Michael R. Griffinger Retires From Gibbons P.C.
April 14, 2023
This attorney has been selected for the recognitions below, which have been conferred by the corresponding publications and/or organizations noted. An overview of the award selection methodologies for these recognitions can be found at https://www.gibbonslaw.com/awards. Links to specific methodologies are embedded in the individual entries. Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
After an illustrious career in the legal field, virtually all of which was spent at Gibbons P.C., Michael R. Griffinger is retiring from the practice of law. Mr. Griffinger has been a prominent figure in the firm’s Commercial & Criminal Litigation Group for over five decades, joining Gibbons in 1965 as an associate following his military service as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and a clerkship in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County. The firm would take on his name over the ensuing years before becoming known as Gibbons P.C. in 2007.
Throughout his tenure, Mr. Griffinger actively litigated in federal and state courts throughout the country, in addition to New Jersey. His litigation experience covers a wide range of areas, including corporate and commercial disputes, securities litigation, estate litigation, antitrust matters, corporate reorganizations, and bankruptcy. One of his most notable and successful litigations, Murphy vs. NCAA – 138 S. Ct. 1461 (2018), involved his representation of the New Jersey State Legislature in the United States Supreme Court in a case that authorized state regulation of sports betting. As a seasoned attorney, he has served as the principal author of New Jersey Estate & Trust Litigation, a comprehensive guide for practitioners of probate law.
“Mentor. Trial lawyer. Founding father. Standard-bearer. Friend. Trusted advisor. Gentleman. Leader. Icon. Those are just a few of the words I would use to describe Mike Griffinger,” said Peter J. Torcicollo, Managing Director of the firm. “What I learned as a young associate working with Mike was that he was patient, thoughtful, and genuinely appreciative of the hard work of everyone on his team. His leadership and mentorship are among his finest qualities, and I consider it my privilege and my honor to have practiced alongside Mike over many years.”
Ever the pioneer, Mr. Griffinger conceived and structured the firm’s John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest & Constitutional Law, the first program at a legal firm to hire attorneys to work exclusively and full time on pro bono matters. Since the Fellowship launched in 1990, it has taken on matters of cutting-edge legal importance and broad significance, including same-sex marriage, voting rights, and racial justice, to name just a few.
Noted Lawrence S. Lustberg, Director of the Gibbons Fellowship and Director in the Commercial & Criminal Litigation Group, “Mike is a great friend to all of us here at Gibbons, and we are truly privileged to get to interact with him day in and day out. When we do so, we see that he is not just being a great lawyer, but really a great person and an amazing colleague, mentor, and friend. Mike is what we should all aspire to. Like others here at Gibbons over the years, Mike is a giant of the legal profession, who leaves behind gigantic footprints and giant shoes to fill. We can try, but it will not be entirely possible to fill them.”
Indeed, Mr. Griffinger has been consistently lauded by clients, peers, and respected legal organizations and publications over his storied career. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL), invitation-only fellowships of outstanding trial attorneys with varied practices and backgrounds, selected after comprehensive, rigorous vetting processes for demonstrating the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, integrity, and achievement throughout their careers. In particular, IATL limits its membership to only 500 active trial lawyers from the U.S. and approximately 150 from nearly 40 countries worldwide. Mr. Griffinger is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an honorary society recognizing attorneys in various roles throughout the legal profession for their exceptional achievements, selecting only 1 percent of attorneys licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. In 2010, the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey presented him with its William J. Brennan, Jr. Award, which celebrates one outstanding jurist per year.
In addition, Mr. Griffinger was cited by Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as “one of the best practitioners in the state” and a “dean of the New Jersey defense trial.” He has also been listed as a Top 10 attorney in the Garden State and a New Jersey “Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year,” among other numerous top-tier accolades, by such publications as Woodward/White Best Lawyers®, which touted him for his outstanding litigation talent for more than 20 years and listed him in seven categories in 2021; Chambers; and Thomson Reuters New Jersey Super Lawyers. In addition, New Jersey Law Journal bestowed him with a Lifetime Achievement Award; NJBIZ named him a 2017 ICON Award recipient; Thomson Reuters New Jersey Super Lawyers listed him as a “Top Point Getter (#1) Lawyer”; and Woodward/White Best Lawyers® selected him twice as Newark’s “Lawyer of the Year” in specific practice categories.
His steadfast commitment to the community, particularly in Newark, dates back decades. In the 1960s, he enlisted attorneys during the Newark riots to help those unable to afford legal representation. More recently, as a major supporter and trustee of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, he raised more than $200,000 for the venue in 2008 by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, at age 72, with his daughter, Kim. Some of his other charitable endeavors include serving as Chairman of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, Co-Chairman of the Greater Newark Fresh Air Fund, and Board Chairman of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, which recognized him as a “Champion of Change” in 2010. For his leadership and advocacy, he also received the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Lifetime Pro Bono Achievement Award in 2020 and the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Medal of Honor in 2013, among many other honors.
“Mike leaves an unparalleled legacy at Gibbons and has made a lasting impact on both the legal industry and the community at large,” summed up Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Gibbons Executive Chairperson. “He has been a mentor, role model, and friend to many at the great Gibbons law firm, and we will miss him greatly.”