HDA Class of 2002
Sylvia B. Pressler
Presiding Judge, N.J. Superior Court, Appellate Division
School of Law–Newark 1959
Sylvia B. Pressler was the highest-ranking jurist in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, where she presided over 34 appellate judges, for 20 years until her retirement in 2004. Governor Brendan Byrne appointed her to the Superior Court in 1976, and she served with distinction. The New Jersey Supreme Court called on her to join its deliberations when there was a vacancy. Her insightful book on the rules governing New Jersey courts is emulated by similar publications throughout the United States. She was the longtime chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court Civil Practice Committee and an officer in the Chief Judges Conference of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association. In March 2004, she gave the Chief Justice Weintraub lecture at the School of Law–Newark and said: "Doing the right thing for the right reason has to be what we're about. That often requires some modicum of moral courage. It often requires us to be aware of the individual baggage we each carry about and not let it get in the way. And it always requires just plain hard work." In 2005, Pressler received the Richard J. Hughes Career Public Service Award; the following year, she authored commentaries and annotations for the 2007 version of New Jersey Court Rules.