Patrick C. Dunican Jr., chairman and managing director of Gibbons P.C., has been reelected secretary of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting education on the law and legal system throughout New Jersey. Before becoming secretary in 2009, he had served as a trustee for two years.
Mr. Dunican is a nationally recognized law firm innovator who was highlighted by Law360 in 2010 as one of the nation's most innovative law firm managing partners. He has also been named one of the 100 most powerful people in New Jersey business by NJBIZ; an "Entrepreneur of the Year," in the Professional Services category, by Ernst & Young; and the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2011 by Seton Hall University School of Law. He was elected managing director of Gibbons in 2004, at the age of 36.
Under Mr. Dunican's leadership, Gibbons has consistently anticipated changes in the turbulent legal market. By establishing a corporate management model, he has led the firm's growth into a 230-lawyer, five-office Mid-Atlantic regional powerhouse. He has devoted major new emphasis and firm resources to the aggressive Gibbons diversity program, wide-ranging pro bono engagements, and a groundbreaking Women's Initiative. As a result of this work, as well as the firm's unique suite of additional personnel, corporate responsibility, and quality-of-life programs, Gibbons has earned many honors, including:
• joining the Am Law 200 for the first time;
• being named to the National Law Journal's inaugural "Midsize Hot List," one of only 20 firms nationwide, and the only NJ-headquartered firm, to be featured;
• ranking #18 nationwide (and #7 among Am Law "Second Hundred" firms) for associate satisfaction by American Lawyer; and
• being named among the "Best Places to Work" in America, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania by various organizations.
The John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest & Constitutional Law was honored by the Education Law Center (ELC) with its Morheuser Humanitarian Award. The award is named for the late Marilyn Morheuser, ELC executive director, known for being tireless in her efforts, committed to the change she sought, expert in her field, compassionate in her approach and charismatic in her ability to inspire.
The Morheuser Humanitarian Award recognizes dedication to improving education for New Jersey's disadvantaged public school children. For more than 20 years, the Gibbons Fellowship has been an advocate for poor inner-city students, particularly through its involvement in the landmark Abbott v. Burke school finance litigation, for which Gibbons served as co-counsel. The Fellowship has more recently opposed efforts by the state of New Jersey to reduce funding for these predominantly disadvantaged school districts.
"Marilyn's ambition was to make this state one in which rich and poor alike have equal educational opportunity, so that the children of New Jersey can, regardless of where they live, all become productive, fully participatory citizens and community members, and the state itself is a place where every child at least has the chance to be all that he or she can be," says Lawrence S. Lustberg, director of the Gibbons Fellowship, which has been involved in litigating education reform cases with ELC for over 20 years. "The Gibbons Fellowship strives to uphold those lofty ideals through our longstanding and ongoing work on behalf of urban school districts, and we are grateful to ELC for this honor."