2016 NJDA Awards

Young Lawyer of the Year – Michelle O’Brien

Michelle O’Brien was the overwhelming choice for Young Lawyer of the Year.  Michelle has shown exemplary devotion to this organization and, in particular, the Young Lawyers Committee, including serving as co-chair of the Young Lawyers Committee.  Michelle was responsible for the YLC’s extremely successful networking events this past year, as well as the YLC’s seminar:  “A Primer for Young Lawyers on Experts in Litigation.”  In recognition of her dedication and commitment to the NJDA, as well as her outstanding leadership potential, Michelle has been elected as Vice President-Northern Region for 2016-2017.


Lawyer of the Year – Gregory McGroarty

Each year, the NJDA presents a number of awards and expressions of gratitude to our outgoing President.  Therefore, the awards committee recognized that for us even to consider an outgoing president for the Lawyer of the Year Award, he must have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to this organization, well above and beyond that expected of those who are selected to serve as our President.  Greg McGroarty did just that.  He raised the bar for all who will succeed him as our President.  He set ambitious goals, and accomplished all of them.  These included:  revamping the NJDA website; working together with Chad Moore, our in-coming President, to overhaul the look and feel of the New Jersey Defense Magazine while also upgrading its scholarly legal content; and reinvigorating the NJDA’s Long Term Planning Committee.  On top of that, Greg organized a tremendously successful celebration of our 50th anniversary, capped off by a truly exceptional Annual Convention in Newport.

Outstanding Service Award – J.R. Peter Wilson

The Outstanding Service Award has been granted very sparingly in our 50 year history.  Pete Wilson has provided the NJDA with steadfast support and guidance for over thirty years.  Pete served as our President in 1986-1987 and has remained a vital and active member of our Board since then.  Pete has insured that the NJDA has complied with its rules and bylaws, provided leadership in revising and instituting changes to our bylaws, and consistently insured that the NJDA maintains good governance.  His counsel and advice have been and will continue to be an invaluable asset to the NJDA.


Outstanding Service Award – Maryanne Steedle

As Executive Director since 1994, Maryanne Steedle has helped to lead the NJDA to its place of prominence in the State of New Jersey.  Maryanne has worked tirelessly to ensure that that all of our seminars and convention programs go off without a hitch.  She has provided critical guidance and nurturing to every incoming President of this organization.  She has accepted every new assignment with dedication and enthusiasm and has been instrumental in facilitating multiple programs including all of our technology initiatives, our Diversity and Inclusion programs, our Trial College and our extremely successful Auto Liability and Women and the Law seminars.  The NJDA thrives today based in large part upon the insight and efforts of our esteemed Executive Director.