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Deborah T.Poritz

As New Jersey’s first woman attorney general and first state Supreme Court chief justice, Deborah T. Poritz influenced every major public issue in the state for over a decade. Poritz earned her BA from Brooklyn College in 1958 and did graduate work at Columbia and Brandeis. She taught composition and literature at Ursinus College near Philadelphia for three years before going back to law school, earning her degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977. She joined the New Jersey attorney general’s office as a deputy attorney general first in environmental protection, then banking and securities before becoming director of the Division of Law in 1986, supervising over 300 attorneys for the state. In 1989 she became principal advisor to Governor Kean before partnering in a law firm from 1990–1994. Appointed attorney general in 1994, she oversaw everything from law enforcement to consumer affairs to civil rights issues for the state. In 1996 she was named chief justice of the state Supreme Court and served until she reached the mandatory retirement age in 2006. In 2008 she became counsel to the law firm Drinke, Biddle & Reath. As of 2011 she teaches at the Rutgers School of Law.

Topics: Law

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Brooklyn native Deborah Poritz was sworn in on July 10, 1996, as the first female Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, after serving as the state's first female attorney general.

Institution: New Jersey Judiciary

Date of Birth

Brooklyn, NY
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Deborah T. Poritz." (Viewed on December 10, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/poritz-deborah>.


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