Published since 1878, the New Jersey Law Journal is the indispensable legal authority for a state with the fifth largest attorney population in the country. This must-read weekly presents a complete, official source for all state and federal court notices. It also provides up-to-the-minute digests of all relevant court decisions, published and unpublished, along with lively, much-talked-about journalism by award-winning reporters. Each issue features "In Practice," articles by contributing experts on legal developments, as well as editorials by an Editorial Board that is a who's who of bar leaders.
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With more than 130 years behind it, the New Jersey Law Journal was born in economic times that were, in the words of original editor Edward Keasbey, "not propitious." In the late 1870's, New Jersey was still reeling from the Panic of 1873, which had set off the worst depression yet in U.S. history. Still, the need for a periodical to chronicle the development of an ever-more-complex legal system prompted Plainfield publisher Van Doren Honeyman to add a "law supplement" to his weekly Somerset Gazette in June 1877. By year's end, it had become "too unhandy in shape" to be of use, and the monthly Law Journal was launched in January 1878.
From the start, the Law Journal was designed to be not only a case reporter but a platform for critical comment. Keasbey called on the bar to submit letters and articles conveying "good seed thoughts" about how to improve the legal system. He also conveyed some of his own. The Law Journal began calling for a constitutional overhaul of New Jersey's fractured judiciary, with its mutually negating law and chancery courts.
The calls for reform became louder in April 1938 when, three years after Newark publisher Aaron Skinder acquired the Law Journal and made it a weekly, he appointed its first editorial board, composed of 21 prominent attorneys from around the state. In April 1943, he named as editor-in-chief Newark lawyer and luminary Alfred Clapp, whose plan for a simplified court system--advanced publicly in a vigorous editorial campaign--would be in large measure adopted by the framers of the 1947 constitution. To read the Law Journal's 125th Anniversary Issue, click here.
The editorial board has carried on uninterrupted since then, including among its members distinguished lawyers like William Brennan Jr., Israel Greene, Nathan Jacobs, Sylvia Pressler, Morris Schnitzer, Joseph Weintraub and Robert Wilentz. The New Jersey Law Journal is still published weekly in downtown Newark, and throughout changes in ownership that have made it part of the nation's largest legal journalism company, it has held to its time-tested format of news, case reports and commentary for the New Jersey legal profession.
"Still Feisty After All These Years," writes NJBIZ magazine. For a PDF file of the full reprint of this 2003 article by the state's business magazine, click here.
The Law Journal produces a biannual program, Celebration of Lawyers in the Arts, showcasing New Jersey lawyers as performing and visual artists. The program benefits New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Inc., an organization that provides free legal services to artists and arts organizations. In September 2011, the Celebration featured "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." For the program, including profiles on the more than eighty lawyers who acted, danced, sang or exhibited painting, sculpture or photography, click here.