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New Jersey Law Journal Awards William A. Dreier Lifetime Achievement Award and Names Jeralyn L. Lawrence Attorney of the Year Finalist

Posted on March 16th, 2015

Bridgewater-based law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is proud to announce that two of their attorneys have received prestigious accolades from the New Jersey Law Journal (NJLJ).

(Ret.) Judge William A. Dreier is one of the recipients of the NJLJ’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.  Winners were selected based on how they have helped to shape the law in New Jersey, whether through their work on the bench, assisting those in need of legal services, building a firm, or by any other means.

Jeralyn L. Lawrence, Chair of the Family Law Section of the New Jersey  State Bar Association,  is one of three 2015 Attorney of the Year finalists.  This award is intended to recognize an attorney who had the greatest impact on the law, legal profession or cause of justice in New Jersey over the past year. Lawrence is being recognized for her work in representing the family bar in the contentious alimony reform process in New Jersey; she played an instrumental role in structuring the bill and having it passed through the Legislature.

Dreier and Lawrence will be honored at an awards dinner on May 27 at Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park.

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A resident of Warren, Judge Dreier heads the Norris McLaughlin, P.A. ADR practice, in addition to supervising commercial litigation and mediation and arbitration. He frequently lectures, mediates and arbitrates substantial Chancery and other disputes.  In 2009, he was selected as namesake and first recipient of the William A. Dreier Award, an annual award given to attorneys and jurists for excellence in and advancement of product liability and toxic tort law in New Jersey, by the Products Liability and Toxic Tort Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA).  That same year, he was designated as the ADR Practitioner of the Year by the NJSBA Dispute Resolution Section.  In 2008, Judge Dreier was awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor, the highest award for an attorney, by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation for his professional excellence, as demonstrated by his accomplishments in the law and service to the profession and community throughout his career.

In addition, Judge Dreier is an Emeritus member of the Columbia Law School Board of Visitors, the editorial board of the New Jersey Law Journal, and the American Law Institute for which he is an advisor or consultative group member for the various areas of the Restatement (Third) of Torts.  He was the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and is an authority on commercial litigation, having authored the state’s principal text on Chancery Practice as well as earlier texts on Secured Financing.

Judge Dreier has published numerous articles on ADR, products liability and other subjects, in addition to 380 published judicial opinions. He has authored the New Jersey Arbitration Handbook (New Jersey Law Journal) (2013-2015), the Handbook on Chancery Practice in New Jersey (Institute of Continuing Legal Education) (1982-2013) and New Jersey Products Liability and Toxic Tort Law (Gann Law Books) (1977-2015). He also frequently lectures throughout New Jersey and nationally on products liability and ADR. Judge Dreier received his J.D. from Columbia Law School and his B.S. from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Before joining Norris McLaughlin, he was a trial judge in the New Jersey Superior Court from 1973 to 1983, served in the Appellate Division from 1983 to 1994, and was a Presiding Judge from 1994 to 1998.

A resident of Watchung, Lawrence devotes her practice to matrimonial, divorce and family law, and collaborative law.  She is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney.  She is a trained Family/Divorce Mediator, admitted to the rosters of Mediators for Economic Aspects of Family Law Cases and of Custody and Parenting Time Cases for Somerset County; certified by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers as a Family Law Arbitrator; and a graduate of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.  She has worked with clients whose needs lie in all areas of matrimonial and family law, including divorce litigation and mediation, custody and parenting time, alimony and child support, separation and property settlement agreements, adoption and guardianship, domestic partnership matters under the Domestic Partnership Act, domestic violence and sexual abuse, and palimony.  She takes great pride and care in helping her clients make it through these difficult personal matters.

Lawrence is Senior Editor of New Jersey Family Lawyer, the official publication of the Section.  She works with the State Bar’s Military Legal Assistance Program, providing pro bono legal assistance to New Jersey residents who have served overseas or on active duty in the armed forces after Sept. 11, 2001.  She serves as President-Elect of the Somerset County Bar Association, as an at-large member on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey, and on the Board of Managers of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the preeminent family law association in America.  Lawrence was appointed to the Somerset County Domestic Violence Working Group as a representative of the Somerset County Family Law Section.  She is a member of the New Jersey Association of Justice, New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators, New Jersey Collaborative Law Group, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Central New Jersey Inns of Court, and NMM Women’s Forum Steering Committee. She serves on the New Jersey Supreme Court Matrimonial Certification Committee, which oversees the statewide matrimonial attorney certification process; and on the New Jersey Supreme Court Office of Attorney Ethics, District XIII Attorney Ethics Committee.

Most recently, Lawrence received the 2014 New Jersey Professional Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, which honors attorneys whose character, competence, and commitment to the highest professional standards mark them as outstanding members of the bar.   She was selected as one of the ‘”10 Best” Family Attorneys in New Jersey by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys and one of the TOP 10 Family Law Attorneys in New Jersey by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, in recognition of her hard work and dedication in the field of family law.  She was honored with the 2014 & 2013 New Jersey State Bar Association Distinguished Legislative Service Award for her cumulative and diligent efforts on alimony reform, open adoption records, and electronic monitoring on domestic violence.  In 2007, she received this annual award for the first time for her efforts to incorporate “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for divorce under New Jersey law.  In 2011, she was honored as one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business for her dedication and contributions to New Jersey business and community.  She was selected as the 2009 Kean University Distinguished Alumna, the highest award for alumni, by the Kean University Alumni Association.  She was also honored as an Outstanding Woman in Somerset County for 2008 by the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women.  She was selected by her peers as one of New Jersey’s Top Ten matrimonial lawyers under the age of 40, and recognized by the New Jersey Law Journal as one of 40 accomplished and promising attorneys in the State of New Jersey under the age of 40.  For several years, Lawrence has been listed among New Jersey’s Super Lawyers, which rates her among the top 5 percent of New Jersey lawyers.  She has been selected as one of the Top 100 New Jersey Super Lawyers and one of the Top 50 Women New Jersey Super Lawyers. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America under Family Law and Family Law Mediation.  In 2007, she received the Young Lawyers Division’s Professional Achievement Award from the NJSBA.  Lawrence earned her bachelor’s degree from Kean College and her law degree from Seton Hall, where she graduated second in her class.