Brian Steller to Receive John B. LaVecchia Award from ABOTA

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Roseland, New Jersey - November 10, 2015 - Connell Foley LLP is proud to announce that Brian G. Steller, a partner and senior trial attorney in the firm’s Insurance Group, has been named the John B. LaVecchia Award recipient by the Northern New Jersey Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). This award is named after John LaVecchia, the first president of the Northern New Jersey Chapter of ABOTA.  The award recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated excellence as a trial attorney, as well as an exceptional commitment to the organization.  The award has been presented rarely over the last 31 years.  Former recipients include:  John Blume, Alan Dunst, Tim Barnes and Gerald O’Connor.

Mr. Steller was selected to receive the award based on his extraordinary service to ABOTA on both the local and national levels.  He is also being recognized for his dedication to upholding the high standards of professional and civil trial practice set by John LaVecchia throughout his storied career.  John LaVecchia is regarded as one of the finest trial attorneys in New Jersey.  Mr. Steller will be presented the award at the ABOTA Northern New Jersey Chapter holiday event, December 8, 2015, at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park, NJ.

Mr. Steller is the Past President of the Northern New Jersey Chapter of ABOTA. He has also served on ABOTA’s National Board of Directors and remains a Life Fellow of ABOTA’s National Foundation.  His significant contribution to the national organization was the creation of ABOTA’s National Trial College, which is now presented biennially at Harvard Law School.  Mr. Steller created the Trial College in 2010 (when it was presented at Princeton University) and served as its original Academic Director and Dean.  ABOTA’s National Trial College provides young trial attorneys from across the country with intensive training and trial practice during a week-long program presented by accomplished and recognized trial attorneys from throughout the U.S.  The National Trial College of ABOTA is designed for both plaintiff and defense trial attorneys who work nearly 15 hours per day with these great instructors, experts and members of the bench, ultimately trying their case before real judges and jurors.  ABOTA’s National Trial College has received extraordinary reviews from the most highly regarded trial attorneys in the country and members of the state and federal bench.  This coming summer at Harvard Law School, the ABOTA National Trial College will again work with 36 young trial attorneys towards making them future leaders in their field of trial practice. 

Mr. Steller is also an active member of the Essex County and New Jersey State Bar Associations. He served as President of the Essex County Bar Association in 2003 and was the Association’s first Chairman of its Committee on Professionalism and Civility.  He currently remains a member of that committee and is devoted to this important subject and routinely delivers programs through these organizations as well as through ABOTA.  On behalf of ABOTA, he recently presented at the 50th Anniversary Symposium for the National Judicial College at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on the subject of Civility and Professionalism.

A certified Civil Trial Attorney, Mr. Steller focuses primarily on insurance defense and coverage matters as well as professional, product and corporate liability cases. With the courtroom as his office, he has tried to verdict well over 70 jury trials in both state and federal courts. He is also an accomplished appellate attorney, having argued before the New Jersey Court of Appeals on more than 30 occasions and before the New Jersey Supreme Court on four occasions.  His skills as a trial attorney were originally recognized in 1995 when the Essex County Bar Association presented him with the Civil Trial Attorney Achievement Award. 

Mr. Steller is a graduate of Seton Hall Law School where he routinely speaks on the subject of trial practice, civility and professionalism.  During his law school years, he clerked in the law offices of Former Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court James Zazzali, and he began his legal career in 1982 as the law clerk to the Honorable Murray G. Simon, one of New Jersey’s finest civil trial judges.  On behalf of the Northern New Jersey Chapter of ABOTA, Mr. Steller currently presents an annual scholarship to a deserving Seton Hall Law School student interested in the practice of trial law.


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