Virginia Long Named Recipient of James J. McLaughlin Award

February 6, 2013 – Press Releases

Virginia Long, former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice and counsel in the Princeton office of Fox Rothschild LLP, was recently named a recipient of the James J. McLaughlin Award by the Civil Practice Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

The annual award, named in honor of its first recipient, is given to legal professionals demonstrating civility, legal competence and professionalism in the practice of civil trial law. Long was named a recipient along with the Honorable Eugene J. Codey (retired) and Robert A. Baxter, Esq.

A ceremony celebrating the award will be held February 21 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ.

After serving as a trial and appellate court judge for 23 years and on the New Jersey’s Supreme Court for 12 years, Justice Long retired at the mandatory retirement age of 70 in March 2012. She 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 devotes 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.

Long was nominated to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1999 by Governor Christine Todd Whitman. She was confirmed by the state Senate for a second term and granted tenure in 2006. While Justice Long authored opinions on many important issues during her tenure, she is noted for her view on the death penalty, which she believed was 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.

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.

Justice Long received her B.A. from Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross in 1963 and her J.D. from Rutgers Law School in 1966.