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With roots six decades deep in the New Jersey legal community, Burke & Potenza focuses today on helping our clients prepare for the challenges of the new millennium.

Practice Areas

Civil Litigation

Civil litigation is the cornerstone of our practice. All of our partners have decades of experience as litigators, providing us with the necessary insight to evaluate and manage these cases from the pre-suit stage on. If litigation becomes necessary, we provide expert services from pre-trial discovery through verdict, and - if necessary - appeal. Our lawyers are familiar faces in every courthouse in the state, ensuring that every request we make and every position we take, will be treated with the proper consideration by the court.

Certainly, most cases settle short of verdict, and even before commencement of trial. We fully understand the quality of a settlement involves factors beyond the amount being paid to terminate the litigation. These include the time spent in reaching the resolution, and the amount it cost to get there. For us, the formula for a successful result is simple:

  • Early planning and budgeting, with informed input from the client;
  • Regular reporting and updated evaluations of the case as events dictate;
  • Skilled and thought-out use of alternative dispute resolution options.

We practice in a broad area of civil litigation, in particular:

Insurance Defense
Our litigation clients include many of the nation’s largest standard insurers as well as excess and surplus lines carriers. These companies entrust their cases to us with the knowledge that their concerns - regarding both exposure and cost - become our concerns.

Insurance Coverage
In what has become a highly specialized field of law, we provide advice and representation to clients in the insurance industry as to how the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions in increasingly complex policies will be applied by the court to a given set of facts. In certain types of litigation, e.g., construction or environmental, coverage litigation is an almost automatic counterpart to the underlying case. We understand the issues, and have the resources to handle any issue that a property casualty insurer - or one of its insureds - will be faced with.

Professional Services Malpractice
We have long experience in the defense of claims against providers of professional services: lawyers, certain medical providers, insurance agents and brokers, to name a few. We are mindful of the personal and institutional disruption involved in such litigation and take care to minimize it. We are also acutely aware of the fee shifting exposure involved in certain types of these claims, and how it affects settlement and trial strategy.

Employment Litigation
We are intimately familiar with the federal and state laws against discrimination, and have frequently represented employers, either retained directly or through their employment practices liability insurer. This litigation can range from the relatively simple involving isolated claims of sexual harassment to discovery and “document heavy” cases involving allegations of discriminatory employment practices. These, too, proceed in the long shadow of statutory fee shifting provisions.

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation
Mold, lead, asbestos, landfill, soil and groundwater contamination - we have handled them all from both liability and coverage perspectives. Whether the matter involves two parties or two hundred, we have a wealth of experience in managing and litigating these cases with an emphasis on economizing resources.

Construction Defect
Like environmental cases, claims against developers and contractors can have long tails. Construction defect litigation has exploded; in this economy, it is not going away soon. Coverage issues have to be identified early and properly communicated to the insured. Fee allocation agreements must be negotiated early, as defense costs can often be beyond the ability of one party to control. These cases require early and practical planning. A prime objective in our firm is to avoid litigation costs that can even dwarf the liability exposure. We have seen the disasters unfold - we know how to avoid them.

 

Appellate Evaluation

Burke and Potenza has a long and distinguished history of appellate involvement. The appellate judges all come from the county courthouses; they know us well. We understand the difference between an anomalous result and an injustice and how to persuade the court of one rather than the other depending on our clients’ interests. We produce effective, pointed briefs and couple them with aggressive and zealous arguments to achieve our clients' goals.

 

Business Counseling

A variety of clients regularly call upon Burke & Potenza to provide solutions to long-range and short-term problems. Examples of the areas in which we provide services in planning and executing transactions include: creation, structure, ownership, operations and sale of privately-held businesses; representation of buyers or sellers in the purchase and sale of assets and capital stock in corporations; and succession planning. Due to our breadth of experience in litigation, we can also advise as to the possible ramifications and costs that come with the "deal that fails to close."