HomeMoorestown NewsResident Jeanne Covert steps into new role as assignment judge for Burlington...

Resident Jeanne Covert steps into new role as assignment judge for Burlington Vicinage

Covert brings years of experience practicing law to her new position and spoke to The Sun about some of her major influences and what she hopes to bring to the bench.

Superior Court of New Jersey/Special to The Sun: Effective July 1, Superior Court Judge Jeanne Covert took over as assignment judge for the Burlington Vicinage, succeeding previous Assignment Judge Ronald E. Bookbinder who held the position for last 29 years.

After serving 29 years on the bench, Superior Court judge and Moorestown resident Ronald E. Bookbinder stepped down as assignment judge for the Burlington Vicinage. Effective July 1, his successor and fellow Moorestown resident Jeanne Covert has taken the reins and is now in her first few weeks overseeing the Superior Court system here.

Covert moved to the area in 1992 after studying at Rutgers School of Law in Camden and taking her first steps in her professional career working in the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

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Law always felt like a natural fit for Covert’s skillset as an undergraduate communications major, and she had the added influence of two older siblings who were lawyers. 

Her parents were first-generation Americans, her father’s side from Italy and her mother’s from Ireland, who didn’t have the same opportunities as they managed to afford their children. As a result, Covert recalls them stressing the importance of higher education.

“For them, education was a way to get ahead, and being a lawyer or a doctor was your leg up, so that was implicated in us and it took,” said Covert.

When she first began practicing law in Burlington County, she drew inspiration from the assignment judge at the time, Martin Haines. Despite being a young lawyer, early in her career, Covert recalls Haines treating her with respect and showing a similar level of respect for everyone in his courtroom, regardless of their position or reason for being there. 

“It was such a good lesson in how to stay humble, because he was so bright and accomplished but he never lorded it over anyone” said Covert.

In her career she has strived to mirror that kind of respect for colleagues and litigants alike, and hopes to continue to do so in her new position.

Covert was appointed to the Burlington County Superior Court in 2005. She believes it is important for a judge working at this level to remember he or she is a public servant whose sole responsibility is to serve the community and keep in mind the weight the decisions often hold for people.

“If you always keep that at the forefront, you really shouldn’t go off track. I think that has been a guiding principle for me to work hard and remember that even when you’re tired and there’s grief and many emotions there’s a life behind that, someone’s life is going to be affected by what you do,” said Covert.

With her first week as assignment judge under her belt, Covert says she is still learning and adjusting to her new role, but has been able to observe great assignment judges here in Burlington County, including her immediate predecessor, Bookbinder, who has served as a mentor of sorts preparing her for this transition.

According to Covert, in addition to building on the work of her predecessors, she is bringing her own years of experience after a considerable amount of time spent in a variety of courtrooms to the bench and hopes to utilize her abilities as an effective communicator to maintain a good outreach with the public as to what the judiciary does and how important it is.

“I’ve been able to do that up to this point with each of the divisions that I’ve managed and if I can bring that to the whole vicinage that will be a great asset as well,” said Covert.

Burlington County’s new assignment judge is looking forward to continuing in the work she loves and taking on more administrative responsibilities while continuing to apply creativity and organization to the position.

Reiterating her emphasis on serving the public, above all, Covert says she will strive to make sure every citizen’s day in court is a fair and smooth experience for them.

“I don’t care if they remember my name, I hope that they feel like coming to court in Burlington County was a place where they felt safe, listened to and whether they agreed with the decision or not, they got a fair shake,” said Covert. “If I can do that, then I’ll have achieved my goals.”



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