Retired New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz

The Rider University Law and Justice Program’s 14th annual Distinguished Contribution Award will be presented to retired New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz for her outstanding achievements in law and justice. The award will be presented after an address by Poritz at a luncheon on Tuesday, October 20, at 11:30 a.m. in the Fireside Lounge of the Bart Luedeke Center on the Lawrenceville campus, 2083 Lawrenceville Road.

Poritz took the oath of office as the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey on July 10, 1996, and served until October 2006. Prior to that post, she was the state’s first female attorney general.

Dr. Pamela A. Brown, director of Rider’s Law and Justice Program, announced the award stating, “We are thrilled that the campus community will have an opportunity to hear Chief Justice Poritz speak about her career and the challenges she met as a leader in the state’s judicial system.”

In January 1994, Governor Christine T. Whitman appointed Poritz as New Jersey’s first woman attorney general.  As attorney general, she successfully defended Megan’s Law in both the state and federal courts and chaired the task force that proposed and implemented the reorganization and reformation of the juvenile justice system in New Jersey. Since her retirement, Poritz has been of counsel to the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath in the firm’s Princeton office.

Poritz received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1977. Upon her graduation, she joined the office of the New Jersey Attorney General as a deputy attorney general in the Division of Law, first in the Environmental Section and, subsequently, as the Deputy Attorney General in Charge of Appeals and Chief of the Banking, Insurance and Public Securities Section.  From 1986 to 1989, she served as assistant attorney general and director of the Division of Law, and, then, in 1989, was appointed chief counsel to Gov. Thomas H. Kean. Poritz received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rider University in 2008.

Poritz is a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Services of New Jersey, the Fund for New Jersey, and the Princeton HealthCare System.  She sits on the Advisory Panel established by Gov. Jon Corzine to consider candidates for state judicial office and chairs both the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Code of Judicial Conduct and the Sentencing/Corrections Task Force, which has been charged with reviewing state sentencing/corrections policy for the governor.

The public is invited and should RSVP to Dr. Brown at 609-896-5107 or [email protected].