Note: The Commission does not regulate, investigate or discipline lawyers. For advice on filing a complaint against a lawyer please contact the Office of Attorney Ethics, PO Box 963, Trenton, NJ. You may call them at (609) 530-4010.
The New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law is a unique cooperative venture of the NJSBA, the state and federal judiciary, and New Jersey's three law schools. The Commission was formed in response to increasing displeasure within the bar about the future direction of the profession, and public criticism of lawyers and the legal system. We hope to contribute to a strengthening of the traditional values, and sense of responsibility and public purpose, that have made the practice of law a distinguished profession. Moreover, we hope our work helps to increase public respect for judges and the justice system.
Towards this end the Commission develops programs and initiatives for lawyers, judges, and law students. We sponsor and participate in educational seminars, take positions on professional responsibility issues, and serve as an information resource for bar associations. The Commission operates from the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.
The Commission's Chair is United States District Court Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle. Members include a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court, a federal district court judge, representatives of the state trial and appellate courts, the Deans of New Jersey's law schools, distinguished members of the bar, an academic from Rutgers College, and a public representative.
The New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law is soliciting nominations for the Daniel J. O'Hern Award and the Charles J. Hollenbeck Award. Each award recognizes members of the legal community who have demonstrated the highest standards of professionalism in practice.
The O'Hern Award is presented to an attorney who is a well-respected member of the legal community and exhibits integrity, competence, high ethical standards, career achievement and service to the bar and/or community. The individual must be licensed to practice law in the state of New Jersey, and have demonstrated outstanding character and continually displayed a firm commitment to the ideals of professionalism as epitomized in the Commission's Principles of Professionalism.
The award is named for the Honorable Daniel J. O'Hern, a retired associate judge of the New Jersey Supreme Court, who was an advisor to the Commission from its inception in 1996 until his passing in 2009.
Nominees for the Hollenbeck Award must be licensed to practice law in the state of New Jersey; employed by a governmental agency at the federal, state, county or municipal level, or by a nonprofit organization that serves the needs of the legal community; and have served with diligence, competence and dedication to the profession.
The award's namesake, Charles J. Hollenbeck, dedicated a majority of his nearly four-decade career as an attorney to improving the quality of legal services throughout the state. He served as the Commission's executive director from its inception to his retirement in 2014.
Both awards will be presented at the Commission's annual Professionalism Awards Luncheon at the Imperia in Somerset on Oct. 11.
Letters of nomination for the O'Hern Award – as well as nomination forms for the Hollenbeck Award, (which can be found here) – should be sent by June 29 to: New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, Attn: Christina Pateman, New Jersey State Bar Association, One Constitution Square, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, or by e-mail to email@example.com.
Former recipients, as well as sitting judges, are ineligible; however, re-nominations will be accepted. Please note: To have a previous candidate considered for this year's award, a letter of nomination issued within the current year is required.
Click here for a list of past award recipients.