Retired NJ Supreme Court Justice Virginia Long To Deliver Keynote Speech at Rutgers University Commencement

April 26, 2013 – Press Releases

Virginia Long, former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice and currently counsel in the Princeton office of Fox Rothschild LLP, has been selected to deliver the keynote speech at the 247th commencement of Rutgers University on May 19.

In recognition of her distinguished public service as a champion for the rights of individuals, the University will also bestow an honorary degree on Long.

Long, who earned a J.D. from the Rutgers School of Law-Newark in 1966 -- one of only four women in the 125-member class to do so – was one of the first female judges of her time. She maintained exceptionally high professional standards and helped pave the way for other women in the law.

“Justice Long has been an inspiring and passionate advocate throughout her career for residents who live and work in New Jersey and for women in the legal profession,” said Douglas J. Zeltt, managing partner of Fox’s Princeton office. “She embodies what it means to dedicate oneself to ensuring that justice is accessible and fairly applied to everyone.”

“As the state university of New Jersey, Rutgers has truly selected a commencement speaker who is certain to energize and excite the class of 2013 as they leave the confines of university life and embark on their own paths in the world, be it in New Jersey or beyond,” Zeltt added.

Long served as a trial and appellate court judge for 23 years and as a New Jersey Supreme Court Justice for 12. Before retiring at the mandatory age of 70 in March 2013, Long authored opinions on many important issues and is noted for her view on the death penalty, which she believes is impossible to apply rationally and consistently. She has been credited, with others, with informing the decision of the New Jersey Legislature to abolish the death penalty entirely in 2007, substituting life imprisonment without the possibility of parole as the applicable punishment.

Her judicial opinions impacted the lives of people statewide and addressed such topics as establishing standards for a determination of who constitutes a “psychological parent;” determining that the refusal to renew the employment contract of an employee over the age of 70 violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination; finding that alimony determination is not impacted by any marital fault that does not affect the economic status quo; and noting that any physician who performs a physical examination on behalf of a third party, such as part of a pre-employment exam, has a duty to advise the examinee of any negative findings.

Long now serves as counsel at Fox Rothschild where she devotes her efforts to assisting clients with ethics and appellate matters, corporate governance and governmental integrity investigations and to serving as a mediator in alternative dispute resolution matters. She also spearheads the firm’s pro bono efforts in New Jersey.

Long also dedicates much of her time to public service issues. She is a member of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct; the New Jersey Law Revision Commission; and, serves on the Board of Legal Services of New Jersey and Centurion Ministries, a Princeton-based organization dedicated to finding justice for wrongly imprisoned and factually innocent individuals.

A member of the New Jersey bar for more than 40 years, Justice Long has had a varied legal career. In addition to her role as NJ Supreme Court Justice, she previously served as Deputy Attorney General for the state of New Jersey, as Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and as Commissioner of the former New Jersey Department of Banking.

Long has received many awards and accolades throughout her career. Most recently she was the recipient of New Jersey State Bar Association's Civil Practice Committee's 2013 James J. McLaughlin Award for Civility, Legal Competence and Professionalism and the New Jersey State Bar Association's Women in the Profession Section's 2012 Marie L. Garibaldi Award for Distinguished Service and Excellence. Rutgers also named her to its 2001 Hall of Distinguished Alumni and bestowed upon her its 1999 School of Law Fannie Baer Besser Award for Public Service.