Managing Partner's Messages
Reflections on 2023 as Pashman Stein Walder Hayden is Named Law Firm of the Year*
Especially because there are so many outstanding law firms in our region, we are humbled to have been named Law Firm of the Year by the New Jersey Law Journal in September 2023. During the nearly 30 years that Pashman Stein has been in business, we have worked hard to earn our reputation for excellence and commitment to our clients’ causes.
Proud of the Firm We Have Become
To be recognized as Law Firm of the Year is immensely gratifying, and particularly meaningful, because it provides a proof-of-concept moment. We have always believed that leaning into the important policy issues of our times through our public interest center would and should align with our business objectives. This award offers tangible evidence that a law firm can shoulder the burden of advancing important public interest initiatives while at the same time earning a reputation for excellence.
While our firm’s reputation is built upon the strength of our litigation bench, in the past several years we have continued to strengthen and expand our practice areas to better serve our clients. Thoughtful and measured growth remains part of our strategic plan. In early 2022, we established a new Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Creditors’ Rights practice chaired by former AmLaw 100 partner, John W. Weiss. The practice quickly grew with the establishment of a Delaware office and the addition of three new partners and two associates, and it has experienced great success representing clients throughout the country in all types of engagements in distressed situations and bankruptcy-related matters. Our Cannabis & Hemp Law practice has also emerged as a leader in the region, leveraging the firm’s other specialized practice areas to provide comprehensive business and legal guidance through the application process and beyond.
One of the accomplishments of which I am most proud is the impact we have had through the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center. Our pro bono and public interest work through the Center not only provides a sense of purpose and meaning to all of our employees and allows us to give back, but also provides our younger lawyers more opportunities to argue high stakes appeals than they would otherwise have. It’s been a win for our clients, our lawyers, and the firm.
Turning Challenges into Opportunities
While law firms faced many challenges in the past year, the post-pandemic return to office is one of the most significant challenges facing law firms. We have approached it as an opportunity. The pandemic has taught us that our firm can balance between remote working and in-office hours, while maintaining our culture and productivity and providing the same excellent level of client service. In the past several years, we have embraced flexibility by not requiring our attorneys to be in the office a fixed number of days and giving department heads leeway to determine how to best serve clients’ needs. Recognizing the challenges in maintaining the right balance and that the situation remains fluid, we continually adapt to meet the needs of our clients, attorneys, and staff. We think our approach – flexible and continuously adapting and evolving – has served to strengthen the sense of community, support, and culture among our employees.
Another significant challenge is the judicial vacancy crisis in our region, resulting in delays and suspensions of trials. New Jersey’s judiciary has earned a reputation as among the best in country. The uneven justice arising out of this unprecedented crisis is incompatible with our state’s longstanding tradition of excellence and must be addressed. In the meantime, though, we have added retired Presiding Judges of the Appellate Division, Judge Ellen Koblitz and Judge Edwin Stern, to our ADR team to expand and strengthen our mediation and arbitration practice, providing an alternative means for clients’ dispute resolution, whether in civil, chancery, or family law matters.
It’s All About the People
We have worked very hard to create the kind of environment and culture that enables us to attract and retain the best talent this region has to offer, people who are proud to go the extra mile – to dig in and sweat for their clients and approach each issue with the same passion and commitment as they would for a family member.
We credit our inclusive and vibrant culture, providing significant flexibility to employees, and offering the opportunity of “doing good while doing well,” to that success. Our recent hires cite the firm’s unique culture, the intellectually stimulating work, and a rate structure that compares favorably to the rates charged by big law in explaining their decisions to join our team.
These factors, combined with our knowledge of local judicial culture, and, most importantly, the depth and strength of our litigation bench, put our firm at the forefront of the litigation bar as go-to litigators for complex litigation matters.
*The New Jersey Legal Awards are published by the New Jersey Law Journal. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Stein Public Interest Center 2021-2022 Impact Report - July 12, 2023
As the nation celebrated Independence Day last week, I am cognizant of the challenges our country faces regarding social, racial and economic justice. I continue to be very proud of our firm's participation in public interest law, particularly through the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden. Under the fine leadership of Stein Center Director CJ Griffin, and with the commitment of our entire law firm, we are participating in nearly every important public interest lawsuit before the New Jersey Supreme Court. As noted in the Center's 2021-2022 Impact Report, our attorneys contributed more than 12,000 pro bono hours in those years and obtained numerous rulings that advanced justice and protected civil liberties and constitutional rights. These decisions have appropriately been referred to as “landmark,” “game-changing” and a “sea change.”
The Stein Center continues to be at the forefront of government transparency, free speech, voting rights, and the integration of the state’s public schools, and our attorneys continue to fully participate in pro bono representation. This fall we will welcome our first Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center Fellow, to further our ability to effect real change and achieve justice. Stay tuned for updates in September!
I hope you enjoy reading the highlights of our significant cases in the Center's Impact Report, which can be viewed here
Announcing the Stein Public Interest Center Fellowship Program - December 22, 2022
With the new year comes new beginnings, and I am thrilled to announce that the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center will, for the first time, welcome a Fellow in the fall of 2023. This inaugural two-year Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for an attorney to work on public interest impact litigation and appellate advocacy within a law firm setting.
The establishment of the Stein Public Interest Center in 2019 was, and continues to be, a great source of pride to me and to everyone here at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden. The Center reflects our firm’s longstanding commitment to lean in and leave an imprint on important public interest issues. Through the Stein Public Interest Center and under the direction of Director CJ Griffin, attorneys at the firm have participated in New Jersey’s most significant public interest lawsuits as well as landmark appellate court cases. We are at the forefront of issues such as government transparency, free speech, voting rights, and the integration of the state’s public schools.
This new initiative reflects the strengthening of our firm’s commitment to social justice. The Fellow will be dedicated on a full-time basis to the Stein Center and will participate as a full member of the legal team, with significant responsibilities. The Fellow will work closely with CJ to file public interest impact litigation, as well as appear as amicus curiae in federal and state courts in and beyond New Jersey.
Just as the establishment of the Stein Public Interest Center was a ground-breaking initiative for a mid-size firm like ours, so too is the establishment of the Stein Public Interest Fellow. We believe that lawyers have a responsibility to give back and help to effect real change and achieve justice. The addition of dedicated resources through the Stein Public Interest Fellow, combined with the impressive work already being done by our attorneys under the direction of CJ, enhances our ability to achieve those goals. I look forward to the continued and broader impact of the Stein Public Interest Center, and to welcoming our Fellow this fall.
Further information about the Fellowship application process and qualifications can be found on our website under Careers.
Happy New Year and a healthy 2023!
Thankful for Our Clients and Team - November 2022
As the holiday season is upon us, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to our clients and the team of attorneys and staff I am honored to work with every day.
Thankful for Our Clients’ Trust
Our attorneys strive to achieve the highest level of professional excellence for one reason – our clients. I am thankful for each of our clients for trusting us with their most sensitive and important legal and business issues, knowing that we approach their issues as if they were our own. We strive to provide not just outstanding legal advice but also top shelf client service – which means rolling up our sleeves, developing innovative approaches to problems, and knowing how to strategically advance the interests of our clients.
I have been quoted in the past saying that my goal is for my colleagues to have the same spring in their step on Monday morning when they come in to work as they do on Friday evening when they go out with their family and friends. That goal can be achieved only if the firm provides its employees with opportunities to find meaning and purpose in their work. That, in turn, requires a culture that calls on all who work at the firm to appreciate that being a lawyer is not just a job but an extraordinary responsibility. Our purpose is to meet the vital needs of our clients, who rely on us to do just that. We view it as a calling.
Thankful for Our Team
Pashman Stein was founded over 25 years ago when I banded together with two others to build what we envisioned could one day serve as the gold standard of what a law firm can and should be. It was a bold move for three young attorneys, but at the core of our firm was a deep friendship, a strong work ethic, high moral character, and an innovative spirit. As we have grown over the years, we have sought to hire not only the best and brightest attorneys, but also those who share those core values.
I appreciate, and am continually amazed by, the brilliance of the attorneys at our firm. This sentiment is shared by the legal community, as our attorneys are continuously recognized for their work across practice areas. While too numerous to list in their entirety, some recent accolades stand out.
- This past September, our partner Raymond M. Brown was awarded the Medal of Honor by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, the highest honor bestowed by the organization, and which recognizes professional excellence, leadership, commitment, and service to the public and legal community. Raymond also was awarded the Daniel J. O’ Hern award in August from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, which is given to an attorney who exhibits integrity, competence, high ethical standards, career achievement, and service to the bar. To receive both awards in one year is unprecedented! Raymond is our third partner to receive the O’Hern award, joining partners Joe Hayden and Justin Walder as recipients of that prestigious award.
- Our partner CJ Griffin, who serves as director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden and who previously was named Attorney of the Year-Finalist by the New Jersey Law Journal, was honored this past June with the Hon. Lawrence A. Whipple Memorial Award. This award is presented annually by the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – New Jersey to a member of the bar who exemplifies professionalism, dedication to, and passion for the law. Once again, CJ joins partners Justin Walder and Joe Hayden as our third partner to receive the Whipple award.
- In addition, the consistent excellence of the attorneys in our Appellate Advocacy practice has been recognized by the New Jersey Law Journal which has named us Appellate - Litigation Department of the Year in 2022. This honor marks the fifth consecutive year our team has received the award! This is a fantastic honor and a testament to the quality of our work and our experience with appellate matters.
It is a tremendous source of pride to know that so many of our attorneys are recognized by their peers and I am grateful to consider these outstanding colleagues my friends.
Wishing you and your family a holiday season filled with friendship, happiness, health, and peace!
Enhancing Our Client Service Through Continued Growth and Expansion - September 2022
We are pleased to announce that Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, P.C., has been appointed the New Jersey partner firm of Interlaw, a long-established global network of independent law firms comprising 8,000+ lawyers based in over 150 cities around the world.
Our partnership with Interlaw enhances the services and capabilities we deliver to our clients by providing access to an elite global legal network that has been consistently recognized by Chambers Global. As a result of our membership, Pashman Stein has expanded domestic and international resources to assist our clients with matters that expand beyond those states where we regularly practice. We are also available to assist fellow Interlaw firms and their clients with legal counsel on a wide range of domestic and international matters.
Joining this international network is a natural consequence not just of our own growth but also the ever-expanding needs of our clients. Although the global pandemic caused us all to pivot and adapt to the changing times, our core values and top priorities have remained the same - and that includes being responsive to our clients’ needs. The firm, and our lawyers, continue to evolve and are consistently seeking innovative solutions to better serve our clients. In the past two years, in addition to joining Interlaw, we have:
- Opened two new offices – one in New York City and one in Wilmington, Delaware
- Added 25 attorneys to our team
- Added two new practice areas
- Expanded key areas of practice
I am proud to note that throughout this period of growth, we have not lost sight of other core values – namely, giving exceptional service and staying true to our responsibility as lawyers to contribute to the public good and give back. We continue to expand our work through the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center, established in 2019. Through the Stein Center, our attorneys have been involved in nearly every public interest litigation before the New Jersey Supreme Court in the past two years, with far-reaching impact on cases ranging from social justice issues, including racial bias in the legal system, to the rights of criminal defendants, cannabis users, and Medicare recipients. In 2021, we doubled the number of pro bono hours from the prior year to over 4,000 hours.
Below are some of the highlights of our recent growth:
New Practice Areas
- Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Creditors’ Rights. Our newest practice area is led by Chair John W. Weiss, who joined us from an Am Law 100 firm to build a Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Creditors’ Rights practice from the ground up. With the addition of partner Joseph C. Barsalona II, who hails from Tier 1 Chambers-ranked Bankruptcy departments, and the opening of our office in Wilmington, Delaware, the group is carving out a niche position by providing enhanced value to clients with our competitive rate structure, while still offering them the same sophisticated representation clients expect from their work at prior firms.
- Securities Regulatory Enforcement & Litigation. Led by Chair Jerome M. Selvers, our dedicated Securities Regulatory Enforcement & Litigation practice defends individuals and companies in government investigations, enforcement proceedings, and litigation throughout the United States concerning alleged individual and corporate misconduct within the securities industry.
Expansion of Key Practice Areas
Over the past two years, we have significantly expanded key practice areas with the hiring of attorneys who bring additional capabilities and strengths within our existing practice areas, including the following:
- Litigation – Our roster of exceptional litigation partners grew with Daniel R. Guadalupe, Deanna L. Koestel, Keith D. McDonald, Raymond M. Brown, Gregg H. Hilzer, Justin P. Kolbenschlag, Bruce S. Rosen, as well as counsel Doris Cheung and Rachel Simon and associates Darcy Baboulis-Gyscek, Christian Benante, Chanel Hudson, and Joshua P. Law.
- Appellate Advocacy – Our Appellate team added former Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division, the Honorable Ellen L. Koblitz, who brings immense value to the team and our department’s reputation in her guidance and advice on appellate briefs and arguments. Being named the Appellate Department of the year by the New Jersey Law Journal for the fifth consecutive year is a testament to the outstanding efforts and skill of this practice group!
- Construction Law – Led by Chair Deanna L. Koestel and drawing on the extensive experience of partner Daniel R. Guadalupe, the practice provides high-quality legal services to all participants in the commercial and residential construction industries.
- Cannabis & Hemp Law – The addition of Co-chair Gregg Hilzer and associate Alana Hans-Cohen, together with the enhanced capabilities of our Commercial Real Estate and Corporate & Business Law practices, provides clients comprehensive full-service legal counsel on cannabis-related business and legal issues.
- Commercial Real Estate – Counsel Diane Stolbach’s extensive experience, together with associate Samantha Alexander, enhances the capabilities of our Commercial Real Estate group.
- Corporate & Business Law – The addition of Co-chair Oren M. Chaplin, as well as associate Samantha T. Alexander, expands our capabilities of our Corporate & Business Law practice.
- Criminal Defense and Investigations – With the addition of partner Raymond M. Brown, the Criminal Defense and Investigations teams now include four Chambers-ranked lawyers, who serve as go-to lawyers for high-stakes matters.
- Employment – Partners Keith D. McDonald and Justin Kolbenschlag provide additional depth to our outstanding employment law attorneys.
- Food, Beverage & Hospitality – The addition of partners Daniel R. Guadalupe, Deanna L. Koestel, Oren M. Chaplin, and Keith D. McDonald add further depth to this practice group of experienced attorneys.
- Family Law – Partner Jhanice V. Domingo adds an established Bergen County-based family law practice, while associate Amanda Massey’s deep roots in Monmouth Country enhances our practice in central New Jersey.
- Media Law – Partner Bruce S. Rosen brings more than 35 years of experience in high profile First Amendment litigation and his background as an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor.
- Stein Public Interest Center – The addition of retired judges, the Hon. Ellen L. Koblitz and the Hon. Stuart J. Peim, provide invaluable guidance and perspective to the Stein Public Interest Center.
Watching Pashman Stein grow and thrive over the past two years, while at the same time maintaining its unique and vibrant culture, has been a source of great pride to all who work at the firm. I look forward to embracing the endless possibilities that lie ahead to strengthen the ties that bind all our clients and employees to this institution and to further expand our capabilities.
Reflections on 2020 as Pashman Stein Named Law Firm of the Year - Finalist by the New Jersey Law Journal - September 2021
- Excerpted from Q&A that appeared in the New Jersey Law Journal - September 20, 2021
Appreciation During a Year of Challenges
In a year of many notable moments, as I reflect on our firm’s role in making a difference and having an impact, I’m drawn to the historic class action settlement involving prisoners’ phone charges, and to the resolution of several complicated disputes amongst family business owners. And then, of course, there is the work that we did through the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center. I have always believed that as lawyers, we have a heightened responsibility to use our resources to serve the public good. The challenges of 2020 undoubtedly heightened public awareness of the need for social, racial, and economic justice. I appreciate our partner organizations’ energy in working with the Stein Center. We were involved in 27 cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2020—that’s a lot by any standard—including participating in eight oral arguments on important issues our state is facing. With one full year behind us, we are beyond thrilled with how the Stein Center fits in with our goal of being of service to our communities.
It's All About the People
Our firm’s adaptation to the pandemic truly had its foundation in our culture. While we modified technology and created policies to protect employees and serve clients, I believe that our culture firmwide had the greatest impact on our operations and success. From day one we were determined to get through this crisis together, and to ensure that every single employee would be proud to work at our firm. We did not furlough or reduce anyone’s pay. We expressed understanding if work levels ebbed and flowed, and we followed through with our commitment to stand by our employees. We wanted every one of our employees to be able to say, at the end of this, that Pashman Stein is a great place to work in times of crisis. I am gratified that our approach generated positive energy internally and externally. We also grew dramatically during this timeframe, which signals to me that the firm’s philosophy, and its commitment to the integrity of the institution, is well regarded.
Excellence = People + Culture
Excellence begins and ends with what is the most important asset in every single firm—and that is its people and the culture. Court victories and landmark decisions undoubtedly factor into the perception of our firm, but it is the people doing the work who collectively pursue excellence. We have worked very hard to create the kind of environment and culture that enables us to attract and retain the best talent this region has to offer, people who are proud to go the extra mile and dig in and sweat for their clients. While expertise is needed in a wide variety of areas, it is character, passion and desire that I think count most. To be clear, we believe that our commitment to excellence is grounded in the knowledge that there is a real purpose to what we are doing. That in turn, we think, moves us closer to our primary objective for all of our employees, which is that the fulfilment that comes with being part of something important– something that can make a difference—leaves them with the same spring in their step on Monday morning with colleagues and clients that they have when they are winding down on Friday night with family and friends.
2020 Stein Center Year in Review - February 22, 2021
The challenges of 2020 undoubtedly heightened public awareness of the need for social, racial, and economic justice. While we all look to find any silver lining from the past year, it is gratifying to share with you the 2020 Year in Review from the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden. For the Stein Public Interest Center, the past year underscored the importance of our commitment to protecting civil liberties and constitutional rights through impact litigation and appellate advocacy.
I couldn’t be more proud of Director CJ Griffin and the entire firm for their dedication to public interest law. They contributed more than 4,000 pro bono hours - more than double that of the prior year - and they are the reason the New Jersey State Bar Association honored us as the 2020 Pro Bono Law Firm.
We look forward to continuing our work to advance justice and protect civil liberties and constitutional rights. Click here to view the 2020 Year in Review.
Reflections on our 25th Anniversary and our Commitment to Advocating for the Rights and Liberties of all Individuals - July 1, 2020
July 1, 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Pashman Stein, now known as Pashman Stein Walder Hayden. While earlier this year we were looking forward to celebrating this milestone with you in person, instead we are taking this opportunity to reflect…not only on how far we have come, but also on who we are today and what we still would like to accomplish.
When Pashman Stein was founded 25 years ago, we were a few lawyers who set out to prove it is not the size of a law firm that matters, but rather the quality of work and the integrity and responsiveness of its lawyers. Our goal from the start was to build a reputation for excellence and winning results and, consequently, to become the law firm of choice for those facing high stakes or bet-the-business problems, while never forgetting that the practice of law is more than simply a business. And I am proud to say -- we did it!
Pashman Stein Walder Hayden recently was named Appellate Litigation Department of the Year by the New Jersey Law Journal – for the third year in a row! More significantly, we have earned widespread recognition as one of the very few, go-to law firms in this region for high stakes and bet-the-business litigation. There is not a deeper or better bench around. We are now a leading full-service law firm, providing our clients access to a wide range of corporate and personal legal services.
We take great pride in the fact that other leading law firms, judges and lawyers have repeatedly turned to us over the years when faced with their own legal problems. Clients and other lawyers regularly refer us cases because of our proven record of success and the credibility that follows us into the courtroom. To be sure, judges know us well, for our insight, our thoughtful analysis, and our creativity.
And that’s not all. Last fall, we established the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center, which underscores our commitment to advocating for the rights and liberties of all individuals and leaving an imprint on the important public interest matters of our time. We established the Center to create an organized platform for us to participate in many of the most significant and newsworthy matters in our State. The lawyers in our firm believe that we have a responsibility as lawyers and as members of our community, to effect real and meaningful change so that no one loses their life, or is discriminated against, because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or otherwise. George Floyd’s horrific and senseless death, and other similar tragedies, only reinforce the need for us to devote our resources to protecting civil liberties and promoting transparency in government. We are committed to putting our legal talents to use through the Center and otherwise to be part of the national movement to redress the systemic racial inequality that unfortunately still exists in this country.
When a few of us took the leap of faith 25 years ago to establish our own firm, I was optimistic and confident that we could create a unique and successful environment and culture, of which we could be very proud, comprised of outstanding passionate, enthusiastic lawyers. Today, I am equally optimistic and confident that Pashman Stein Walder Hayden will continue to grow, thrive and adapt. And we couldn’t have attained our success without you! On behalf of the entire firm, we thank you for your support and friendship throughout the years and look forward to the years ahead.
A Message to our Clients and Friends During COVID Pandemic - March 17, 2020
We hope this message finds you, your loved ones, and your colleagues well.
At Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, we are doing everything in our power to closely monitor the evolving situation and to continue to implement appropriate policies and procedures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Rest assured, because of our preparations and investments in technology, we are able to continue our normal operations remotely and our lawyers remain available to provide you with the same excellent service that you have come to expect.
We have formed a COVID-19 task force to track all legal and legislative developments and to provide our clients and friends with guidance on how to navigate the extraordinary legal and business challenges that are arising as a consequence of this pandemic. Our COVID-19 Resource Center on our website provides our latest insights and will continue to be updated as the situation evolves.
Our hearts and thoughts are with all those affected by the coronavirus and we appreciate the efforts of healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front line working to keep us all well and safe.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. We remain fully committed to be responsive and available to meet your legal and business needs. While this is uncharted territory, we are marshalling all of our resources to stay ahead of the curve as businesses and individuals need to address the ramifications of the new guidelines and policies, as well as the impact on businesses and individual circumstances as a result of this pandemic.
On behalf of all of us at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, we wish you and your loved ones the best of health and safety.