Law360, Clifton, N.J. (July 13, 2017, 7:02 PM EDT) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has tapped James DiGiulio of O’Toole Scrivo Fernandez Weiner Van Lieu LLC to be his new chief counsel, ending the short-lived tenure of another attorney who has been named a state Superior Court judge, the governor's office said Thursday.
A former member of the Christie administration, DiGiulio will replace Gregory L. Acquaviva, who was nominated for the judgeship by Christie and then confirmed two weeks ago by the New Jersey Senate. The latest staffing change comes roughly four months after Acquaviva began serving as the governor's chief counsel.
In March, Christie announced that Acquaviva was replacing Thomas P. Scrivo, who left the chief counsel post after 18 months to become a name partner at O’Toole Scrivo, a newly rechristened law firm originally started in 2008 by Juan Fernandez and Republican state senator and fellow lawyer Kevin O’Toole.
At that time, the governor's office also said DiGiulio was departing as senior counsel to the governor to join O’Toole Scrivo.
On Thursday, the Republican governor praised both Acquaviva and DiGiulio in a statement.
“I want to thank Greg for his dedication and hard work. While I lose his expertise on my senior staff, the public will be well served as he brings his intellect and thoughtfulness to the New Jersey bench,” Christie said of Acquaviva, who previously served as vice president of state government affairs at UnitedHealth Group, as Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s chief of staff and as assistant counsel in the governor’s counsel’s office.
“I also want to thank Jim DiGiulio for returning from private practice to rejoin my staff,” the governor added. “He was exemplary as senior counsel, and I am fortunate to have him aboard again, this time leading my legal team while we continue to address the many challenging issues this state faces over the next several months.”
DiGiulio was unavailable for comment on Thursday.
As senior counsel, DiGiulio led efforts to obtain State Health Benefits Program savings and pass legislation that provides health insurance coverage for those with a substance abuse disorder, according to the governor's office.
In addition to developing legal advice for Christie on legislation and litigation involving the administration's policies, DiGiulio oversaw legislative, regulatory and litigation matters for various state departments, the office said. He also worked with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office and outside counsel on litigation strategy for complex matters involving the governor’s office and the state, the office said.
Before joining the governor's office, DiGiulio was an associate with McElroy Deutsch Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP, where he handled complex commercial litigation matters, the governor's office said.
At O’Toole Scrivo, DiGiulio handles commercial litigation cases and the administration of numerous firm matters, including hiring, risk management, technology, marketing and communications, the office said.
About O’Toole Scrivo, LLC
O'Toole Scrivo is a carefully crafted mid-sized law firm of recognized subject matter experts practicing primarily in New York and New Jersey. The firm combines large-firm expertise with small-firm attention to client needs, representing businesses, insurance companies, and government entities. O'Toole Scrivo is committed to delivering creative and timely results for the most high-profile and complex matters.