Norton Law: Tried & True

NEWTON. Frederick C. Norton attended U.S. Army Intelligence School, served as Special Agent at Picatinny Aresenal, Vernon Township Municipal Court Judge, New York tax and appeals attorney, New Jersey civil trial attorney, and handled county counsel matter

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By Laurie Gordon

Frederick C. Norton, Esq. has been a trusted name in law for over forty years and has expertise in a wide range of legal specialties. Now, at age 76, Norton has decided to slow things down a bit but still runs a vibrant and highly acclaimed practice.

Norton grew up in the Bronx and studied for the Catholic priesthood for eight years first in a minor seminary in Manhattan and then the major seminary for the archdiocese of New York at Saint Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers.

“I took a year off from the major seminary and while on sabbatical received my notice from the draft board,” Norton said. “I was 21 and classified 1-A. My physical for enlist-ment is something I will not forget.”

Norton enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 8,1965 and had basic training at Fort Dix and then was assigned to the Intelligence school at Fort Holabird in Dundalk, Maryland.

“Haldeman and one other of the Nixon group were jailed there while I was a student,” he recalled. “I 'graduated' in December 1965 and was assigned to the 108th MI Group, Newark, N,J. as a special agent in U.S. Military Intelligence with duty station at Picatinny Arsenal. I was involved with the summer riots in Newark and while undercover, along with another agent, we penetrated a NIke missile base, forcing it to close.”

Following his time in the Army (discharged honorably on June 7,1968), Norton got a job as a Revenue Officer with the IRS and attended Seton Law School at night while travel-ing to Philadelphia for training as a Revenue Officer. He married in 1968 and had to travel from Parsippany, where he lived at the time, to Philadelphia for training and then to law school at night and then back to Parsippany.

“It was exhausting to say the least,” he said.

Subsequently he divorced and has four children and five grandchildren.

Norton started as an attorney in 1973 with Donald Concilio, Esq in Newton.

“As a Revenue Office I had the Sussex and Warren county areas to cover so I was familiar with the attorneys in Sussex,” Norton said. “After a year with Concilio, Dennis McConnell and I formed a law partnership (McConnell & Norton) which grew as we were eventually appointed Sussex County Counsel.”

He said that his political connections helped and at the same time, he was a municipal court judge in Vernon Township, Sussex Boro and Montague Township.

“However, I was told by Judge Stanton, the assignment judge at the time that I had to give up either my judgeships or the deputy county counsel job,” he said. “I chose to stay as deputy county counsel.”

The partnership broke up after 25 years and Norton went out on his own. Over the course of his law career, Norton was admitted to the bar of the State of N.Y. and the U.S.Federal Tax Court. He was also admitted to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court and the Federal District Courts of New Jersey, the Southern District of New York, Brooklyn Federal District Court and the Federal District Court in Albany. He was certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the N.J. Supreme Court and maintained this certification for over 20 years.

“I have tried civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts and now at the age of 76, I have taken my practice to a slower and more relaxed pace,” Norton said. “For years I was involved in representing plaintiffs in personal injury matters, criminal defense, county counsel matters (I was involved in the initial preparation of the Sussex County Administrative Code) and family matters such as divorce and child custody. I handled large estates and tried estate matters, will contests, and years ago before the present confrontation with the owners of property in Cranberry Lake and the association maintenance dues issue, I won the case in front of Judge MacKenzie which dealt with the same issue regarding maintenance fees.”

Now, as a sole practitioner and no longer with a large firm with a large overhead, Norton said he can devote more time to seeing clients without having to worry about hourly fee production.

“The strength in a large law firm is the fact that two heads are better than one,” he said. “However, after years practicing here as an attorney, I have resources that I can turn to, if needed, and I am resource for other fellow attorneys who often seek my advice on legal matters. I refer certain matters to other attorneys such as worker's compensation, federal district court matters, complex litigation and try to limit my practice to real estate closings, wills and estates, criminal defense and litigation limited to the Sussex, Morris and Warren count areas.”

The Law Office of Frederick C. Norton is located at 276 Route 206 in Andover. For further information, visit: or call 973-347-6301.

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