Lowenstein Sandler’s Pro Bono in the Park

LSNWJ’s Diane K. Smith, Carol V. Spicer, and Viv Kale were honored to be included in Lowenstein Sandler’s celebration of equal justice at the annual Pro Bono in the Park.  LSNWJ works with Lowenstein Sandler, Merck and Community Hope through our Veterans Justice Initiative to provide legal assistance to veterans in need.  Retired Justice Long spoke passionately about the great needs in our community for the skills, expertise and time of attorneys.  She reminded us that it is not enough to be smart – smart lawyers are a dime a dozen – we have to be smart AND do good.

ProBono in the Park

Retired NJ Supreme Court Justice Virginia Long

ProBono in the Park2

Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest Chair, Catherine Weiss

Check out the 2014 Legal Services Corporation Annual Report featuring Diane K. Smith, LSNWJ, Catherine Weiss, Lowenstein Sandler, and Sylvia Ayler, Merck, Sharp & Dohme , at the White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice.


Janet Walton, LSNWJ Board member, honored for service to the community.

Janet Walton was highlighted in the recent issue of LSNJ Reports for her service to the community and legal services.

Janet-Diane MayJune2015LSNJReport

Michael Weiner Justice Center Groundbreaking

Justice Center Groundbreaking as reported in the Express Times, May 28, 2015, by Steve Novak


Grace Kelly, LSNWJ-Warren Managing Attorney, Mike’s brother, David Weiner, Mike’s wife, Diane S. Margolin, Diane K. Smith, LSNWJ CEO, and Dave Prouty, MLBPA

Michael Weiner probably wouldn’t want his name on a building, his family admitted.

But he would still be proud of what is accomplished there.

The Legal Services of Northwest New Jersey building in Belvidere on Thursday was renamed the Michael Weiner Justice Center in honor of the late Major League Baseball Players Association executive director and Mansfield Township resident.

Legal Services of Northwest Jersey is a nonprofit law firm that serves low-income people in Warren, Hunterdon, Sussex, Morris and Somerset counties, and his colleagues, friends and family said that was something about which Weiner felt strongly.

Michael WeinerMichael Weiner, executive director of the MLB Players Association and a Mansfield Township resident, died in 2013, about 15 months after announcing he had an inoperable brain tumor. (AP file photo)

“Mike had a broader social vision,” Dave Prouty, MLBPA’s general counsel, told the crowd at Thursday’s dedication. “That’s what it’s all about — making sure people have the access they need to legal services … to move forward with their lives.”

Prouty and others who knew Weiner from their days at Harvard law school said they wanted to do something to honor the man who died in 2013, a little more than a year after announcing he had an inoperable brain tumor.

In addition to the name change, the group is funding renovations at the Legal Services building at 91 Front St. Those changes will improve the entrance and reception area, pending town approval.

Weiner joined the MLBPA as counsel in 1988 at age 26, according to a union news release when he died. He oversaw collective bargaining negotiations as executive director in 2011, when the teams and union agreed on a five-year contract.

“Weiner helped usher in precedent-setting changes to the structure of the game, including the addition of a second Wild Card team in each league, the creation of two 15-team leagues, approval of expanded instant replay … and the institution of new protocols and procedures with regard to concussions,” the MLBPA release said.

RELATED: Late MLB players union chief’s name to grace Warren County law firm

But his passions went beyond baseball.

Diane Margolin, Wiener’s widow, said Thursday that Mike would be “overjoyed” at the work Legal Services was doing, though “maybe not the name” that will be on the building.

Weiner was a “low-key, under-the-radar kind of guy,” said his brother, Dave Weiner.

But “Michael was always a strong proponent of social causes,” he continued.

Prouty said Weiner believed in the labor movement, saying it could help people achieve more and “level the playing field.”

In a 2011 talk at a Washington Business Improvement District dinner,Weiner praised longtime businesses for their ability to adapt to the times while still holding on to what they believe.

“In order for any business or organization to persevere, they need to have some principle to stick to,” Weiner said.

Michael L. Wojcik joins Board

Michael L. Wojcik, partner at Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Pasculli, Hinckes, Wojcik, Gasquin, Vandenberg & Hontz, has joined the LSNWJ Board of Trustees.

LSNWJ Board of Trustees

LSNWJ’s Board of Trustees announces it new officers:  Mary Ellen Koscs-Fleming, President, Allan J. Iskra, Vice-President, JAne A. Herchenroder, Treasurer, Diane S. Margolin, Secretary, and Patrick T. Collins, Past President.LSNWJ officers

Diane K. Smith to join NJSBA Board of Trustees

Diane K. Smith, Executive Director, is honored to be joining the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees and appreciates the support of the Somerset County Bar Association.

Thank you to our Golf & Tennis Outing Sponsors

The Board of Trustees of the Morris County Bar Foundation and 

Legal Services of Northwest Jersey gratefully acknowledge the

generous contribution of the following sponsors toward

the success of the 2014 Golf & Tennis Outing:


Platinum Sponsors

Bressler, Amery & Ross,

Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C.

Sobel & Co., LLC


Gold Sponsors

Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito & Frost, P.C.

Investors Bank

Norris, McLaughlin, & Marcus, P.A.


Silver Sponsors

Donohue, Hagan, Klein & Weisberg, P.C.

Graham Curtin

Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Boyd, LLC

Nusbaum, Stein, Goldstein, Bronstein & Kron, P.A.

Pallarino & Bogan, L.L.P.

Rosenberg Rich Baker & Company

Rotenberg Meril Solomon Beriger & Gutilla, P.C.

Wiss & Company


Bronze Sponsors

Tom and Pat Bracken

Cipolla & Co.

D’Amico Certified Shorthand Reporting

Peter Gilbreth, Esq.

Lakeland Bank

David Pennella, Esq.

Stephen “Skippy” S. Weinstein, Esq.

and Day Pitney Partners:

Benjamin Haglund

Robert Hollingshead

Dennis LaFiura

Mark Morgan

John O’Reilly

Mary Lou Parker

Gregory Parliman

Robert Rose

Elizabeth Sher

Joy Sperling


We also thank Christopher L. Garibian, Esq. for his generous contribution of the Hole-in-One.

Lowenstein Sandler, Legal Services of Northwest Jersey, and Merck Present Assistance for Homeless Veterans at the White House

Lowenstein Sandler, Merck, and LSNWJ

 From left to right, Catherine Weiss of Lowenstein Sandler, Sylvia Ayler of Merck, and Diane K. Smith, Executive Director of LSNWJ. Photo taken by Gary M. Wingens of Lowenstein Sandler.

heading lowsan press releaseApril 9, 2014 – The White House and The Legal Services Corporation invited the Veterans Justice Initiative – a partnership among Lowenstein Sandler, Merck, and Legal Services of Northwest Jersey (LSNWJ) – to present its progress at the White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice. The forum was held on April 8 with senior members of the Obama Administration and leaders from the legal community.  

The Veterans Justice Initiative (VJI) offers comprehensive legal services to veterans residing in a transitional housing facility at Community Hope, the largest nonprofit in New Jersey serving veterans and their families. The partners launched VJI in April 2011 to help formerly homeless veterans living at Community Hope overcome the legal barriers that obstruct their transition to independent living.  Lowenstein, Merck, and LSNWJ attorneys assist the veterans with access to disability benefits, restoration of suspended driver’s licenses, expungement of past criminal convictions, consumer and other debt counseling, and a variety of family law issues.  Since April 2011 VJI has provided legal assistance to 121 veterans in 169 matters.

“It is an honor to be selected to present at this important showcase of Legal Services-sponsored programs that are having a measurable community impact,” said Catherine Weiss, Chair of the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest.  “The Veterans Justice Initiative is a great demonstration of how Legal Services can increase the resources available to needy clients by partnering with committed and passionate private organizations.  The veterans at Community Hope would not otherwise have access to legal services, yet such services are critical in enabling them to make a successful transition to independent living.  We are proud to work alongside our colleagues at Merck and Legal Services of Northwest Jersey on behalf of these veterans.”

“Each of the partners in the Veterans Justice Initiative brings its own resources and experiences to the collaboration,” said Diane K. Smith, Executive Director of LSNWJ.  “The combination results in a highly effective program.  All of the veterans assisted by the program were empowered to take action to resolve their legal issue.  Eighty percent of the veterans served by VJI achieved a successful outcome, which would not have been possible without an attorney at their side.”

“Merck’s pro bono team and the Merck Foundation are truly honored to support the Veterans Justice Initiative,” said Sylvia Ayler, Director, Intellectual Property, Office of the General Counsel, Merck. “Through the partnership, veterans are offered much needed legal counsel on issues, such as the expungement of a criminal record, the restoration of a revoked driver’s license, securing government benefits, and filing for bankruptcy.  It is very rewarding to give back to individuals who have faithfully served our country.”

The White House and Legal Services Corporation invited three programs to present at the forum.  The other programs represented partnerships between DLA Piper and LAF Chicago, and 3M and Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services.

Lowenstein Sandler is a national provider of transactional, litigation, and bankruptcy and creditors’ rights legal services to many of the country’s top companies and funds. Close to 300 lawyers in our New York, New Jersey, and California offices immerse themselves in our clients’ industries in order to deeply understand their businesses.  We are characterized by our passion for our clients’ success, our commitment to our people, and our pro bono and public interest work in the communities that we serve.

Legal Services of Northwest Jersey is a non-profit law firm, funded by government, foundations, and individuals, that provides free legal services to low-income people residing in the five counties in northwestern New Jersey.  The legal assistance provided by LSNWJ staff and volunteers makes a critical difference in people’s lives and in the community.  Essential needs such as housing, income and assets for self-sufficiency, family relationships, personal safety, access to health care, and autonomy are met for more than 3,000 individuals and families each year because of the work of LSNWJ.

Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions.  We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.  For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Photos from the White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice

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 From left to right, Diane K. Smith of LSNWJ , Catherine Weiss of Lowenstein Sandler, Sylvia Ayler of Merck, and David Wissert, Cristina Baragona, and Cindy Hanna of Lowenstein Sandler.


Lowenstein Sandler, Merck, and LSNWJ

 From left to right, Catherine Weiss of Lowenstein Sandler, Sylvia Ayler of Merck, and Diane K. Smith, Executive Director of LSNWJ. Photo taken by Gary M. Wingens of Lowenstein Sandler.