We mourn the loss of our friend, trusted mentor, and revered colleague, Judge John Conte, who departed this Earth on Monday, March 30, 2020. Judge Conte will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. His life and work left an indelible mark on his friends, family, and the legal community. His gifts and accomplishments are too numerous to recount here. We celebrate Judge Conte’s life and are grateful for the wonderful gift of his friendship. Below are some links in remembrance of Honorable John A. Conte, J.S.C. (ret.) (1936-2020).
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. With deep insight into a wide range of legal issues, Judge Conte contributes an invaluable perspective to our firm and our clients.
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’s funeral homes, he became a licensed New Jersey Funeral Director in 1958. His license has been always kept current to present.
Thereafter, Judge Conte 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.
After graduating from Seton Hall University Law School, Judge Conte opened his law office on January 1, 1968 in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, where he remained until his appointment to the Superior Court in 1991. While practicing law, Judge Conte 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 an attorney to the Saddle Brook Board of Adjustment and thereafter Municipal Judge.
Following these positions, Judge Conte was appointed as attorney to the Wallington Planning Board, then as a Municipal Judge. He also served as a 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. After his daughter and son both passed the bar exam in 1984, Judge Conte formed the law firm of Conte, Clayton and Conte, P.C.
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 a number of times, 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, Judge Conte wrote Criminal Motions Guide in 2001. The guide has been revised and reprinted bi-annually, with the latest revision dated 2018. In 2008, I.C.L.E. published the entire volume as part of their lecture series.
Judge Conte 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 also qualified as a court approved Mediator under Rule 1:40 for Civil, General Equity, Probate and Economic Aspects of family law cases.
More About Judge Conte
Bar & Court Admissions:
- New Jersey Bar
- New York Bar
- US Federal District Court
- US Circuit Court of Appeals (Third Circuit)
- United States Supreme Court
- Bergen County Bar Association
- American Academy of Embalming and Mortuary Research, 1955
- Seton Hall University, B.A. in Political Science, 1961
- Seton Hall University Law School, 1967
Volunteer & Community Positions:
- Past member, Supreme Court Ethics Committee
- Past president of the Bergen County Municipal Judges Association
- Past president of Saddle Brook Unico
- Juvenile Justice Lawyers Panel
- Seton Hall Moot Court program