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David Samson to retire, Wolff & Samson to change name of firm

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Wolff & Samson founding partner David Samson will retire later this month.
Wolff & Samson founding partner David Samson will retire later this month. - ()

Powerful West Orange-based law firm Wolff & Samson announced Tuesday that founding partner David Samson, who most recently served as the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as an appointee of close friend Gov. Chris Christie, will retire later this month, prompting a reorganization of the firm.

Samson, 75, resigned from his Port Authority post last year amid controversy stemming from the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal and other reported accusations of wrongdoing regarding the firm financially benefitting from Samson’s high-profile public office.

"I've been proud and fortunate to be associated with the firm for more than 43 years,” Samson said in a statement released by the firm. “It has been a personal and professional privilege, and I shall miss the relationships of my colleagues, friends and extended legal family."

Federal prosecutors are reportedly pursuing a case against Samson, who previously served as the state Attorney General. In February, The Record reported that federal prosecutors had asked the Port Authority to hand over documents pertaining to Samson’s travel records as part of “another line of inquiry in what has become a sprawling criminal investigation.”

Wolff & Samson spokesperson Mark Weiss made no mention of the controversies swirling around Samson’s exit on Tuesday, instead thanking him for more than four decades of service to the firm.

“After heading the firm and working relentlessly for 43 years, David Samson has been planning his ultimate retirement and leadership succession for some time,” Weiss said. “David's departure is a bittersweet occasion for the firm-wide family. David's colleagues and many friends will certainly miss him."

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With Samson’s departure, Wolff & Samson will rebrand itself as Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi P.C. to reflect the new leadership of former U.S. Sen. and state Attorney General Jeff Chiesa, longtime firm partner Armen Shahinian and former Essex County counsel and Genova Burns Giantomasi and Webster partner Frank Giantomasi.

In what the firm notes as signs of growth, Wolff & Samson has hired 29 new attorneys, including six partners, in the last two years and has recently entered into a new 10-year lease to maintain its West Orange offices and add up 11,000 square feet to accommodate future growth.

The recent hires bring the firm’s attorney total to 130.

Other matters of reorganization within the firm’s executive committee were also announced.

"In sum, Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi is in a very strong, competitively advantaged position, both economically and from a professional resource point of view,” Weiss said. “The firm is well positioned to meet the most complex legal, business and policy challenges facing clients.”

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