Home>Articles>Wolfson returns to Lowenstein Sandler after 28 years as a federal judge

Former U.S. DIstrict Court Chief Judge Freda Wolfson. (Photo: Lowenstein Sandler).

Wolfson returns to Lowenstein Sandler after 28 years as a federal judge

Bumb becomes chief judge; just one unfilled seat on 18-member U.S. District Court in New Jersey

By David Wildstein, February 01 2023 5:20 pm

After spending more than 28 years as a federal judge, Freda L. Wolfson has rejoined her old law firm, Lowenstein Sandler.

“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,” said Christopher Porrino, a former New Jersey attorney general and now the chair of Lowenstein Sandler’s litigation practice.

The Roseland-based firm, one of the most prestigious in the state, hired former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin as chair of their appellate practice following his retirement last year.

Wolfson, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, practiced at the Lowenstein firm for seven years following her 1979 graduation from Rutgers Law School and then moved to the bench as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in 1986 at age 32.

Following the retirement of Judge Nicholas Politan in 2002, President George W. Bush nominated Wolfson to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge.   A Democrat, Wolfson was picked by Bush as part of a package with three Republicans — Bill Martini, a former congressman from Clifton, Jose Linares, and Stanley Chesler — and Robert Kugler, an independent.

Wolfson had been recommended by New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators, Frank Lautenberg, and Jon Corzine.

In 2019, Wolfson became the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey following Linares’ retirement.  Judge Renee Marie Bumb is replacing her.

“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,” Porrino said.  “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 said she was “immensely proud of my public service.”

“I am also very excited to start this new stage of my career, working with the talented lawyers at Lowenstein,” she said. “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.”

Gary Wingens, the chair and managing partner at Lowenstein Sandler, said he was proud that Wolfson returned to the firm after a 28-year absence.

“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.”

President Joe Biden has nominated Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch to replace Wolfson.  Kirsch and Michael Farbiarz, who was picked to replace Judge Noel Hillmann, who is now on senior status, appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

The Senate has confirmed six previous Biden federal judicial appointments: Julian Neals, Zahid Quraishi, Georgette Castner, Evelyn Padin, Christine O’Hearn, and Karen Williams.

That leaves just one vacancy on the 18-seat U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.  Judge Kevin McNulty went on senior status in October.

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