Norris McLaughlin

  • Jun 04, 2020A Message From the Firm About the Racism Rampant in Our Nation

    George Floyd is the latest in a string of tragic deaths symbolizing the racial division that continues to exist in our society. The importance of equality and respect for the rule of law are pillars of our legal system and are among the key principles that guide our attorneys every day. Racism has no place in our hearts and should have no place of acceptance in our society. Norris McLaughlin condemns racism of any kind and vows to keep listening and learning from the tragedies of the past to ensure we deliver on a lifetime promise of justice and equality for all.

    We recognize that often times, change has to begin in our own house, so we are challenging our Diversity Committee to help our firm find new ways to introduce diversity of thought and expression to our practice of law.

    Further, as the first-ever Public Defender in Somerset County and a tireless advocate for justice and equality throughout his 60-year career, we are looking at ways to turn our thirst for activism on this issue into a meaningful platform that will honor the memory of our recently-departed longtime partner, friend, and founding member of our firm, Richard A. Norris, who passed away on May 31, 2020.  Stay tuned for more information about the specific details of this program.

    Questions or comments about the statement above should be directed to our Chairman, John N. Vanarthos.

    Posted in: News | Tags:

  • Jun 02, 2020Norris McLaughlin Mourns Loss of Founding Member Richard A. Norris

    Norris McLaughlin Mourns Richard Norris


    Richard A. Norris, age 93, a Member of the Bridgewater-based law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., passed away the morning of Sunday, May 31, 2020. Due to the current public health crisis, all arrangements are private, however, contributions in his memory can be made to the VNA Health Group Foundation. To send condolences to the Norris family, please visit

    John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm, addressed the founding member’s passing in a message delivered to firm employees Monday morning: “It is with a heavy heart that I report that our own beloved Dick Norris passed away over the weekend. Dick was truly the best of who we are and what we strive to be. He was a phenomenal lawyer, an outstanding partner, a true pillar of the legal community, and a great and trusted friend to us all. Anyone who knew him had nothing but the greatest respect and affection for him, holding him in the highest esteem. Dick will always be a source of pride for the firm and, for that, we will always owe him a deep debt of gratitude. We will love and miss him forever.”

    About Richard A. Norris

    A long-time resident of Bridgewater, Norris had over fifty years of experience as a trial lawyer and was certified as an arbitrator and mediator, focusing his practice on matrimonial and family law. Once a humble two-man practice on Main Street in Somerville, New Jersey – from two attorneys to 120+ attorneys – since 1953, Norris had led Norris McLaughlin to continued growth, becoming the largest firm in Somerset County and one of the top 20 firms in New Jersey while honoring the firm’s culture and values.

    Norris served as the first Public Defender for Somerset County in 1967 and was instrumental in establishing the Somerset County Legal Services Program during his tenure as President of the Somerset County Bar Association in 1970-71. He had also served as counsel to the Somerset County Board of Elections and the Somerset County Board of Taxation and was the attorney for the organization and establishment of twelve commercial banks in New Jersey.

    Norris was a member and former President of the Somerset County Bar Association (SCBA), the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Family Law and Litigation Sections of the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and Matrimonial Lawyers Alliance. He was also a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which recognizes achievements in family law and a commitment to the highest standards of practice in the field.

    Norris had been named the recipient of the 2009 Daniel J. O’Hern Award by the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, which is presented annually to an attorney who exemplifies commitment to the highest standards of professional conduct, career achievement, and service to the legal profession and community. He received the 2003 Professional Lawyer of the Year Award given annually by the SCBA and the Commission on Professionalism in the Law and the SCBA’s 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award. Norris was also regularly selected for inclusion in Marquis’ “Who’s Who in America” and in The Best Lawyers in America.

    Norris obtained his B.S. from Lehigh University in 1949 and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1952. Before entering private practice, he was a Staff Judge Advocate at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base (USAF) and a law clerk to Chief Judge Philip Forman of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

    Posted in: News | Tags:

  • Feb 17, 2020Norris McLaughlin New York Office Moves to Times Square Tower

    The New York office of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., office is honored to join a growing list of law firms calling the “Crossroads of the World” home. Effective Monday, February 17, 2020, the firm’s office has moved from 875 Third Avenue to the 21st Floor of the Times Square Tower.

    “We look forward to relocating to our new New York offices where we will have ample room for growth well into the future and allow us to be well-positioned to efficiently serve our clients in the ever-changing modern practice of law,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm.

    Andrew N. Parfomak, Administrative Partner of the firm’s New York office, added that “our location will be more convenient for our clients and employees and allow us to more seamlessly service our domestic and international clients by being in a completely updated office which is easy to reach from all points regionally, nationally, and internationally.”

    About Times Square Tower

    Norris McLaughlin left its New York home-base of 16 years with goals of continued growth and modernization. This new space gives the New York attorneys and staff access to state-of-the-art facilities as well as the technological capabilities to respond more effectively to the demands of the firm’s 21st Century clients. The new offices will house 32 of the firm’s 129 attorneys.

    The new address for the New York office of Norris McLaughlin is 7 Times Square, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10036-0844. All other contact information remains the same. For more information on the building, visit the following published articles covering the move:

    About Norris McLaughlin

    Norris McLaughlin is a multi-practice law firm uniquely positioned to represent middle-market companies, Fortune 500 corporations, and individuals. While the firm’s breadth of services covers all areas of law, the New York office has extensive experience in business law, intellectual property, and cooperative (“co-op”) and condominium law.

    The firm opened its first New York office in 1999. In response to the changing needs of the business community, the office expanded and eventually moved from the original space to the office building at 875 Third Avenue in 2004. In 2006, the firm merged with Szold & Brandwen, adding significant real estate, financing, and litigation expertise to the firm. The merger allowed the firm to provide enhanced services to our clients and strengthened our commitment to providing a broad range of legal services.

    Norris McLaughlin will be hosting an open house in the new office space in the near future.

    Posted in: News | Tags: ,

  • Nov 04, 2019Norris McLaughlin Named Best Estate Planning Attorneys by The Morning Call

    Law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is proud to be voted “Best Attorney/Estate Planning” by The Morning Call readers for the 2019 Readers’ Choice. The 16th annual Readers’ Choice Showcase was hosted on November 2 at Artsquest Center in Bethlehem.

    “We are honored to be voted by our clients and friends as ‘Best Attorney/Estate Planning.’ It is truly a pleasure to see the impact our attorneys make within our local communities,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm.

    About the Estate Planning & Administration Attorneys

    The Norris McLaughlin estate planning & administration attorneys have vast experience in all aspects of state, federal and international tax law, with an emphasis on the planning and administration of trusts and estates. The goal is to assure that assets pass to the intended beneficiaries at as little cost as possible, including minimizing state and federal tax burdens which may require the use of sophisticated and creative planning techniques.

    In many complex matters, especially those involving high-assets, Norris McLaughlin has the advantage of being able to work with attorneys from other practice areas including those with experience in litigation, corporate, tax, real estate, immigration, matrimonial, family, elder care, and special needs law.

    About Norris McLaughlin

    The individuals and families Norris McLaughlin counsels benefit from the same personal attention, human touch, and unwavering confidentiality that distinguish the services provided to corporate clients. The attorneys’ combination of experience and diligence is invaluable in helping individuals navigate through transitional periods and difficult life events. The firm is there for clients when they are changing careers and planning for the future of their family. Norris McLaughlin handles complex and sophisticated tax matters, including the negotiating and structuring of employment and severance agreements and the planning and administration of trusts and estates, to preserve a lifetime of hard work and achievement. Similarly, the firm handles sensitive matters, like divorce and white-collar criminal allegations, with the utmost care and consideration for the personal and financial well-being of the individual and their family. The attorneys at Norris McLaughlin successfully resolve matters to the satisfaction of our clients by applying our decades of experience, with special attention to the personal needs of each individual.

    In response to the changing needs of clients and the business community, Norris McLaughlin merged in 2009 with Tallman, Hudders & Sorrentino, the largest independent commercial firm in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Since then, the firm has continued to grow, remembering its culture and values, and keeping its footprint in the Lehigh Valley for over 100 years. Norris McLaughlin and its attorneys have historically been committed to the Lehigh Valley community, where may attorneys, clients, and staff live and do business – to make them better places to live, work, and play. The firm’s attorneys hold prominent leadership positions in various organizations throughout the Lehigh Valley, and many have been honored for the work they do in the community.

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

  • Nov 01, 2019Norris McLaughlin Recognized in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms For 10th Consecutive Year

    Law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is proud to announce that it has been selected for inclusion in 12 practice areas in the “2020 Best Law Firms” rankings by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. This marks the 10th consecutive year the firm has earned Metropolitan First-Tier rankings in New Jersey. The firm’s full listing of First Tier rankings is as follows:

    • Arbitration
    • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Energy Law
    • Environmental Law
    • Family Law Mediation
    • Litigation – Bankruptcy
    • Litigation – Construction
    • Litigation –- Environmental
    • Mediation
    • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
    • Trusts & Estates Law

    “It’s an honor for the firm to be highly ranked in multiple, diverse practice areas. We are proud of our client relationships and it’s especially rewarding to earn this recognition based largely on their feedback,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm.

    About Best Law Firms

    From the start, the mission of Best Law Firms has been to help guide referring lawyers and clients – from the country’s largest companies needing corporate legal advice to individuals needing a divorce or a will – issues with bet-the-company implications or potentially life-changing results respectively. The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their fields, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. A full listing is posted online at

    About Norris McLaughlin

    Norris McLaughlin has been serving the New Jersey community and New York metropolitan area since 1953. Once a humble two-man practice on Main Street in Somerville, Norris McLaughlin has become the largest firm in Somerset County and one of the top 20 firms in New Jersey. Throughout its growth, the firm remembers its culture and values. Norris McLaughlin has remained a firm committed to client service, its community, and its employees. The firm and its attorneys have historically been committed to the communities where clients live and do business.

    Clients value a personal level of care, therefore the firm strives for deep, meaningful, people-first relationships with each one. With many of its attorneys selected as The Best Lawyers In America each year, in addition to its active repertoire of speaking engagements and legal publications, Norris McLaughlin possesses large-firm talent in a small-firm setting that allows its attorneys to provide service and value to their clients on a personal level. It is the firm’s goal to accommodate the needs of every client through the use of experience, strategic planning, and common courtesy.

    Norris McLaughlin is a full-service, mid-sized regional law firm of 130+ attorneys with main offices located in Bridgewater, NJ; New York, NY; and Allentown, PA.  For more information, including a full practice area listing and attorney biographies, please visit

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Construction Law, Environmental, Estate Planning & Administration, Litigation, Matrimonial & Family Law, News, Products Liability Defense, Solar Energy | Tags: , ,

  • Aug 15, 2019Three Norris McLaughlin Attorneys Named 2020 Best Lawyers® “Lawyers of the Year” in Woodbridge Area

    Three lawyers from law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., were recently selected by The Best Lawyers in America© as 2020 “Lawyers of the Year” in the Woodbridge, New Jersey, Metro Area.

    Best Lawyers® designates a select group of individuals as “Lawyers of the Year” in high-profile specialties in large legal communities.  Only a single lawyer in each specialty in each Metropolitan Area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.” Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. Those honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings in the surveys by earning high levels of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.

    The firm’s 2020 Best Lawyers “Lawyers of the Year” include Martha N. Donovan for Litigation – Environmental, Morris S. Bauer for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, and William A. Dreier for Arbitration.

    Donovan, a Member of the firm and Co-Chair of its Environmental Law Practice Group, devotes her practice to environmental law and complex litigation with an emphasis on the defense of environmental property damage claims. She also has considerable experience working on related insurance coverage matters. She has authored articles and has made presentations to various trade groups and associations on issues ranging from lender liability under Superfund to the availability of insurance coverage for various aspects of business-related accidents. Donovan is a member of the New Jersey State and American Bar Associations and the Society of Women Environmental Professionals. She has been selected for inclusion on the list of Super Lawyers® and Best Lawyers® for many years, named in Who’s Who Legal, and ranked as Band 1 in Chambers. A resident of West Windsor, Donovan earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and her B.A. in Chemistry from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, now Randolph College.

    Bauer, a Member of the firm, is a member of its Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group. He represents debtors, creditors’ committees, financial institutions, landlords, and trade creditors in Chapter 11 proceedings of publicly and closely-held corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships. Bauer is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association (Debtor/Creditor Section), the American Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the Turnaround Management Association. A resident of Long Valley, he earned his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and his B.S. from Dickinson College.

    Judge Dreier, Of Counsel to the firm, focuses his practice in the areas of mediation and arbitration. He frequently lectures, mediates, and arbitrates substantial Chancery and other disputes. In 2009, he was selected as the namesake and the first recipient of the William A. Dreier Award, now given annually by the Products Liability and Toxic Tort Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) to attorneys and jurists for excellence in and advancement of product liability and toxic tort law in New Jersey. That same year, he was designated 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 2015, he was given the New Jersey Law Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the profession. Judge Dreier has published numerous articles on ADR, products liability, and other subjects, in addition to 380 published judicial opinions. He frequently lectures throughout New Jersey and nationally on products liability and ADR. Before joining Norris McLaughlin, Judge Dreier 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 Warren, he received his J.D. from Columbia Law School and his B.S. from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Environmental, Martha N. Donovan, Morris S. Bauer, News, William A. Dreier | Tags: , , ,

  • Jul 11, 2019Norris McLaughlin and Attorney Shana Siegel Nominated for Best of Essex 2019

    The law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to announce its nomination in the Suburban Essex Readers’ Choice Contest, “Best of Essex 2019,” in the Professional Services: Law Firms category.  Shana Siegel, a Member of the firm and Chair of its Elder Care & Special Needs Law Practice Group, has been nominated in the Professional Services: Family Law and Professional Services: Elder Law categories respectively.

    The “Best of Essex” contest has been an annual tradition for local, independently-owned businesses since 2008.  The website allows consumers to find the best local shops, services, and dining options year-round.  This year’s contest supports CASA of Essex in their mission to “Help Foster Children in Essex County Find Safe Homes.”  Every vote cast will benefit the cause.  For more information and to vote, please visit

    Siegel, based in the firm’s Montclair office, concentrates her practice on elder law, focusing on representing seniors, individuals with special needs, and their families in connection with life care planning, public benefits, trust and estate planning, and long-term care advocacy. As one of the few Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) in northern New Jersey to be certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), Shana has extensive experience in probate and estate administration, asset preservation, supplemental and special needs trusts, planning for disability, guardianship and estate litigation, resident rights, health care decision making, Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance appeals.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Siegel was with WanderPolo & Siegel for over 10 years, five of which were as principal.  She has been involved in health and long-term care issues for over 25 years, recently named a 2019 Essex County Top Lawyer in Elder Law by Morris/Essex Health & Life.

    Siegel is a member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, the State Bar Elder Law Section, and the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association.  She is a past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), where she regularly met with legislators and government officials on behalf of the Elder Law Bar and their clients. In 2015, she was invited to join NAELA’s prestigious Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP).

    Siegel earned her J.D. from Georgetown University, with honors, in 1994 and her B.A. from Barnard College, with honors, in 1989.

    Posted in: Elder Care & Special Needs Law, News, Shana Siegel | Tags: , , , , , ,

  • 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 or call +1-612-339-8680.

    Posted in: John N. Vanarthos, News | Tags: , , , , ,