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Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Christopher  Porrino

Christopher Porrino

Partner
Chair, Litigation Department

Lowenstein Sandler LLP
New York, U.S.A.

tel: 212.419.5880
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Local Time: Tue. 00:22

Profile

Chris returned to Lowenstein Sandler in 2018 after serving as the 60th Attorney General of New Jersey. A seasoned trial lawyer, negotiator, and crisis manager, he possesses a rare combination of real-world pragmatism and strategic problem-solving skills forged in courtrooms, in the halls of government, and in the glare of the national media spotlight.

As Chair of the firm’s Litigation department, Chris helps Fortune 500 clients achieve critical goals and defend against seemingly insurmountable challenges. He advises and represents businesses and individuals in civil, criminal, and regulatory matters involving securities, consumer fraud, banking, insurance, tax, antitrust, real estate, and the environment, among others. He also conducts internal investigations for clients faced with allegations of wrongdoing or suspected wrongdoing by insiders.

As head of one of the most powerful Attorney General Offices in the country, Chris indicted and convicted the former mayor of New Jersey’s third-largest city. He oversaw the implementation of bail reform, the most significant reform of New Jersey’s criminal justice system in its history, via a model that is now being replicated nationally.  He took action against antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, and pioneered the country’s strictest opioid prescribing rules, paving the way for an almost immediate and very steep reduction in the number of opioid painkillers prescribed by physicians in New Jersey. In addition, Chris worked to improve trust between police and the communities they serve, and led the planned closure of a Civil War-era youth prison in one of the most significant reforms in the history of the state’s juvenile justice system.

Chris first entered public service in 2012 as Director of the Division of Law within the New Jersey Attorney General's Office. In that post, he led a team of 500 civil lawyers, overseeing thousands of litigation matters and dozens of trials on behalf of the state's various departments and agencies, including the Departments of Environmental Protection, Banking and Insurance, and Transportation, as well as the Division of Consumer Affairs. As Director, he personally handled and argued some of the state’s most sensitive and important cases, both at the trial court level and in the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Chris served as Governor Christie's Chief Counsel beginning on the day that the widely reported “Bridgegate” scandal broke in the media.  He guided the administration through that crisis and its aftermath. As one of only two direct reports to the Governor, Chris also had broad responsibility for judicial appointments, legislative matters, and all state authorities, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Before his government service, from 2004 until 2012, Chris was a partner and Vice Chair of Lowenstein Sandler's Litigation department, where he focused on criminal and civil trial practice. Earlier in his career, he served as a law clerk to then-Magistrate Judge Freda L. Wolfson, U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey.

Bar Admissions

    New York
    New Jersey

Education

Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., 1992), with honors
Lehigh University (B.A., 1989), high honors
Areas of Practice
Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

Speaking Engagements

Christopher Porrino joins New Jersey State Senator Paul A. Sarlo; Luis San Vicente Portes, Professor of Economics, Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University; Daren Silverstein, President, The CLI Group; and Michael J. Bryan, Managing Director, Multistate Tax Services, Deloitte, and former Director, Division of Taxation, Department of the Treasury, State of New Jersey, for a discussion about the potential business impact of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed $37.4 billion dollar budget, which includes $1.5 billion in new taxes. The moderator will be Todd M. Galante, Principal, Piro Zinna Cifelli Paris & Genitempo LLC. The program is hosted by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ).

Christopher Porrino will participate in a panel, “Navigating Internal Investigations and Fraud Prosecutions in Healthcare and Beyond,” with the sitting United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, at the New Jersey State Bar Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Convention. Additional panelists include:

  • Paul B. Matey, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, University Hospital Newark, NJ
  • Norv P. McAndrew, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Teva Pharmaceuticals
  • Rebecca Monck Ricigliano, Partner, Crowell & Moring LLP
  • Thomas P. Scrivo, Managing Partner, O'Toole Scrivo Fernandez Weiner Van Lieu, LLC

Official event site

A discussion on law enforcement and community response to the opioid crisis in New Jersey featuring New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.

The Honorable Leda Wettre, U.S. Magistrate Judge; Carrie H. Cohen, Esq., with Morrison & Foerster, LLP; Robyn Gigl, Esq. of Gluck Walrath, LLP and former New Jersey State Attorney General, Christopher Porrino, Esq., of Lowenstein Sandler, LLP discuss the role of women in our federal courts. Hear historical and current perspectives from the bench and bar, public and private employers, and what we all can do to give women more opportunities to have their professional voices heard, including in court.

Litigation Department Chair Christopher Porrino joined a panel discussion on state/municipal issues regarding the potential legalization of marijuana in New Jersey. 

Program

Featured keynote:

  • Sen. Nicholas Scutari: The architect of New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis bill, Scutari long has been a driving force for marijuana legalization in the Legislature. He has served in the New Jersey Senate since 2004.

Panel discussions will focus on:

  • State/Municipal: The current issues facing legislators and municipalities with respect to medical expansion and proposed adult-use legalization, including tax rates, anticipated licensing structures, licensing caps and governance. Confirmed panelists include:
    • Former New Jersey Attorney General, Christopher Porrino
    • Sponsor of the proposed legislation expanding the medicinal marijuana program, Sen. Joseph Vitale
    • Assemblyman, Jamel Holley
    • Assistant commissioner of the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program, Jeff Brown
    • Incoming president of the NJ League of Municipalities and Mayor of Fanwood, Colleen Mahr
  • Industry/ConsumerThe topics facing the industry, including vertical integration, financing, banking, alternative models from other states, micro licenses and consumer advocacy in the cannabis space. Confirmed panelists include:
    • New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association President, Hugh O’Beirne
    • Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council President, Kamani Jefferson
    • Nuka Foods CEO, Peter Barsoom
    • Associate at Genova Burns Attorneys-At-Law, Michael C. McQueeny
    • Director of Litigation & Forensics, Stacey D. Udell
  • Medical/Wellness: A look at the current medical market, patient advocacy, expanding research and concerns about the moves to brand it as a wellness product. Confirmed panelists include:
    • American Pain Association President, Dr. Sanjay Gupta
    • Doctors for Cannabis Regulation Founder, Dr. David Nathan
  • Social Justice: Diving deeper into the current social justice efforts, including proposed legislation, equal economic opportunity, expungements, community reinvestment and building the industry to look like the community. Confirmed panelists include:
    • Executive Director of the ACLU-NJ, Amol Sinha
    • Co-founder of CannaGather NJ and the National Director of Veterans Affairs for Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Leo Bridgewater
    • Deputy Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey, Meagan Glaser
    • Women Grow CEO, Kristina Garcia
  • Future: What’s next for the New Jersey cannabis space? What will the market look like in five years? What do the market trends tell us? Where is the federal discussion headed? These and other questions will be discussed at this panel. Confirmed panelists include:
    • Women Grow CEO, Kristina Garcia
    • CannaGather NJ Co-founder and Minorities for Medical Marijuana National Latinx Outreach Director, Rani Soto
    • CEO of HillView Med, Ken VandeVrede
    • Nuka Enterprises CEO, Peter Barsoom

The New Jersey Attorney General and NJDEP Commissioner have announced a “new day” in the state’s effort to recover natural resource damages. Attorney General Grewal stated, “We are going to hold polluters accountable – no matter how big, no matter how powerful, no matter how long they’ve been getting away with it. And we’re sending a message to every company across the state: if you pollute our natural resources, we are going to make you pay.”

Join us for a program discussing:

  • An overview of the legal and technical issues that form the basis of a natural resource damage claim
  • Lessons from one of the biggest settlements achieved to date on such a claim from the current and former state representatives who oversaw that settlement
  • Perspectives from the Attorney General’s office
  • The availability of insurance coverage for such claims

We will also address certain ethical issues that must be considered in defending a natural resource damage claim, including director and officer liability and the potential for conflicts, and managing expectations in the face of high profile, high stakes litigation.

Panelists:

  • David Apy, Assistant Attorney General in Charge, Environmental Practice Group, Office of the Attorney General, Division of Law
  • Lynda A. Bennett, Partner; Chair, Insurance Recovery Group, Lowenstein Sandler LLP
  • Frank Piccininni, Senior Attorney and Account Executive, SterlingRisk Environmental and Professional Services
  • Christopher Porrino, Former Attorney General of New Jersey; Partner; Chair, Litigation Department, Lowenstein Sandler LLP
  • Richard F. Ricci, Partner; Chair, Environmental Law & Litigation, Lowenstein Sandler LLP
  • Ken Siet, Vice President and Principal-in-Charge of TRC’s Engineering, Consulting and Remediation (ECR) Mid-Atlantic Region

Location: Lowenstein Sandler, One Lowenstein Drive, Roseland, New Jersey 07068; 973.597.2500

To register: Email [email protected]

 

Join Christopher Porrino for the 2019 Jewish Law Symposium as he discusses persecution, immigration, and tolerating tradition during "Ethical Lessons From Fiddler on the Roof."

Featured Presenter:

  • Justice Barry T. Albin, New Jersey Supreme Court

Panelists:

  • Christopher Porrino, Lowenstein Sandler
  • Lawrence S. Lustberg, Gibbons
  • Hon. Barbara Byrd Wecker (Ret.), Greenberg, Dauber, Epstein & Tucker; New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division (Ret.)
  • Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Simon Weisenthal Center

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Birchwood Manor, 111 North Jefferson Road, Whippany, NJ 07981

Christopher Porrino joins the Ethics of Internal Investigations panel at the Essex County Bar Foundation's Corporate Counsel Symposium.

Panelists:

  • Christopher Porrino, Chair, Litigation Department, Lowenstein Sandler
  • Leonard G. Gleason, General Counsel, Provident Bank
  • Tamara L. Linde, EVP and General Counsel, PSEG
  • Audrey Murphy, EVP General Counsel Hospital Enterprise, Hackensack Meridian Health
  • Thomas P. Scrivo, Managing Partner, O’Toole Scrivo


Program location: 
Essex Fells Country Club, 219 Devon Road, Essex Fells, New Jersey 



Professional Associations

Fellow, The American Bar FoundationTrustee, Association of the Federal BarSupreme Court of New Jersey, Committee on Model Civil Jury Charges (2004-2012)Trial Attorneys of New Jersey, Former Member, Board of Trustees (2006-2013)Summit Speech School, Member, Board of Trustees (2006-2012)


Professional Activities and Experience

Accolades
  • The ROI Influencers Power List (2019) - Chris Porrino
  • 2018 New Jersey Law Journal Attorney of the Year
  • Chris Porrino: Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (all years eligible since 2009)
  • Gene Carte Memorial Award - Chris Porrino
  • Chris Porrino: Newark North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen (2018)
  • Chris Porrino - PolitickerNJ Power List (2017)
  • Chris Porrino: National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
  • Chris Porrino: Seton Hall University School of Law
  • Chris Porrino - NJBIZ Power 100 List (2015 & 2017)
  • Chris Porrino: Chabad House – Lubavitch
  • Chris Porrino - Super Lawyers (all years eligible since 2009)

Articles

Many Americans spend too much time in jail simply because they aren't wealthy enough to afford bail while, at the same time, wealthy violent offenders are able to buy their way out. Not only is this an unfair and broken system, it destroys lives and costs taxpayers ridiculous billions. It's a lose-lose-lose situation made worse by an obvious fix too few other states want to pursue: Bail reform.


Four years ago, New Jersey became the first state to change what had been a patently unfair system. Since then, our new bail system has withstood various legal challenges. Most recently, earlier this week, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that key provisions of the new law are constitutional. The state's new approach works; other states must now follow New Jersey's example.


In 2014, New Jersey's political leaders reached across party and ideological lines to develop and pass bail reform legislation. Under the leadership of Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic-appointed Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, a committee comprised of judges, prosecutors, public and private defense attorneys and advocacy groups created a policy blueprint for bail reform. The Democratic-controlled state Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly passed bail reform legislation, and Christie signed the bill into law. Shortly after, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution enabling bail reform.


Taken together, the legislation and constitutional amendment all but abolished cash bail. Instead, the legislation adopted an objective, data-driven algorithm to assess the risk of flight and the danger posed by each individual arrestee. Using that algorithm combined with traditional courtroom advocacy by prosecutors and defense lawyers, New Jersey judges now assess risk—not wealth—to determine whether an arrestee should be held without bail or released regardless of ability to post cash bail.


New Jersey's new system went into effect last year. We now have enough data to declare unequivocally that bail reform in New Jersey is a sweeping success. In 2017—the first year when judges could consider danger in denying cash bail to arrestees—New Jersey's violent crime index fell by 5.7 percent, including a 14.3 percent drop in murders and significant decreases in robbery, assault and burglary rates. At the same time—with indigent, low-risk arrestees eligible for release without having to post cash bail—New Jersey's pretrial county jail population fell by a staggering 20.3 percent. Given the conservative estimate that incarceration of pre-trial inmates costs $100 per person, per day, that reduction equates to over $53 million per year in taxpayer savings. And, statistics show, those low-risk defendants who spend less time in jail are less likely to commit future crimes. In other words, lose-lose-lose became win-win-win.


Now, the only question is what is the rest of the country waiting for? 


New York should be next. In his 2018 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that "(t)he blunt ugly reality is that too often, if you can make bail you are set free and if you are too poor to make bail you are punished. We must reform our bail system so a person is only held if a judge finds either a significant flight risk or a real threat to public safety."


New York is not alone. At least 20 states have formed task forces to study bail reform, and many others are considering the issue. To all of those states, we say this: If you want to see what meaningful and successful bail reform looks like, not only in theory but also in practice, then look to New Jersey.


In 1964, Attorney General Robert Kennedy testified that the "problem, simply stated, is: the rich man and the poor man do not receive equal justice in our courts. And in no area is this more evident than in the matter of bail. ... (B)ail has become a vehicle for systematic injustice."


We collectively have known this truth for over 50 years. Now, finally, New Jersey has shown that bail reform truly can work. The road map is available for everyone else to follow. We call on all other states to join us in creating the more fair and just bail system that Kennedy envisioned so many decades ago.


(subscription required to access article)

Too many people across the United States spend too long in jail before they’ve ever been convicted of a crime, simply because they are too poor to post cash bail. At the same time, some dangerous offenders are able to buy their way out of jail by posting cash bail, regardless of the risk they pose to the community.


For far too long, the criminal justice system in New Jersey — and many other states — suffered from these dual fundamental failures. Recently, however, New Jersey instituted sweeping reforms to its bail system. The lesson we offer from the front lines of the New Jersey bail reform effort is this: It is not easy, but it works.


WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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