The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Civil Trial Bar Section will host its annual James J. McLaughlin Award ceremony on Feb. 5 at The Palace at Somerset Hills. The awards recognize the highest standard of civility, legal competence and professionalism in the practice of civil law.
This year’s honorees are former Superior Court Judge Yolanda Ciccone, the current Middlesex County Prosecutor; Edward J. DePascale of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter; and Craig J. Hubert of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader. Retired New Jersey Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. will pay tribute to the trio and provide a keynote address. Register for the ceremony here.
Here are the honorees:
Honorable Yolanda Ciccone – “Professionalism and civility are the essential elements of the McLaughlin award. That is why it is special to me.”
Judge Ciccone became the first woman to hold the position of Middlesex County Prosecutor following her appointment by Gov. Phil Murphy in June 2020. Over a span of 28 years prior to her appointment, she held several roles as a Superior Court judge in Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties. Ciccone served in every trial division in Middlesex County, including as Presiding Judge of the Civil Division. In 2006, she became the Assignment Judge in Vicinage 13, covering Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties.
Judge Ciccone started her career in 1981 as an assistant prosecutor in the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. She handled cases involving warrants and wiretap orders, narcotics, gambling and helped create drug zone maps across all 23 Middlesex County school districts.
Edward J. DePascale – “I knew Jim McLaughlin. To have my name mentioned in the same sentence as his is an honor I will never forget.”
DePascale has practiced extensively in the federal and state courts, concentrating on complex litigation in the areas of the Federal Employers Liability Act, product liability, professional liability, general insurance, employment discrimination and commercial construction. He is a founding member of the Hudson Inn of Court’s executive committee, and has served as a member of the District VI Ethics Committee and Chair of the District VI Fee Arbitration Committee with the state Office of Attorney Ethics.
DePascale is a veteran of the U.S. Army, earning the rank of captain in the Armor Branch.
Craig J. Hubert – “I had the privilege of getting to know Jimmy McLaughlin in the halls and courtrooms of the old Mercer County courthouse. I am honored and humbled to receive an award in his name alongside Judge Yolanda Ciccone and Edward DiPasquale. They truly epitomize the example that Jimmy set for us all.”
Hubert is a distinguished trial attorney whose practice focuses on personal injury, complex litigation involving serious accidents, nursing home negligence, products liability, unsafe premise and victims of criminal acts, sexual assault and child abuse. He is a former president of the Mercer County Bar Association and has served as trustee on the NJSBA’s governing body and on several Association committees. Hubert helped draft the Association’s amicus brief in W.S. v. Hildreth – a case involving the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases – and argued the NJSBA’s position before the state Supreme Court.