Gibbons Announces New Leaders for Commercial & Criminal Litigation and Real Property Practice Groups


December 9, 2021

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Gibbons P.C. is pleased to announce that firm Directors Frederick W. Alworth, Jennifer A. Hradil, Thomas R. Valen, and Jennifer Phillips Smith have been named to new leadership positions, effective February 1, 2022. Mr. Alworth will serve as Chair of the Commercial & Criminal Litigation Group, the firm’s largest and most wide-ranging practice area, with Ms. Hradil and Mr. Valen as Vice Chairs. Ms. Smith will join Douglas J. Janacek, who has been part of the leadership of the firm’s Real Property Group for over a dozen years, as Co-Chair of that group.

In their new positions, these attorneys will oversee the work of the attorneys in their respective practice groups and manage group activities and workload. Their oversight responsibilities include fees and billings, matter management, case staffing, associate training and broader professional development, client relations, and business development. All have served, or are serving, in various other management capacities at the firm.

“These longtime firm Directors possess the deep institutional knowledge necessary to be effective leaders in their respective practice groups, and they are exceptionally equipped to position the firm for even greater things,” said Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Chairman and Managing Director of Gibbons. “But more importantly, they are dedicated to the great Gibbons law firm, its clients and employees, its communities, and its future.”

The firm’s incoming Managing Director, Peter J. Torcicollo, notes, “I’m excited to begin my tenure in February with this talented group of leaders, who are as committed to the success of this firm as I am.”

About the New Practice Group Leaders

Frederick W. Alworth has been with Gibbons for over 30 years, having joined the firm as an associate. He leads the firm’s General Equity practice and has extensive trial experience in all aspects of civil litigation, appearing regularly as trial counsel before state and federal courts and the American Arbitration Association. Mr. Alworth has served as lead trial counsel in business and real estate related litigations throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada, Virginia, and Florida. Having served as President of the Essex County Bar Association, Chair of the Equity Jurisprudence Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and Vice Chair of New Jersey State Ethics Commission, he frequently lectures for the Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He is listed in Woodward/White Best Lawyers® for Commercial Litigation and as the current “Lawyer of the Year” for Real Estate Litigation in the Newark, New Jersey region. He is also listed in Thomson Reuters New Jersey Super Lawyers.

Jennifer A. Hradil leads the firm’s Appellate Team, directing a practice put on the national map by our firm’s standard-bearer, the late John J. Gibbons. Most notably, Ms. Hradil led the Gibbons appellate attorneys responsible for the U.S. Supreme Court decision making way for legal sports betting throughout the country, a decision with major economic ramifications for the state and region and the entire American sports and gaming industries. She has also argued appeals before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second, Third, and Ninth Circuits. In her broader practice, she represents clients in a wide range of complex commercial disputes, including business tort, professional malpractice, breach of contract, antitrust, securities, restrictive covenant, and unfair competition matters. Ms. Hradil is also Co-Chair of the firm’s E-Discovery Task Force. She has been named to the Profiles in Diversity Journal “Women Worth Watching,” NJBIZ “Best 50 Women in Business,” and Thomson Reuters New Jersey Super Lawyers lists.

Thomas R. Valen has spent his entire 25 years in private practice at Gibbons. He has an extraordinary range of experience, serving the needs of corporations and individuals in civil and criminal litigation, enabling him to efficiently handle his clients’ most significant matters involving either governmental or private claims, including commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and shareholder disputes. High-stakes and high-profile matters on which he works include the legalization of sports betting and the representation of the founder of an asset management firm regarding the wide range of legal issues surrounding the collapse of that company. He also regularly provides business and compliance counseling to an exceptional range of domestic and international clients. He is listed in Woodward/White Best Lawyers® for Commercial Litigation and Thomson Reuters New Jersey Super Lawyers for Business Litigation.

Jennifer Phillips Smith is lead land use attorney on several of New Jersey’s largest, most high-profile development and redevelopment projects, including a $2.5 billion redevelopment that is being called the “largest mixed-use development site in New Jersey’s history, the transformation of the Asbury Park Waterfront, and the repositioning of a former manufacturing and office site, named “Mixed-Use Deal of the Year” by the leading statewide commercial real estate development association. She counsels clients on real estate matters ranging from redevelopment projects spanning hundreds of acres to issues impacting small business owners, in connection with mixed use, industrial, restaurant, residential, retail, office, financial, medical, educational, and senior living projects, as well as in redevelopment areas and land use litigation. She also has a particular niche in liquor licensing and alcoholic beverage control. Ms. Smith has been featured on the NJBIZPower 100” list of the most influential people in New Jersey business. She was previously named one of the New Jersey Law Journal’s “New Leaders of the Bar.”

Douglas J. Janacek, Ms. Smith’s Co-Chair in the Real Property Group, is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and has been with Gibbons for 35 years. He practices in the areas of real estate development, planning, permitting, and redevelopment matters, with an emphasis on commercial, office, and industrial developments. He has appeared before planning and zoning boards and governing bodies of numerous municipalities throughout the state, as well as several state and county departments and agencies. Mr. Janacek has also addressed a variety of regulatory requirements, including wetlands, coastal zone, stream encroachment, and waterfront development permits. He was involved in formulating and drafting the New Jersey Highway Access Management Code, one of the most comprehensive highway access regulations in the U.S. He is listed in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Woodward/White Best Lawyers®, and Thomson Reuters New Jersey Super Lawyers for real estate land use and zoning.