Legal Ethics

Law Firm Merger Bumps NJ Municipal Judge Off the Bench After 23 Years

A law firm merger has effectively bumped a 23-year municipal judge in New Jersey off the bench.

Given a choice between giving up his job as a Ridgewood municipal judge and giving up his job as a partner at Archer & Greiner, one of the largest firms in New Jersey, Phillip F. Sheridan has tendered his resignation, effective Sept. 1, reports the Ridgewood Patch.

His former firm, Hertein Bernstein, merged last year with Archer & Greiner, which made $330,000 in political contributions between 2003 and 2011.

It doesn’t appear that Sheridan himself made any political contributions, period, nor is it clear that the firm made any after the merger. However, a 2010 state supreme court ruling bars law firms that employ municipal judges from making political contributions, and rules recently created by the Professional Rules Responsibility Committee and the Advisory Committee of Extrajudicial Activities to implement that decision forced Sheridan to make a choice between his jobs, the article explains.

Hat tip: Star-Ledger.

Related coverage:

Star-Ledger (2010): “N.J. law firms that employ municipal court judges are banned from making political contributions”

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