Keenly intelligent, cheerful and focused, Maureen Binetti is widely regarded - by legal peers on both sides of the aisle - as one of the finest employment lawyers in the state. The Iselin, N.J., native practices not far from where she grew up: She is head of the nine-attorney Employment Law Department at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, one of the state's largest firms, based in Woodbridge. A partner there for 13 years and one of its most able litigators, Binetti joined Wilentz immediately after graduating from law school, and her career growth has coincided with the explosion in employment law. She is perhaps best known for her successful work before the N.J. Supreme Court in "Fuchilla v. Layman and the Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey," one of the seminal cases under the N.J. Law Against Discrimination, and a nearly $1 million jury verdict in a separate harassment/retaliation case. These days, when she is not in New Jersey courtrooms arguing major cases, Binetti increasingly serves as an independent investigator for major companies who require internal investigation of employee complaints. Colleagues say she commands wide respect for her reputation for fair-mindedness and seeing both sides of a dispute. In keeping with that role, Binetti assists many employers, including her own, in creating workplace guidelines and policies training employees.