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  • May 26, 2021Mid-Sized Law Firm Innovation Moving to Advance Diversity & Inclusion

    Melissa Anne Peña, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, will co-present the webinar, “Mid-Sized Law Firm Innovation Moving to Advance Diversity & Inclusion,” hosted by the ARK Group as a part of its 3rd Annual Mid-Sized Law Firm Summit.

    Innovation to Advance Diversity & Inclusion

    Melissa will be joined by Sana Pancholy, President of Meritas Global Legal Network, who will moderate, along with other panelists. This Summit will be held from Wednesday, June 2, 2021, to Thursday, June 3, 2021. Speakers will discuss various issues related to:

    • Promoting diversity in the workplace
    • Hiring and promotional practices
    • The dynamics of company culture, business performance, client satisfaction, and innovation

    When: Thursday, June 3, 2021

    3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Register for Norris McLaughlin, Attorneys at Law, Legal Events in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

    • Legal professionals and law firms: $795
    • Vendors and service providers: $1,495

    About Melissa Peña

    Melissa, a member of the firm’s Management Committee and Chair of its Diversity & Inclusion Committee, concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures. Her practice covers all aspects of litigation and insolvency matters in both state and federal courts. She frequently represents secured lenders, creditors’ committees, debtors, trustees, landlords, and other creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings pending in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

    In addition, Melissa has extensive experience litigating cases involving UCC matters, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, inter-creditor agreements, lien priority disputes, equipment leases, fraudulent conveyance actions, preferences, and various creditor enforcement matters. She regularly represents lenders in commercial mortgage foreclosure proceedings. Whether inside or outside the courtroom, Melissa’s goal is to find a practical business solution for clients. She utilizes litigation as a tool to further a client’s business objectives in a cost-effective manner.

    Melissa serves on the Board of Directors for Meritas, the largest worldwide affiliation of high-quality law firms, and as Co-Chair of its Financial Services/CRABS Section. She is also a member of the Bankruptcy Inn of Court, New York County Lawyers’ Association, and National Association of Women Lawyers.

    Posted in: Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Events, Melissa A. Peña | Tags: ,

  • May 24, 2021Norris McLaughlin Attorneys Represent Firm in Meritas® Leadership Roles

    Steven A. Karg, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and one of the firm’s Meritas® Member Contacts, has been appointed to the Meritas U.S. Leadership Committee. “Being dedicated to building the relationship with other Meritas firms, it is my pleasure and honor to serve as the firm’s representative for the United States Leadership Committee,” said Karg.

    Melissa A.  Peña, a Member of the law firm and one of the firm’s Meritas Member Contacts, has been appointed to the Executive Committee of Meritas as Chair of its Finance Committee, and as Chair of the Meritas Women’s Leadership Congress Leadership Council. Peña commented, “It is my honor to lead this incredibly talented group of women with the common goal to increase and support female leadership within Meritas and, in so doing, show women how to leverage those leadership skills into more visible roles within their firms, as well as identify resources and programs that can help to inform policies and guidelines to improve diversity and gender equality within the legal industry.”

    In addition, Jill Lebowitz, a Member of the firm and Co-Chair of its Estate, Trust, and Tax Law Practice Group, serves on the Meritas U.S. Trusts and Estates Industry Group Steering Committee, and Shauna M. Deans, an Associate of the firm, will participate in the Meritas Black Lawyers’ Forum.

    About Meritas®

    Meritas® is an established global alliance of more than 180 independent, full-service law firms, with a comprehensive means of monitoring and enhancing the quality of its member firms—a process that saves clients time in validating law firm credentials and experience. Firms become members by invitation only and maintain membership by meeting the standards of a uniquely comprehensive Quality Assurance Program. Firms are regularly assessed and recertified for the breadth of their practice expertise and client satisfaction. Firm quality feedback is reflected in a Satisfaction Index score, which is available online. As the only Meritas firm in New Jersey, Norris McLaughlin enjoys an international reputation for excellence through its membership.

    About the Attorneys

    Steven Karg

    Karg focuses his practice on commercial litigation with an emphasis on products liability and consumer claims defense. He served a term on the Meritas Board of Directors and its Quality Assurance Committee. Karg is a past President of the Somerset County Bar Association, a member of the New Jersey Defense Association, a Former Chairperson of its Products Liability Committee, and a member of the Defense Research Institute as well as its Products Liability and Drug & Medical Device Committees.

    Karg has spoken about products liability issues to many organizations, and he is a co-author of the annual edition of “New Jersey Products Liability and Toxic Torts Law,” published by Gann Law Books. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Seton Hall University and his B.S., magna cum laude, from Trenton State College in Mechanical Engineering Technology.

    Melissa Peña

    Peña, Chair of the firm’s Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, a member of the Management Committee, and Chair of its Diversity & Inclusion Committee, concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures. Whether inside or outside the courtroom, Peña aims to find practical business solutions for her clients. She utilizes litigation as a tool to further her client’s business objectives in a cost-effective manner.

    Peña serves on the Board of Directors for Meritas, as Chair of the Meritas Finance Committee as an Executive Committee Member, and as Co-Chair of its Financial Services/CRABS Section. She is also a member of the Bankruptcy Inn of Court, New York County Lawyers’ Association, and National Association of Women Lawyers. Peña earned her J.D., cum laude, from The American University Washington College of Law in 2003 and her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science, from George Washington University in 2000.

    Jill Lebowitz

    Lebowitz devotes her practice to estate planning, trust and estate administration, and counseling tax-exempt organizations. She is a Fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a national organization of approximately 2,500 lawyers elected to membership by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence, and experience as trust and estate counselors.

    Lebowitz is a Past Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section, and continues to serve on the Section’s Board of Consultors. She is also a Past President of the Greater Middlesex/Somerset Estate Planning Council and continues to serve on its Board of Trustees. Lebowitz earned her LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law, her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law—Newark, and her B.A. from New York University.

    Shauna Deans

    Deans, a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, focuses her practice on estate planning and administration, including inheritance and gift taxation. She counsels beneficiaries and fiduciaries of estates and trusts on marshaling assets, issues regarding basis, and maximizing of tax savings. Deans is also certified by the State of New Jersey as a civil mediator and has assisted parties in the settlement of special civil, small claims, and landlord/tenant matters on behalf of the Court. Deans received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law in 2010, and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Spelman College in 2007.

    Posted in: Jill Lebowitz, Melissa A. Peña, News, Shauna M. Deans, Steven A. Karg | Tags: , , ,

  • May 14, 2021Restructuring the Bankruptcy Bar: Strategies to Increase Diversity

    Melissa Anne Peña, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, will co-present the webinar, “Restructuring the Bankruptcy Bar: Strategies to Increase Diversity,” hosted by the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ).

    Strategies to Increase Diversity

    This webinar will discuss various issues related to:

    • Current diversity initiatives
    • Personal experiences in the bankruptcy field
    • How to increase diversity among bankruptcy attorneys

    When: Wednesday, May 26, 2021

    6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

    Register for Norris McLaughlin, Attorneys at Law, Legal Events in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

    This webinar is free to SABA-NJ members and costs $25 for non-members.

    Participants will receive 1.2 NJ and 1.0 NY CLE credits.

    About Melissa Peña

    Melissa, a member of the firm’s Management Committee and Chair of its Diversity & Inclusion Committee, concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures. Her practice covers all aspects of litigation and insolvency matters in both state and federal courts. She frequently represents secured lenders, creditors’ committees, debtors, trustees, landlords, and other creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings pending in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

    In addition, Melissa has extensive experience litigating cases involving UCC matters, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, inter-creditor agreements, lien priority disputes, equipment leases, fraudulent conveyance actions, preferences, and various creditor enforcement matters. She regularly represents lenders in commercial mortgage foreclosure proceedings. Whether inside or outside the courtroom, Melissa’s goal is to find a practical business solution for clients. She utilizes litigation as a tool to further a client’s business objectives in a cost-effective manner.

    Melissa serves on the Board of Directors for Meritas, the largest worldwide affiliation of high-quality law firms, and as Co-Chair of its Financial Services/CRABS Section. She is also a member of the Bankruptcy Inn of Court, New York County Lawyers’ Association, and National Association of Women Lawyers.

    Posted in: Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Events, Melissa A. Peña | Tags: ,

  • May 11, 2021Norris McLaughlin Appoints David Roberts as Chair and Elects David Harmon and Graham Simmons to Management Committee

    The law firm of Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to announce its 2021 Management Committee.

    David C. Roberts, a Member of the firm and Co-Chair of its Litigation Practice Group, has been appointed Chair of the firm, succeeding John N. Vanarthos, also a Member of the firm, who has served since 2018.

    David T. Harmon, Co-Chair of the firm’s Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Practice Group, and S. Graham Simmons, III, Co-Chair of the firm’s Business Law Practice Group, have been elected to the firm’s Management Committee, joining Roberts, David S. Blatteis, Bruce S. Londa, Robert Mahoney, and Melissa A. Peña. With Simmons on the Management Committee, Theodore J. Zeller, III, Chair of the firm’s Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing, and Distribution Practice Group, will succeed his current role as the Pennsylvania office’s Administrative Partner.

    Dolores A. Laputka is stepping down after three years on the Management Committee and will continue to serve on the Norris McLaughlin Finance Committee. Both Vanarthos and Laputka continue as equity members of the firm.

    About the Norris McLaughlin Management Committee

    The Management Committee collaborates on and oversees the day-to-day operations of Norris McLaughlin with the goal of preserving the firm’s values, mission, and culture, as well as implementing strategic growth plans for the firm’s future success.

    “First, I want to thank John for his exceptional leadership and Dolores for her invaluable contributions to the committee and the firm,” said Roberts. “I am humbled and honored that the firm has selected me for this role, and I am excited to work with our broad and collaborative team of creative and talented colleagues.”

    Vanarthos added, “It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as the Chairperson of the firm and I thank the Management Committee for all of their hard work. I know that the management and leadership of the firm is in excellent and capable hands with Dave at the helm. I have full confidence in their ability to lead the firm into the future, and I will do all that I can to help with those efforts.”

    “It remains an honor to contribute to the leadership of the firm as a member of the Management Committee,” said Mahoney, who has served since 2012, “I offer my congratulations to Dave and know that the firm is well-positioned to deliver outstanding client service through our diverse practices and capabilities.”

    Peña, who was elected to the Committee in June 2020, commented, “Dave and the entire committee are deeply committed to the firm’s core values and to supporting the Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s mentoring programs for women and minority attorneys throughout their careers.”

    About the Attorneys

    Dave Roberts

    Roberts devotes his practice to handling complex commercial litigation matters such as fraud, fraudulent transfers, trade secrets, and restrictive covenant litigation, with particular emphasis on business partnership and shareholder disputes in New Jersey. He aims to resolve matters through mediation, if that approach fits the client’s goals and objectives, but is an experienced trial attorney prepared to litigate matters that cannot otherwise be resolved. In 2007, Roberts launched the firm’s Shareholder Disputes in New Jersey Law Blog, “Business Divorce in NJ,” which addresses minority shareholder disputes in New Jersey.

    David Harmon

    Harmon focuses his practice on the areas of executive compensation, employment, and business law. He represents senior-level employees of both public and private companies in the negotiation of their employment packages and all associated agreements, whether at the commencement of the employment relationship through offer letters and employment agreements or at termination through severance agreements. Harmon’s representation also includes providing advice and counsel to employers in the preparation and negotiation of employment and severance packages with their employees, the design of human resources compliance programs, and counseling and training concerning the implementation of those policies. He authors the firm’s Employment Transitions Law Blog, “Transitions in Employment.”

    Graham Simmons

    Simmons is a business and real estate lawyer. He has served both public and private sector clients on all types of merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions, commercial and syndicated credit facilities, economic development projects, real estate transactions, leases, and land use and zoning matters. Simmons has represented clients across a diverse spectrum of industries and is deeply experienced in the banking and financial services, health care, real estate development, economic development, and automobile dealership industries.

    Posted in: Bruce S. Londa, Business Law, David C. Roberts, David S. Blatteis, David T. Harmon, Dolores A. Laputka, Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits, John N. Vanarthos, Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing and Distribution, Litigation, Melissa A. Peña, News, Robert Mahoney, S. Graham Simmons, III, Theodore J. Zeller III | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Jan 08, 2021Before the Deluge: Preparing for the Anticipated Rise in Bankruptcy Filings

    Melissa Anne Peña, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, along with Jerome F. Gallagher, Jr., and Bruce J. Wisotsky, also Members of the firm, will present the free webinar, “Before the Deluge: Preparing for the Anticipated Rise in Bankruptcy Filings.”

    Preparing for the Anticipated Rise in Bankruptcy Filings

    Even under the best of circumstances, navigating thru a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing can be stressful and fraught with uncertainty for all involved. Add in the disruptive effects of COVID-19, and it’s easy to appreciate the daunting task facing bankruptcy courts, debtors, creditors, and their lawyers. The pandemic has challenged many industries and as the economy has worsened through the pandemic, declaring bankruptcy has become the only lifeline left, and, given the ongoing economic uncertainties, a successful Chapter 11 reorganization has become all the more important.

    This webinar will address steps that can be taken to protect a creditor’s interests before and immediately after a bankruptcy filing by a customer, client, or counterparty to an agreement. The panelists will discuss the recommended actions to be taken:

    • Upon establishment of creditor-debtor relationship
    • When a customer/client appears to be in financial distress
    • Upon notice of bankruptcy filing

    When: Thursday, January 28, 2021

    10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

    Register for Norris McLaughlin, Attorneys at Law, Legal Events in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

    Although questions will be taken at the conclusion of the webinar, we strongly encourage you to submit questions in advance to be sure we address your specific needs. Please submit your questions by 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 27, 2021, via email to marketing@norris-law.com with “BANKRUPTCY WEBINAR” in the subject line.

    About Your Attorney Panelists

    Melissa Peña

    Melissa concentrates her practice on commercial litigation and bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. Her clients include financial institutions, private lenders, creditors, and accounting firms. She has successfully represented secured creditors and unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and state court insolvency proceedings. Melissa frequently handles commercial foreclosure actions, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, lien priority disputes, fraudulent conveyance actions, and creditor enforcement matters. She has also defended accounting firms in disputes regarding alleged failure to detect criminal and fraudulent activity in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York.

    Outside the courtroom, Melissa handles commercial workouts, negotiating forbearance agreements on behalf of lenders and troubled cross-border transactions. She frequently represents investors seeking to acquire defaulted loans from the due diligence stage to closing on the sale. Melissa also helps lenders to liquidate their collateral through UCC sales, including sales of co-ops. In connection with her participation in the firm’s cross-border practice, she represents clients concerning inbound and outbound transactions that require working with government agencies such as the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    Jerry Gallagher

    Jerry engages in civil trial and appellate practice with a concentration in commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, construction, contract litigation, and commercial accounts receivable matters. He also provides legal services related to contract drafting and negotiations. Jerry serves as New Jersey counsel to several national companies and represents private businesses in several industries, including cosmetics, retail packaging, computer support, and specialty concrete products.

    Jerry’s more significant results for clients include: an appellate affirmance of a trial court’s dismissal of “spoliation of evidence” claims against a national financing company; a jury verdict dismissing claims against a national real estate developer for alleged violations of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act; prosecuting fraud claims against an insurance broker on behalf of a premium finance company, resulting in a seven-figure money judgment; a jury verdict in favor of a commercial equipment leasing company including dismissal of “lender liability” counterclaims; dismissal of Consumer Fraud Act and punitive damages claims brought against a privately owned electronic parts testing company; domesticating foreign judgments; recovering payments on surety bonds posted to stay post-judgment collection proceedings pending appeal; obtaining numerous monetary judgments in favor of financial institutions and businesses on commercial loan and accounts receivable claims; and regularly represents contractors in residential and commercial construction disputes, lien claims and commercial collection actions.

    Bruce Wisotsky

    Bruce has represented debtors, creditors’ committees, equity committees, trustees, landlords, and other individual creditors in Chapter 11 and 7 bankruptcy proceedings in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Florida, and other jurisdictions. He has also represented assignees for the benefit of creditors in state court insolvency proceedings. A significant portion of Bruce’s practice has involved out-of-court restructurings, either as counsel to companies and individuals experiencing financial difficulties or their creditors.

    Bruce lectures on various bankruptcy issues before the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Turnaround Management Association, and the Essex County Bar Association. He has addressed topics including prosecution and defense of preference actions, treatment of tax claims in bankruptcy proceedings, executory contract issues, and retention bonus issues. Bruce is included in The Best Lawyers In America in the Bankruptcy Litigation and Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law sections and New Jersey Super Lawyers in the Bankruptcy & Creditor/ Debtor Rights section. He was also named the Best Lawyers Bankruptcy Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in the Woodbridge, New Jersey, Metro Area in 2020, 2018, and 2016.

    Posted in: Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Bruce J. Wisotsky, Events, Jerome F. Gallagher, Jr., Melissa A. Peña | Tags: , , ,

  • Sep 02, 2020The Pandemic Recovery: Debt Recovery Options Facing New York’s Restaurant Industry

    Jeanne Hamburg, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Internet Law Practice Group, and Melissa Anne Peña, a Member of the firm and Chair of its Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, will present the free webinar, “The Pandemic Recovery: Debt Recovery Options Facing New York’s Restaurant Industry,” hosted by the New York State Restaurant Association.

    Debt Recovery Options Facing New York’s Restaurant Industry

    Poised for another banner year in 2020, New York’s restaurant and hospitality industry arguably endured the most significant decline as the COVID-19 global pandemic has dragged into its seventh month in New York. As other areas of the country tempted fate with a full reopening, local requirements for social distancing and indoor seating limitations have created additional challenges for struggling New York restauranteurs. As they grapple with keeping their businesses afloat, and despite relief in the form of eviction moratoriums and federal stimulus, the road to recovery seems fraught with more potholes than pavement.

    During this free webinar, Jeanne and Melissa will discuss:

    • CARES Act
    • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Filings
    • Federal Bankruptcy Law
    • Relief and Protection for New York’s Restaurant Industry Debt
    • Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019
    • State Laws

    When: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

    10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

    Registration: Zoom Meeting

    About Jeanne Hamburg

    Jeanne concentrates her practice in all aspects of copyright and trademark law, both in litigation and in the transactional area. Resident in the New York City office, she assists clients in the food, beverage, and restaurant industries with their IP needs. In each year since 2009, Jeanne has been recognized in New York Super Lawyers® for Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property Litigation. Only 5% of New York attorneys are given this honor. Additionally, Jeanne is ranked in the 2019 World Trademark Review 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals, which lists the top 1,000 trademark attorneys in 70 jurisdictions globally. Among a group of fewer than 90 trademark professionals in New York, she was named a top trademark attorney in the areas of enforcement and litigation.

    Jeanne litigates copyright, trademark, and cybersquatting cases through trial and, if necessary, appeal. To this end, she has acted as national counsel in federal courts across the country to bring and defend infringement claims for clients, both foreign and domestic. Additionally, Jeanne has recovered domain names for clients in many Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Proceedings and prosecuted and defended numerous opposition and cancellation proceedings and ex parte appeals in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. She recently litigated through appeal to the Federal Circuit a food trademark case that has been described as generating one of the most important trademark decisions in 2018.

    In the transactional area, Jeanne counsels clients on intellectual property aspects of mergers and acquisitions. She is experienced in copyright and trademark clearance, prosecution, and enforcement, and has particular expertise with contentious and transactional issues arising from the Internet.

    As a co-author of the firm’s trademark, copyright, and unfair competition law blog, More Than Your MaⓇk™, Jeanne is a frequent writer and speaker on intellectual property topics and is active in many trade groups in industries whose clients she serves. Additionally, she is a member of the New York State Restaurant Association, the Specialty Food Association, and the International Trademark Association (INTA), currently serving on its Leadership Development Committee. Jeanne formerly served on the Government Officials Training Committee, was nominated and served as Chair of INTA’s Law Firm Committee, and was selected as a speaker for INTA’s Trademark Basics “Maintaining the Perfect Partnership” seminar held in New York for inside and outside counsel.

    About Melissa Peña

    Melissa concentrates her practice on commercial litigation and bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. Her clients include financial institutions, private lenders, creditors, and accounting firms. She has successfully represented secured creditors and unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and state court insolvency proceedings.

    Melissa frequently handles commercial foreclosure actions, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, lien priority disputes, fraudulent conveyance actions, and creditor enforcement matters. She has also defended accounting firms in disputes regarding alleged failure to detect criminal and fraudulent activity in the state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey.

    Outside the courtroom, Melissa handles commercial workouts, negotiating forbearance agreements on behalf of lenders. She frequently represents investors seeking to acquire defaulted loans from the due diligence stage to closing on the sale. She also helps lenders to liquidate their collateral through UCC sales, including sales of co-ops. Whether inside or outside the courtroom, Melissa’s goal is to find a practical business solution for her clients. She utilizes litigation as a tool to further her client’s business objectives in a cost-effective manner.

    Melissa is Co-Chair of the Meritas Financial Services Section, Co-Chair of the Norris McLaughlin Diversity Committee, and a member of the firm’s Management Committee.

    Posted in: Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Events, Food, Beverage & Hospitality, Jeanne Hamburg, Melissa A. Peña | Tags: , , ,

  • Jun 17, 2020Norris McLaughlin Elects Melissa Peña to Management Committee

    Melissa A.  Peña, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has been elected to the firm’s Management Committee. She succeeds Robert C. Gabrielski who has served on the committee for the past eight years and has stepped down to allow the next generation of leaders to play a more active role in managing the firm.

    About the Norris McLaughlin Management Committee

    Peña will join John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm, and the other esteemed Management Committee members, including David S. Blatteis, Dolores A. Laputka, Bruce S. Londa, Robert Mahoney, and David C. Roberts, to collaborate and oversee the day-to-day operations of the firm with the goal of preserving the firm’s values, mission, and culture, as well as implement strategic growth plans for the firm’s future success.

    “I am humbled by the trust my colleagues have placed in me by selecting me to join the management team, particularly during such an unprecedented time for the legal industry and our clients,” said Peña. “The committee has already successfully navigated the firm through the early stages of the pandemic, focusing on our clients’ evolving needs and the safety of our staff. I intend to contribute to our progress and focus on strategic planning to ensure the firm’s future growth.”

    Chairman John Vanarthos added, “Melissa brings a wealth of business acumen and years of leadership experience. She has shown that she possesses a strategic vision and has a proven track record of success. Her focus on the firm’s clients, their needs, and the firm’s best interests, along with her many other contributions to the firm reflect her deep commitment and understanding of the firm’s core values. She will contribute a unique perspective to the Management Committee and we look forward to benefiting from it.”

    About Melissa Peña 

    Peña serves as the Chair of the Norris McLaughlin Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, which is well suited to assist clients as the impact of the pandemic takes its toll on the economy.

    Peña is also a member of the firm’s Women’s Forum and its Diversity Committee, and is committed to mentoring and developing female and minority attorneys through their careers. Peña joined Norris McLaughlin as a summer associate and, upon graduation from law school, returned as an associate and was then promoted to member. “Over the years,” Peña said, “I have been fortunate to be mentored by many attorneys at Norris, and I attribute my career path to the development efforts of this firm. It is important to me to continue to focus on women and diversity, and to support the firm’s values.” Active in the legal community, she is a member of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, the Turnaround Management Association (New Jersey), and New York County Lawyers’ Association.

    Peña serves on the Board of Directors of Meritas, an established global alliance of more than 180 independent, full-service law firms in every U.S. state and in 90 foreign countries. She is also a member of the Meritas Quality Assurance Committee and the Chair of the Meritas Financial Services Group.

    Peña concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures. Her practice covers all aspects of litigation and insolvency matters in both state and federal courts. She frequently represents secured lenders, creditors’ committees, debtors, trustees, landlords, and other creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings pending in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. Peña also has extensive experience litigating cases involving UCC matters, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, inter-creditor agreements, lien priority disputes, equipment leases, fraudulent conveyance actions, preferences, and various creditor enforcement matters.

    Peña earned her J.D., cum laude, from The American University Washington College of Law in 2003 and her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science, from George Washington University in 2000.

    Posted in: Melissa A. Peña, News | Tags:

  • Nov 21, 2019Norris McLaughlin Appoints Melissa Peña as Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair

    The law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to announce that it has named Melissa Anne Peña, a Member of the firm, member of its Management Committee, and Chair of the Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, as Chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

    About the Norris McLaughlin Diversity and Inclusion Committee

    As Chair, Peña will continue the firm’s efforts to develop an initiative for the recruitment, support, retention, and advancement of diverse attorneys at the firm. Other members of the committee include Kurt G. Briscoe, Shauna M. Deans, and William C. Menard.

    “Commitment to diversity is no longer measured simply by the adoption of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action policies. It is now integral and essential to successful overall business strategies. We are excited to have Melissa coordinate and lead a number of efforts to advance and retain diversity within our firm and the community. We are committed to recruiting, retaining, and promoting a diverse workforce that reflects the world in which we live and the clients that we serve,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm.

    About Melissa Peña

    Peña concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures. Her practice covers all aspects of litigation and insolvency matters in both state and federal courts. She frequently represents secured lenders, creditors’ committees, debtors, trustees, landlords, and other creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings pending in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

    In addition, Peña has extensive experience litigating cases involving UCC matters, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, inter-creditor agreements, lien priority disputes, equipment leases, fraudulent conveyance actions, preferences, and various creditor enforcement matters. She regularly represents lenders in commercial mortgage foreclosure proceedings. Whether she is inside or outside the courtroom, Melissa’s goal is to find a practical business solution for her clients. She utilizes litigation as a tool to further her client’s business objectives in a cost-effective manner.

    Peña serves on the Board of Directors for Meritas, the largest worldwide affiliation of high-quality law firms, and as Co-Chair of its Financial Services/CRABS Section. She is also a member of the Bankruptcy Inn of Court, New York County Lawyers’ Association, and National Association of Women Lawyers. Peña earned her J.D., cum laude, from The American University Washington College of Law in 2003 and her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science, from George Washington University in 2000.

    Posted in: Melissa A. Peña, News | Tags:

  • May 10, 2018Melissa Peña Elected to Meritas Board of Directors

    Melissa A. Peña, a Member of Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Chair of its Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group, and Co-Chair of the Meritas’ Financial Services/CRABS Group, has been elected to the Meritas Board of Directors for a three-year term, serving 2018-2021.

    Meritas is an established global alliance of more than 180 independent, full-service law firms in every state and in 90 foreign countries with a comprehensive means of monitoring and enhancing the quality of its member firms—a process that saves clients time in validating law firm credentials and experience.  Firms become members by invitation only and maintain membership by meeting standards of a uniquely comprehensive Quality Assurance Program.  Firms are regularly assessed and recertified for the breadth of their practice expertise and client satisfaction.  Firm quality feedback is reflected in a Satisfaction Index score, which is available online.

    Meritas is led by a 21-member Board of Directors that helps the organization continually enhance its services, strategy, and overall client experience.  Board members are elected by the voting members at each annual meeting to reflect the size and geographic composition of the Meritas alliance.  To qualify, the member must be an employee, officer, director, member, or partner of a Meritas firm and must be a licensed lawyer in good standing in his or her respective jurisdiction(s).  The responsibility of the Meritas Board is to build an effective organization that supports the mission, values, and goals of the organization and the interest of its members, making decisions based on what is best for the organization rather than for individual members or regions.

    Peña concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures.  Her practice covers all aspects of litigation and insolvency matters in both state and federal courts.  She frequently represents secured lenders, creditors’ committees, debtors, trustees, landlords, and other creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings pending in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.  Peña also has extensive experience litigating cases involving UCC matters, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, intercreditor agreements, lien priority disputes, equipment leases, fraudulent conveyance actions, preferences, and various creditor enforcement matters.

    Peña regularly represents lenders in commercial mortgage foreclosure proceedings.  She handles all aspects of the litigation, including defending against counterclaims, negotiating forbearance agreements when appropriate, and representing the lender in any subsequent bankruptcy proceeding by litigating stay relief motions and representing the lender’s interest in the plan confirmation process.

    Peña earned her J.D., cum laude, from The American University Washington College of Law in 2003 and her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science, from George Washington University in 2000.  While in law school, Peña was the Recent Development Editor of the Administrative Law Review, a member of the Law and Government Society, and participated in the Washington College of Law Civil Practice Clinic.  She was an intern for Searles Solicitors in London, England, during the summer of 2001.

    Posted in: Melissa A. Peña, News | Tags: ,

  • Jan 25, 2018Steven Karg Named Norris McLaughlin, P.A. Meritas Member Contact

    Steven A. Karg, a Member of the law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has been named the firm’s Main Meritas Member Contact, replacing Joel N. Jacobson, a Member of the firm and Chair of its Real Estate Practice Group.  Jacobson has been the firm’s representative to Meritas since 1991, when the firm first joined Meritas.  Melissa A. Peña, a Member of the firm and Co-Chair of the Meritas’ Financial Services/CRABS Group, will take Karg’s place as the Alternate Member Contact.

    Meritas requires its firms to provide a designated Member Contact to ensure all matters are handled with care based on the Meritas alliance features. When a prospective client reaches out to a firm, the Meritas Member Contact will work with them to understand their needs and be sure to connect them with the appropriate attorney with the essential expertise.

    Meritas is an established global alliance of more than 180 independent, full-service law firms, with a comprehensive means of monitoring and enhancing the quality of its member firms—a process that saves clients time in validating law firm credentials and experience.  Firms become members by invitation only and maintain membership by meeting standards of a uniquely comprehensive Quality Assurance Program.  Firms are regularly assessed and recertified for the breadth of their practice expertise and client satisfaction.  Firm quality feedback is reflected in a Satisfaction Index score, which is available online.

    “Meritas is integral in our ability to help our clients find quality legal assistance anywhere in the world.  Over the years, Joel has proved this time and time again, and I would like to thank him for his leadership.  I am excited and honored to be able to work closer with the Meritas organization and look forward to continuing Joel’s work,” said Karg.

    Karg focuses his practice on commercial litigation with an emphasis on products liability defense.  He has spoken about products liability issues to organizations such as the American Bar Association, New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association, New Jersey Defense Association, New Jersey Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, New Jersey Chapter of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society, Northeast Pharmaceutical Attorneys, and the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.  In addition, he has authored many articles on products liability and toxic tort issues.  He is a co-author of the 2018 Edition of “New Jersey Products Liability and Toxic Torts Law” (Gann Law Books).  Karg is a past President of the Somerset County Bar Association, and a member of the New Jersey Defense Association (Former Chairperson, Products Liability Committee) and the Defense Research Institute (Member, Products Liability and Drug & Medical Device Committees).  He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Seton Hall University and his B.S., magna cum laude, from Trenton State College in Mechanical Engineering Technology.  Karg served a term on the Meritas Board of Directors and its Quality Assurance Committee.

    Peña concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and mortgage foreclosures.  Peña earned her J.D., cum laude, from The American University Washington College of Law in 2003 and her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science, from George Washington University in 2000.  While in law school, Peña was the Recent Development Editor of the Administrative Law Review, a member of the Law and Government Society, and a participant in the Washington College of Law Civil Practice Clinic.  She was an intern for Searles Solicitors in London, England, during the summer of 2001.

    Jacobson’s practice focuses primarily on real estate and banking matters.  He has been with the firm for more than 35 years, including 30 years as a shareholder.  He was a member of the firm’s Management Committee from 1986 to 2017.  Jacobson is a member of the New Jersey, New York, and District of Columbia Bars; and the Real Estate, Banking Law, and Debtor/Creditor Sections of the New Jersey State Bar Association.  He was named the 2011 “Newark Area Best Lawyers Banking Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.  He is the only banking law attorney accorded this honor in the State of New Jersey.  Jacobson served on the Meritas Board of Directors and was Chairman of its Financial Services Section.  He currently chairs the Chatham Township Planning Board, having done so for the past several years.  Jacobson earned his J.D. in 1971 and his B.A., cum laude, in 1968 from the University of Pennsylvania.

    As Meritas’ only firm located in New Jersey, Norris McLaughlin, P.A. utilizes Meritas member firms to connect clients with quality representation in every state and in 90 foreign countries.  The firm’s membership in Meritas provides clients with immediate access to high-quality legal services in other jurisdictions around the globe.

    Posted in: Joel N. Jacobson, Melissa A. Peña, News, Steven A. Karg | Tags: , , , , ,

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