Lori Grifa, a partner at Archer & Greiner and former government official who is well-known in business and political circles across the state, was one of seven people confirmed as Superior Court judges Monday.
Joanne Cocchiola, MeLinda Hawkins Taylor, Heather Taylor, Linda Hynes, Jill Mayer and Aldo Russo also were confirmed. They will preside in the Essex, Burlington, and Camden vicinages.
Taylor currently serves as the chief ethics officer in the Governor’s Office — a role she has served in since 2014. She was given special mention by Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Heather has served two gubernatorial administrations with an unwavering sense of integrity since 2014, and, while I am sad to see her leave our administration, I know that she will serve our state well in her new capacity.”
Murphy has made 116 nominations; 81 now have been confirmed.
Here’s a deeper look at the seven, as provided by the Governor’s Office:
- Cocchiola: Currently serves as the municipal court judge for the township of Nutley. She previously served as associate counsel for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for over 12 years. She is a former mayor of Nutley, and previously served on the township’s board of commissioners. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Douglass College, and her J.D. from Seton Hall University.
- Grifa: Currently serves as a partner at Archer & Greiner. She previously served as a partner as Wolff & Samson. Prior to her time in the private sector, Grifa served the state of New Jersey in a number of high-level roles. From 2010-12, she was the commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. She previously served as chief of staff in the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General during Gov. Jim McGreevey’s administration. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, and her J.D. from Boston College Law School.
- Hawkins Taylor: Currently serves as the municipal court judge for the city of East Orange. She also is the principal at the Law Offices of MeLinda H. Taylor, Esq. Taylor previously served as Essex County assistant prosecutor, and as deputy attorney general assigned to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Taylor has also served as deputy attorney general with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Howard University, and her J.D. from the Rutgers University School of Law.
- Hynes: Currently serves as a partner at Domers, Bonamassa, & Hynes P.C. She also serves as a Burlington County commissioner. Hynes previously served with the Law Office of Richard. E. Andronici, Woodland, McCoy & Shinn, as well as the law firm of Shapiro & Kreisman. She is a former deputy mayor of Westampton Township, and previously served on the Westampton Township board of education. Hynes earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University–Camden, and her J.D. from the Widener University School of Law. She also holds an associate degree from Burlington County College.
- Mayer: Currently serves as the acting Camden County prosecutor. She was previously the deputy director of the Division of Criminal Justice for the Office of the Attorney General. Prior to serving as deputy director, she was bureau chief of the Specialized Crime Bureau, and a deputy attorney general with the Gangs and Organized Crime Bureau and the Casino Prosecutions Bureau. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College, and her J.D. from the Widener University School of Law.
- Russo: Russo currently serves as a partner with Lamb Kretzer LLC. He was previously managing partner as Russo & Della Badia LLC. He also has worked as an associate attorney for the firm of O’Toole & Couch. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, and his J.D. from Quinnipiac University.
- Taylor: Currently serves as chief ethics officer for the Governor’s Office, a role she has filled since 2014, spanning two gubernatorial administrations. She previously served the state as a deputy attorney general with the Division of Criminal Justice in the Office of the Attorney General. Prior to her service with the state, Taylor served in a number of private practice law roles, including as the director of the products liability group at Gibbons P.C., as a partner with McCarter & English LLP and as an associate with Cummings & Lockwood LLP. She earned her bachelor’s from Syracuse University, and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.