Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello A Professional Corporation- Commercial Litigation

Experience Excellence at Bernardsville, NJ Civil Litigation, Banking & Local Government Law Firm

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Firm Overview

Since 1978 Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C. has been helping clients to find the most logical and sensible legal solutions. We are a general practice law firm designed and structured for the expert handling of sophisticated business transactions and litigated matters while maintaining the kind of close client relationships difficult at large firms. We are dedicated to providing quality legal services to our clients quickly, effectively and economically.

We listen attentively to your concerns, clearly and precisely explain potential legal strategies and share our in-depth knowledge of the area of the law in which you need help. Our attorneys take pride in solving your cases and meeting your legal needs in ways that satisfy you.

Our attorneys are known and recognized by the legal community for their integrity and legal talent. The firm is AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest recognition possible in the legal industry, for its professionalism and ethics.

Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C. can help you with legal matters related to:

-Appellate law
-Administrative Law
-Bankruptcy
-Civil litigation
-Criminal litigation
-Corporate
-Creditors' rights
-Estate planning
-General civil and business practice with emphasis on banking
-Land use law
-Legislative matters
-Municipal law
-Real estate
-Regulatory issues
-Trials and appeals


Exceptional legal service at an experienced NJ law firm

Our commitment to our clients is our number one priority. Our attorneys are precise and winning litigators, dedicated to providing you with unsurpassed personal attention from the initial consultation through the conclusion of your case.
Main Office

Main Office
150 Morristown Road
Suite 105
Bernardsville  NJ  07924

Phone
  • 9089539300
Business
Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C. can help you with legal matters related to:
-Appellate law
-Administrative Law
-Bankruptcy
-Civil litigation
-Criminal litigation
-Corporate
-Creditors' rights
-Estate planning
-General civil and business practice with emphasis on banking
-Land use law
-Legislative matters
-Municipal law
-Real estate
-Regulatory issues
-Trials and appeals

Joel L. Shain

Joel L. Shain who specializes in governmental, administrative, appellate and banking law is President of Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C.

After graduation from Rutgers College and Boston University Law School, Mr. Shain entered the Army and served in Vietnam, where as a Captain, he was a company commander and was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement. Upon his return to the States, Mr. Shain took his first legal position with the New Jersey State Attorney General's Office and served as Chief Counsel to the Department of Banking. While Chief Counsel, Mr. Shain assisted in the development of legislation that permitted banks to form holding companies and to establish branches state-wide. Upon entering private law practice, in which he has been engaged for over forty years, Mr. Shain was honored by his peers through selection as Chairman of both the Banking Law Section and the Administrative Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. In those capacities, he was instrumental in developing and promulgating plain language consumer legislation in New Jersey. Mr. Shain is a former two term Mayor of the City of Orange and is a founder of Suburban Cablevision, now a part of Comcast.

Mr. Shain, who presently serves as Special Counsel to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, provided the legal representation to the Township of Monroe, Middlesex County in the successful establishment of New Jersey's first customer choice electrical aggregation program. On behalf of the League and AARP, Mr. Shain has testified before New Jersey State Senate and Assembly Committees, has represented both groups at hearings involving the deregulation legislation before the BPU, and has lectured and written extensively on issues relating to energy deregulation and governmental aggregation of energy services. Of further note, Mr. Shain successfully represented both the League and AARP before the BPU resulting in the establishment of the Universal Service Fund, a $30 million fund to help poor and low-income families pay their gas and electric bills, a program to be financed by a small surcharge on customers' bills.
Education
  • Boston University Law School,
    Juris Doctorate

Marguerite M. Schaffer

Marguerite M. Schaffer who
specializes in commercial litigation, banking, land use, and real estate law is the Managing Principal of Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C.

Ms. Schaffer received her law degree, cum laude, from Seton Hall University and was Editor of its Legislative Journal. She also earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Philosophy at the University of Dayton. She holds a Teacher's Certification in Secondary English from the State of New Jersey and prior to law school taught in an inner city high school.

Ms. Schaffer served as an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall Law School where she taught legal writing, and
at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she taught commercial law. She was the Assistant Counsel and Municipal Prosecutor, City of East Orange, NJ; Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Adjustment, City of East Orange, NJ; Counsel to the Planning Board, City of East Orange; and Counsel to and Member of the Board of Directors of Mountain Ridge State Bank. She currently serves as Assistant Counsel to Monroe Township.

Ms. Schaffer is a past President of Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ), the State's premier organization for Professional Women, and a member of its Board of Directors. She serves on the Advisory Committee of the Institute for Women's Leadership at Rutgers. She holds memberships in the Somerset County, New Jersey State and American Bar Associations. For ten years Ms. Schaffer was on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Banking Law Section, served as its Chair, and is presently a Director Emeritus.

Professional memberships held by Ms. Schaffer include: Committee on the Judiciary Budget and the Supreme Court Ethics Committees of both Essexand Morris Districts; Land Use Section of the American Bar Association. She was a Founding Member and Secretary of the Essex County Women Lawyers Association.

Ms. Schaffer was honored as a "Woman of Distinction" by Somerset Hills Girls Scouts and named to Business New Jersey's Top 500 Leaders List. In 2006 she received the Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Service Award from the Somerset County Federation of Democratic Women. Ms. Schaffer, who currently serves as Chair of the Somerset County Democratic Committee was elected as a Delegate to both the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions.
Education
  • Seton Hall University
    Juris Doctorate

Richard A. Rafanello

RICHARD A. RAFANELLO, who specializes in civil and criminal trials, real estate tax appeals, and appellate law, is a Principal of Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C.

After graduating from Pace University and Seton Hall University School of Law, Mr. Rafanello opened his own practice in Newark's West Ward and by necessity became a "jack of all trades." From municipal court matters to estate planning, he handled clients who walked in his office and paid, and some who did not; through hard work and the positive results that followed, he became recognized by both the bar and judiciary as a practitioner with unique abilities.

Major cases followed. Mr. Rafanello represented key defendants in several individual and corporate criminal matters, resulting in acquittals for his client and others. His ability as a devastating cross-examiner
was noted. Numerous other courtroom victories followed. In a major bid rigging case, while other defendants were found guilty, his client was acquitted. He was equally successful with civil trials and appeals, whether the subject was contract disputes, personal injury matters, or will contests. As his practice grew he recognized that he needed a larger forum, and he then joined with Mr. Shain and Ms. Schaffer as a founding member of the firm, where he narrowed his practice to the specialized areas mentioned above.

In addition to his law practice, Mr. Rafanello has held several positions with the Knights of Columbus at both the local and State levels, and serves on various committees of St. Philomena's Church, Livingston, New Jersey, as well as other civic organizations based in Livingston.
Education
  • Seton Hall University School of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Nancy Stewart

Nancy Stewart, Senior Counsel at Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C., has worked in private practice in New Jersey since 1985 Her commercial litigation practice, with an emphasis on the representation of banking institutions, has covered a wide range of areas including land use and development, business disputes, healthcare and telecommunications.

Ms. Stewart also has substantial experience in local government law, appellate practice and complex litigation.

A native of San Francisco, Ms. Stewart received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Prior to entering private practice, she worked in San Francisco for the State of California Department of Justice as a Deputy Attorney General, specializing in criminal appeals. She was also employed by Hastings College of the Law as an Instructor in Legal Writing and Research.

Ms. Stewart has been approved as a Continuing Legal Education provider in New Jersey, and recently presented a course entitled "A PracticalGuide to Civil Appeals." She is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and California.

Edward P. Queenan

Edward P. Queenan is Counsel at Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C.

Prior to his legal career, Mr. Queenan was engaged in the educational and data-processing fields. After graduation from Seton Hall University School of Law, Mr. Queenan served as in-house counsel to several financial institutions, including C.I.T. Financial Corporation and JPMorgan Chase. As in-house counsel, his primary responsibilities were in the home equity and mortgage origination areas, in particular, federal and State regulatory compliance. In that capacity, he was instrumental in developing Chase's correspondent home equity line of credit program.

After retiring, Mr. Queenan was invited to act as a consultant to JPMorgan Chase in its implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Currently, he is assisting in the development of plain language documentation for the deposit and credit products of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Education
  • Seton Hall University School of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Kathleen Cavanaugh

Kathleen Cavanaugh is Counsel at the firm of Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C.

A primary focus of her practice is the representation of banks and consumer financial services companies in defense of consumer fraud, lender liability and similar claims in state and federal courts and at the trial and appellate level.
Ms. Cavanaugh specializes in the defense of claims brought under consumer protection statutes and regulations, including the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Ms. Cavanaugh also has extensive experience in the representation of motor vehicle inventory lenders with respect to dealership payment default and sold out of trust issues. She has successfully litigated actions seeking the involuntary turnover of motor vehicle collateral and also has negotiated workout and voluntary surrender agreements with dealerships on behalf of lenders.

Prior to entering private practice in 1986, Ms. Cavanaugh served as the judicial clerk to the Hon. Edward W. Beglin, Jr., Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County from 1985 to 1986.

Harold L. Kofman

Mr. Kofman, Senior Counsel at Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C., has been in private practice since 1991, specializing in complex commercial and consumer litigation, including class actions, consumer finance law, bank regulatory law, and title insurance.


Mr. Kofman has represented numerous large financial institutions, Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses, government agencies and individuals. He has successfully handled cases in state and federal courts in New Jersey and New York, including matters in the New Jersey Supreme Court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Kofman has lectured at symposia on consumer finance litigation and has co-authored articles on that subject.

Mr. Kofman graduated from George Washington University, cum laude, and the Boston University School of Law, magna cum laude. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Kofman is a member of the Bars of the State of New York and the State of New Jersey.

Gregory B. Pasquale

Greg Pasquale, Senior Counsel at Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C., has a broad based practice providing advice to individuals, corporations and municipalities on matters ranging from employment issues to regulatory compliance.

Mr. Pasquale has over fifteen years of experience as a general litigator representing clients on matters involving energy law, environmental issues, construction disputes, banking law, personal injury, as well as State and Federal criminal investigations. Mr. Pasquale has litigated cases in State Superior Court, Tax Court and Federal Court, and has appeared before the New Jersey Appellate Division and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Noteworthy issues he has litigated include a company's right to retain counsel for employees implicated in a criminal investigation, the choice of law under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and the Court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over foreign corporations.

Mr. Pasquale received his undergraduate degree from LaSalle University and graduated with Honors from Pace University School of Law. He is a member of the Joseph Halpern-David Furman American Inn of Court and he has co-authored, with Mr. Shain, several articles which have appeared in the New Jersey League of Municipalities Magazine.

Douglas Singleterry

Douglas M. Singleterry, who specializes in banking and governmental law, is Counsel at Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C.

After graduating from Drew University and New York Law School, Mr. Singleterry clerked for the Honorable Roberto Alcazar of the New Jersey Superior Court. Prior to joining the firm, he gained extensive litigation experience representing physicians and hospitals in medical negligence matters. Mr. Singleterry has been published in the National Law Journal, New Jersey Law Journal, The Legal Intelligencer and Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy. In addition, he wrote an article on the international law of genocide that was published in the peer review journal, Genocide Studies and Prevention. His commentary on this topic was also featured in the National Law Journal.

Mr. Singleterry is serving his second term on the North Plainfield Borough Council and is currently Council President. He previously served as president of the Somerset County Governing Officials Association and Chapter Chair of the former Tri-County Red Cross. He is an alternate municipal prosecutor for Franklin Township and Manville Borough. Mr. Singleterry is a recipient of the Service to the Community Award presented by the New Jersey State Bar Association

Kevin G. Boris

Kevin Boris, an Associate at Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C.,specializes in the representation of planning boards and municipalities throughout the State of New Jersey.

His duties as planning board attorney include appearing at board meetings, preparing board resolutions, providing legal advice, and defending all claims, including the appeal of board decisions. His representation of municipal governments includes handling condemnation proceedings, contract review, responding to OPRA requests, providing legal advice on a day-to-day basis, and defending claims against the municipality brought in State or federal court.

Mr.Boris also represents banks and consumer financial service companies in defense of consumer fraud, lender liability and related claims in State and federal courts at the trial and appellate level.

Mr. Boris studied law at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving his J.D. in 2003. Prior to entering private practice in 2004, he served as the judicial clerk to the Hon. Edward J. Ryan, Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County from 2003 to 2004. Mr. Boris is admitted to practice in Texas, New York and New Jersey, as well as the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Boris has served as a Councilman in Fanwood, New Jersey since 2011. Prior to being elected to the Borough Council, he was the Chairman of the Fanwood Planning Board.

Xiaosong Li

Xiaosong ("Larry") Li, an Associate at Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C., specializes in banking law, commercial litigation, appellate practice, administrative law and healthcare law.

A native of Guizhou, China, Mr. Li obtained his B.A. with a major in English at Wuhan University, and a Master of Philosophy at Peking University. He then came to the United States to learn about "the West" and to further pursue his study of philosophy in a Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University. He subsequently decided to change his academic focus, in order to achieve a balance between theory and practice, and attended Rutgers Law School.

Mr. Li has represented major financial institutions, business entities of various sizes, local governments, and individuals in litigation in federal and State courts, at both the trial and appellate levels. He also counsels clients in the banking and healthcare industries, with a primary focus on compliance with federal and state regulations, and contract issues.

While in law school, Mr. Li served as the Managing Note Editor for Rutgers Law Review. Following graduation, he clerked for the Honorable Donald S. Coburn, P.J.A.D. of the Appellate Division.

Mr. Li was recognized as a "New Jersey Rising Star" by the Super Lawyers Magazine in 2008 and 2009. He is fluent in Mandarin.

Leah R. Duggins

Leah R. Duggins, an Associate with the firm of Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C., specializes in commercial litigation, with an emphasis on banking.

She has wide-ranging experience representing financial institutions in State and Federal courts in New Jersey and New York, in matters ranging from simple claims related to customer deposit accounts to the defense of complex contested mortgage foreclosure actions. Ms. Duggins also has substantial experience in employment law, including the defense of wrongful termination suits, general contract review, and advising clients with respect to employment policies, personnel actions and employee relations issues.

Ms. Duggins received her law degree from Hofstra University School of Law, where she was an Associate Editor of the Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal and President of the Black Law Students Association. During law school, she also investigated employment and housing discrimination complaints on behalf of the New York State Division of Human Rights.

She received her bachelor's degree from Boston University where she studied Political Science and interned for the Honorable Milton L. Wright, Jr., retired First Justice of the Roxbury District Court.

Ms. Duggins is admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York, and is a member of the American Bar Association, New Jersey Bar Association, and the New York State Bar Association.

She currently lives in New Jersey and enjoys volunteering and mentoring at-risk teens.
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