Peter G. Verniero

Peter G. Verniero


Peter G. Verniero is Chair of the Firm’s Corporate Internal Investigations and Appellate Practice Groups.

Since joining the Firm in September of 2004, he has worked on a number of significant matters. He has, for example, advised numerous entities in matters pending before various state and federal regulatory or law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of N.J. and the U.S. Department of Justice. He has conducted internal investigations of large, public companies, in addition to advising business entities on document retention policies and on the rules governing discovery of electronically stored information.

Mr. Verniero represented Third Point LLC as part of its proxy contest for the election of directors to the board of Campbell Soup Co. Working with New York counsel, he filed suit on Third Point’s behalf in state court in the Camden Vicinage.  Mr. Verniero argued twice in court before the matter settled, with Third Point successfully placing two of its nominees on the Campbell board and gaining a role in selecting a third director and the hiring of Campbell’s CEO.

Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Verniero served in senior positions within the executive and judicial branches of state government. Appointed by Governor Christine Todd Whitman as her chief counsel, Mr. Verniero served in that capacity from January 1994 to February 1995, when he became the governor’s chief of staff. He remained in that position until July 1996, when he became Attorney General of New Jersey. As Attorney General, he personally argued cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. For example, in E.B. v. Verniero, 119 F.3d 1077 (3d Cir. 1997), he argued successfully in defense of Megan’s Law, New Jersey’s sexual-offender notification statute. At the time of the court’s decision, it was the first federal appellate court ruling in the country upholding a state’s version of Megan’s Law.

Mr. Verniero was appointed to the Supreme Court of New Jersey in 1999. As an associate justice for a five-year period from September 1999 to August 2004, Mr. Verniero authored and signed 124 judicial opinions touching on a wide array of civil and criminal areas, including employment, corporate, and constitutional law. For instance, he authored the Court’s opinion in In re PSE & G Shareholder Litigation, 173 N.J. 258 (2002), which articulated and applied a modified business judgment rule in upholding the dismissal of shareholder-derivative litigation. That opinion has been cited by numerous courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Court of Appeals for the State of California, and the Supreme Court of Minnesota. Other judicial opinions authored by Mr. Verniero have been cited by courts at different levels in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Hampshire, Alabama, and Hawaii.

Mr. Verniero annotates and provides commentary to the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey, a widely used reference guide for the legal profession published by Gann Law Books. 

Mr. Verniero’s essays on legal and public policy issues also are widely published and have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, TheNew York Times, TheStar-Ledger of Newark, ThePhiladelphia Inquirer, the Investor’s Business Daily, the New Jersey Law Journal, and the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.  He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including, most recently, in 2017, recognition as a "Distinguished Leader" by the New Jersey Law Journal.  In 2016, he received the Medal of Honor, the highest award conferred by the New Jersey Bar Foundation.  As another example, in 2004, he received the Gatekeeper Award in recognition of his “leadership in restoring public confidence in the law,” given by Common Good, a national bipartisan legal reform organization.

As a former state Attorney General, Mr. Verniero is a member of the Society of Attorneys General Emeriti and frequently attends meetings of the National Association of Attorneys General. At one national meeting, for example, he sat on a panel of current and former judges, offering insights on effective appellate advocacy before an audience of state solicitors and appellate chiefs. He similarly has lectured on effective appellate advocacy at meetings of various county bar associations in New Jersey.

Mr. Verniero began his career as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert L. Clifford, New Jersey Supreme Court. He also was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the County College of Morris, where he taught business law.

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Court Admissions

U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1984
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2007
U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1996
U.S. Supreme Court, 1996


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Rankings & Recognition

Distinguished Leader, Hunterdon County Business Hall of Fame, 2017

Distinguished Leader, New Jersey Law Journal®*, 2017

Medal of Honor, New Jersey State Bar Foundation, 2016

Community Service Award, SAFE in Hunterdon, 2014 

Public Service Recognition Award, Crime Stoppers of Hunterdon, 2013

Leaders and Legends Award, Newark YMCA, 2008

Montville Twp. High School Hall of Fame, Charter Member, 2001

Alumni Achievement Award, Drew University, 1999

Most Distinguished Citizen, presented by Clinton Twp. Mayor and Council, 1999

Defender of Justice Equal Protection Recognition Plaque, 1997

Distinguished Service Award, Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Law Society, 1994

* See Award Methodology


Vice Chair, New Jersey Supreme Court Civil Practice Committee
Former Member, Governor’s Advisory Ethics Panel
Former Chair, Governor’s Judicial Advisory Panel
Co-Chair, NJ SAFE Task Force (2013)
Former Chair, New Jersey Supreme Court Professional Responsibility Rules Committee
Former Chair, New Jersey Ad Hoc Committee on Continuing Legal Education
Former Member, Board of Trustees, Legal Services of New Jersey
Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Member, Society of Attorneys General Emeriti
Member, American Bar Association
Member, New Jersey State Bar Association
Member, The Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey
Member, Hunterdon County Bar Association
Member, Board of Visitors, Drew University
Former Member, Board of Trustees, Hunterdon Healthcare System
Member, Panel of Evaluators, New Jersey Law Journal’s Attorney of the Year Award (2018)
Former Member, Editorial Board, New Jersey Law Journal