Rutgers Law graduate Zahid N. Quraishi was appointed a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey, Trenton vicinage on June 3, 2019. Judge Quraishi, who is of Pakistani ancestry, is the first Asian-American to sit on the federal bench in New Jersey.
Prior to his appointment, Quraishi, RLAW ‘00, was the Chair of the White Collar Criminal Defense and Investigations Group and the first Chief Diversity Officer at Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti in Morristown, NJ.
Quraishi brings to the job the unique perspective of an attorney and veteran, having served as a captain in the U.S. Army JAG Corps after 9/11.
“Serving as a United States Magistrate Judge is the greatest honor of my career,” he said.
Quraishi’s duties include, among other things, resolving discovery disputes, overseeing all non-dispositive motions and conducting settlement conferences for civil cases. He also reviews and approves search warrants for criminal investigations, appoints counsel for defendants, determines bail, conducts initial appearances for criminal cases and trials in misdemeanor cases.
As a native of New York City who was raised in Fanwood, NJ, Quraishi earned a degree in criminal justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice before attending Rutgers Law School in Newark from 1997-2000. In law school, he served as Managing Business Editor for the Computer & Technology Law Journal, and as a member of the Rutgers Moot Court Board. He also worked as a teaching assistant for the Legal Research and Writing course. “I have very fond memories of my time at Rutgers and have maintained friendships that began in law school throughout my career,” he said.
After graduating from law school, Quraishi clerked for the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division and served as an associate at the law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae. He revealed that events of 9/11 influenced him to apply to the U.S. Army JAG Corps in 2002, where he was commissioned as an officer in 2003. Quraishi was stationed in Germany and served in Iraq in 2004 and 2006.
After his honorable discharge from the military, Quraishi returned to New Jersey and worked as a trial counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, and afterwards, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Newark, NJ. He worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for over five years, before joining Riker Danzig nearly six years ago. He was previously recognized by the New Jersey Law Journal as a “New Leader of the Bar” in 2014. More recently this past June, he was awarded the “Professional Achievement Award” by the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey and has been selected to receive the Standing Ovation Award from the South Asian Bar Association in September.
Quraishi had this advice for law students: “There is no substitute for strong work ethic, but they should also take the time to learn about themselves and their passions. A legal career is a marathon, not a sprint. It is important for young attorneys to experience different subject matters to determine what they want to do long-term in this profession. I was fortunate to find what interested me early in my career. Loving the work I have done and currently do positively impacts every other facet of my life.” He also praised people he met during his career. “I feel blessed to have encountered so many wonderful mentors and friends along the way and hope to continue to do so for the remainder of my career.”