The Sussex County Bar Association (SCBA) recently celebrated Law Day, the annual, national celebration of the Rule of Law in the United States dating back to 1958. The Bar Association honored the Newton High School Mock Trial team, along with attorneys Alan Strelzik and Thomas Ryan for their lifetime of service to the law. Law Student Nathaniel Hontz delivered the annual Law Day lecture, “Who’s Your Neighbor? Sussex County’s Racially Restricted Communities and the Rule of Law.” The event, held at the historic Sussex County Courthouse, featured live music and a catered reception for the students, attorneys, and members of the public. Local attorney Mark Hontz, the Law Day Chair for the Sussex County Bar Association, served as Master of Ceremonies.
The award-winning Newton High School Mock Trial team was celebrated for its progress to the northern regional finals, beating teams from seven other Sussex County high schools along the way. The Mock Trial Competition is sponsored annually by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation to provide high school students with the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and careful fact analysis. During the event, each team must present a case to a judge, with students serving as witnesses and attorneys. Each team is judged based on their performance, with local attorneys volunteering as coaches.
Attorney Alan Strelzik received the 2021 Law Day Award, a presentation delayed by the pandemic. In his role as the 2021 Sussex County Bar Association President, Brian Lundquist noted that Strelzik was uniquely qualified to receive the honor last year. “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.’ He has devoted innumerable, volunteer hours advocating on behalf of indigent litigants in family law matters and victims of domestic violence. He has rightly earned and enjoys the respect and admiration of the entire Sussex County legal community. I can think of no individual more deserving of the Law Day Award ‘in recognition of a lifetime of service to the law.’”
Strelzik has been a member of the bar for 49 years, practicing family law and matrimonial law in Sussex County, New Jersey, for 48 years. He began his legal career at Somerset-Sussex Legal Services and started a law firm with Alfred Kaye and John Vandenberg before merging the firm with his current practice, Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Vandenberg, Hontz, & Olenick, LLC. “I’m proud of my career. In a way, I am a sum of the lawyers I have worked with, for and against. The partners I had and the adversaries I have faced have made me the attorney I am today,” commented Strelzik, who was humbled to receive the Law Day recognition. “It puts me in excellent company.” Active in the community for many years, Strelzik has also served as a board member for the Newton Housing Authority, Somerset-Sussex Legal Services, Rainbows of Learning, and the Center for Humanistic Change.
Current Sussex County Bar Association President Jennifer Hamilton selected Thomas Ryan to receive the 2022 Law Day award. “Tom Ryan is a founding partner of Laddey, Clark & Ryan, a long-standing, well-regarded firm in Sussex County. He is a strong advocate for his clients,” commented Hamilton. “Tom Ryan is not only a pillar of the legal community, but the community at large. More importantly, Tom has been a mentor and a friend to countless attorneys in the county.”
Thomas Ryan is an employment and commercial litigator and a business lawyer who focuses on representing management and individuals in both private and public sectors and has tried cases in both the New Jersey State Supreme Court and in federal district Court. Ryan serves as Municipal Attorney for Sparta Township and serves as legal representative for numerous local businesses and organizations. Ryan is a Past President of the Sussex County Bar Association and continues to be an active member. He also is a Master Emeritus of the Sydney Reitman Employment Law Inn of Court. He is a member of the Labor and Employment Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Morris County Bar Association. As a volunteer, Ryan is a former Chair of the Sussex County Economic Development Partnership, and he actively promotes the northwestern New Jersey economy through his involvement with the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce and by hosting annual community events like its Economic Forum, Innovation Forum, and Nonprofit Forum. “The law is very personal to me. I have had the privilege of practicing law in Sussex County for over 36 years with brilliant, gifted, and passionate colleagues of the Bar.”
Nathaniel Hontz, a Fredon resident, and Distinguished Scholar at Boston University School of Law delivered the annual Law Day lecture. Hontz explored the 2022 Law Day Theme, “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change,” by examining the impact of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution on racial restrictions in Sussex County real estate in the Twentieth Century. Hontz drew on the research presented in his book, “White Blood:” How 50 Years of Property Restrictions kept New Jersey’s Sussex County Caucasian,” which began as his Senior Thesis for Princeton University.