Litigation Departments of the Year

Fostering a Culture of Education

Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster builds better litigators from the ground up

New Jersey Law Journal


Genova Burns litigation department
Left to right, Genova Burns' Angelo Genova, Dena Calo, Jennifer Borek, Christopher Hartwyk, Celia Bosco and Kathleen Barnett Einhorn

With a backbone of commercial litigation and governmental affairs, Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster embodies a model boutique that can function at the level of a larger firm, succeeding at providing services that cross-cut a broad field of practice areas and industries.

It handles civil trial and appellate matters ranging from government regulatory, real estate development and business and contract disputes, to cases involving defamation, defense of civil rights claims, securities disputes, and construction and intellectual property litigation. Its expertise extends to municipal disputes and land use litigation.

And representation of corporate employers and management in the defense of employee wrongful-discharge and other claims has been a mainstay of the firm and one of its primary areas of expertise since its inception.

In 2012, the firm was lead counsel on published opinions that contributed to the development of law in numerous areas of public importance, including legislative reapportionment, minority voter suppression and access to governmental records.

The firm's secret is not only strong management and direction of its litigators but also cultivation of vital skills and values on a constant basis. The firm employs monthly "lunch and learn" programs, regular litigation department meetings and firm-wide, formally accredited in-house CLE programs to keep litigators abreast of developments in their fields. In addition, junior litigation associates participate in a formal firm-wide "shadowing" program, in which they accompany more experienced attorneys to court, depositions, mediations and other events to gain hands-on experience. The firm also provides case-management training for all of its attorneys.

Genova Burns has formally adopted and maintains best practices for the entire firm and for every practice group. These include measures to help anticipate client issues and concerns and to provide value-added solutions to client problems. Included are requirements for a minimum of quarterly updates on the status of each initial case plan.

The firm and its litigation department also enforce a set of formal best practices for case management and staffing, which are designed to promote efficiency and accountability to clients and enhance the quality of legal representation. These include preparation of a case management plan at the inception of every litigation matter which addresses not only the likely scope of work but also a budget; regular partner monitoring of files to ensure budget and work scope compliance; and internal remediation of material deviations from projected time lines and budgets.

Genova Burns stays current on billing and case management strategies and technologies. A recent innovation is the creation of the position of client service representative within the Finance Department. Every client is assigned an individual CSR who communicates frequently on the status of billing, providing real-time reporting and rapid responses to any client inquiries or concerns. This gives clients ready access to a finance professional equipped to address their billing-related inquiries and enables attorneys to focus their time and communications with clients on more pressing legal matters.

Genova Burns by the Numbers
  Firm-wide N.J. Office
Department Size 34 34
Department as percentage of firm (head-count) 43% 43%
Department as percentage of firm (revenue) 40% 40%


Major Litigators:

• Angelo Genova, partner and co-founder— As a labor lawyer, he has represented management for several decades in traditional labor and employment law matters in the private and public sectors before the National Labor Relations Board and the N.J. Public Employment Relations Commission. He has served four New Jersey governors (Florio, McGreevey, Codey, Corzine) as the state's labor negotiator with unions representing more than 50,000 public workers. He has participated as defense counsel in myriad employment litigation, discrimination, whistleblower and wrongful termination trials and appeals.

• Kathleen Barnett Einhorn, director of Complex Commercial Litigation Group and director of the Public Contract Law & Bid Protest Litigation Group — An experienced litigator, Einhorn is responsible for managing cases from inception to trial and for overseeing a team of lawyers and paraprofessionals. They concentrate their practices in general commercial litigation and counseling with an emphasis on complex contract and business disputes, fraud or misrepresentation, First Amendment and constitutional rights claims, civil extortion, intellectual property, defamation, real estate and construction disputes and public contract and bid protests.

• Celia Bosco, partner, director of the Health & Hospital Law Practice Group and the Appellate Practice Group — She is also a member of the Complex Commercial Litigation Practice Group and has experience handling appeals covering a wide range of litigation areas. She also concentrates her practice in health and hospital law, representing health-care providers.

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