Jersey and assisted the NJSBA in its mission either acting on a parallel or cooperative course.

2013 RECIPIENTS

Honorable Linda R. Feinberg: Judge Feinberg participated in several forums, including the program on judicial leadership, education and training where she was one of the keynote speakers offering her perspective on judicial leadership.  She also participated in this last year’s forum on dispute resolution where she delivered the Keynote Address.  She serves as the chair of the NJ Commission on Professionalism in the Law and longstanding member of the Family Law Section Executive Committee.  As a judge, Ms. Feinberg was known for her outstanding organizational and leadership skills.  Her opinions demonstrate a firm commitment to the principles of judicial independence and the rule of law. 

Honorable Helen E. Hoens: Justice Hoens has served on the bench for almost two decades, first as a Superior Court judge where she became a Presiding Judge for the Civil Part, and was later elevated from trial court to the Appellate Division in 2002.  In 2006, she was nominated by Jon Corzine to become an Associate Justice of the NJ Supreme Court.  During her tenure as judge and justice, she has served on numerous Supreme Court Committees including the Judiciary Advisory Committee on Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance, the Supreme Court Special Committee on Surrogates’ Trust Funds and the Supreme Court Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution.  She has also participated on many panels as a speaker at NJSBA and Institute for Continuing Legal Education events.  Her opinions demonstrate a firm commitment to the principles of judicial independence and the rule of law. 

Honorable John E. Wallace, Jr.: Justice Wallace has earned respect of members of the New Jersey State Bar Association by serving the people of the State of New Jersey as a member of the judiciary for over 25 years I a dignified and professional manner.  Justice Wallace began his tenure on the bench as a Municipal Judge for Washington Township and was later appointed to the New Jersey Superior Court.  During his time in the judiciary, he served 11 years as an Appellate Division judge and several years as a Supreme Court justice.  While serving on the Supreme Court, he authored numerous opinions in various areas of the law including family, criminal and insurance law which demonstrated keen intellect, scholarship, integrity and strong understanding of the rules of the law.  He served on Court committees including New Jersey Supreme Court Task Force for Minority Concerns, the New Jersey Ethics Commission, the Judiciary Advisory Committee on Americans with Disabilities Act, the Supreme Court Special Committee on Matrimonial Litigation, the Appellate Division Rules Committee and was chair of the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Admissions.  Justice Wallace has received numerous honors for his work both in the legal profession and in his community and is deserving of the utmost respect and admiration