New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced yesterday that Judge Lisa P. Thornton will replace Judge Lawrence M. Lawson as the Assignment Judge of the Monmouth County Vicinage, effective September 1, 2014.
Lawson, who has served on the bench since 1987 and as Assignment Judge since 1993, is retiring three years before he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Thornton will be the first female African-American Assignment Judge in the history of the New Jersey Court. She served as Rabner’s Chief of Staff when he was New Jersey’s Attorney General under Governor Jon Corzine.
A resident of Neptune, Thornton was appointed to the Court by Corzine in 2008. She earned her law degree from Rutgers-Newark in 1992 while she was employed by Prudential Financial. She was the Municipal Court Judge of Neptune Township from January of 1999 through December 2001. In 2002 Thornton was named special deputy commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance where she served until joining Corzine’s office as senior associate counsel in January of 2006 where she served until joining Rabner in the Attorney General’s Office in September of 2006.
“Judge Thornton has a proven record as a judge and an innovative manager, and has tackled administrative problems with inventive solutions,” Rabner said in a press release. “With her strong background as a trial attorney and her experience on the bench, including in municipal court, she is exceptionally well-qualified to lead the Monmouth Vicinage.”
“I am humbled and delighted to be named by Chief Justice Rabner to lead this outstanding body of judges and staff in Monmouth County,” Judge Thornton said. “It is a great honor to succeed Judge Lawson into the chambers of the assignment judge, and I will strive to maintain and advance the successes of his tenure.”