Overview

Lawrence S. Lustberg chairs the Gibbons Criminal Defense Department and is a longtime Director of the firm’s John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest & Constitutional Law, which litigates historic, cutting-edge civil rights and civil liberties cases.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College (1979) and cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School (1983), as well as recipient of the International Graduate School Fellowship at the University of Stockholm (1980), Mr. Lustberg clerked for the Honorable H. Lee Sarokin, United States District Judge, following which he served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of New Jersey for five years before joining the Firm as its first Gibbons Fellow.

Mr. Lustberg is the former president of both the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey and Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, the latter of which recently awarded him with their highest honor—the Honorable Lawrence A. Whipple Memorial Award. Mr. Lustberg is also former Co-Chair of the Criminal Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association. He has served on, and chaired, numerous court and government committees and non-profit and philanthropic boards, and he has been a member of the faculties of Seton Hall, Rutgers, and New York University Law Schools. Currently, he is Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Fund for New Jersey and a Member of the New Jersey State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, for which he recently chaired a subcommittee on immigration.

Mr. Lustberg is a recognized authority in constitutional and criminal law and procedure, responsible for many seminal federal and state court decisions in a broad range of cases, and is a Fellow of both the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is also a Lifetime Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Mr. Lustberg is the recipient of numerous honors from organizations such as the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, ACLU of New Jersey, Legal Services of New Jersey, Garden State Equality, Partners for Women and Justice, and Essex County Bar Association, among others. Most recently, he was named “Lawyer of the Year” for 2013 by the New Jersey Law Journal, in recognition of his work in winning the right to marriage for same-sex couples in New Jersey. He has long been recognized in Best Lawyers®, which in their most recent edition named him White Collar Lawyer of the Year; by Super Lawyers, which again in their most recent edition named him a Top 10 lawyer in New Jersey, and which awarded him its New Jersey Appellate Lawyer of the Year designation in 2009; and by U.S. Lawyer Ranking as a Top 10 Lawyer in the Field of Criminal Defense. Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business has listed Mr. Lustberg as one of the "leading individuals in the area of White Collar Crime & Government Investigations," this year describing him as having "a wealth of experience in criminal defense and appellate litigation before state and federal courts … sources describe him as 'a great guy and a very gifted attorney.'"

FOCUS AREAS

Building on his experience in the Office of the Federal Defender for the District of New Jersey, where he served as an Assistant Public Defender between 1985 and 1990, and relying on his insight from that experience, Mr. Lustberg has broad, substantive experience in such areas as securities, antitrust, and many other white collar criminal issues, including tax and pension fraud, political corruption, and government procurement impropriety. He also handles non-white collar matters, providing round-the-clock, interdisciplinary service for corporate or individual clients who find themselves, family members, or colleagues confronting law enforcement in other contexts. In addition, Mr. Lustberg is well respected for his research and writing abilities, where he explores, and ultimately advances, creative legal arguments in the pre-indictment, trial, and, especially, appellate contexts.

As the Director of this award-winning pro bono program, Mr. Lustberg is responsible for the scope of the Fellowship’s work and the breadth of issues it addresses. While “public interest” and “constitutional law” encompass a necessarily broad range of concerns, Mr. Lustberg has defined the focus of the Fellowship and its goal of affecting change in any way possible to provide access to the legal system for those who might not necessarily have it, all while improving the system for everyone. He has substantially focused the Fellowship’s efforts in recent years in two areas: (1) civil liberties and government transparency in the war on terrorism, highlighted by the Fellowship’s successful argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Rasul v. Bush and the landmark ruling that Guantánamo detainees must receive hearings in federal court; and (2) LGBT rights and marriage equality, highlighted by his lead role in the successful constitutional challenge to the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in New Jersey, leading New Jersey to become, in October 2013, the fourteenth state in the nation to achieve marriage equality.

Under Mr. Lustberg’s direction, the Fellowship’s other areas of representation include, but are not limited to: freedom of speech; death penalty/criminal procedure issues; prison conditions; separation of church and state; police brutality; domestic violence; and school finance. By embracing this incredible range of civil and criminal subject matters, in trial and appellate, federal and state, and direct and amicus work, Mr. Lustberg has uniquely positioned the Fellowship to exceptionally serve its clients and the courts while also significantly impacting the law.

Education

  • Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude)
  • Harvard University (B.A., magna cum laude)
  • Stockholm University Graduate School of International Studies (Sweden) (Rector's Degree)

Professional Activities

Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey
President

American Academy of Appellate Lawyers

American College of Trial Lawyers
Fellow

New Jersey Commission on Government Efficiency and Reform
Sentencing/Corrections Task Force
Chairman, Subcommittee on Corrections, Probation and Parole Practices (2007-present)

Third Circuit Bar Association Steering Committee (2006-present)

New Jersey Office of the Child Advocate (2004-present)
Member, Board of Advisors

Governor's Council on HIV/AIDS and Related Bloodborne Pathogens (2003-present)

American Bar Association
Co-Chair, Criminal Litigation Committee (2003-2006)

Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey (2003-2004)
Trustee

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Chair, Committee to Review Reappointment of Federal Public Defender in the District of New Jersey (2000-2001, 2004-2005)
Task Force on Counsel for Indigent Litigants New Jersey Steering Committee (1998-1999)
Co-Chair, Task Force on Equal Treatment in the Courts Commission on Race and Ethnicity (1994-1997)
Merit Selection Committee for the Federal Public Defender for the District of New Jersey (1996-1997)

Historical Society of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1999-present)
Vice President

United States District Court, District of New Jersey
Lawyers Advisory Committee (1999-present)
Merit Selection Committee for United States Magistrate Judge-Chairman (1998), Member (2003)
Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Committee (1994-1999)
Criminal Justice Act Panel Selection (2002-present)
Management Committee (2002-present)

Supreme Court of New Jersey
District Fee Arbitration Committee for Essex County (1993-1997)
Chair (1996-1997)
Vice Chair (1995-1996)

Common Cause New Jersey (1999-present)

The Fund for New Jersey (1997-present)

Essex - Newark Legal Services, Inc. (1987-1998)
President (1992-1998)

Education Law Center, Inc. (1994-present)
Vice Chair (1995-2000)

Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey (1988-present)
President (2000-present)
Vice President (1998-2000)
Secretary/Treasurer (1997-1998)

New Jersey Association on Corrections (1993-1996)

Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. (1991-present)
Advisory Board (1992-present)

Legal Services Foundation of Essex County (1995-present)

New Jersey State Bar Association

Essex County Bar Association

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Harvard Law School Association of New Jersey
Chairman, Public Interest Fellowship Committee (1996-1998)

Harvard Fellowship in Public Interest Law (1983-1984)

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Trustee

Legal Employment

Seton Hall University School of Law
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law, 1992-present
Adjunct Instructor, Legal Writing, 1986-1987

Rutgers Law School
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law, 1991-present

New York University School of Law
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law, 1988-1991

Assistant Federal Public Defender, District of New Jersey, 1985-1990

Professional Admissions

  • State of New Jersey
  • State of New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
  • United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States

Judicial Clerkship(s)

Honorable H. Lee Sarokin, United States District Judge

Publications & Features

HONORS & AWARDS

Named to The Star-Ledger Inside Jersey's inaugural "100+ Club"

Named 2013 New Jersey “Lawyer of the Year” by the New Jersey Law Journal, December 30, 2013

Recipient, the Honorable Lawrence A. Whipple Memorial Award from the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, May 2013

Listed in United States Lawyer Rankings, Nation’s Top 10 Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2012-2014

Selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers list, Criminal Defense: White Collar
Top 10 Attorney in New Jersey
Top 100 Attorney in New Jersey

Listed in Best Lawyers®, Appellate; Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Listed in Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations

AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Listed as a "State Litigation Star," Criminal Defense, by Benchmark Litigation, 2015

Recipient, The Roger N. Baldwin Award from The American Civil Liberties Union, October 2003

Recipient, Legal Services of New Jersey Outstanding Board Service Award, November 1997