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Robert Cirafesi Chancery Practice Attorney of the Year - 2017
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Edward T. Kole, Esq.

Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, PA

The recipient of the 2017 Robert J. Cirafesi Award is Edward T. Kole, Esq., of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, PA in Woodbridge.


In 2004, the Middlesex County Bar Association mourned the loss of Robert J. Cirafesi, Esq., a longtime member of the Association. He served for a number of years as Chairman of the Association’s Chancery Practice Committee and founded the Middlesex County General Equity Mediation Program, serving as its coordinator for many years.

In 2010 the Committee announced the establishment of the Robert J. Cirafesi Chancery Practice Award, to be presented annually to a General Equity Practitioner who exemplifies those principles by which Bob practiced law: careful and detailed client representation; attempting to resolve issues on a fair and reasonable basis both before and during litigation; fostering respect and courtesy for the bench and fellow members of the Bar; and maintaining the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.

Edward is a shareholder and chair of the Commercial Litigation department at the Wilentz firm, concentrating his practice in complex corporate and commercial litigation. Ed is an accomplished business litigator and trial lawyer, having handled commercial disputes on behalf of public and private companies in New Jersey and across the nation, including matters venued in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. In addition to the relationships he forges and maintains with each of his individual business clients, Ed is well known and regarded among the New Jersey state and federal judiciary as a result of his experience in the courtroom and his leadership positions within the Federal and New Jersey Bar Associations.

Ed is presently the second Vice President of the Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey. He is the current chair of the Business and Commercial Litigation Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and previously served as a member of the Appellate Practice Committee and past chair of the Federal Practice and Procedure Committee. Ed is also a member of the Lawyers Advisory Committee, and co-chair of the Pro Bono Committee, for the United States District Court of New Jersey and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He firmly believes that it is not enough to be a good lawyer, but that a commitment to elevating the practice of law and dedication to legal community is his responsibility. That sense of obligation to his profession, his colleagues and the firm directly translates to level of service each of his clients receive.

Ed’s practice includes the representation of large and medium sized businesses and corporations at every level of state and federal courts, involving a myriad of legal issues including:  complex contract disputes; restrictive covenant and trade secret litigation; securities and derivative actions; as well as litigation concerning business, shareholder/partnership and franchise disputes.
His experience as a litigator and his commitment the New Jersey legal community has made Ed a sought after lecturer on federal and appellate practice, restrictive covenant and trade secret litigation, as well as on shareholder disputes and has conducted and moderated numerous seminars for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

Robert J. Cirafesi was born on April 14, 1942. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1964 and Rutgers Law School in 1967. He clerked for Hon. David Furman in the Chancery Division for one year and then served two years as an Assistant United States Attorney. Bob joined the Woodbridge firm of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in 1970 where he spent the remainder of his legal career until his passing on March 7, 2004. His practice involved commercial litigation of all types in the state and federal courts, with an emphasis on real estate and corporate disputes. He is survived by his two sons, Chad and Craig, and his wife, Susan.

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