Hon. John A. Conte (Ret.)
Judge John A. Conte has returned to the practice of law after having served nearly 25 years as a Superior Court Judge and 16 years as a Municipal Court Judge. Before beginning his legal career, Judge Conte graduated from the American Academy of Embalming and Mortuary Research in 1955. Upon completion of his apprenticeship at his family funeral homes, he became a licensed New Jersey Funeral Director in 1958. His license has been always kept current to present. Thereafter, he graduated from Seton Hall University in 1961, with a political science concentrate for a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Shortly thereafter, his Army Reserve Unit, the 114th Surgical Hospital (MASH), assigned to First Army, was called to active duty during the Berlin crisis. He was honorably discharged in 1962 as a Sgt. First Class, after eight years of reserve and active service. He entered Seton Hall University Law School and graduated in 1967. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar on October 31, of the same year. Subsequently, he was admitted to practice before the New York Bar, the US Federal District Court, the US Circuit Court of Appeals (Third Circuit) and the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Conte opened his office for the practice of law on January 1, 1968 in Saddle Brook, where he remained until his appointment to the Superior Court in 1991. While practicing law, he was appointed as attorney to the Elmwood Park Board of Adjustment, then municipal prosecutor, Borough Attorney and Judge of the Municipal Court. He was also attorney to the Saddle Brook Board of Adjustment and thereafter Municipal Judge. Following these positions, he was appointed as attorney to the Wallington Planning Board, then as a Municipal Judge. He also served as Municipal Judge in Rochelle Park and as attorney to the Lodi Board of Adjustment. In the interim, he was appointed Municipal Judge of the Borough of Fort Lee to help relieve the backlog of Port Authority cases associated with the George Washington Bridge.
During that period he formed the law firm of Conte, Clayton and Conte after his daughter and son both passed the bar exam in 1984.
Upon appointment to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Judge Conte was assigned to the civil division for a short period before transferring to the family division for four years. Thereafter, he was assigned to the criminal division where he served until the mandatory retirement age of 70. Within two years, he was recalled to the bench and served in the criminal and family divisions until shortly before meeting the mandatory retirement age of 80.
Judge Conte has been published, beginning with his law school thesis entitled, “Cemetery Law, sale of vaults, monuments and funerals prohibited.” The National Funeral Directors Association included the thesis in their monthly publication of “The Director”, a two-part series in 1966. As part of a lecture series to judges, he wrote, “Criminal Motions Guide” beginning in 2001. It has been revised and reprinted bi-annually, the latest revision is dated 2016. In 2008, I.C.L.E. published the entire volume as part of their lecture series.
Judge Conte was previously a member of the Supreme Court Ethics Committee, past president of the Bergen County Municipal Judges Association, past president of Saddle Brook Unico, served on the Juvenile Justice Lawyers Panel and Seton Hall Moot Court program.
He continues to be a member of the Bergen County Bar Association and formerly chaired the committee on municipal courts, judicial selection committee, subcommittee on traffic and computerization for municipal courts, as well as memberships on other committees. He is qualified as a court approved Mediator under Rule 1:40 for Civil, General Equity, Probate and Economic Aspects of family law cases. He is serving as “Of Counsel” to the law firm of Meryl Conte Clayton, Esq. and Michael Austin, Esq. (Conte Clayton and Austin) with offices located in Midland Park, New Jersey and Sarasota, Florida.