Newton High School Mock Trial team honored during Law Day

Two area lawyers lauded for excellence

| 10 May 2022 | 11:13

The Sussex County Bar Association recently celebrated Law Day, an annual celebration of the rule of law in the U.S., by honoring 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 was held at the Sussex County Courthouse on May 5 and 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.

Newton High School’s Mock Trial team was honored for making it to the northern regional finals, beating teams from seven other Sussex County high schools.

The Mock Trial Competition is sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. During the competition, each team presented a case to a judge, with students serving as witnesses and attorneys. The teams were then judged based on their performance, with local attorneys volunteering as coaches.

At the ceremony, the students weren’t the only ones honored. Attorney Alan Strelzik received the 2021 Law Day Award, an honor that had been delayed by the pandemic.

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 practicing family law and matrimonial law in Sussex County 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. “It puts me in excellent company.”

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,” said 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.”

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. He also serves as the 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, a Master Emeritus of the Sydney Reitman Employment Law Inn of Court, a member of the Labor and Employment Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Morris County Bar Association, among many other organizations and activities.

“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.”