Picture of Center for Law and Justice

The C. Willard Heckel Inn of Court was founded in 1990 to further civility and excellence in the practice of law in New Jersey in both the state and federal courts. The Inn’s core focus is on criminal and related civil practice in both the federal and state court systems, although many of its programs involve issues of broader appeal to the bar.
The Inn brings together highly experienced and distinguished justices, judges, trial attorneys, members of the bar, and Rutgers Law School students to enhance their skills and focus on emerging and important issues facing the bar and bench. Sponsored by Rutgers Law School, the Inn holds 2-hour meetings at the law school in Newark, followed by dinner. The Inn’s programs qualify for over 12 continuing legal education credit hours, including ethics credits in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

The 2019-2020 membership form is available by selecting the link below. See below in the Membership Types and Dues section to pay by credit card or use the link in the application.

For more information about the Inn, contact IPE@law.rutgers.edu or 973-353-5928.

Picture of C. Willard Heckel
C. Willard Heckel

About C. Willard Heckel

Heckel joined the faculty of Rutgers Law School in 1946. He was its dean from 1963 to 1970, and served as acting dean in 1973 and 1974. Dean Heckel taught, among other things, Constitutional Law and had a keen interest in mentoring students and improving the legal system.

During the 1960's. Heckel served as president of the United Community Corporation, the umbrella organization that funneled federal funds into the Johnson anti-poverty campaign. This corporation played a key role during the period before, during and after the riots, helping to empower the people of Newark to take over the city government from a corrupt regime. In addition, Heckel initiated the process of forming the Newark Legal Services Project, the pioneer legal services project in New Jersey.

Heckel, who was born in Bloomfield, New Jersey, earned a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, a master's degree from Columbia University, and a law degree from Rutgers.

Program Resources
  • Meeting Dates
  • Membership Types and Dues
  • Officers and Executive Committee
  • Past Program Highlights
  • Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
  • Contact Information

2019-2020 Meeting Schedule (Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

September 25, 2019
November 20, 2019
January 29, 2020
March 4, 2020
April 1, 2020
May 6, 2020

2019-2020 Meeting Details

November 20, 2019

Crime Victims' Rights
The panel will discuss crime victims’ rights at all stages of the criminal justice process at both the state and federal level, including the privacy rights of victims, victims’ input in and access to prosecutorial decision making, and some of the emotional, psychological, and financial aspects of victimization.

The panelists are Shirley Estreicher, the victim/witness coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, Pamela McCauley, the victim/witness coordinator for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and Richard Pompelio, Esq., a crime victims’ rights advocate and founder of the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center. Heckel Inn members Sabrina Comizzoli and Ryan Magee will moderate the discussion. 

FREE for guests who do not want CLE credit with promo code NOCLE690

Register at rutgerscle.com


September 25, 2019

Plea Negotiation: An Art, a Science, or Both?
Heckel Inn masters Aidan O'Connor, Chris Schellhorn, and Jeff Smith introduced the topic of negotiating a plea, whether on behalf of the government, a corporate defendant, or an individual defendant. Afterwards, the particpants broke into small groups to discuss and explore various ethical and practical considerations in effectively advocating for a client’s interests while maintaining credibility and civility with your adversary.

    Membership Types and Dues

    Associate - 3 years or less of legal experience $125
    Associate (Government/Public Sector) $100
    Barrister - 4 or more years but less than 15 years of legal experience $200
    Barrister (Government/Public Sector) $125
    Master of the Bench - 15 or more years of legal experience $250
    Master of the Bench (Government/Public Sector) $150

    To pay by credit card, select your membership type and you will be redirected to the payment site. Please include a copy of your receipt with your membership application.

    Members of the C. Willard Heckel Inn of Court are enrolled as members of the national American Inns of Court, if enrolled and paid by November 1, 2019. Members attend Inn programs, earn continuing legal education credits, and share experiences and insights during the post-program dinners.




      Vice President

      • Christopher F. Schellhorn, Esq. | Morris County Prosecutor's Office


      Immediate Past President and Counselor


      Executive Committee

      • John J. Burke, III, J.S.C. | Superior Court of New Jersey
      • Regina Caulfield, P.J.Cr. |  Superior Court of New Jersey
      • Sabrina G. Comizzoli, Esq. | U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey
      • John M. Fietkiewicz, Esq.  |  Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
      • Ryan M. Magee | Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP
      • Samuel P. Moulthrop, Esq.  |  Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP


      2018-2019 Meetings

      October 25, 2018 |  | Rutgers Law School | Newark

      Cannabis Law in the Garden State: Into the Weeds for Attorneys
      This program provided an overview of the current status of medical cannabis in New Jersey. The speakers discussed proposed legislation to expand medical cannabis and adult use cannabis. The robust dialogue among speakers and participants raised many important policy and ethical issues facing lawyers and others in the industry.

      Sean Mack | Partner | Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C.
      Amol Sinha | Executive Director | American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
      Christina Strong | Outside Counsel | Compassionate Care Foundation

      November 29, 2018  | Rutgers Law School | Newark
      New Jersey Expungement Reform
      As of October 1, 2018, new expungement laws have drastically changed New Jersey’s expungement procedures.  This lecture identified those changes to the law and provide practical advice on navigating the expungement process.

      Speaker:  Vered Adoni | Assistant Prosecutor | Bergen County Prosecutor's Office
      Introduced by: Ryan M. Magee | Attorney | Riker Danzig | Barrister of the Heckel Inn

      January 17, 2019  | Rutgers Law School | Newark
      The Digital Fourth Amendment: Emerging Issues and Challenges
      This panel discussion discussed how the Fourth Amendment can protect privacy rights in the digital age. The speakers addressed recent shifts in Supreme Court doctrine through the lens of four emerging topics: (1) the use of “Stingrays” for cell phone surveillance; (2) digital searches and seizures of electronic devices; (3) account searches and the “third-party doctrine”; and (4) government hacking. The program will provide a short introduction to each issue, teach lawyers to identify them in their cases, and suggest key Fourth Amendment arguments for challenging them in court.

      Michael Price | Senior Litigation Counsel | Fourth Amendment Center | National Association of  Criminal Defense Lawyers
      Matthew S. Adams | Partner | Fox Rothschild LLP
      David MalfitanoAssistant Prosecutor | Bergen County Prosecutor's Office
      Aidan P. O'Connor | Partner | Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C.
      Counsellor and Master of the Bench  | C. Willard Heckel Inn of Court

      May 9, 2019  | Rutgers Law School | Newark
      Ethical Issues in Corporate Government Investigations
      Using hypothetical fact patterns, this program explored ethical issues that can arise during the course of government investigations and prosecutions of corporations from the vantage point of all attorneys involved in the process - defense counsel, prosecutors, and in-house counsel. 

      Honorable Patty Shwartz
      Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

      Stacy Ludwig
      Director | Professional Responsibility Advisory Office | U.S. Department of Justice

      Charles Centinaro
      Director | Office of Attorney Ethics | Supreme Court of New Jersey

      John Fietkiewicz
      Senior Counsel | Arnold & Porter

      2017-2018 Programs

      September 14, 2017 | Rutgers Law School | Newark

      The first meeting was a panel discussion of challenging ethical issues that face criminal practitioners. The speakers were the Honorable Walter Timpone, Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court; the Honorable Alberto Rivas, the Assignment Judge for Middlesex County; the Honorable John P. McDonald, J.S.C., Family Division for Somerset County; John M. Fietkiewicz, Counsel to the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey; and Jeffrey D. Smith, president of the Inn and partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP.

      October 26, 2017 | Rutgers Law School | Newark

      Tim Anderson, Vice President of the Inn, moderated a program called, “Persuasive Legal Writing: Tips from Specialists.” The panel included Sabrina Comizzoli, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, USAO, District of New Jersey; Karina Fuentes, Research & Writing Attorney, FPD’s Office, District of New Jersey; and Jeffrey Mandel, The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Mandel LLC, author of the Gann publication New Jersey Appellate Practice, who taught an intensive appellate legal writing class at Rutgers Law for 16 years. The panelists provided ways to improve the effectiveness of your legal writing -- everything from briefs, memos, and motions, to legal letters and even emails.

      November 30, 2017 | Rutgers Law School | Newark

      New York Yankees’ great Yogi Berra is perhaps best remembered for his famous expressions. . . many of which made seemingly no sense.  This program examined what we learned during the first year of New Jersey’s Criminal Justice Reforms through the use of such expressions, because as Yogi himself once said: “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

      Chris Schellhorn, a barrister of the Heckel Inn and assistant prosecutor for the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, organized the program; the Honorable Regina Caulfield, a judge in the criminal division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, shared her judicial persepective; and Brian J. Neary, a criminal defense attorney and adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School, offered his perspective. 

      January 31, 2018 | Rutgers Law School | Newark

      Heckel Inn Master of the Bench, Aidan O'Connor from Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C., moderated a panel that included Mary Toscano, Chief of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, Eric Breslin from Duane Morris LLP, Michael McGowan from Stroz Friedberg, Barbara Rudd, a private investigator, and Melissa Derr from Critical Defence. 

      April 18, 2018 | Rutgers Law School | Newark

      The Honorable Martin G. Cronin, a judge for the Essex County criminal division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chris Schellhorn, an assistant prosecutor for the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, and a barrister of the Heckel Inn, Judith B. Fallon, the deputy public defender for Passaic County, and president of the ACDL-NJ, and Ryan Magee, an associate of Riker Danzig and the Heckel Inn, and former assistant prosecutor, discussed detention hearings in light of New Jersey's bail reform overhaul, followed by small group mock detention hearings led by the speakers and Inn masters Tim Anderson, Bill Neafsey, Zahid Quraishi, Sam Moulthrop, and Jeff Smith. This was a practical approach to preparing for detention motions, arguments to make (and not make) at the motion, and potential benefits of detention (i.e. speedy trial). 

      May 22, 2018 | Rutgers Law School | Newark

      Andrew L. Rossner, a master of the Heckel Inn and associate dean for professional and skills education at Rutgers Law School, share best practices and techniques for effective and persuasive closing arguments.

      Application of Evidentiary Principles to Electronic and Other Tangible Evidence (May 22, 2017)

      This program provided an overview of the Federal Rules of Evidence as they apply to the admission of business records and electronic evidence like social media. The speakers were Heckel Inn Masters of the Bench John M. Fietkiewicz, Counsel to the U.S. Attorney, and Jim Sonageri, of Sonageri & Fallon.

      Following the overview, we the pupillage groups practiced and discussed the practical application of the evidentiary principles. The speakers along with Tim Anderson, Samuel P. Moulthrop, Aidan P. O'Connor, James A. Plaisted and Zahid N. Quraishi guided the pupillage groups. 

      Participants' Feedback:

      1. This was fantastic. I would love to do the full 3 hour course.
      2. Good lecture. Enjoyed the clinic. Love the written material.

      Understanding and Navigating the Federal Sentencing Minefield (March 23, 2017)

      The program provided an overview of the background and basic structure and rules of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and address the application of the Guidelines to situations common to federal practitioners. A number of applications of the Guidelines wukk be addressed in connection with financial and tax crimes and drug offenses, among others, through case studies and practice tips.


      • Tim Anderson | Law Offices of Timothy R. Anderson, LLC | Master of the Inn
      • Jacob T. Elberg | Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief of the Health Care and Government Fraud Unit | U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey
      • Aidan P. O’Connor | Pashman Stein Walder Hayden | Master of the Inn
      • Jeffrey D. Smith | DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, LLP | Master of the Inn

      Participants' Feedback:

      1. Panel was excellent!
      2. Very qualified panel; excellent presentation.

      Criminal Justice Bail Reform: It's NOW (January 26, 2017)

      New Jersey’s comprehensive criminal justice reform is now in effect. This program addressed questions such as: How is bail reform actually working? How long will clients be held before you can engineer a bail hearing? What can you to do expedite it? How do you escape detention for your client and achieve release?


      • Honorable Regina Caulfield | Judge | Superior Court of New Jersey, Criminal Division
      • Brian J. Neary | The Law Offices of Brian J. Neary, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys
      • Christopher F. Schellhorn | Assistant Prosecutor, Major Crimes Unit/Arson-Environmental Unit | Morris County Prosecutor’s Office

      Participants' Feedback:

      1. Great presentation especially considering that the new bail system is just being implemented.
      2. Confusing subject matter made simple!
      3. The topic, speaker and materials provided surpassed my expectations.
      4. Glad to have speakers who ask questions to audience in between rather than after. Good to have both prosecutor view and defense view. Very knowledgeable speakers. Left with very clear understanding on a topic I had little to no information about prior to this CLE.

      Ethical Dilemmas in Criminal Practice (December 1, 2016)
      This fast paced ethics program focused on real ethical issues that confront criminal law practitioners through the use of hypothetical fact patterns based upon recent ethics cases. 

      • Andrew L. Rossner | Master of the Bench of the Inn | Associate Dean for Professional and Skills Education | Practice Professor of Law | Director, Rutgers Institute for Professional Education | Rutgers Law School

      Participants' Feedback:

      1. Interesting and engaging discussion that kept the audience involved. Good use of hypotheticals.
      2. Best ethics CLE I’ve be to! Very interesting and informative.
      3. Always great!
      4. Excellent, stimulating discussion.

      The Art and Science of Jury Selection (October 27, 2016)

      This program discussed using social science analytical tools to evaluate potential jurors and using voir dire and juror profiling during selection.  Howard Schlesinger, an experienced jury consultant, gave a presentation with perspectives offered by a prosecutor and defense attorneys. We thank our speakers:

      • Paul B. Brickfield, a criminal defense attorney and principal of Brickfield & Donahue in River Edge, New Jersey
      • Christopher Schellhorn, Jr. is a Barrister of the Inn, and assistant prosecutor with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office
      • Howard G. Schlesinger is a trial and jury consultant and principal of Schlesinger Trial & Jury Consulting, LLC , as well as an attorney and principla of Schlesinger Associates
      • James L. Sonageri is a Master of the Bench of the Inn, and principal of Sonageri & Fallon, LLC in Hackensack, New Jersey

      Participants' Feedback:

      1. The inclusion of sample materials and NJ statutes/rules in the program materials is very useful.
      2. Always great.

      The Art of the Appeal: What to Do and What to Avoid (September 28, 2016)
      The esteemed panel of sitting and retired judges and justices addressed practice before the Appellate Division and Third Circuit. Attendees had the benefit of hearing the judicial perspective on what to do and what to avoid when handling appeals.
      We thank our speakers:

      • The Honorable Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. | Judge | U.S. Court of Appeals | Third Circuit
      • The Honorable Anne W. Patterson | Associate Justice | Supreme Court of New Jersey
      • The Honorable Gary S. Stein | Special Counsel | Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C.
      • Retired Associate Justice | Supreme Court of New Jersey
      • The Honorable James R. Zazzali | Of Counsel | Gibbons P.C. | Retired Chief Justice | Supreme Court of New Jersey | Retired Attorney General | State of New Jersey
      • The Honorable Marianne Espinosa | Judge | Appellate Division | Superior Court of New Jersey
      • James A. Plaisted (moderator) | Member | Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C.

      Partcipants' Feedback:

      1. This was an outstanding presentation – full of exceptional materials and great speakers.
      2. Excellent panel.
      3. Excellent program! Really fantastic panel! Thank you!
      4. I especially enjoyed the “behind the scenes” insights of the panel.
      5. Always great!
      6. Very useful and informative.
      7. Great panel of distinguished judges!

      Corporate Internal Investigations: Nuts, Bolts and Special Problems, including the Attorney-Client Privilege
      Hon. Paul J. Fishman, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Russell C. Deyo, retired Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel of Johnson & Johnson; Carlos F. Ortiz, Partner, LeClair Ryan; Jacqueline C. Wolff, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; James A. Plaisted (moderator), Partner, Walder, Hayden & Brogan, P.A.

      Joint Defense Issues: Privileges, Agreements, and Practical & Ethical Problems
      Hon. Roberto A. Rivera-Soto, Partner at Ballard Spahr, L.L.P., former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice; Hon. Paul J. Fishman, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Justin P. Walder, Partner, Walder, Hayden & Brogan, P.A.; Samuel P. Moulthrop, Partner, Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP; James A. Plaisted (moderator), Partner, Walder, Hayden & Brogan, P.A.

      Handling Parallel Criminal & Civil Investigations: Navigating the Waters in the Wake of Citigroup
      John Farmer, Jr., Dean and Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law-Newark; Michael Martinez, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Jeffrey D. Smith, Partner, DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, LLP; John Michael Vazquez, Partner, Critchley, Kinum & Vazquez, LLC

      Practical Considerations in Sentencing Advocacy
      Stacy Biancamano, Arleo, Donahue & Biancamano; Honorable Stanley R. Chesler, Judge, United States District Court; Honorable Martin G. Cronin, Judge, Superior Court of New Jersey; Rachael Honig, Esq., Counsel to the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Samuel P. Moulthrop, Partner, Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP; Howard Zuckerman, Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Essex County Prosecutor's Office

      Handling the Media in Cases with Notoriety: A Lawyer's Guide
      Hon. Glenn J. Berman, Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP; Joseph A. Hayden Jr., Walder Hayden P.A.; Kevin R. Gardner, Connell Foley LLP; Charles J. Sciarra, Sciarra & Catrambone, LLC; Mark Di Ionno, Columnist, The Star-Ledger

      E-Discovery Issues in Federal Criminal Practice
      Hon. Patty Shwartz, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals; Hon. Jose L. Linares, District Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey; John M. Fietkiewicz, Counsel to the U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey; Lorraine Gauli-Rufo, former federal public defender and criminal defense attorney; Samuel P. Moulthrop, Partner, Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP

      An Evening with My Cousin Vinny: Trial Techniques from a Master!
      Hon. Paul J. Fishman, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey

      Policing Corruption Investigations and Prosecutions: Does the Remedy Fit the Harm
      Michael Critchley, Sr., founder of Critchley, Kinum & Vazquez, LLC; John Farmer, Jr., Dean and Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law-Newark; Joseph Hayden, Founding Partner of Walder, Hayden & Brogan, P.A.; Ralph Marra, Senior Vice President of the N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority; Josh Margolin, investigative reporter, New York Post; Ted Sherman, investigative reporter, The Star-Ledger

      *Speakers' information at the time of the program.

      Rutgers Institute for Professional Education is the approved New Jersey and Pennsylvania continuing legal education provider for Rutgers Law School and the C. Willard Heckel Inn of Court. Approved CLE programs also qualify for New York CLE credit pursuant to the New York Approved Jurisdiction policy.

      Heckel Inn members, Rutgers Law alumni, and ALL ATTORNEYS are encouraged to take the high-quality, engaging, and affordable CLE programs offered by the Institute for Professional Education at Rutgers Law School at both Camden and Newark throughout the year. 

      For a list and details of Rutgers CLE programs, visit rutgerscle.com, email IPE@law.rutgers.edu, or call 973-353-5928.

      C. Willard Heckel Inn of Court
      Rutgers Law School
      Center for Law and Justice
      123 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102
      973-353-5928  | IPE@law.rutgers.edu