Congratulations to Newton attorney Alan Strelzik for being honored on Law Day for his continuous dedication and work that focuses on advancing an equitable criminal justice system.
The rule of law is a principle that no one is above, regardless of race, wealth, job and political ties, and that everyone is legally responsible for their actionsand treated equally.
But when the nation watched as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, it left many American citizens questioning the criminal justice system and fueled movements for change.
"Taking into account our current national landscape, and the various calls for reform, change, equity, access, and unity, a renewed commitment to the rule of law perhaps provides our greatest chance for stability, order, and equal opportunity," said attorney Brian Lundquist, president of the Sussex County Bar Association.
Law Day, a national event recognizing the rule of law, is often celebrated by judges and attorneys in the historic Sussex County Courthouse, but it was curtailed for the second year due to the pandemic. But this year's theme, "Advancing the Rule of Law Now," is an important reminder of the importance of the pillars of democracy, Lundquist said.
And this year, the county bar association honored one of their own with a lifetime achievement award presented to Alan Strelzik, a family law and divorce attorney of the law firm Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Vandenberg, Hontz, & Olenick in Newton.
Strelzik has practiced family law in New Jersey for 47 years after serving one year as an attorney in Nebraska.
“For nearly half a century, Alan Strelzik has not only distinguished himself in Sussex County for his skill in practicing law, but perhaps more importantly because of how," Lundquist said.
Lundquist said Strelzik is well-known for devoting "innumerable" volunteer hours advocating on behalf of clients in his family law matter as well as victims of domestic violence. He has also served on the board of commissioners of the Newton Housing Authority, who focuses on the growing need for affordable senior housing in the town.
He has also been a board member for the Somerset-Sussex Legal Services, where he started his career in New Jersey, Rainbows of Learning and the Center for Humanistic Change.
Strelzik, who resides in Newton with his wife, Maureen, and has two daughters, started his own law firm with fellow attorneys Alfred Kaye and John Vandenberg and later merged that firm with his Newton-based firm. He is a graduate of Miami University and Rutgers Law School.
Strelzik was humbled by the award, stating that he has been proud of his career.
"In a way, I am a sum of the lawyers I have worked with, for and against," he said. "The partners I had and the adversaries I have faced made me the attorney I am today.
"It puts me in excellent company."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the first of May to be Law Day in 1958 as a counterpoint to May Day or International Workers Day, which is commonly celebrated worldwide on May 1.
Sussex County lawyers and judges, past and present, have celebrated the day for decades, welcoming members of the community to enjoy presentations, speeches and music.
The association each year honors a judge or attorney for their service to the practice of law. Those honored include Judge Paris Eliades, who was appointed in 2017 to the Hardyston and Sparta municipal courts and retired Sussex County Judge Lorraine Parker, who served as a judge in state Superior Court and then in the state Appellate Division.
The Morris/Sussex Superior Court vicinage will celebrate Law Day virtually at 3 p.m. on Friday. Members of the public can register to attend. New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, who will retire in August, will give the keynote address with speakers including Judge Stuart Minkowitz, the assignment judge for the Morris/Sussex Superior Court.