Bissell, John W.Counsel
Retired Judge John W. Bissell joined the firm in 2005 as counsel and serves as Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution department (ADR). He is also a member of the firm's Commercial Litigation practice group. As head of the firm's ADR department, Judge Bissell helps clients resolve commercial and other disputes more quickly and efficiently than can be accomplished through traditional litigation in the Courts. In addition to counseling clients in this area, Judge Bissell has served frequently as an appointed arbitrator, mediator, special master, monitor, and fact-finder in ADR matters.
Prior to joining Connell Foley, Judge Bissell served 27 years on both state and federal courts in New Jersey. Appointed a United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey in 1982, he served in that capacity until his retirement on September 1, 2005. From 2001 until 2005, Judge Bissell was Chief Judge of the Court. From 1981-1982, he served as Judge, Superior Court of New Jersey and from 1978-1981, he was Judge, Essex County, New Jersey District Court. In the years before he was appointed to the judiciary, Judge Bissell served as an Assistant United States Attorney, District of New Jersey from 1969-1971 and was in private practice as an associate and partner with a large New Jersey firm from 1966-1969 and 1972-1978. Judge Bissell began his legal career as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge A.S. Lane, District of New Jersey from 1965-1966.
Judge Bissell’s diverse experience has made him a sought-after speaker at a variety of events. He has delivered the Chief Justice Joseph Weintraub Lecture, "A Tribute to the Weintraub Court," at Rutgers University Law School in Newark (2002). He also spoke at the Professional Awards Ceremony of the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in Law: Good Sportsmanship and Professionalism (2003) and delivered the Hon. Robert N. Wilentz Justice Forum Lecture, "The Megan's Law Litigation: A Study in Principles of Separation of Powers and Federalism" (2003).
Judge Bissell’s outstanding reputation is also demonstrated by the professional recognition he has been accorded. Notably, he is a recipient of the 2005 John F. Gerry Memorial Award from the Camden County Bar Association, the 2005 Association of the Federal Bar of the District of New Jersey William J. Brennan, Jr. Award, The Richard J. Hughes Career Public Service Award conferred by Legal Services of New Jersey (2006), the American Inns of Court Professional Award for the Third Circuit (2008), the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey's Laurence A. Whipple Memorial Award (2010), Princeton University Class of 1962 award for Distinguished Public Service (1988), and the 1971 U.S. Attorney General's Meritorious Service Award. His work was also recently recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Seton Hall University School of Law Public Interest Network.
Judge Bissell is a member of Union Congregational Church in Montclair, N.J. and Bowling Green Golf Club in Oak Ridge, N.J. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Clinton Hospital Foundation. As an avid a cappella singer, he performed for many years with the Dapper Dans of Harmony—the barbershop harmony chorus of which he has been a member since 1982. Judge Bissell also maintains an avid appreciation for sports officiating and is a past member and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Sports Officials. He has been affiliated with the National Ice Hockey Officials Association’s Metropolitan New York Chapter since 1972 and served as a referee of high school and Division III College Ice Hockey until his retirement in 1999.
Honors and Awards:
- Laurence A. Whipple Memorial Award, Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey (2010)
- American Inns of Court Professional Award for the Third Circuit (2008)
- Richard J. Hughes Career Public Service Award, Legal Services of New Jersey (2006)
- John F. Gerry Memorial Award, Camden County Bar Association (2005)
- William J. Brennan Award, Association of the Federal Bar of the District of New Jersey (2005)
- Princeton University Class of 1962 award for Distinguished Public Service (1988)
- U.S. Attorney General's Meritorious Service Award (1971)
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Seton Hall University School of Law Public Interest Network
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- American Bar Association
- New Jersey State Bar Association
- Essex County Bar Association
- Morris County Bar Association
- Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey
- Federal Bar Association
- Certified Arbitrator, Mediator, and Fact Finder; American Arbitration Association
- Registered Arbitrator, International Chamber of Commerce, International Court of Arbitration
- Certified Arbitrator and Mediator, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)
- Registered Arbitrator and Mediator, World Intellectual Property Organization's Arbitration and Mediation Center (Geneva, Switzerland)
- Arbitrator and Mediator, FedArb
- Certified Arbitrator and Mediator, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Court-Annexed Arbitration and Mediation Programs
- Advisor, New Jersey Commission on Professionalism
- Member, ADR Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Board of Trustees
- Master, William J. Brennan, Jr./Arthur T. Vanderbilt American Inn of Court
- Master, American Inn of Court, Justice Marie Garibaldi ADR
- Interview Subject, "Finding the Best Neutral to Hear Your Case," published in The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (2006)
- Author, "Bench Opinion on the Second Amendment," published in 10 Seton Hall Const. L.J. 807 (2000)
- Author, "Comments on Jury Nullification," published in 7 Cornell J.L. &. Pub. Pol’y 51 (1997)
- Numerous published opinions appearing in Federal Supplement, authored during his tenure as a U.S. District Judge