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Bill Castner. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Castner named partner at Connell Foley

Top Murphy advisor joins Bud Foley’s firm

By David Wildstein, January 27 2020 12:16 pm

Bill Castner, a former chief counsel to Gov. Jon Corzine and the architect of Gov. Phil Murphy’s gun safety agenda, is joining one of the state’s top law firms.

ROI-NJ first reported today that Castner will become a partner at Connell Foley and work out of their Cherry Hill office as part of the firm’s Health Care practice group.

Castner is a longtime player in New Jersey politics and once a top advisor to Democratic powerbroker George Norcross.  He began his career working in the on-partisan Office of Legislative Services and was a staff attorney for the Fair Share Housing Center.

Assembly Speaker Albio Sires named Castner as general counsel of the Assembly majority staff.   He became executive director when Joseph Roberts succeeded Sires as speaker.  In 2010, he was a major player in drawing a new legislative district map that resulted in a record number of Democratic seats over the last decade.

Castner had served as senior vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey prior to joining Murphy’s staff as a senior advisor on firearms.

Connell Foley represents the state in a lawsuit filed by Katie Brennan.

He now joins a law firm with a rich political history.

The firm was founded by Adrian “Bud” Foley, who was a 33-year-old lawyer and World War II hero when he won an upset victory in a race for Essex County Surrogate.

Foley narrowly defeated former two-term Assemblyman Samuel Saiber (R-Newark), who had been appointed surrogate by Gov. Alfred Driscoll earlier that year.  He was the founder of another leading New Jersey law firm, Saiber, Schlesinger & Satz (now known as Saiber).  David Satz had served as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey under President John F. Kennedy.

In 1963, Foley had become the president of the New Jersey Bar Association and had initially agreed to become the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate against incumbent Clifford Case in 1966 before backing out to become president of the 1966 New Jersey Constitutional Convention.

The Senate nomination went to another major New Jersey law firm, Warren Wilentz.  Wilentz was the son of Middlesex County Democratic boss David Wilentz, who as state attorney general prosecuted the Lindbergh kidnapping case.  His brother, Robert, served as an assemblyman and later as Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Foley, a lawyer who exuded gravitas, died in 2015 at age 93.

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