The award recognizes Alexander Shalom’s work on bail reform that went into effect Jan. 1
NEWARK -- The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) today announced its senior staff attorney, Alexander Shalom, was named Attorney of the Year by the New Jersey Law Journal. Voted upon by an outside panel of distinguished legal community members and the publication's editorial staff, the honor recognizes Shalom's dedication to protecting and expanding the civil rights and civil liberties of New Jersey residents, and his work toward enacting and defending the state's historic pretrial justice reforms.
The New Jersey Law Journal announced the honor at the conclusion of its Professional Excellence event on June 20.
Shalom, 39, has argued roughly 25 cases in front of the state Supreme Court, with a focus on criminal justice issues that include juvenile justice and police searches. As Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU-NJ, he has been at the forefront of the organization's work to end mass incarceration. Shalom joined Mattheu Nunn of Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito & Frost and Thomas Prol of Laddey Clark & Ryan, the immediate past president of the New Jersey Bar Association, as a finalist for the award.
"To receive this honor, especially considering the legal talent in this state, is humbling and a reflection of the entire ACLU-NJ team's work this past year," Shalom said. "More than anything, though, it signals recognition that recent changes reforming a broken, unjust bail system are exceedingly important. Our team and our partners will continue to defend the recent reforms and work to improve the system, making my home state one that's both more fair and more safe than it was as recently as last year, and a model for the rest of the nation."
Shalom and colleagues have worked with many partners since 2013 to help pass the pretrial justice reforms that went into effect in January. The new measures greatly reduce the role of money bail in determining whether a person charged with a crime is released. Instead, a risk-based assessment is now used to determine whether the person should be detained to protect public safety, or under what conditions they can be released while they await trial.
"Quite simply, people's freedom is no longer dependent upon how thick their wallets are," said Shalom.
Shalom was nominated for the honor by Lawrence Lustberg, director at Gibbons P.C.
"This was a breakout year for Alex, one in which he established himself as an omnipresent, effective and distinguished protector of the constitutional rights of all New Jerseyans," Lustberg said in his nomination letter. "Alex has become a virtual spokesperson, albeit in the context of litigation, for bail reform in New Jersey and, having had a huge hand in its creation, is assuring that it maintains that it maintains its vitality and meaning."