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For immediate release: August 29, 2007
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort, Tamara Kendig

Supreme Court of New Jersey Recognizes Volunteers on District Fee Arbitration Committees

The Supreme Court will issue certificates of meritorious service to 74 members of New Jersey's district fee arbitration committees to thank them for serving the Judiciary in this capacity, today announced David E. Johnson Jr., director of the Office of Attorney Ethics. Members of these committees resolve disputes concerning legal fees between consumers and their attorneys.

"The fee arbitration program simply could not work without our volunteers," stated Mr. Johnson. "Because of them, we are able to offer attorneys and their clients a knowledgeable and impartial determination regarding the fairness of the legal fees being questioned. We are grateful to our outgoing members for their dedication and their expertise."

The New Jersey Supreme Court created the current fee arbitration system in 1978 as a way to resolve fee disputes between clients and attorneys in a timely and inexpensive manner. Only nine other states offer a mandatory, statewide, attorney fee arbitration program similar to New Jersey's.

Fee arbitration is initiated when a client files an arbitration request form with the secretary of the committee in a district where the lawyer maintains an office for the practice of law. Clients can obtain contact information for the appropriate district committee by calling the automated Fee Arbitration Hotline at 800-406-8594 and entering the attorney's office zip code. The client and the attorney each must pay a $50 administrative filing fee for utilizing the fee arbitration system.

In fee matters, the attorney must prove that the fee charged was reasonable based on a number of factors, including the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the legal skills required; the likelihood that serving the client will preclude other employment by the lawyer; the customary fees for similar legal services; the amount involved and the results obtained; the time limits imposed by the client or by the circumstances; the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client; the experience, reputation and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and whether the fee is fixed or contingent. Matters involving fees of $3,000 or more are heard before panels of three members of the district fee arbitration committee. Matters involving lesser amounts are heard by a single attorney from the committee. A written arbitration determination is prepared for the parties, who may choose to settle at any time before or during a hearing.

Attorneys and members of the public are appointed to four-year terms. Currently there are 284 volunteers serving on the state's 17 committees. Please see the attached list for the names and hometowns of the departing members.

In 2006, there were 987 new fee disputes filed statewide. The committees resolved 934 disputes involving almost $10 million in total billings. More information on the Office of Attorney Ethics and the fee arbitration program can be found at njcourtsonline.com.

Fee Arbitration Committee Members
Term ending August 31, 2007

District I
(Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem Counties)

     Catherine J. Arpino of Vineland
     Elaine B. Frick, Esq. of Pleasantville
     Michael M. Mulligan, Esq. of Carneys Point
     Michele C. Verno, Esq. of Northfield
District IIA
(North Bergen County)

     Frank LaRocca, Esq. of Glen Rock
     Anne C. Skau, Esq. of Ridgewood
     Debra F. Schneider, Esq. of Glen Rock
     Betty Williams of Teaneck
District IIB
(South Bergen County)

     Suzanne DePuyt of Mahawah
     Rosario J. Lazzaro of Cresskill
     Daniel P. McNerney, Esq. of Hackensack
     Alice W. Meehan, Esq. of Hackensack
     Janell W. Weinstein, Esq. of Hackensack
District IIIA
(Ocean County)

     Claire M. Calinda, Esq. of Toms River
     Joel A. Davies, Esq. of Toms River
     Maria A. Stork, Esq. of Forked River
District IIIB
(Burlington County)

     Patricia A. Barasch, Esq. of Moorestown
     Beth Ann Burton, Esq. of Maple Shade
     Kathleen Sweeney of Roebling
District IV
(Camden County)

     Robert Adinolfi, Esq. of Haddonfield
     Augusta Joy Pistilli, Esq. of Woodbury
     Stacy L. Spinosi, Esq. of Woodbury
District VA
(Essex County - Newark)

     Stanley A. Epstein, Esq. of Newark
     Robert A. Fagella, Esq. of Newark
     Robert M. Goodman, Esq. of Roseland
     Celia King of Maplewood
District VB
(Essex County - Suburban Essex)

     Stewart M. Leviss, Esq. of West Orange
     David Rothschild of Millburn
     Domenic D. Toto, Esq. of Roseland
     Peter J. Vazquez, Jr., Esq. of Florham Park
District VC
(Essex County - West Essex)

     Bryan Blaney, Esq. of Roseland
     Sherry Gale Chachkin, Esq. of Nutley
     Hilda L. Jaffe of Verona
     Leslie A. Lajewski, Esq. of Roseland
     Laurena G. White of Montclair
District VI
(Hudson County)

     Corrado Belgiovine of Jersey City
     Thomas M. Venino, Jr., Esq. of North Bergen
District VII
(Mercer County)

     Tracey A. Destribats of Hamilton
     Howard L. Felsenfeld, Esq. of Mercerville
     Howard S. Rednor, Esq. of Trenton
     Robert Sussna of Princeton
District VIII
(Middlesex County)

     Guillermo R. Arango, Jr., Esq. of New Brunswick
     Arlene R. Green, Esq. of Colonia
     Navin Jiwnani of Greenbrook
     Gregory B. Pasquale, Esq. of Princeton
     Edward J. Ramp, Esq. of East Brunswick
     Deborah A. Rose, Esq. of Edison
     Charles F. Shaughnessy of Colonia
District IX
(Monmouth County)

     Robert J. Boland, Esq. of Morganville
     Michael Richard DuPont, Esq. of Red Bank
     Richard W. Hogan, Esq. of Ocean Grove
     Jeanette Pappas, Esq. of Spring Lake
     Lydia Valencia of Lakewood
     Leslie S. Vincent, Esq. of Middletown
District X
(Morris and Sussex Counties)

     Mark A. Blount, Esq. of Chester
     Robert L. Gaynor, Esq. of Succasunna
     Allan J. Iskra, Esq. of Boonton
     Catherine S. Litwin of Morristown
     Aron M. Schwartz, Esq. of Woodbridge
     Arthur J. Shulman, Esq. of Livingston
     Dan Vinod of Morristown
     Leonard C. Walczyk, Esq. of Millburn
District XI
(Passaic County)

     Kristin M. Corrado, Esq. of Totowa Boro
     Angelo Lobosco of W. Paterson
     Yolanda Simmons of Paterson
     William S. Taylor, Esq. of Clifton
District XII
(Union County)

     John M. Boyle, Esq. of Westfield
     Michael F. Brandman, Esq. of Cranford
     Mary N. Cooper of Summit
     Linda B. Hander of New Providence
     Cary R. Hardy, Esq. of Summit
     Susan C. Taylor, Esq. of Summit
District XIII
(Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren Counties)

     Eliot M. Goldstein, Esq. of Warren
     Andrae Wood of Lebanon

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