President’s Page



William H. Mergner Jr. took the oath of office on May 16, 2024 as president of the New Jersey State Bar Association for the 2024-2025 term, assuming leadership over the state’s largest organization of legal professionals.

New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart J. Rabner swore in Mergner at the NJSBA’s Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City. A host of Mergner’s friends, family and colleagues – along with the NJSBA’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees – were on hand to watch the West Caldwell attorney begin his term in the Association’s 125th year.

In a speech at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Mergner said he plans to focus his term on three key issues – continuing the NJSBA’s study of artificial intelligence and its applications in the legal profession, combating the threat of non-lawyers practicing law and owning firms and boosting membership in the Association’s sections and committees.

“I cannot emphasize enough the influence our Association has when our members are engaged. As we all know, when the state bar mobilizes around a cause, we can speak powerfully on the issues that face our profession,” Mergner said.

The rapid rise of AI has prompted complex ethical questions about its place in the law and how far the technology will encroach on the work lawyers do, Mergner said. In the next year, he will look to a recent report by the NJSBA’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence in the Law as a guide on how to address these issues.

“I pledge to further the Association’s review of the complex legal and ethical questions raised by AI and how attorneys can best use the technology to their advantage,” Mergner said. “My hope is that we strike the right balance in finding how AI can help attorneys deliver legal services while protecting the essential role they play in the law and society.”

Mergner acknowledged the Association’s many sections and committees as the “heartbeat of the NJSBA,” the groups relied on for expertise and insight on the most pressing issues in the profession. Increasing participation in the sections and committees is vital to building interest in the Association and expanding its mission to serve as the voice of New Jersey attorneys, he said.

“This year, I encourage everyone who can attest to the benefits of your membership to pay it forward and spread the word among your colleagues and friends, as I pledge to do. With a vibrant and dedicated membership, we can sustain the Association and its mission for decades to come,” Mergner said.

With Chief Justice Rabner in attendance, Mergner reaffirmed the NJSBA’s commitment to promoting judicial independence. The Association denounced a recent proposal in the state Senate that would shift control of Appellate Division appointments from the Chief Justice to the Governor and Senate. If adopted, it would threaten the independence of the Judiciary, further expose the courts to the political process and likely create a vacancy crisis in the Appellate Division, as seen in the Superior Courts, Mergner said.

“New Jersey has a stellar Appellate Court, indeed one of the nation’s best, due in large part to the Chief Justice’s wisdom in making appointments to ensure a balanced, fair and complete bench of appellate judges,” Mergner said. “I want to be clear that the Association firmly opposes this proposal and will remain the Judiciary’s strongest advocate in promoting its independence.”

Mergner is co-managing partner at Leary, Bride, Mergner & Bongiovanni, in Cedar Knolls, where he practices civil litigation. An accomplished trial attorney, Mergner has tried hundreds of cases to verdict in New Jersey’s state and federal courts. He handles the defense of construction site accidents, multi-party construction defect cases, environmental/toxic tort claims, products liability claims, professional liability claims including medical, engineering, agents/brokers claims, as well as complex general liability claims involving serious injury or death. He has also overseen a significant number of appeals before the New Jersey Appellate Division, the New Jersey Supreme Court, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and has numerous favorable published and unpublished decisions.

Prior to becoming NJSBA president, Mergner’s service in the Association was extensive. As a former Trustee of the Association, he was active with the Pandemic Task Force and spearheaded its work on the resumption of jury trials, which released several reports. He was chair of the Association’s Special Task Force on the Practice of Law, Amicus Committee, Civil Trial Bar Section and Judicial Administration. He is a member of the Meeting Arrangements and Program, Judicial Administration, and Insurance Defense committees.

Mergner graduated magna cum laude from Catholic University of America in 1982. He received his Juris Doctor from the Marshall Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary in 1985.

He lives in West Caldwell with his wife, Patty. They have two sons.

Watch this video about NJSBA President William H. Mergner Jr.

William H. Mergner Jr.
2024-2025 NJSBA President


President’s Perspective  

President’s Perspective
Environmental Law
New Jersey Lawyer No. 348 – June 2024

President’s Statements and Press Release




Founded in 1899, the NJSBA is the largest organization of attorneys, judges and legal professionals in New Jersey. At the core of our mission is improving the lives of our members, advancing the rule of law and serving as the voice of the profession. With 85 sections and committees, the NJSBA allows attorneys to benefit from being part of the most wide-reaching legal association in the state, while still cultivating expertise and building networks within specialized practice areas.



The New Jersey State Bar Association is committed to promoting and fostering a diverse and inclusive bar association. The Association recognizes that the broad concept of diversity includes race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability. The NJSBA fosters and promotes an inclusive environment that gives value to the unique contributions of diverse individuals and organizations in all aspects of the Association.

Learn More


The NJSBA Legal and  Government Affairs Department serves as the liaison between NJSBA members and the state’s three branches of government.


The New Jersey Law Center is located at 1 Constitution Sq, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901. Need directions to the Law Center? Click on the button below to get started right away.

Contact NJSBA

NJSBA Contact Us Form
If you're looking for an attorney, click here for help.

If you cannot afford an attorney and have a civil matter, click here for Legal Services of New Jersey.

Looking for information about a specific lawyer? Contact the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection at 855-533-3863.

Have a complaint about a lawyer? Visit the Office of Attorney Ethics website. Select “Attorney Discipline” from the navigation bar for discipline of attorneys.

Contact Info

One Constitution Square
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday

Fax 732-249-2815

Email us

NJSBA Meetings and Events Calendar

From section, committee and division meetings with valuable CLE credit, to receptions and dinners and special events, the New Jersey State Bar Association regularly holds meetings so our members can meet their mandatory CLE requirements and network with the state’s largest attorney membership.

View Calendar

2024 Mid-Year Meeting

The New Jersey State Bar Association is thrilled to announce the 2024 Mid-Year Meeting will be held in Dublin, Ireland at The Shelbourne Hotel, Nov. 2-9.

View more information

2025 Family Law Retreat

The New Jersey State Bar Association is thrilled to announce the 2025 Family Law Retreat will be held in Mexico, San José del Cabo from March 23-27.

More Information

Practice HQ Training Events

Lawyers aren't taught practice management skills, and the NJSBA is here to fill the gap — no matter whether you are just starting out, mid-career or thinking about wrapping up their practices. Our PracitceHQ is here to help with webinars, informative articles, free consultations, comparison charts and so much more.

Practice HQ Training Events


The new NJSBA member benefit Decisis will help you level-up your legal research.

Decisis gives members access to a robust database of local and federal case law is necessary information often used to structure your case. Decisis provides industry-leading tools to make legal research easier and more intuitive, and it’s a free benefit to all active New Jersey State Bar Association members.

Decisis Training Events

Networking Events

The NJSBA provides a host of networking events so members can maintain relationships with existing colleagues and make new connects. Join us at a baseball game, the hockey arena, for a community service project, or another event.

Upcoming Networking Events

Benefits Of Membership

As a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), you will join a powerful network of 16,000 legal professionals across the state of New Jersey. NJSBA membership grants you access to year-round virtual and in-person networking events, leadership and professional development opportunities, member-only discounts, educational resources to help you stay in the know and much more!

Practice Management Tools

The NJSBA provides tools lawyers need to improve their practice, from our comprehensive PracticeHQ library of resources; a career center to find your next colleague or opportunity; an intuitive and high-powered legal research platform; and a robust Member Assistance Program to connect members, and those who live in their households, with experienced counselors and resources to address mental health needs.



As an NJSBA member, you'll become part of the collective power of the NJSBA network, giving you the ability to influence legislation and caselaw in New Jersey. Let’s work together to shape the future and solve critical issues facing attorneys and the public.

Become a Member Today!


Membership helps you build and maintain a powerful network through our in-person and online events with attorneys all over the state.


Become a Member Today!

Become A Partner Organization

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) offers an exclusive partnership opportunity to amplify your organization’s impact and drive success. By harnessing the power of the NJSBA legal community, you can connect with our vibrant network of 16,000 legal professionals from 35+ different areas of practice, unlocking unparalleled opportunities for growth and achievement.


News and Press Publications

Learn more about the accomplishments of the Association, its members and events from regular news updates, press releases, and our award-winning magazine.



Read the comments, reports, resolutions and Board of Trustee news from the state’s largest organization of lawyers, judges and legal professionals.


Statements and Positions

The NJSBA is the voice of the profession and takes public positions on a range of issues with the legal community and government officials. It also takes positions on legislation and files friend-of-the-court briefs on matters that impact the profession. 

Photo Galleries

Check out photos from recent NJSBA events.

View Photo Albums

You do not have permission to view this form.