Governmental Affairs

Our Governmental Affairs practice group is headed by attorneys with decades of experience and a valuable knowledge-base acquired by appearing before and working with public entities, to achieve the best result possible for our diverse base of clients.

Throughout the firm’s history, attorneys at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. have represented various State and local government entities. Our attorneys also have considerable experience representing corporations and individuals before local, county and State governmental entities. Each of our clients benefits from our longstanding reputation as one of the finest and most successful law firms in New Jersey.

We continue to maintain strong relationships with key decision makers in State and local government and regularly appear before a wide-range of municipalities, regulatory authorities and agencies. In the course of such representation, we provide advice on the substantive impact of law and regulation on individual and business interests. In particular, we provide clients with practical advice on a wide-range of issues relating to compliance with State and Local government laws relating to areas such as election and political contribution law, State and local procurement issues, public record issues, Open Public Meeting Act issues, bidding issues, local government ethics, utility franchising and the use of public rights of way. We also serve as special litigation counsel on behalf of local governments in connection with these and similar matters.

  • Election Law, Political Contributions and Pay to Play
  • Open Government Laws
  • Procurement (Public Bidding)
  • Lobbying & Governmental Affairs Agents
  • Government Ethics Law
  • Counsel to Public Entities

Election Law, Political Contribution Law and Pay to Play

Our practitioners are well-acquainted with the government’s intricate laws and regulations imposed upon candidates, political action committees and persons and businesses that make political contributions. Our lawyers provide guidance and advice to corporations, trade groups, political action committees, campaign officials, contributors, and public question committees concerning compliance with State and federal election laws. We also represent political candidates regarding compliance with the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act and its implementing regulations. Our attorneys also appear before the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission and the Federal Election Commission.

Our governmental affairs lawyers have particular experience in the laws and regulations governing campaign finance, including those imposed by New Jersey’s complex "pay-to-play" reforms that specifically affect entities that do business with State and local governmental entities. We understand that many of our clients would like to participate in the political process, but may feel constrained by the State and local contribution restrictions and the impact that those restrictions have on their business interests. Our attorneys assist our clients in devising solutions that are designed to enable our clients to meet business goals, while continuing to participate in the political process.

Open Government Laws

We provide advice to businesses and municipalities on issues associated with the compliance with the New Jersey Open Public Meetings (Sunshine Law), the New Open Public Records Act ("OPRA"), common law Right to Know laws, and the Freedom Of Information Act ("FOIA"). We represent corporations and individuals seeking to obtain access to government records and we have successfully represented corporations seeking to maintain the confidentiality of certain information included in public records. We also are familiar with the methods and procedures relied upon by the Government Public Records Council to determine whether requests for access to certain public records should be granted.

Procurement (Public Bidding)

Our attorneys provide advice to governmental entities regarding the purchase of goods and services. We also assist clients wishing to do business with governmental entities in navigating procurement laws governing the sales of goods and services to public entities, such as the Local Public Contracts Law, the State Contracts law, Public School Contracts Law, and the County College Contracts law. We also represent bidders and government entitles in connection with disputes regarding the award of public contracts.

Lobbying & Governmental Affairs Agents

Under the New Jersey Legislative and Governmental Process Activities Disclosure Act ("Lobbying Law"), entities that deal with government officials and state agencies must be familiar with unique laws that apply to communications with public officials. As a result, we provide advice to clients regarding compliance with the Lobbying Law and the registration and reporting requirements associated with lobbying by Governmental Affairs Agents.

Government Ethics Law

Our attorneys provide advice to municipalities, school boards, governmental officials, and parties doing business with government entities on ethics issues and compliance associated with the New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law, Local Government Ethics Law and School Ethics Act. On behalf of clients we have obtained favorable advisory opinions in this regard and we often assist in the filing of annual reporting and disclosure statements.

Counsel to Public Entities

Our firm has represented numerous elected bodies and appointed government entities as general, bond, redevelopment, labor and special counsel. We regularly provide advice to municipalities regarding public right of way issues. We currently represent the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, county colleges, school boards, municipal utility authorities, municipalities, redevelopment agencies, planning boards, improvement and facilities authorities.

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Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. (Wilentz) recognizes that our human resources are one of our greatest assets and that a talented and diverse workforce is a key competitive advantage. We strive to seek out and retain the finest human talent from all backgrounds to ensure top business growth and performance, and we have endeavored to create an environment in which every individual’s unique strengths and abilities are valued and utilized to the fullest capacity.
We as a firm are committed to the goal of strengthening our diversity both through education and through recruiting and retaining minority and women attorneys and staff from all backgrounds. We have long embraced the concepts and principles of equal employment opportunity and have endeavored to maintain a non-hostile work environment. Beyond that, however, we recognize that continuously promoting diversity is an integral part of our mission to strive for excellence as individuals and as a firm.
As part of the effort to advance our commitment to diversity, Wilentz has established a Diversity Committee focused on the following:
  • Recruiting, retaining and developing diverse talent at all levels in the firm.
  • Educating our employees and firm management regarding diversity issues.
  • Participating in opportunities outside the firm to explore diversity initiatives by supporting programs that increase the understanding and appreciation of cultural differences.
  • Recognizing diversity as a business imperative toward increasing our client base.
  • Emphasizing the firm’s long-standing policy that encourages reporting of any discrimination or harassment based on sex, race, or any other protected status.
Wilentz is proud to say that we participate in the following diversity initiatives:
  • In 1990, our Hiring Partner (now our Administrative Director), Stephen E. Barcan, was a founding member of the New Jersey Law Firm Group, an organization committed to the recruitment, hiring and retention of minority law students and lawyers in member firms and government agencies. The firm has remained an active participant and through this organization we sponsor a fellowship for a minority law student, provide roundtable discussion groups for law students, participate in minority job fairs, and encourage our associates to mentor students identified through this group.
  • We support the Rutgers-Newark Law School Minority Student Program. In addition, we have provided first year minority students with the opportunity to participate in our summer associate program with a view toward mentoring each student toward eventual hire by the firm as an associate. We are pleased that our efforts in this regard have been successful, as our 2005 MSP intern joined the firm as an associate in the fall of 2007, our 2006 MSP intern joined us as an associate in the fall of 2008, and our 2007 MSP intern joined us as an associate in the fall of 2009.
  • We encourage and sponsor our attorneys to become members of the Hispanic Bar Association. As a participant in the Hispanic Bar Association Mentorship Program, we assign Wilentz attorneys to be mentors for Hispanic law students as they complete their courses and work toward graduation from law school.
  • Wilentz is a supporter of the Garden State Bar Association in their mission to assist African-Americans and other minorities in becoming an effective part of the judicial system.
Historically, the majority of our entry associates come to us through our Summer Associate Program, and we are proud of the fact that our efforts toward minority recruitment of law students have been quite successful and that our summer associate classes represent a diverse mixture of minorities and women.
Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer’s commitment to diversity is consistent with our recognition that it is the exceptional people within our firm who have always been the source of our success. We continually seek new and innovative ways to expand our diversity initiatives in the areas of education, recruitment and retention.


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