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Thomas J. Cafferty

Thomas J. Cafferty

Director, Commercial & Criminal Litigation

Mr. Cafferty, who leads the highly respected Media Law Team at Gibbons, has played a significant role in shaping New Jersey’s laws regarding government transparency and public access. He has extensive experience litigating and counseling on First Amendment and media issues and handles some of the most complex and significant matters relating to these issues in New Jersey, addressing, for example:

  • Cameras in the courtroom
  • Invasion of privacy and defamation
  • Crisis management
  • The Shield Law
  • The Open Public Meetings Act
  • Public notice

Mr. Cafferty represents trade organizations, including the New Jersey Press Association, daily and weekly newspapers, television and radio organizations, media personalities, and media insurance companies, as well as clients throughout the business community who face First Amendment or media challenges.

Mr. Cafferty also serves as General Counsel to the firm.

Areas of Focus

Media Law

Mr. Cafferty offers exceptional service and focus to media industry clients attempting to operate within the evolving media landscape. He recently chaired a sub-committee of the New Jersey Supreme Court Bench Bar Media Committee that issued a critical report, ultimately adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court, recommending major changes in the current Guidelines of the Supreme Court regulating the use of electronic devices (such as cameras, laptops, and cell phones) in courtrooms. Mr. Cafferty has served as General Counsel for the New Jersey Press Association for over 40 years and has worked with some of the largest news organizations and newspapers throughout the state. Additionally, he served as an Adjunct Professor of Communications Law for the Rutgers School of Communication and Information for more than a decade.

First Amendment Law

Mr. Cafferty served on a New Jersey Supreme Court Committee that prepared a comprehensive report that formed the basis for revisions to the court rule governing access to judicial records and was instrumental in drafting the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA), which replaced the former inadequate Right To Know Law. He addresses First Amendment issues for a wide range of clients.

Eminent Domain Law

During the course of his career, Mr. Cafferty has represented numerous public entities, including the Township of Franklin in Somerset County, Township of North Brunswick, Township of Montgomery (Special Counsel Eminent Domain), Borough of Milltown, and New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (Special Counsel Eminent Domain). In each engagement, Mr. Cafferty has represented the public entity in the acquisition of properties for various public projects.

Credentials

Education

Rutgers School of Law - Newark (J.D.)

Rutgers University (B.A.)

Professional Admissions

State of New Jersey

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Supreme Court of the United States

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Professional Activities

New Jersey State Bar Association
Chair, Media Law Committee,
2001-2002, 2015-2016

New Jersey State Privacy Study Commission

New Jersey Supreme Court Media Relations Committee

Martin Committee of Supreme Court
Reviews and advises the Supreme Court on a policy governing commercial filming in court facilities

New Jersey Supreme Court Defamation Working Group (1984 Judicial Conference)

Former Adjunct Professor, Communications Law, Rutgers School of Communications, Information and Library Sciences

New Jersey Supreme Court Special Committee on Public Access to Court Records