SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Fabiana Pierre-Louis, a member of Union Catholic’s Class of 1998, made history on Friday when N.J. Governor Phil Murphy said he will nominate her to become New Jersey’s first black woman to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Murphy made the landmark announcement during a new conference from Trenton.

“Today I will submit Fabiana’s name to the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee, and I look forward to their review, and upon their approval, to Fabiana’s formal nomination,” said Murphy.

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The 39-year-old Pierre-Louis, who resides in Mount Laurel, is currently a partner at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP in Cherry Hill where she works in Montgomery McCracken’s White Collar and Government Investigations practice group. Her work at the firm primarily focuses on complex commercial litigation, white collar crime, and government investigations.Pierre-Louis hasn’t only worked in private practice, but has also worked as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice for years.

Governor announces historic Supreme Court nomination. WATCH: https://t.co/ib3nVV8IbX

— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 5, 2020

“I have spent my entire legal career in New Jersey, both private practice, and in government service as an Assistant United States Attorney,” Pierre-Louis said. “It is extremely humbling, and I am beyond excited and enthusiastic at the opportunity to continue the proud tradition of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s commitment to justice, equality, and fairness.I would like to thank Governor Murphy for this honor, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of New Jersey.’’

Pierre-Louis said her time at Union Catholic helped shape the person she is today. 

“Every school I’ve attended in my life has played an important role in who I am today,’’ said Pierre-Louis. “From my time at Saint Paul the Apostle elementary school in Irvington, to high school at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, to Rutgers in New Brunswick, and to Rutgers Law School in Camden-from North to South I have been very fortunate to have received a phenomenal education here in New Jersey, every step of the way.’’      

During her days at Union Catholic, Pierre-Louis was a member of the Service Club, Black History Club, Gospel Choir, Environmental Club, French Honor Society, French Club, Double Dutch Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and she has always been a consistent supporter of the school.

Union Catholic Principal Sister Perylee Hart, RSM, said it’s a very proud day for Union Catholic and she’s overcome with joy for Pierre-Louis. 

“We are so proud and thrilled for this great honor that has been bestowed upon Fabiana with this nomination,’’ said Sister Percylee, the principal at Union Catholic since 1980. ”For Union Catholic, this brings so much pride and joy as we celebrate the successful career journey of one of our graduates. It’s a groundbreaking moment.’’  

Following her graduation from Union Catholic in 1998, Pierre-Louis received her

B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University in New Brunswick. She then earned a law degree from Rutgers Law School in Camden, magna cum laude. In law school, Pierre-Louis was Vice President of the Black Law Students Association, Governor’s Executive Fellow of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, and a Volunteer for the Rutgers Domestic Violence Project. 

Immediately following law school, Pierre-Louis served as a law clerk for the Honorable John E. Wallace, Jr. of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (Ret.). Wallace is the last African-American to serve as a justice on the state’s Supreme Court.

 

Prior to Montgomery McCracken, Pierre-Louis served for nine years in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and the Attorney-in-Charge of the Camden Branch Office, the first woman of color to hold that position in the history of the District. As Attorney-in-Charge, Pierre-Louis was responsible for supervising all aspects of criminal matters handled by the Camden Office including criminal trials, investigations and prosecutions of large-scale mail and wire fraud offenses, healthcare and government fraud matters, as well as narcotics, firearms, and violent crime offenses. She also investigated and prosecuted her own individual caseload focusing on public corruption matters, federal narcotics offenses, export control violations, defense contracting fraud, national security matters, and child exploitation offenses.

Before serving as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Camden Office, Pierre-Louis also served as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Branch Office from November 2016 to December 2018 and was the first woman of color to hold that position as well. In addition to working in both Trenton and Camden, Pierre-Louis worked in the Newark Office in the General Crimes Unit and the Organized Crime and Gang Unit.

Pierre-Louis has earned several honors and awards in her career. 

She was named a “Diverse Attorney of the Year” by New Jersey Law Journal in 2019. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Garden State Bar Association Young Lawyer Award in 2017, and she received the Rutgers Excellence in Alumni Leadership Spirit Award in 2010

Pierre-Louis is a trustee for the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey, a Board Member of the Rutgers Law School (Camden) Alumni Association, former Board of Directors of the Haitian-American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (HALA-NJ), a member of the Garden State Bar Association,the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, and the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey.

Pierre-Louis is confident she will bring a unique perspective to the court.

“I am a Black woman,’’ Pierre-Louis told ESSENCE magazine. “I am the child of immigrants from Haiti. I am someone who is a first generation American citizen here in this country, [the] first person in my family to attend law school, to become a lawyer, someone who’s also lived in a variety of inner cities throughout my life, beginning with my early childhood in Brooklyn, then followed by the remainder of my childhood in Irvington, New Jersey,” she said. “All those experiences bring a unique perspective to the Court that currently is not there.”

If confirmed, Pierre-Louis would take the place of Walter “Wally” Timpone, who will turn 70 in November. New Jersey justices and judges must retire at 70.

Pierre-Louis will be Murphy’s first nominee to the Supreme Court.

Murphy told ESSENCE the court should reflect New Jersey’s diversity.

“A core tenet of my administration is a commitment to an independent, fair-minded judiciary that reflects the immense diversity of our great state,” Murphy told the magazine. "As a first-generation American, Fabiana brings both a sharp legal acumen and the perspective of her own past that will greatly benefit the proceedings of our state’s highest court.”