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Edward Schoifet Family Law Award
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Russell Gale to Receive
2016 Edward Schoifet Family Law Award

In recognition of his contributions to the practice of Family Law, Russell Gale of Central Jersey Legal Services Corporation has been awarded the 2016 Edward Schoifet Family Law Award presented by the Family Law Section of the Middlesex County Bar Association at the January 20, 2016 General Membership Dinner Meeting held at The Pines Manor in Edison. (Click here for event information.)

The Schoifet Award, the highest honor presented by the Family Law Section, commemorates the legacy of Edward Schoifet who passed away in 2006. Ed was considered the dean of the Middlesex County Family Bar and was recognized as a role model for all family law practitioners.

The Award is presented annually to a Family Law Practitioner who has been engaged in the practice for 15 years or more and who exemplifies those principles by which Ed practiced family law:  maintaining knowledge of past and present case law to advise clients thoroughly; analyzing the facts of each case in detail and diligently applying the law to those facts; presenting the issues and applicable law to the client in a manner appropriate to the client’s understanding; making purposeful efforts to settle the issues in fair and reasonable terms before resorting to litigation; fostering respect and courtesy for the bench and fellow attorneys; maintaining highest standards of integrity and professionalism; and exhibiting leadership in the Middlesex County or State Bar Association.

Russ has been chosen by his colleagues to receive this award in honor of his long career as an accomplished family law attorney with Central Jersey Legal Services. Russ is known for his advocacy for his clients while maintaining an attitude of fairness with his adversaries and courtesy and professionalism in all circumstances. In representing his clients, Russ draws on his experience in family law which exceeds 30 years. Whether in the courtroom or in discussion with his colleagues, Russ addresses the issues in a practical manner and with confidence that efforts toward reaching a resolution are in the best interest of his client. 

Russ received his B.A. degree from Rutgers University and his JD degree from Seton Hall University School of Law. While Russ studied law at Seton Hall, he worked for Middlesex County Legal Services as a paralegal advocating for clients who had problems with welfare and Food Stamps. Russ began working for Legal Services as a VISTA volunteer during his undergraduate years at Rutgers University, and it was that volunteer work which caused him to realize that he could do more for the clients with a law degree.

After receiving his law degree, Russ was hired as a staff attorney at Legal Services having made the decision that providing legal services to those unable to pay for legal representation would be his calling.

In 1982, Middlesex County Legal Services received funding from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Hospitals to provide representation in civil cases to persons with a history of mental illness. Russ became the first mental health attorney in the office, and he discovered that a good portion of his clients with mental health issues had legal problems in family law issues of custody, parenting time, support and domestic violence. As a result, Russ honed his skills in family law, and, over the past 30 years, he has spent most of his practice in Family Court. Russ now serves as managing attorney for Central Jersey Legal Services supervising the Perth Amboy office and the Family Unit.

Russ is an active member in the Middlesex County Bar Association and the Family Law Section. In 2010, Russ worked on the Family Court committee establishing the Custody Neutral Assessment (CNA) Program in Middlesex County. He has been a long time member of the Assignment Judge’s Family Practice Committee.

The Legal Services of New Jersey Ronald B. Atlas Outstanding Attorney Award was presented to Russ in 1992 for his work with Legal Services.  He was presented with the J. Harris David Award for Career Service to People in Poverty in 2005.

Russ lives in East Brunswick with his wife Linda Jay, a social worker.  They are the parents of two lovely daughters, Rebecca, 25, and Rachel, 21. Russ and his wife are avid Yankee fans who also attend Somerset Patriot games. They attend plays at the George Street Playhouse and events at the State Theater. Russ relaxes by spending time with his family, gardening, and fixing things around the house, and spending time with their newly-adopted rescue dog, Riley.

The previous recipients of the Edward Schoifet Award were David Wildstein (2007), John P. Paone, Jr. (2008), Manny Gerstein (2009), Jean Ramatowski (2010), Leonard Busch (2011), Evelyn M. Hartmann (2012), Charles F. Vuotto, Jr. (2013), William G. Brigiani (2014), and Robert E. Goldstein in 2015.

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