Retired N.J. Supreme Court Justice Albin to join Lowenstein Sandler

Former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin is joining Lowenstein Sandler as a partner in the Litigation Department, the firm announced Thursday morning.

Albin, who will work out of the firm’s Roseland office, will chair its Appellate Practice Group. He also will serve as a neutral arbitrator, special master and mediator in complicated, high-stakes disputes.

Albin, who turned 70 on July 7 — triggering a mandatory retirement — served on the court for just under 20 years and was seen as its most progressive member. He was the only justice with experience as a public defender and civil rights lawyer.

As a Supreme Court justice, Albin authored more than 400 opinions, including more than 230 majority opinions, more than 130 dissents and dozens of concurrences. His judicial body of work spans the wide spectrum of the law. He has written opinions in the fields of criminal law and the rights of the accused; constitutional law and the rights of same-sex couples; civil rights; contract, family, insurance, employment discrimination, municipal government, tax, and election law; products liability, mass toxic torts as well as medical and legal malpractice; and more.

Albin is the author of landmark opinions on the rights of same-sex couples, the rights of the accused and workers, and civil rights, among others. He also authored a number of dissents, which later became law.

Chris Porrino, a former attorney general for the state who now serves as chair of the Litigation Department and the face of the Roseland-based firm, was thrilled to have Albin join the firm.

Porrino and Albin have been personal and professional friends throughout their professional careers.

“Justice Albin is a brilliant trial and appellate lawyer and jurist,” Porrino said. “It is a personal and professional honor that my dear friend of more than two decades has chosen Lowenstein Sandler for the next chapter of his storied career. He is a skilled litigator and formidable advocate in the courtroom and will be a tireless arbitrator and mediator for those seeking to resolve their most complicated and difficult disputes.”

Albin said he’s eager to join the team.

“My long career has intersected with many outstanding Lowenstein lawyers, some of whom have served as my clerks. I look forward to joining a firm that pursues the highest standards of professional excellence and that is committed to doing justice and serving the community,” he said.

Landing the highly sought Albin is significant for Porrino and Lowenstein Sandler — and further establishes the firm as a top nonpartisan firm.

Porrino, who served as state attorney general from 2016-18, also served as chief counsel to former Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Lowenstein Sandler served as the landing spot for Matt Platkin — after he served as chief counsel for Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and until he was nominated by Murphy to be attorney general.

Albin is a Jersey guy. Though he was born in New York City, he graduated from Sayreville High School (Class of 1970) and Rutgers University (Class of 1973). After graduating from Cornell Law School (Class of 1976), he started a career as a deputy attorney general in the Appellate Section of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

In 1978, he became assistant prosecutor in Passaic and Middlesex counties. He joined Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in 1982, becoming partner in 1986.

Albin was nominated by former Gov. Jim McGreevey in July 2002 to be a justice on the state Supreme Court. He was confirmed Sept. 12 and sworn in Sept. 18 of that year.

Albin’s departure means there are now three open seats on the state’s highest court.

Justice Jaynee LaVecchia retired at the end of 2021. She joined Newark-based McCarter & English as a partner and works in the firm’s Business Litigation Group.

Justice Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina, who retired in February, joined Mount Laurel-based Parker McCay.

Gov. Phil Murphy has nominated a successor to only one of the seats, Rachel Wainer Apter, but her nominated has stalled due to senatorial courtesy.