WESTFIELD, N.J. — Attorneys can be the focus of people’s emotions, especially during family litigation.
This is a fact well known to James McGlew II. He has been practicing law for 34 years, 23 of those years with Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C. in Westfield.
“I try to represent people in a caring way,” McGlew said in a Nov. 6 interview. “It’s a difficult time for them, going through what they’re going through, and I try to care for that, going through what they’re going through.
This approach is noted among his colleagues and recently earned him Union County’s Professional Lawyer of the Year Award by the New Jersey State Bar Association. He was presented the honor at the annual awards luncheon hosted by the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law on Oct. 23 at Pines Manor in Edison.
According to McGlew, much of his work includes, “representing and helping people at one of the more difficult times in their lives, and navigating them through the system. Navigating issues of custody, being able to work with the litigants and sometimes the mediator in an attempt to resolve that issue.”
As chairman of the law practice’s divorce group in Westfield, McGlew works with issues that include custody, visitation, alimony and child support. Jay Lavroff, chairman of Lindabury’s litigation department and a longtime colleague of McGlew, praised his attention to detail and level of care when working with people who are going through difficult phases of their lives, saying his work is exemplary. Like McGlew, Lavroff has also been practicing law for 34 years, 23 with the firm; the two met as law school students at Seton Hall University.
“I’ve known Jim since before I was even admitted to the bar,” Lavroff said in a Nov. 6 interview. “He is a person who always puts clients’ interests first. He is a very careful practitioner, with attention to detail. The judges love him. He is always prepared when it comes to court. He’s a divorce lawyer and family law practitioner.
“Family law is an area of the law where emotions run very high. He’s like the eye of the hurricane, he is calm in the storm. He’s the voice of reason in the way that he goes about handling a case.”
McGlew is a former president of the Union County Bar Association and former chairman of District XII Ethics Committee of the state Supreme Court.
Lavroff described McGrew as a voice of reason when working with people in vulnerable situations, and he understands the gravity of the work that he does.
“He is representing people who are often at their most vulnerable,” Lavroff said. “It’s taxing. There might be children involved. He takes that very much to heart. There’s not money or property involved. He knows the gravity of the situation. He knows what’s at stake. … He knows what’s involved and he conducts himself accordingly. Upright conduct has really earned the respect and admiration of the attorneys and attorneys.”
Lavroff himself received the Bar Association’s Lawyer of the Year Award last year.
“It’s always very exciting and gratifying to be able to honor someone like Jim, who has, throughout his entire career, 30 years, exemplified the highest level of professionalism. A lot of the past recipients of this award were present last week. They were pleased to welcome him into that highly respected group. … I’m really proud to be considered in the same company as Jim.”
McGlew echoed Lavroff’s assessment of receiving the award, and noted his competition for it.
“There are a lot of distinguished attorneys there, so that was a pleasure. I’m the 23rd recipient of the award from Union County. So, to be included on that list was an honor,” McGlew said.