New Managing Partner of New Brunswick-based Firm Has Passion for Law, Nonprofit Work

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Serving as the beating heart of a nonprofit touring youth percussion organization for 21 years has yielded many lessons that Chad Moore has carried into his law career.

As the artistic director for United Percussion and Arts, a New Jersey-based 501(c)(3) group dedicated to developing young people 17-22 in the performing arts, he’s grown accustomed to explaining the nonprofit’s mission to new generations of members and volunteers.

“They grow up, or they grow out of it,” Moore said. “Somebody new has to come in, and you have to enlighten them to the mission and why it’s important. It’s a cycle. I feel like having that has helped me in a courtroom, explaining to people I’ve never met before what this case might be about or why their decision on the case is important.”

The courtroom has long been the most comfortable space for Moore, who was named last month as managing partner at Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas in New Brunswick.

With no emails, no phone calls, no colleagues barging into his office, Moore can concentrate on representing his clients, addressing the jury and arguing the best case he can.

He is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a civil trial attorney, a distinction bestowed upon less than 2% of attorneys who demonstrate an efficient level of knowledge and skill in the field of civil trial practice.

Moore has successfully handled matters in the areas of personal injury, automobile and premises liability, professional malpractice, insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, contract/indemnification disputes, risk management, environmental torts and personal injury protection.

His accomplishments extend to work performed in the appellate division, where he has helped shape the law on the use of expert testimony at trial. In the published decision of James v. Ruiz, the Appellate Division upheld Moore’s position regarding the bootstrapping of expert testimony. He originally tried the underlying case before Judge James P. Savio in Superior Court in Atlantic County. At the trial level, the jury unanimously agreed that the plaintiff failed to prove a permanent injury. The plaintiff appealed the decision, arguing that he should have been able to use the opinion of a non-testifying doctor in his summation.

Moore, however, successfully argued again in the Appellate Division, upholding the verdict. The opinion has had a lasting impact on trial practitioners and the use of expert testimony at trial.

“We are thrilled to have Chad step into the role of managing partner,” said Gary J. Hoagland, the firm's former managing partner. “His legal acumen, leadership skills, forward-thinking approach, and steadfast commitment to client service uniquely position him to propel our firm into a promising future.”

So sometimes Moore is impacting case law in New Jersey and sometimes he’s simply serving as a champion for his clients.

He recently successfully represented a senior couple who were being sued for damages. They’ve been so appreciative of Moore’s representation that they continue to send him thank-you notes.

“They had never been part of the court system,” he said. “So, everything was new. Even the directions to the courthouse, where to park, what time to leave for the day, what time to be there, what the role of the jurors was, and what the role of the judge was.”

He's been so busy with his new responsibilities as managing partner that Moore hasn’t really stopped to put it in perspective. After all, he’s been talking about being a lawyer since he was a young boy growing up in – where else – Cape May Courthouse. His dad, Blake, who spent years as a detective, and his mom, Winnie-Jewel, who often took him to drum lessons and other extracurricular events, urged him to pursue his dream.

He hasn’t had much time to consider what becoming a managing partner of a firm that has been serving the area since 1977 means as a Black man, and whether he’s an example during Black History Month that Black history is being made every day.

“It’s certainly significant for anyone to ascend to the managing partner in a large law firm,” Moore said. “And it’s super important, I think, for this firm because we do believe in diversity and inclusion and have made tremendous strides, significantly in the past five to 10 years. It’s been a mission of ours.

“And then the representation of really just being able to see that it’s possible and it can be a thing for anyone who wants to be in a leadership role for anyone who’s a minority. I do think about, you know, you want to see it to believe it. And then you just say, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ ”

Story  By: Chuck O'Donnell
Photo Credit: Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas