James (“Jay”) McGovern is a partner and commercial trial and transactional lawyer in the Firm’s Business Law and Litigation Department.
After graduating with honors from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Jay began his career as an Assistant Prosecutor in Hudson County. As a lead prosecutor, he tried many substantial criminal matters including drug possession and distribution, official corruption and homicides.
Upon leaving the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in 1978, he returned to Monmouth County and in 1981 was named a partner in the law firm of Ansell, Zaro, McGovern & Bennett. Over the next 20 years, Jay expanded his practice to include a wide range of civil and commercial matters while remaining active in the criminal bar, serving as Municipal Prosecutor in Sea Bright, Long Branch, Tinton Falls, Colts Neck, Red Bank and Little Silver. His service was recognized with awards from both the Little Silver and Red Bank Police Departments. In 1988, Jay received the distinction of being Certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as both a Civil and Criminal Trial Lawyer.
More recently, Jay has represented varied businesses and their owners, shareholders and executives in sales, buyouts and valuations. He has closed commercial transactions in industries ranging from the supermarket industry to defense contractors. For many years he represented companies in the entertainment industry including representing entertainers most notably the Grateful Dead.
Jay has been an active member of the Bar at both the county and state levels. Serving as Chair of the Monmouth Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Committee, Law Office Committee, Civil Practice Committee and Municipal Court Committee, Jay was appointed to the Association’s Board of Trustees. His years of service on the Executive Committee culminated with his election in 1991 as President of the Monmouth Bar Association.
Continuing his commitment to the Bar, Jay was elected a Trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Association where he served for six years and then was appointed to the New Jersey State Prosecutorial and Judicial Appointments Committee which is charged with the review and approval of all judges and prosecutors appointed throughout the State of New Jersey. He also served on the District IX Ethics Committee of the New Jersey Supreme Court and was appointed Chair in 1988. He has been designated as a Special Master by the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court to convene and decide complex ethics matters.
Jay has lectured on ethics matters and commercial litigation to Bar Associations, young lawyers as part of the Skills and Methods Course and through the Institute of Continuing Legal Education. He has also lectured at the annual ethics training seminar for the Office of Attorney Ethics.
Jay is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Director of Philanthropy of the American Red Cross Central New Jersey Chapter and has also served on the Board of Directors of the Deal Golf & Country Club and chaired its Legal Committee, Membership Committee and Special Projects Committee. An Eagle Scout, Jay has remained active with the Boy Scouts of America through his service as a member of the Monmouth Council Executive Board. He is a recipient of the Western Monmouth Good Scout Award.