Richard S. Lehrich
Criminal Defense Law - Cranford, NJ

For nearly four decades Rick Lehrich has been one of the leading practitioners of criminal-defense law in northern New Jersey, where he’s well known and widely respected. A skillful attorney and a keen observer of the law, the 64-year-old Newark native maintains a matter-of-fact and unflashy demeanor - which to some extent belies a competitive streak that has hardly diminished over the years.

After graduating from Rutgers, Lehrich went on to Yale Law School at the height of the Vietnam War - circumstances that honed his sense of justice and contributed to his decision to become a trial lawyer. After a clerkship Lehrich was recruited by the blue-chip corporate firm Lowenstein Sandler - where he found the layers and re-drafts “boring from the start. I found out quickly that commercial law wasn’t for me.” Less than a year later, he took an entry-level position in the Union County Public Defenders Office - hardly the track for the graduate of a prestigious law school but perfect for the independent-minded Lehrich. “It was never about the money.” Public defender’s work allowed him “to do everything I’d ever wanted to do,” and the work was “more human-interest and more dramatic - and I was good at it.” He spent 15 years in that office, most of that time handling scores of cases each year while also serving as a key administrator.

By 1986 (“I’d done all I could do, I’d built a reputation - and I’d had enough of death-penalty cases”) he launched his own practice - teaming up with others or joining an established firm was out of the question. “I’m not a delegator. When a client retains me I’m there for every motion, every hearing.” For the last 19 years Lehrich has based his practice in Cranford, not far from where he began. Famously diligent and hard-working, Lehrich has handled all manner of criminal cases. Attorneys who’ve watched Lehrich’s steady and effective work say he’s not only hands-on but one of the true authorities of criminal procedure and legal ethics in the state.

His wife, Laura LeWinn, is an Appellate Division judge with chambers in New Brunswick; he commutes daily from their Mercer County home. They have two grown children.

Richard S. Lehrich
"The successful attorney does better on the average with what he has. That, over the long haul, is a valid measure of achievement."