New Jersey chief judge Wolfson joins law firm Lowenstein Sandler

  • Freda Wolfson will lead law firm’s alternative dispute resolution group
  • Wolfson spent 36 years in the judiciary

(Reuters) – Freda Wolfson, who retired this week as chief judge of the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, has joined law firm Lowenstein Sandler, the firm said Wednesday.

Wolfson heads to the New Jersey-founded national law firm after 36 years on the federal bench. She will lead Lowenstein Sandler’s alternative dispute resolution group and plans to handle commercial litigation matters and take on special master appointments in multidistrict litigations.

She was nominated to the New Jersey district court in 2002 and became chief judge in 2019. She previously served as a US magistrate judge, and practiced at what is now Lowenstein Sandler earlier in her career.

The firm, which has about 350 lawyers, in July brought on former New Jersey Supreme Court justice Barry Albin as head of its appellate group.

“I am immensely proud of my public service,” Wolfson said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that Lowenstein Sandler “shares my dedication to advancing the public good.”

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In her years on the bench, Wolfson oversaw six different federal multidistrict litigation proceedings, including thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and talc products claiming they caused cancer. More than 37,000 talc-related lawsuits were pending before Wolfson in what had become the second largest federal mass tort in US history.

A federal appeals court on Monday rejected J&J’s bid to offload the lawsuits over its talc products into bankruptcy court and dismissed a Chapter 11 case filed by a subsidiary, LTL Management LLC, specially created for that purpose.

Lowenstein’s litigation department is headed by former New Jersey attorney general Christopher Porrino, who clerked for Wolfson 30 years ago.

Porrino in a statement said Wolfson “has been a trailblazer throughout her entire career.”

“She started as one of the youngest members of the District Court as well as one of its few women and mothers,” Porrino said. “She went on to lead the District as Chief during very challenging times, through the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented judicial vacancies, and security threats.”

During Wolfson’s tenure, her colleague US District Court Judge Esther Salas’ son was killed and her husband wounded in a shooting by a disgruntled lawyer.

Read more:

Lowenstein Sandler hires ex-NJ Supreme Court justice Albin

Additional reporting by Nate Raymond

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