Peter B. Paris, Esq. has extensive experience advocating for employees and unions in numerous and varied labor and employment law matters. Mr. Paris appears regularly before State and Federal Courts in New Jersey as well as administrative agencies, including the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (DCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).
Mr. Paris has been uniquely successful in asserting and defending the rights of employees and unions in complex legal disputes including civil suits in State and Federal courts, labor and employment contract negotiations, grievance arbitrations, disciplinary hearings, disability pension appeals, pension forfeiture appeals, Civil Service disciplinary appeals, Civil Service employment list removal appeals, and appeals to the New Jersey Appellate Division and the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Mr. Paris frequently represents whistleblowers and victims of job-related harassment, wrongful termination, and other forms of discrimination based on gender, race, disability, age, pregnancy, and sexual orientation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), and Federal Laws.
Mr. Paris was a Boston Police Officer before attending Stanford Law School. His personal experience as a police officer provides valuable insight in representing law enforcement unions in negotiating and enforcing collective bargaining agreements and strategically engaging employers to accomplish union objectives. Mr. Paris is uniquely able to anticipate and understand law enforcement priorities and translate them into effective results.
In addition to representing PBA Locals throughout the State in labor matters, Mr. Paris is an approved attorney for the New Jersey State PBA Legal Protection Plan (LPP). Mr. Paris is adept at helping officers navigate the internal affairs process, fitness for duty examinations, police-involved shootings, domestic violence allegations, restraining orders, and being unfairly targeted by unethical supervisors. He has been highly successful in defending suspended and terminated police and corrections officers who were accused of lying, being unfit for duty, using excessive force, engaging in sexual harassment, neglecting their duties, engaging in unbecoming conduct, and numerous other allegations.
From 2001-2008, Mr. Paris represented clients at two major law firms in Washington, D.C. in white collar, securities, and complex employment litigation before returning to New Jersey to practice law in his home state. Prior to joining Mr. Beckett, Mr. Paris was a Partner with the law firm Mets, Schiro, McGovern, & Paris.
Mr. Paris is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Stanford University Law School.
A Few Words From Clients About Peter Paris
My husband and I were wrongfully terminated several years ago. We chose Peter Paris to represent us, and we could not be happier with the outcome. The termination involved political retaliation and CEPA claims. We had worked for this employer for a number of years and the wrongful terminations not only the had potential to be extremely damaging to our reputations, but were also hindering our chances of future gainful employment. From the very start, Peter always made himself available to us and was responsive to our many questions and concerns. His representation of us was strategic and comprehensive. His professionalism, practice knowledge and logical approach always made us feel protected and reassured during a time when we really believed all was lost. We could never, ever thank him enough for reaching settlements which far exceeded our expectations. Should you be in search of an attorney who possesses the knowledge, integrity, skills, professionalism and stamina to represent you, then Peter Paris is your man.
Choosing Pete Paris was the best decision I could have made. I had some very serious and potentially career ending charges brought against me. Pete knew exactly how to handle the situation. Settling the case was never an option. Winning was. Pete had all the right moves. Ultimately all charges were dismissed.
As police officers, we interact with attorneys regularly and usually take those interactions for granted. It’s not until you actually need an attorney, do we fully appreciate that not all attorneys are the same. Peter Paris was referred to me by my PBA and his reputation as a former cop and superior attorney preceded him. His attention to detail, intimate knowledge of police work, and ability to deploy and explain his creative strategies were second to none. Peter is a no nonsense litigator with years of experience in the courtroom. Not only was he able to successfully defend me from the unjust accusations against me, his calm and empathetic demeanor offered emotional support to me and my family and helped us through an extremely tough time in our lives. Peter helped me get my life and career back to normal. I cannot thank him enough. Needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend Peter to anyone in need of legal assistance. And especially if you are a cop and your job is on the line, Pete is your guy.
I met Mr Paris several years ago when I was in need of representation. Mr. Paris’ office was located in central Jersey at the time and I was located in south jersey. Mr Paris met with me on numerous occasions and was extremely thorough and trustworthy. He was able to handle my situation in my best interests and negotiate a fair resolution. To this date I have been promoted twice, most recently to Sergeant. Without him and his advice I probably would not be in the same position that I am now. To this very date, several years later, I still speak with him and that is the kind of attorney an officer should have.
Thank you again, Mr. Paris.
What can I tell you about Peter Paris? Well, I had my life and dreams of a career in Law Enforcement ripped away from me. I lost almost everything I had worked my entire life to achieve. I was at the lowest point anyone could be: my Department had turned on and abandoned me, those that I thought were my friends could not be found. I had lost my job, and was losing all hope. Then I met Peter. He reviewed my case and was very candid with me and my family about what I could expect. He was there when all others had left or had failed me and my family. Peter put me and my case first and fought relentlessly for me, even when it seemed all would be lost. He was the voice for me that nothing and no one could silence. Peter helped me in ways no one else could. With his personal experience in Law Enforcement, he understands the internal shifts in politics within a Police Department and as such, he knows how to navigate them. It was a long process and Peter was always there. In the end I was fully reinstated. I trust Peter with my life and the lives of my family. I wholeheartedly recommend Peter and his Firm. I have referred friends to him in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
Peter Paris: Notable Disciplinary Defense Cases
In the Matter of Anthony Stallworth, 208 N.J. 182, (2011)
Successfully argued in the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of an employee accused of misconduct in Civil Service jurisdiction. The Stallworth case is frequently cited as setting forth the proper standard of appellate review in Civil Service disciplinary cases.
[Police Officer] v. Township of Manchester, 2015 WL 7030753 (App. Div. 2011)
Successfully argued in the Appellate Division on behalf of a terminated police officer who was falsely accused of lying, being “unfit for duty,” and other offenses. The officer was exonerated and reinstated with back pay.
In the Matter of [Police Officer] and Borough of Stanhope, 2018 WL 6174717 (App. Div. 2018)
Successfully argued in the Appellate Division on behalf of a terminated police officer who was falsely accused of lying and other offenses. The officer was exonerated of the most serious charges and reinstated with back pay.
Police Officer Suspension in Union County Superior Court (2011)
Successfully argued before the Superior Court on behalf of a police officer who was suspended for 30 days for allegedly violating department rules. The officer’s suspension was vacated and the officer received back pay.
Police Officer Termination in Warren County Superior Court (2014)
Successfully argued before the Superior Court on behalf of a police officer who was terminated for allegedly violating department rules. After succeeding in pretrial rulings, the employer agreed to reinstate the officer with back pay.
Police Officer Termination in Warren County Superior Court (2018)
Successfully argued before the Superior Court on behalf of a police officer who was unlawfully demoted. After nearly two years of litigation, the employer agreed to reinstate the officer with back pay.
In the Matter of [Corrections Officer] and Middlesex County Dept. of Corrections, CSC Dkt. 2013-3155 (2013)
Successfully argued before the Civil Service Commission and Office of Administrative Law on behalf of a corrections officer who was terminated for allegedly using excessive force on an inmate. The officer was reinstated with back pay.
In the Matter of [Police Officer] and Irvington Twp., CSC Dkt. 2017-2816 (2017)
Successfully argued before the Civil Service Commission and Office of Administrative Law on behalf of a police officer who was suspended for alleged neglect of duty. The suspension was reversed in its entirety and the officer was granted full back pay.
In the Matter of [Sheriff’s Officer] and Middlesex County, CSC Dkt. 2018-3711 (2018)
Successfully argued before the Civil Service Commission on behalf of a sheriff’s officer who was unlawfully suspended without pay. The Commission ordered the County to reinstate the officer and provide back pay for the period of the unlawful suspension.
In the Matter of [Police Officer] and Irvington Twp., CSC Dkt. CSR 05035-18 (2018)
Successfully argued before the Civil Service Commission and Office of Administrative Law on behalf of a police officer who was terminated for alleged neglect of duty. The termination was reversed, a suspension was issued, and the officer was reinstated with back pay.
In the Matter of [Corrections Officer] and Cumberland County, OAL Dkt. CSR 06489-18 (2018)
Successfully argued before the Civil Service Commission and Office of Administrative Law on behalf of a corrections officer who was terminated for allegedly fraternizing with an inmate. The officer was reinstated with back pay.
Law enforcement officers in New Jersey, whether they are in Civil Service jurisdictions or “Chief’s towns,” are entitled to a “departmental hearing” before being suspended or terminated. (Se N.J.S.A. § 40A:14-147 and N.J.S.A. § 11A:2-13). After the departmental hearing, they can appeal to Superior Court or Civil Service.
A departmental hearing satisfies “minimum due process” which includes notice of charges and an opportunity to be heard. In the field of disciplinary defense, we call departmental hearings “kangaroo courts,” a term that means a quasi-judicial proceeding in which justice and fair play are, for the most part, ignored. In departmental hearings, the employer chooses and pays for the “hearing officer” who typically pretends to be objective and impartial but is, in reality, beholden to the employer. Therefore, 99.9% of the time, a suspended or terminated employee will lose at the departmental hearing level.
However, once in a great while, an attorney is able to convince a hearing officer to render a fair and just decision.
In 2017, Mr. Paris beat the odds and won a highly contentious departmental hearing involving allegations that a police officer was psychologically unfit for duty. The notorious Dr. Matthew Guller of the Institute for Forensic Psychology in Oakland, N.J. had issued an opinion that the officer was not psychologically fit for duty until his “fitness” could be restored through months of weekly therapy. The employer had suspended the officer without pay.
After a blistering cross-examination of Dr. Guller, Mr. Paris convinced the town’s hearing officer that Dr. Guller’s opinion was inherently flawed. After a contentious hearing, the hearing officer found that “no credible, reasonable basis existed to suspend [the officer] without pay based solely on Dr. Guller’s opinion…”
Peter Paris in the News
- 2010 NJ.com Article about Union County Judge Reversing Suspension
2011 Lehigh Valley Live Article about Warren County Termination Case
2016 NJ.com Article about Edison Police Department Destroying Secret Recordings
2018 Asbury Park Press Article about Alleged Police Misconduct