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For immediate release: January 12, 2009
For more information contact:
Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Chief Justice Rabner Names Karen M. Cassidy as Union Assignment Judge

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner today announced that Judge Karen M. Cassidy, presiding judge of the Family Division in the Union Vicinage, will succeed Assignment Judge Walter R. Barisonek upon his retirement.

The Chief Justice praised Judge Barisonek for his long and distinguished career on the bench. "Since he was first appointed in 1984, Judge Barisonek has set a standard for fairness, wisdom and excellence in serving the residents of Union County. We will greatly miss his leadership and counsel and wish him a healthy and happy retirement," said the Chief Justice.

Judge Cassidy begins her new assignment on Feb. 1. "Judge Cassidy has proven herself to be a dedicated jurist and leader in the Judiciary. She has presided over the Family Division in Union County with distinction and overseen a demanding caseload with skill and grace," said Chief Justice Rabner. "She will no doubt serve the entire Union County justice system well as assignment judge," he added.

Judge Cassidy was appointed to the bench in April 2000 by then-Gov. Christie Whitman. She has served in the Union Vicinage since her appointment, first in the Family Division, then in the Civil Division from September 2002 until September 2005. She went back to the Family Division in 2005 to serve as presiding judge.

Her first entry into the legal profession was in 1984 as law clerk to Judge Edward W. Beglin, Jr., when he was assignment judge in Union County.

"I am grateful to Chief Justice Rabner for his confidence in me. I am honored to be named assignment judge following Judge Barisonek, who has led our courthouse with strength and wisdom, and I am also proud to follow in the footsteps of Judge Beglin, whose mentoring provided me with the legal skills that placed me on solid ground as I began my career," said Judge Cassidy.

"And today I must thank my colleagues on the family bench here in Union County, and those from around the state in the Conference of Family Division Presiding Judges. They are a particularly dedicated group of judges, who oversee countless proceedings every day where children and families are suffering and at their most vulnerable. This demanding work, on behalf of families throughout New Jersey, is performed with compassion and dignity and I am proud to have served among them," she said.

Judge Cassidy holds a bachelor's degree from American University and a law degree from George Washington University. She is admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, the District Court of New Jersey and the state of New Jersey. She has been a certified civil trial attorney, an arbitrator, a master at the Richard J. Hughes Inn of Court and a lecturer for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Cassidy was a partner at the Roseland law firm of Connell, Foley. She had joined the firm in 1985 as an associate and was named partner in 1992.

Judge Cassidy lives with her husband Mark in Cranford, where he presides over the municipal court. They have two children, Patrick and Sarah. She enjoys participating in activities at her church, with her daughter's Girl Scout troop and watching her favorite team, the New York Mets.

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