Jerry Zaro


Jerry Zaro, Chair of Banking and Real Estate Services Department, focuses his practice on banking and finance, real estate, corporate and government relations matters. He began his law career as a judicial secretary to the Honorable Thomas F. Shebell, Jr. in the Superior Court of Monmouth County. Prior to joining Sills Cummis & Gross, Mr. Zaro was the President and Managing Partner of Ansell Zaro Grimm and Aaron for 25 years and served as the Chair of the Commercial Real Estate and Finance & Banking departments. 

Mr. Zaro has served in a variety of leadership posts in the administrations of the last eight consecutive Governors of New Jersey—five Democrats and three Republicans. Mr. Zaro served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Highway Authority, Chairman of the New Jersey Highway Authority, Commissioner of the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority and as the Chief of the Office of Economic Growth for the State of New Jersey, a cabinet level position in the administrations of Governor Jon Corzine (D) and Governor Chris Christie (R).  During his tenure as New Jersey’s "Economic Czar,” Mr. Zaro made multiple significant strides in promoting and improving the business environment in the State utilizing incentives offered by New Jersey. In this capacity, he had a hand in bringing thousands of jobs to New Jersey and helping retain jobs in danger of being relocated out of state.

On April 10, 2018, upon recommendation of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Mr. Zaro was appointed as the New Jersey Trustee of the three member Gateway Development Corporation (GDC), to serve alongside the New York and Amtrak designated Trustees. Mr. Zaro served as Chairman of the GDC in 2019 and now serves as Treasurer. GDC oversees the Gateway Project, a potential $30 billion infrastructure initiative to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, a new Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, an expansion of New York’s Penn Station, and other ancillary projects which would comprise the largest current infrastructure project in the United States.

In May 2020, Mr. Zaro was appointed as a Member of Governor Murphy's Restart and Recovery Advisory Council - Facilities and Construction Subcommittee. The Governor’s Restart and Recovery Advisory Council brings together leaders throughout New Jersey to advise state leadership on economic matters impacted by COVID-19.

Mr. Zaro has also worked to make New Jersey a friendlier environment for all businesses. He helped to create and then lead the New Jersey Real Estate Advisory Board, comprised of the leaders in the industry, to identify and eliminate red tape, propose pro-business legislation and attract more businesses to locate in New Jersey. He worked to develop the widely praised Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Act, which outsources some Department of Environmental Protection applications to private licensed professionals and fast-tracks the application process.   

Mr. Zaro is also engaged in numerous business and corporate entities. He was a founder of Ocean Independent Bank, where he served as chairman, a Member of the Board of Directors of First DeWitt Bank and Rumson-Fair Haven Bank, as well as Commerce of Bank Shore N.A., now part of TD Bank. He is also a principal in numerous real estate companies which acquire, develop, own, manage and operate various properties, consisting of several million square feet, located in eight states, including office, industrial, warehouse, residential and retail properties.

Mr. Zaro is also an active breeder and owner of thoroughbred racehorses, based in New York State. Among the horses he has campaigned are, most notably Blindwillie McTell, a 3-time NY-bred stake champion in 2019, as well as Baby Yoda, who recorded the fastest Beyer figures at both Saratoga and in the United States in 2021.

In addition to his involvement with a variety of businesses and corporate boards, Mr. Zaro has been engaged with numerous charitable, governmental organizations and civic affairs.

Mr. Zaro’s experience has earned him recognition in numerous industry publications, including being ranked #9 on the 2021 NJBIZ “Law Power 50” ranking of the most influential individuals in New Jersey’s legal profession.

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Rankings & Recognition

Selected for inclusion in:

  • The Best Lawyers in America®* 2012-2022, Corporate Law; Real Estate Law
  • New Jersey Super Lawyers®* 2006-2007, 2013-2018, Real Estate: Business; Banking; Business/Corporate
  • New Jersey Law Journal®* "New Jersey Trailblazers" 2019
  • ROI-NJ* "ROI Influencers Power List" 2019-2021, Economic Development, Transportation & Logistics (2021) and Economic Development (2019-2020)
  • ROI-NJ* "ROI Influencers: Real Estate" 2019-2020
  • NJBIZ®* magazine's "Power 100" List 2013, 2019-2021
  • NJBIZ®* magazine's "Law Power 50" List 2019-2021
  • NJBIZ®* magazine's "Power 50: The Most Influential People in Real Estate" 2010-2011, 2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell®*  AV rating
* See Award Methodology. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.