A female Republican from Westfield will lead the Union Superior Court Vicinage as the assignment judge once the current assignment judge retires in September, a few days before she turns 61 years old.
Superior Court Judge Lisa Miralles Walsh will become the second woman to lead the Union Vicinage, succeeding Judge Karen M. Cassidy, another Republican who is retiring after 21 years on the bench and more than 12 years as assignment judge, effective Sept. 1.
“During her two decades on the bench, more than half of them as the assignment judge of the Union Vicinage, Judge Cassidy made a significant impact on the judiciary through her skilled leadership and insightful voice on important matters,” said Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, who elevated the 47-year-old jurist. “Judge Walsh is a gifted and talented jurist with a range of experience in different areas of the justice system. She is poised to continue the fine tradition of court leadership in the Union Vicinage.”
Cassidy, who presided over the contentious divorce trial of former Gov. James E. McGreevey and Dina Matos, ascended to the top judicial post in the county when Judge Walter Barisonek retired in 2009.
Cassidy was a partner at the Roseland law firm of Connell, Foley before being appointed to the bench in April 2000 by then-Gov. Christie Whitman. She served in Union County the entire time, in both the family division and in the civil division.
Cassidy, a lifelong Cranford resident, began her career as a law clerk for former Union County Assignment Judge Edward W. Beglin, Jr. Her husband, Mark J. Cassidy, is a municipal judge in their home town.
Judge Walsh serves in the criminal division in the Union Vicinage.
She previously worked as an assistant prosecutor in the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office from 1999 to 2009 and from 2014 to 2017, where she served as a trial team leader and a member of the sex crimes and child abuse unit.
In between, she was a solo practitioner, specializing in criminal defense and real estate tax appeals.
She was appointed to the bench in January 2017 by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
“I am thankful to Chief Justice Rabner for his trust in my abilities and honored to be chosen to lead the Union Vicinage. I am humbled to follow the trail blazed by Assignment Judge Karen Cassidy and to continue her tireless work to ensure fairness and justice to all litigants and attorneys who appear in our courts,” said Walsh in a statement. “ I look forward to working collaboratively with the exceptional judges and staff of the Union County Courthouse as well as all members of the Bar as we carry on with the work of the Judiciary in these unprecedented times.”
Walsh was raised and educated in Elizabeth and graduated from Rutgers University – New Brunswick.
While attending Seton Hall University School of Law, she interned at the Office of the Public Defender in Elizabeth and at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.
After earning her law degree, she clerked in the Criminal and Chancery divisions for Superior Court Judges Miriam N. Span and Edwin R. Alley in the Union Vicinage.
In a profile on the Seton Hall website, Walsh was quoted sayin that “the biggest thing I try to focus on is to have compassion and treat people with kindness and fairness. It’s important to have civility between parties, between the bench and bar, and to remember that everyone has struggles. While I expect to be professional, I will strive to be understanding when the circumstances warrant.”
Looking back on her career path at that time, Walsh advised students to meet as many people as you can.
Her husband, Kevin G. Walsh, is co-chair of the Gibbons PC Government Affairs Department, a business litigator, and a criminal defense attorney.. He was the 2020-2021 president of the Essex County Bar Association.
As a lobbyist, he represented electric utilities, heavy contractors, telecommunications companies, solar companies, and other highly regulated businesses before the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Environmental Protection, and other state agencies.
Mr. Walsh’s practice of law includes business litigation, government affairs, and criminal defense. From 2003 to 2008, Mr. Walsh was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of New Jersey, Criminal Division.
Mr. Walsh represented Seton Hall University, Stevens Institute of Technology and Caldwell University, overseeing complex Title IX investigations, FERPA and distance learning compliance matters, defense of employee discrimination claims, and board governance issues.
He helped Seton Hall University navigate allegations of clergy sex abuse involving adult victims and advised clients from food preparation companies to construction companies about how to modify workplace practices in light of COVID-19 and the corresponding stream of executive orders issued by northeast governors.
The couple live in a 3,909 square foot Westfield home a single family home built in 1960, which they purchased in 2015 for $775,000, and which is currently assessed at $1,036,200 although it has an estimated value of $1,122,700.
This story was edited on August 23, 2021, to remove a link to the website of the New Jersey County Tax Boards Association, where the $775,000 sale price and current assessment of $1,036,200 for the judge’s home was found. We also removed our source indicating the home has an estimated value of $1,122,700, which included a link to the website for the National Association of Realtors, which is operated by Move, Inc., a subsidiary of News Corp.