Former chief counsel sworn in as N.J.'s new AG

Jessica M. Karmasek Jan. 12, 2012, 9:20am


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - Jeffrey Chiesa was officially sworn in as New Jersey's 59th attorney general Tuesday.

Chiesa, 46, served as chief counsel to Gov. Chris Christie from January 2010 to December 2011, when he was nominated by Christie to be attorney general.

Chiesa is replacing former Attorney General Paula Dow, who announced last month she was stepping down as the state's top lawyer.

Christie said Dow will become deputy general counsel for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- a temporary post. She also has been nominated to the Essex County Superior Court.

"Jeff brings to the position of attorney general an ideal combination of integrity, law enforcement leadership, legal acumen and commitment to service," Christie said in a statement this week.

"In the many years that I have known Jeff as a close friend and invaluable colleague, I have never seen him shrink from a challenge or fail to deliver on the priorities he set. I am confident that he will make the best use of the considerable resources of the Department of Law and Public Safety to promote the safety, security and welfare of the people of New Jersey."

Chiesa's nomination was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the state's Senate Judiciary Committee Jan. 5, and approved by the full Senate 37-0 Monday.

"I am tremendously honored by the confidence that Governor Christie and the Senate have shown in me," Chiesa said Tuesday.

"By nominating and confirming me to lead the Department of Law and Public Safety and serve as the State's top law enforcement officer, they have given me the opportunity to impact the lives of the people of New Jersey in many important ways. I welcome this challenge and pledge that I will do everything in my power to protect the people of this State, improve their quality of life, and use the law to advance their interests."

Prior to serving as Christie's chief counsel, Chiesa was executive director of the governor's transition team. He also was a partner at the law firm of Wolf and Samson in their litigation group.

Before that, he worked in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey from 2002 to 2009. He also served as counsel to the U.S. Attorney and as chief of the Public Protection Unit.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, he was a partner at the firm of Dughi and Hewit, where he litigated civil matters, including the representation of medical professionals and hospitals.

Chiesa earned his undergraduate degree in business administration/accounting from the University of Notre Dame. He earned his law degree from The Catholic University of America.

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