By Kevin Canessa Jr.
If there’s one thing that makes our area special, it’s that there are numerous attorneys you can turn to for whatever the reason. And when it comes to workers’ compensation cases, right in our backyards is one of the state’s most noted workers comp attorneys.
John Pinho has had a presence in West Hudson for 17 years. During that time, he specialized in many different kinds of cases, including municipal court matters and much more.
But now, after operating a private practice in Harrison, Pinho has moved on to where it all began for him before he opened his practice — at the law firm of Javerbaum, Wurgaft, Hicks, Kahn, Wikstrom & Sinins, which has five offices in New Jersey — in Springfield, Newark, Freehold, Jersey City and Elizabeth — and one in New York City.
So why did Pinho opt to return to the first firm he’d ever worked for after 17 highly successful years in private practice, where he was his own boss?
It was an easy choice, he says.
“There was an opening for a workers comp attorney and they approached me about it,” Pinho said. “You get a great feeling from working these kinds of cases — when you’re able to secure a weekly temporary disability check for a client, and when the client is able to get medical care and is set better.”
But with the job comes a big challenge, Pinho says.
“When you’re dealing with insurance companies, more and more you are fighting to get medical treatment and benefits for clients.”
Though Pinho has a wealth of experience in other areas of the law, his one and only focus, now, is workers comp. And he’s grateful for the opportunity.
“For 17 years, I’ve kept in touch with the attorneys at Javerbaum Wurgaft,” Pinho said. “The attorneys are good people and great attorneys.”
As part of his deal with his new firm, Pinho was able to keep open the Harrison office he’s had for nearly two decades. He made sure that happened before he agreed to re-join Javerbaum Wurgaft.
And while he doesn’t take on some of the cases he might have in the past, he uses the office as a way to refer his long list of clients to attorneys he trusts — and that includes his new colleagues.
“There are great attorneys here,” he said. “And while none of this was planned — they approached me — I wanted to be sure the Harrison office stayed open for those who need it. The office has a full-time secretary. I am there, usually, two times a week, meeting clients.”
Pinho has had a fine career as an attorney.
In 1991, he graduated from the Seton Hall Law School with a joint JD/MBA. After he was admitted to the New Jersey Bar, he went on to clerk for two Superior Court of New Jersey judges — Maurice Gallipoli, the-then presiding judge of Hudson County and Sylvia S. Pressler, a presiding judge in the state appellate division.
Then, prior to opening his private practice, he worked for a few years for Javerbaum, Wurgaft, before returning recently to the same firm. And since then, he hasn’t looked back.
“I play a crucial role at Javerbaum Wurgaft,” he said. “I make sure the client has a weekly check to pay his family expenses; his medical bills get paid; he gets proper medical care; and I ensure he gets a monetary-permanency award. The other attorneys in the office investigate and pursue potential claims against others who caused the client’s injury and recover compensation for them when possible.
“We work as a team to try to make the client as whole as possible. We can’t undo the accident, but we can make a person’s future a little easier financially.”
In years past, Pinho has also served in civic affairs. From 1993 to 1995, he was the Harrison Planning Board attorney. From 1998 to 2002, he was the general and special counsel to the Kearny Municipal Utilities Authority. He has also served as East Newark’s municipal prosecutor and is currently its public defender.
Pinho was president of the Portuguese-American Civic Association and is currently second vice-president of the Centro Romeu Cascaes Portuguese Civic Association. He has also been involved in several local elections in Harrison and Kearny.
Pinho speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
To contact Pinho, call 973- 481-4304 or send an email message to jpinho@lawjw. com.