Began Guiding Region’s Pre-Eminent Firm October 1; Vajtay Returns to Fulltime Tax Practice After Six Years as MP: ‘The Time Is Right’
Joseph T. Boccassini, who began his legal career as a summer associate at McCarter & English in 1991 and worked his way up to become a partner and later a prominent member of the firm’s management, has become managing partner, effective October 1, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee.
Boccassini replaced Stephen M. Vajtay, Jr., who is stepping down after six years as managing partner.
Vajtay returned to the full-time practice of tax law following a several-month period during which he and Boccassini collaborated to ensure a smooth transition.
Boccassini, who became a partner 16 years ago – eight years after starting as a full-time associate in 1992 – joined the firm’s Compensation Committee in 2008 and later became a member of the Executive Committee. He represents commercial clients in a variety of complex civil litigation matters, including securities litigation, shareholder derivative claims, professional negligence actions and claims of breach of fiduciary duty, all in the federal and state courts in New York and New Jersey.
“I am eager to work with my longtime friends and colleagues from all nine McCarter offices to advance the firm’s interests and those of our clients,” said Boccassini, who is resident in the firm’s oldest and largest office, in Newark. “I have big shoes to fill, but also the benefit of Steve’s extraordinary example of leadership over the last six years, as well as his guidance and wisdom throughout this transition period and beyond.
“This is a challenging time in our great profession, but one with great opportunity for firms that grow wisely and focus their legal services to match an ever-changing state, regional and national economy,” Boccassini said. “In the end, it’s all about our clients and their needs, but the best way to ensure that we exceed our clients’ expectations is to attract and retain the brightest, most motivated legal talent.”
Vajtay said it was a privilege to manage “the region’s pre-eminent law firm” for six years, adding, “The time is right to hand over the reins, particularly to someone like Joe, whose dedication to the firm, its partners and its clients is unmatched.
“The firm is on solid ground in all respects and will be in great hands with Joe, whom I have known for his entire career. I have enjoyed working with Joe in firm management, and I look forward to seeing his vision executed to the benefit of our great firm and, more importantly, our clients,” Vajtay said.
Michael P. Kelly, McCarter’s chairman, called Boccassini “one of the best and brightest, who will build upon the numerous successes to which Steve has guided the firm over his tenure.”
“The firm as a whole, the Executive Committee and I thank Steve for his tireless efforts and the excellent job he has done over the last six years, all for the betterment of our clients, attorneys and staff,” Kelly said. “Joe is a natural to assume this crucial position – an A-plus person and lawyer with a litigator’s tenacity to match his keen intelligence, excellent judgment, unwavering dedication to the firm and multi-faceted skill set. Our clients, lawyers and staff will benefit from his stewardship just as they benefitted from Steve’s.”
A resident of Rutherford, N.J., Boccassini earned his law degree, cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 1992 after graduating magna cum laude from Georgetown as an undergraduate. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia and is a member of the American Bar Association and its Litigation Section, and the New Jersey State Bar Association. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Rutherford Education Foundation, a charitable organization that advances the academic, extracurricular and athletic experiences of students in his hometown.