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The New Jersey State Bar Foundation (NJSBF) will host its Annual Medal of Honor Awards Dinner on September 28 at the Park Chateau in East Brunswick. Because the 2020 awards dinner was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation will honor three recipients of its most prestigious award—Lynn Fontaine Newsome, the 2021 recipient, as well as Hon. John E. Keefe, Sr. (Ret.) and Susan A. Feeney, the 2020 recipients of the award.

The Foundation’s Medal of Honor is given annually to lawyers, law-related professionals and lay people who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of New Jersey’s justice system or legal profession. The award recognizes professional excellence as demonstrated by accomplishments in the law or service to the profession and the community during their careers.

2021 Recipient is Respected Matrimonial Attorney

Lynn Fontaine Newsome is a past president of both the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) and the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.

“Lynn is a shining example of what the Medal of Honor stands for. She has made exemplary contributions to the justice system and to enhancing New Jersey’s legal legacy. The Foundation is pleased to recognize her with its highest honor,” said NJSBF President Kathleen Fennelly.

“I’m so honored and thrilled to receive the Medal of Honor, and for the nominating committee and Foundation to honor me this way. I’m so proud to stand with the other recipients of this award. They are all wonderful lawyers and good people who are committed to the profession,” said Newsome.

Newsome is a widely respected matrimonial attorney and a partner at Newsome O’Donnell in Morristown. She said she knew she wanted to be a trial attorney after participating in a family law clinic in her third year at Seton Hall Law School.

A self-described joiner, Newsome has been heavily involved with the organized bar at the county and state level since graduating law school. Over the years, she was chair of the NJSBA Family Law Section and has received numerous awards, including the section’s Tischler Award and the NJSBA Distinguished Legislative Services Award and Distinguished Service Award for Excellence in Continuing Legal Education.

Newsome’s dedication to the ABA also began during law school. She has been a member of its Family Law Section; Litigation Section; and General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division. She just concluded a term on the Board of Governors, and since 2007, she has been a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a research institute for empirical and interdisciplinary study of the law. A former member of the Advisory Committee to the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, Newsome is the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program’s board vice chair.

For a more in-depth article on Lynn Newsome, click here.

2020 Medal of Honor Recipients

While the Foundation could not honor the 2020 recipients with a formal dinner last year, the honorees are no less deserving of praise.

“Susan Feeney and Judge John Keefe are most deserving of the Medal of Honor. They have demonstrated a dedication and commitment to the highest standards of excellence throughout their distinguished careers,” said Norberto A. Garcia, president of the NJSBF at the time.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Medal of Honor from the Foundation. Throughout my career, it was important to me to find the time to give back professionally and personally. Being involved in the State Bar, mentoring women and being part of so many pro bono organizations has been my way of doing that and I am truly humbled to be recognized by the Foundation for my work,” said Feeney, a partner in the Tax and Employee Benefits group at McCarter & English in Newark.

A dedicated and accomplished attorney, she forged significant new tax law, published numerous articles and lectured extensively about taxes.

Feeney is immediate past president of the NJSBF and was president of the NJSBA from 2011-2012. She was a trustee at both organizations, where she served on numerous committees. She is a member and former chair of the NJSBA Taxation Section’s executive council and serves on the Commission on Professionalism in the Law. Feeney is a recipient of the NJSBA Amicus Curiae Award. She is a former board member of the Essex County Bar Association. She has had a longstanding commitment to supporting women in law and been a champion of pro bono services and volunteer work to marginalized communities locally and overseas throughout her career. She is a founding member of the Legal Services Foundation of Essex County and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice. Feeney is a graduate of Seton Hall University and Fordham University School of Law.

For a more in-depth article on Susan Feeney, click here.

Keefe, whose judicial career spanned nearly 25 years, said “I have spent a career in the practice and administration of law and have always tried to treat litigants and lawyers with dignity. It is truly an honor and a privilege to receive the Medal of Honor from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation and to join the company of so many past recipients whom I respect and admire.”

Keefe, of counsel at Keefe Law Firm in Red Bank, retired as a presiding judge of the appellate division of the New Jersey Superior Court in 2001. Prior to his appointment to the Middlesex County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in 1977, Keefe was a civil trial attorney where his practice involved medical malpractice, product liability and insurance. Shortly after becoming a judge, he was designated to manage statewide asbestos litigation, until his appointment to the appellate division. During his tenure in the Superior Court, Keefe also served on several committees and chaired the Committee on Model Civil Charges and Complex Case Management.

Keefe served as an adjunct lecturer at Seton Hall University School of Law for 15 years and has been a frequent lecturer at the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE), where he received its Distinguished Service Award. He received the NJSBA’s Civil Trial Bar Section’s James J. McLaughlin Award. He is a co-author of New Jersey Products Liability & Toxic Tort Law. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and Rutgers University School of Law.

For a more in-depth article on Judge Keefe, click here.

To obtain tickets, take out a sponsorship or purchase an ad in the program journal, visit the Medal of Honor event page, moh.njsbf.org.