close

Meritas

  • Jun 25, 2019Norris McLaughlin Achieves Global Cybersecurity Standard

    Norris McLaughlin, P.A., a Bridgewater-based law firm, today announced that it has successfully reached the international cybersecurity standards for law firms set by Meritas, the global alliance of independent business law firms. Norris McLaughlin is a member of Meritas and, in order to retain membership in good standing, is required to self-report their compliance with the Meritas Cybersecurity Standards for keeping client data and information secure.

    The standards define 10 essential cybersecurity requirements that the 182 Meritas member firms and future members of the organization are expected to meet. As part of the process, Norris McLaughlin completed an assessment of cybersecurity best practices and readiness to take its practices to the next level, implemented cybersecurity enhancements in key areas to respond to ever-changing online risks, and underwent a compliance review against the Meritas standards. To successfully meet the standards, Norris McLaughlin has information security, risk assessments, technical and physical safeguards, employee training, third-party risk management, and business continuity plans in place, along with a breach response process. As part of its Meritas membership renewal, Norris McLaughlin will regularly complete a cybersecurity assessment to maintain its level of security for safeguarding information.

    “It’s important to proactively incorporate best practices, especially when it comes to cybersecurity, which is the paramount concern of people and companies when they generate sensitive legal information,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm. “We work with our Meritas partner firms across the world on behalf of clients who have needs in other regions. Having a global quality benchmark is important in maintaining the highest levels of consistency.”

    Meritas is the only law firm alliance with an established and comprehensive means of monitoring the quality of its member firms—a process that saves clients time validating law firm credentials and experience. Meritas membership is selective and by invitation only. Meritas has published more information on how a law firm keeps information secure.

    About Norris McLaughlin

    Once a humble two-man practice, Norris McLaughlin has remained a firm committed to client service, their communities, and their employees – from two attorneys to 125 attorneys. The firm has been named a Best Place to Work. Many of its attorneys hold prominent leadership positions in various organizations throughout the areas they serve and many have been honored for the work they do in the community.

    The firm is a full-service, mid-sized, regional law firm that serves the legal needs of businesses and families in the New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania areas, and is uniquely positioned to represent middle-market companies, Fortune 500 corporations, and individuals.

    About Meritas

    Founded in 1990, Meritas is an international alliance of commercial law firms working across jurisdictions to provide clients the best of both worlds: a local legal partner with full-service capabilities and the cost efficiency and personal attention unmatched by mega law firms. Each member law firm is required to adhere to rigorous and specific service standards on a regular basis. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Meritas has member firms in 245 global markets totaling more than 7,000 lawyers. To find a Meritas law firm or for more information, visit meritas.org or call +1-612-339-8680.

    Posted in: John N. Vanarthos, 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: ,

  • Apr 30, 2018Joel Jacobson on Panel for Meritas Member Contacts

    Joel N. Jacobson, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and chair of its Real Estate & Finance Practice Group, will be a panelist for the Meritas session “Calling All Member Contacts! Learn How to Capitalize on Your Meritas Membership” on Saturday, May 5, 10:45 a.m. – noon, at the 2018 Meritas Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Florida.  This presentation is for Member Contacts who are new to the role or would like a refresher.  Meritas requires its firms to provide a designated Member Contact to ensure all matters are handled with care based on its alliance features.  When a prospective client reaches out to a firm, the Member Contact will work with them to understand their needs and connect them with the appropriate attorney with the essential expertise.  In this interactive presentation, participants will learn how to elevate their role by hearing from seasoned Member Contacts.  The session will be moderated by Brett Cohen of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP in Los Angeles, California.  Other panelists include Jérémie Boublil, Bignon Lebray, Paris, France; Michael DeFrank, Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP, Raleigh, North Carolina; and Kim Heinrich, Meritas, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    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.  Jacobson had been the firm’s representative to Meritas since 1991, when the firm first joined Meritas.

    A resident of Chatham, Jacobson focuses his practice primarily on real estate and banking matters.  His clients include banks and other financial institutions, a nationwide hotel owner, a fast food franchisee, private real estate investors and developers, court-appointed receivers, and many non-real estate businesses with real estate needs.  His work experience includes foreclosures, workouts, and sales with respect to thousands of loans secured by a wide range of real estate assets; purchase and sale of commercial loan portfolios and individual loans; representation of private investors and developers with respect to the acquisition, sale, financing, land use approvals, management, and leasing of office and industrial buildings; and representation of court-appointed receivers selected by bank clients in connection with the management and disposition of real estate assets, including construction projects, and environmentally contaminated properties.

    In 2011, Jacobson was named the “Newark Area Banking Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.  He was the only banking law attorney accorded this honor in the State of New Jersey.  Jacobson is also listed in the Banking Law section of the current issue of The Best Lawyers In America and was named by Real Estate New Jersey magazine as one of the state’s top real estate attorneys.  Jacobson has received Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent rating, its highest lawyer rating, which serves as an objective indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and legal knowledge.

    Jacobson earned his J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School and his B.A., cum laude, from University of Pennsylvania.

    Posted in: Joel N. Jacobson, 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: , , , , ,

  • Oct 18, 2017Jill Lebowitz to Speak at Meritas U.S. Trusts & Estates Practice Group Meeting

    Jill Lebowitz, a Member of Bridgewater-based law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., will speak at the inaugural Meritas U.S. Trusts & Estates Practice Group Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans on November 2-3.  She will present recent developments in federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes.  Lebowitz is a founding member of the Meritas U.S. Trusts & Estates Practice Group Steering Committee and is on the planning committee for the meeting.

    Meritas is an established global alliance of more than 170 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.

    As Meritas’ only firm located in New Jersey, Norris McLaughlin, P.A. utilizes Meritas to extend its services to clients in every state and in more than 70 foreign countries.  The firm’s membership in Meritas provides clients with immediate access to high-quality legal services in other jurisdictions.

    Lebowitz devotes her practice to estate planning, trust and estate administration, and counseling tax-exempt organizations.  She is experienced in drafting sophisticated estate planning instruments and counseling individuals and families regarding estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax issues.  Lebowitz advises clients on the development of both simple and complex estate plans, philanthropic planning and business succession issues.  She drafts estate planning instruments, including wills, revocable living trusts, insurance trusts, dynasty trusts, charitable trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, shareholders agreements, limited liability company operating agreements, durable powers of attorney, and advance directives for health care.

    In addition, Lebowitz handles all aspects of trust and estate administration, as well as fiduciary litigation.  She prepares federal and state estate and inheritance tax returns and federal gift tax returns.  She is knowledgeable in drafting disclaimers and agreements regarding post-mortem planning, informal distribution agreements, judicial fiduciary accountings, and handling court proceedings to effect final distribution of estates and trusts.  She also counsels individuals and financial institutions regarding their fiduciary duties as personal representatives and trustees, including advising on legal and tax issues, as well as issues in connection with administering trusts.  She also assists individuals, families and fiduciaries with all aspects of fiduciary litigation.

    Lebowitz regularly advises tax exempt organizations regarding federal tax exemption issues, state charitable registration filings, and governance issues.  On behalf of tax-exempt organizations, she drafts nonprofit corporation documents and prepares federal applications for tax exempt status, state charitable registration filings, and state property tax and sales tax exemption applications.  She has extensive experience advising individuals, family and corporate foundations, and tax exempt organizations on nonprofit corporate governance, private foundation excise taxes, domestic and international grant-making, executive compensation, excess benefit rules and intermediate sanctions, unrelated business income, scholarship programs, and fundraising issues.

    Lebowitz currently serves as Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section.  She 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.

    Posted in: Estate Planning & Administration, Jill Lebowitz, News | Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Sep 19, 2016Annmarie Simeone to Speak at 2016 Meritas Litigation and Labor & Employment Joint Meeting

    Annmarie Simeone, a Member of Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of Meritas Law Firms Worldwide Labor and Employment Section, will speak on “Non-Compete Agreements:  Considering Competing Concerns of Businesses and Employees” at the 2016 Meritas Litigation and Labor & Employment Joint Meeting to be held October 17-18 at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, California.  She will be presenting with Melissa Calhoon Jones, Counsel at the Baltimore, Maryland office of Tydings & Rosenberg, L.L.P.

    Meritas is a law firm alliance with an established and 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.  Meritas membership is selective and by invitation only.  Firms are regularly assessed and recertified for the breadth of their practice expertise and client satisfaction.  The organization’s extensive due diligence process ensures that only firms meeting the tenets of Meritas’ unique Quality Assurance Program are allowed to maintain membership.  Firm quality feedback is reflected in a Satisfaction Index score, which is available online.

    As Meritas’ only firm located in New Jersey, Norris McLaughlin, P.A. utilizes Meritas to extend its services to clients in every state and in more than 70 foreign countries.  The firm’s membership in Meritas provides clients with immediate access to high-quality legal services in other jurisdictions.

    Simeone, a resident of Woodbridge, concentrates her practice on labor and employment counseling and litigation.  She has a wide range of experience in state and federal courts, as well as in alternative dispute resolution venues, primarily defending management in claims made by employees under state and federal employment laws, including whistleblower claims, as well as claims alleging harassment and discrimination based on race, gender, religion, national origin, and disability.  Her work includes the defense of corporations, as well as individual officers, directors, and employees, addressing issues unique to small businesses and challenges faced by larger companies.  Simeone also provides advice and counseling to human resource professionals and in-house counsel on a wide range of employment issues, including employee leaves of absence, workplace investigations, employee discipline, and layoff and termination issues, including the negotiation and design of severance agreements.  She also drafts employee handbooks and employment-related policies and procedures.

    Simeone earned her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1993, and her B.A., summa cum laude, from St. John’s University in 1990.  She is admitted to the New Jersey Bar and is a member of the New Jersey State, Somerset, and Middlesex County Bar Associations, and the Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey.  Simeone is President-Elect of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association.  In 2013, she was named Outstanding Woman in Somerset County in the area of Law by the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women.

    Posted in: Annmarie Simeone, Labor & Employment, News | Tags: , , , ,

Categories