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Pro Bono Attorney of the Year - 2017
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Edward J. Santoro, Jr., Esq.

South Plainfield

Ed Santoro graduated Georgetown University in 1969, and completed his studies at Seton Hall Law school in 1974. After law school, he served a judicial clerkship with the Hon. Ralph L Fusco JSC in Essex County, who at the time was assigned to handle organized crime cases as part of a special task force.

After completion of his clerkship, he joined his father's law firm in South Plainfield where he continues to practice today. During his 40+ years of private practice in South Plainfield, he has served as attorney for the planning board, zoning board and the housing authority. He currently serves as the municipal public defender for the borough of South Plainfield, a position that he has held for over 25 years. He also previously served as an assistant Middlesex County counsel for number of years working for the late John Hoagland Esq.

Ed became active in the Middlesex County Bar Association immediately after entering private practice. He became a bar trustee in 1978, and worked his way up the ladder, serving as president of the MCBA in 1989. During his tenure as president, he was one of the many bar officers who were the driving forces behind the establishment of the Middlesex County Foundation in which he served as its first president in 1991.

Ed began volunteering his time for low income clients over 35 years ago, because of his strong belief that everyone is entitled to fair representation regardless of their financial situation. Ed has served as a pro bono attorney for Central Jersey legal services for over 30 years, and in recognition of that in 2007, he was awarded the Equal Justice Medal by Legal Services of New Jersey in recognition of his pro bono efforts on behalf of low income clients in Middlesex County.

During his professional career, Ed has been involved in several community activities, including his time on the board of the Middlesex County College foundation, whose fundraising efforts have provided financial aid to deserving students over the years. He has also been active with St. Josephs High School in Metuchen, where he was a member of its first graduating class.

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