Peter Lederman:

A long overdue NCDD Member in the Spotlight and superstar is Peter Lederman of Freehold, New Jersey. His practice is limited to the exclusive representation of those accused of DWI and DWI related offenses. Under New Jersey law a DWI is a traffic offense. DWI charges are governed by Title 39 of the Motor Vehicle Code which regulates all New Jersey traffic offenses. Peter is one of 20+ Certified Municipal Court Attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. This highly prized designation is achieved after passing a written exam and extensive review of cases tried over one’s career with input from Judges and Prosecutors.

Peter’s distinguished career includes many awards. He is a recipient of the New Jersey State Bar Association Advocacy Award in 2000 and the Middlesex County Bar Association Municipal Court Attorney of the Year Award in 2006. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, AVVO and Best Lawyers. He regularly provides continued legal education to other attorneys in New Jersey. He impacts DWI policy in the state. He has testified before the New Jersey legislature, contributed to news stories produced by major media outlets, and has published in various professional journals. His memberships include the Middlesex County Bar Association: Member, Co-Chairman, Municipal Court Committee (1997-2001); New Jersey State Bar Association: Member, Chairman, Municipal Court Section (1998-2001); American Bar Association; Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey; Monmouth Bar Association; American Trial Lawyer Association; National College for DUI Defense; Francis Moore Scrambled Egg Society, Westfield New Jersey Area YMCA, Echol Lake Country Club, Friends of Westfield Library, Metropolitan Golf Association, and the Society Corpse de Ballet.

It is always most impressive and inspiring to see lawyers pass their knowledge and skills down from generation to generation. Peter’s father was a solo practitioner, and his mother was a homemaker. Through birth, he grew up knowing what is required to practice and succeed in law. He accepted the challenge on Parent’s Weekend during college at Franklin and Marshall College. He majored in Government, leveraging his knowledge as a campaign manager for a Congressional candidate. He earned his law degree from Fordham University School of Law, even teaching business law at Rutgers. Other jobs in Peter’s past which built his character include ushering at the Metropolitan Opera House, stocking for a vending company, and working for a large NYC bank during law school. A particularly cherished memory from his time at the bank was seeing Muhammad Ali the morning after the first Frazier fight at the Garden across the street from his office.

Peter is definitely home grown and lives by the mantra, “Deep roots bear rich fruits.” He is a New Jersey boy, born and bred, through and through. Predictably, he loves Jersey corn, blueberries and tomatoes, the Jersey Shore, and access to the Big Apple. He has lived his whole life in New Jersey except for college (Pa.) and law school (NYC). When not working or playing golf with friends, Peter most enjoys cigars; regularly sponsoring and speaking at events at his club. He is a true “cigar enthusiast.” Peter’s family is his joy. He considers his biggest win persuading his wife to marry him. He has been married for over 42 years, with two daughters, two grandchildren and two golden doodles.

One of Peter’s favorite legal victories revealed a police department’s policy to record the breath test process. This was secret information until the Judge ordered the Chief of Police to appear in one of Peter’s trials. Peter is revered as a leader to many in New Jersey. A few years ago, he was asked to write a column for the New Jersey Law Journal giving advice to new lawyers. After 49 years of practice through hard earned experience, he summated a wealth of healthy tips:

  1. Love what you do. Have passion for your work.
  2. Be yourself. Rely upon and be comfortable being that person. Don’t try to be someone you are not.
  3. Being yourself is one thing… being a “jerk” is another. Don’t abuse the courtesies that are normally extended by courts and colleagues.
  4. Always fight for your client Drill down and drill down again, your client is relying upon you to be your best.
  5. Do the right thing. Rely on your own sense of what’s right and wrong.
  6. Honor your license to practice law. Your ability to do your job (and support your family) depends upon your ability to stay on the rails and keep that license.
  7. Reach out for help when you need it. The smartest lawyers know what they don’t know and ask others for help.
  8. Don’t try to do everything at once. Build your case and your practice gradually. Patience is a great quality. Be patient.
  9. Be brave. The practice at first can be intimidating dealing with adversaries who are more experienced and recognized in their fields. Do what’s right. Be prepared. Represent your client!
  10. Be inquisitive. Don’t be afraid to look where others wouldn’t think of looking. Take advantage of the unique viewpoint that you bring. Don’t be afraid to pull back the curtain.
  11. Finally, never forget there is a life outside of what happens in the office. If you maintain the same passion in life as you do for your work, you will be a happy person.

Peter’s approach to law focuses on getting the best possible outcome for the client; whether it is fighting in trial or minimizing the sanctions which accompany a DWI conviction. Persuasion on both fronts being the key element. Peter’s practice is very personal, describing DWI clients as most vulnerable at their lowest levels of self-esteem, with more questions than answers, needing a helping hand to guide them through the uncertainties. After nearly five decades, Peter’s formula is a winning one.

When asked about the NCDD, Peter emphasized the opportunity to learn, share thoughts, and enjoy the company of colleagues. “This makes us all better in the very important and difficult task of practicing law.” It’s seasoned lawyers like Peter that cushion our blows, inspire us to greater heights with his encouragement and wisdom, and teach us what the pure passion of our work can do for those we represent. Babe Ruth said “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” This defines Peter Lederman. Thank you Peter for all that you do.


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