Affable, knowledgeable and with a calm, down-to-earth bearing, Ted Schwartz is one of the state’s - and the nation’s - original environmental attorneys. Indeed, working at the center of the field for more than 37 years, he has had a direct and lasting impact on the law, from policy and legislative formation to enforcement and judicial precedents.
For the New York native, it began right out of law school (“I really just fell into it,” he says), when he became a Deputy Attorney General of New Jersey, representing the Department of Health, and later, the Department of Environmental Protection. It was Schwartz and colleague Richard Sullivan, New Jersey’s first DEP Commissioner, who spearheaded the legal creation of the New Jersey DEP in 1970. He authored New Jersey’s first Air Pollution Control Act, which became a national model for subsequent legislation in the country, covering most of today’s environmental regulatory programs. “It’s not as if I’d had a science background,” Schwartz recalls today. “But I considered myself an outdoorsman - I’ve always loved fishing and boating - and that gave me a special appreciation for what I was doing”. What he was doing, without exaggeration, was formulating a legal structure for the State to confront polluters of all kinds, and in the late 1960s and 70s in New Jersey, Schwartz found himself at the very center of a modern enlightenment with national consequences.
By the late 1970s, Schwartz had achieved national prominence (among his ad hoc posts, he served as a Commissioner on President Carter’s National Alcohol Fuels Commission) and for 30 years, he’s represented private and public interests at all levels of government on environmental matters. Naturally, he’s remained in the NJ political scene, and, built like an NFL lineman, Schwartz cuts a striking but benign presence; he continues to influence bureaucrats and policymakers alike.
In 2005, he joined Scarinci Hollenbeck of Lyndhurst, teaming with John Scagnelli in perhaps the state’s leading environmental law practice. He is a longtime resident of Cedar Grove, and he and his wife have two grown children. He continues to enjoy deep-sea fishing.