A former U.S. district judge for the District of New Jersey, John Michael Vazquez, has joined Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi‘s Litigation and White Collar Defense & Investigations groups, according to a Monday announcement from CSG Law.
Vazquez brings his unique ability and experiences to his practice at the firm, focusing on complex civil litigation, “bet-the-company” litigation, internal investigations and criminal defense.
He will also serve as a special master and mediator in a variety of matters.
“Judge Vazquez brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and insight into the firm’s already-outstanding Litigation and White Collar Defense & Investigations groups,” Jeffrey Chiesa said. “He’ll bring to bear his decades of experience and relationships to resolve high-stakes and high-profile litigation matters.”
Vazquez became a federal district judge in 2016 following his nomination by President Barack Obama. He previously worked as a federal prosecutor, serving as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey from 2001-2006. From 2006-2008, he served as special assistant and then as first assistant attorney general in the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General.
“His know-how and experience will prove invaluable as our Litigation Group continues to expand to meet the needs of our valued clients,” Frank Giantomasi said. “If you’re looking for someone who understands the big picture and the bottom line, look no further than Judge Vazquez.”
Notably, after leaving the Attorney General’s Office, he joined a North Jersey law firm where he represented Anthony R. Suarez, mayor of Ridgefield, in a 2010 trial on corruption charges, winning an acquittal for his client and breaking a government streak of more than 200 public corruption convictions. In addition, shortly before the joining the bench, he was co-counsel in a federal civil trial in which he helped secure a jury verdict of more than $100 million for his client.
Vazquez earned his J.D., summa cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law, and his B.A. from Rutgers University. After law school, he clerked for the Hon. Herman D. Michels of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, before joining a North Jersey-based law firm as an associate.
“I am very excited to be returning to an active practice,” Vazquez said. “By taking this next step, I have the rare and fortunate opportunity to couple my federal judicial experience with my passion for litigating both complex civil and criminal matters at all stages. Similarly, as a former federal judge, I can help parties through alternative dispute procedures to reach a more efficient and fair resolution.”
In addition to Vazquez, Kathryn Pearson, who served as his career law clerk while he was on the bench, will be joining the firm’s Litigation and White Collar Defense & Investigations groups as counsel to the firm.