Freda Wolfson, the recently retired former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, has rejoined Lowenstein Sandler after an impressive decades-long career in the federal judiciary, the firm announced Wednesday morning.
Wolfson’s practice at Lowenstein will focus on complex commercial litigation, special master appointments in multidistrict litigations, monitorships, internal investigations and presiding over mock trials and oral arguments. She also will lead the firm’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice.
Wolfson previously worked at Lowenstein Sandler from 1979-81 after graduating cum laude from Rutgers School of Law – Newark, where she served as an editor of the Rutgers Law Review. She worked in the judiciary for 36 years.
Chris Porrino, partner and chair of Lowenstein Sandler’s Litigation Department (and former attorney general of the state of New Jersey) said he and the firm are thrilled to have Wolfson back.
“Judge Wolfson was my boss, a mentor and now — 30 years after serving as her law clerk — it is my honor to call Judge Wolfson my partner,” he said. “Judge 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.
“She went on to lead the district as chief during very challenging times, through the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented judicial vacancies and security threats. Our lawyers and clients all will benefit from her innovative problem-solving skills and her wide range of knowledge across many of our core practice areas.”
Wolfson was nominated to the District Court in 2002, ascending to the chief judge post in 2019. Prior to her appointment, she served as a U.S. magistrate judge, handling pre-trial matters and facilitating settlements, for over 16 years. As a district judge, in 2014, she was appointed by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to represent the Third Circuit on the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judge System, and, in 2020, Wolfson was appointed to the Judicial Conference of the United States.
The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has one of the largest dockets of all federal district courts in the nation.
During her time as a judge, Wolfson authored thousands of opinions involving such complex issues as securities litigations, shareholder derivative lawsuits, products liability, commercial transactions and financial fraud, civil rights and constitutionality of federal and state statutes.
Wolfson also presided over a multitude of civil and criminal trials, ranging from Hatch Waxman ANDA patent infringement, to fee disputes in the context of securities and mutual funds, employment discrimination and civil rights violations to white-collar crime. The Multidistrict Litigation Panel appointed her to handle six national MDLs, including In re Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Prods. Mktg. Sales Practices & Prods. Liab. Litig. (the second-largest MDL in the country), In re Fosamax (Alendronate Sodium) Prods. Liab. Litig., In re Plavix Mktg., Sales Practice & Prods Liab. Litig., In re Vonage Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., and In re Verizon Wireless Data Charges Litig.
Lowenstein Chair and Managing Partner Gary Wingens said the firm is thrilled to have Wolfson back.
“It has been well worth the wait,” he said. “Since her time with us, Judge Wolfson has gone on to national acclaim for her astute judicial opinions and keen leadership on the bench. Her many accomplishments, accolades and experience make her an invaluable resource to our firm.”
“I am immensely proud of my public service,” Wolfson said. “I am also very excited to start this new stage of my career, working with the talented lawyers at Lowenstein. The firm shares my dedication to advancing the public good, and I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues in ways that benefit our local, regional and global communities.”
Wolfson, who graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University, Douglass College, has been honored with numerous state and national awards, including the 2022 Donald A. Robinson Meritorious Service Award, the 2016 Rutgers University Law Review Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2013 Women in the Profession Section’s Justice Marie L. Garibaldi Award for Distinguished Service and Excellence.
Wolfson is the latest addition to Lowenstein with notable tenure on the bench, following former New Jersey Supreme Court Associate Justice Barry Albin, who joined as chair of the firm’s appellate practice group last July.