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Kate McDonnell, the senior deputy chief counsel to Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo: Office of the Governor.

McDonnell is now senior deputy chief counsel, Wilson moves up

By David Wildstein, October 19 2020 11:06 am

The departure of Matt Platkin as a top aide to Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday means that Parimal Garg has now assumed the post as chief counsel.

That has triggered some other moves within the chief counsel’s office.

Kate McDonnell, who had served as deputy chief counsel, will now be the senior deputy chief counsel.  The move makes her the clear number two in Garg’s office.

Garg’s position as deputy chief counsel will be filled by McKenzie Wilson.

Wilson, who had been serving as senior counsel, was a law clerk to New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner from 2015 to 2016 along with Garg.

She also has some political experience: as a college student at George Washington University, she served as an intern to Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. and as an intern for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee during the 2009 cycle.

Wilson is a graduate of Seton Hall University and was an associate as Proskauer Rose before joining Murphy’s staff in January 2018.

McConnell spent eight years as General Counsel to the Assembly Majority Office, working under Speakers Joe Roberts, Sheila Oliver and Vincent Prieto.  She joined the Assembly in 2006 after serving as a summer law clerk at Cozen O’Connor and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and a fellowship with Assembly Democratic staff.  She was the staffer assigned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee and became Chief Counsel in 2009.

Garg worked on Murphy’s campaign as a senior policy advisor and clerked for Rabner, who had served as Chief Counsel under Gov. Jon Corzine.  He practiced law in the Washington office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.  Garg is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Journal on Legislation

Brian Wilton, who heads the governor’s Authorities Unit, continues as a deputy chief counsel to the governor and a senior staffer.

Murphy announced Garg’s appointment on October 9. Platkin has left to become a partner at Lowenstein Sandler.

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