Freda Wolfson, who has recently retired as the Chief Judge of the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, has decided to partner with the law firm Lowenstein Sandler. Wolfson’s career in the judiciary began in 1986 when she became a US Magistrate Judge in New Jersey at 32. She has since served 36 years as a US Magistrate and Federal Trial Court Judge and was confirmed to the district court in 2012. During her time as the Chief Judge, she was assigned five different multidistrict litigation cases, including one of the second-largest-ever involving 40,000 cancer lawsuits over Johnson & Johnson baby powder.
Wolfson’s move to Lowenstein Sandler marks a homecoming, as she began her career at the same law firm in 1979. In her new role, she will lead the firm’s alternative dispute resolution practice, focusing on special masters appointments in multidistrict litigation, monitorships, and presiding over mock trials. She will work alongside Christopher Porrino, the firm’s litigation department chair, and former New Jersey state attorney general, who clerked for Wolfson 30 years ago. Three other former Wolfson clerks also work at the firm, and her career law clerk of 15 years will be making a move alongside her.
In a statement, Porrino said, “Judge Wolfson was my boss, a mentor, and now – thirty years after serving as her law clerk – it is my honor to call Judge Wolfson my partner.” Wolfson grew up in Vineland, New Jersey, as the daughter of refugees and graduated from Rutgers University, Douglass College, and the Rutgers School of Law – Newark.
Wolfson’s time as the Chief Judge coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic and the murder of her colleague Judge Esther Salas’s son in 2020. The murder profoundly impacted the entire judiciary, and Wolfson praised Salas’s tireless work in pressing for legislation to protect judges’ personal information. During her tenure, six judges were confirmed in the district in the last two years, with two more nominees pending in the Senate. Another judge, Kevin McNulty, has announced plans to take senior status later this year.
The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled on January 30th that J&J couldn’t use bankruptcy to resolve the lawsuits involving the baby powder. Wolfson said the timing of the decision was a bit ironic, coming the day before she left the judiciary. The multidistrict litigation panel had already met and reassigned the case last week.
In conclusion, Freda Wolfson’s move to Lowenstein Sandler represents a new chapter in her career. She is excited to take on a new challenge after 36 years as a US Magistrate and Federal Trial Court Judge. With her extensive experience and deep roots in the legal community, Wolfson is poised to make a significant impact in her new role as the head of the firm’s alternative dispute resolution practice.
Retiring NJ Chief Judge Freda Wolfson to Join Lowenstein Sandler