EDITOR'S NOTE: Barry Coland passed away in March 2008 at the age of 70. He had been suffering from cancer for several years. Mr. Croland is one of the original members of Ten Leaders. He helped form our first group, in Northern New Jersey, in 2002. Mr. Croland was one of the greatest examples of professional skill and dignity of any lawyer I met in my many years as director of this program. --Stephen Clark
Wise, charismatic and experienced, Barry Croland has been regarded as one of New Jersey's finest matrimonial attorneys for nearly three decades. Indeed, the 66-year-old Paterson, N.J., native is universally respected and well liked by his peers, and he handles - discreetly and efficiently - some of the highest-profile and richest-asset cases in the state. (Mary Higgins Clark and former Goldman Sachs chair John Whitehead were clients, among others.) His combination of legal, personal and business skills allows him to resolve $100 million cases in a couple of months - light speed by divorce-law standards - and, even with an above-average hourly rate, at modest expense to clients. After 15 years as a commercial litigator, Croland got a call one day from a client -- the owner of a North Jersey dairy business -- whose marriage was ending. It was the mid-70s, and the state's equitable distribution laws were brand-new; from then on Croland found himself in the middle of complex commercial cases that seemed to regularly create new law - in family court. Over the years Croland has led 10- to 20-attorney teams that have included specialists in real estate, partnership law, bankruptcy and taxation, among others, all adding to an intellectual arsenal that's been the hallmark of Croland's divorce practice. ("It's somewhat easier if the people around you are more qualified than you are," he says.) Tall and deep-voiced, Croland is in every respect a leader, positive, engaging - and always able to see the big picture. "The definition of fairness is a fluid definition, one that should be defined by society itself", he says. "Equitable distribution is still a work in progress." He adds, "As the years go on I have a much greater appreciation for what I do for a living." An inveterate golfer, he is the owner of four holes-in-one. He and his wife have four grown children - his daughter Elizabeth practices with him today - and they have 13 grandchildren. He lives in Bergen County, New Jersey, and Palm Beach, Florida.