Richard Tanner began practicing with a large Newark, N.J. law firm as an Associate in the Litigation Department.
He was recruited from that civil practice to the U.S. Attorney’s Office by U.S.D.J. Frederick B. Lacey, then U.S. Attorney. He also served as an AUSA in that office under U.S. Attorney, Herbert J. Stern. After nearly three years and promotion to the Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Richard was in overall supervision of all federal prosecution activities in the District of New Jersey. As Chief of the Criminal Division, he supervised the operation of three office locations, the daily activities of sixteen Assistant U.S. Attorneys, as well as a staff of secretaries, paralegals and investigative personnel.
Richard led the successful prosecution trial team, in numerous federal criminal trials, particularly in the white-collar crime area, including the failure of the Eatontown National Bank for bank and securities frauds; the conviction of the Chief Pharmacist at Lenox Hill Hospital for unlawful manufacture of methamphetamines and the convictions in a corporate executive’s son’s kidnapping case, all of which drew national media attention.
In Collins v. Promark Products, Inc. in the USDC for the So. District of N.Y. and then in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, he successfully argued the case which resulted in a revision of the historical New Jersey/New York Bi-State Compact addressing state jurisdiction over Ellis and Liberty Islands. This litigation led the U.S. Supreme Court to appoint a Standing Master to recommend a position to the Court in resolution of the interstate dispute.
As a civil trial attorney, he has handled all aspects of litigation from the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ perspective, with early emphasis in the defense of product liability, medical malpractice, negligence, personal injury trials and white collar criminal defense. Much of this civil trial practice was devoted to defense of product liability claims on behalf of manufacturers Ariens Company, Gravely Tractors, Ford Motor Co., American Motors Corp., Renault Corp., Volkswagen of America, Toyota, Inc., American Honda Co., Gravely International, Inc., R.A. Jones & Co., Worthington Corp., Davies Can Co., and many others. There have also been product liability matters involving pharmaceuticals and chemicals for American Cyanamid, Chas. Pfizer, Ciba-Geigy Corp., Hoffman-LaRoche Corp., and many others.
At the present time, Richard maintains a diverse litigation agenda encompassing virtually all areas of trial work emphasizing plaintiffs’ representation. He also presently handles a portion of the management duties at the Firm.
Richard served as a Court appointed Arbitrator on civil liability cases and matters involving the New Jersey Uninsured Motorist Fund disputes, as well as on inter-insurance company coverage issues. He has participated as a litigant’s representative in various arbitrations and mediations involving construction contract disputes, commercial and banking matters, insurance coverage issues, professional practices disputes and labor relations (representing both management and labor).
He has been retained by judges of the New Jersey Superior Court as an expert on issues of attorney’s fees and in declaratory judgment actions between insurers and insureds. He has been called upon to prepare and try selected Sec. l983 Civil Rights cases as “Special Trial Counsel” for the County of Essex, N.J., defending state and county police officers and public officials.
He represents medical and dental professionals before various professional licensing boards and state agencies such as the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and Attorney General.
Richard has conducted successful appellate presentations before the New Jersey Supreme Court, the federal Second and the Third Circuit Courts of Appeal as well as the New York and New Jersey Appellate Courts. He has created case law, such as Serbin v. Walt Disney World Co.; Lee’s Hawaiian Islander, Inc. v. Safety First Fire Products, Inc., et al.: and Collins v Promark Products et al. and others.
Richard possesses a United States Guard Ocean Operator’s (100 ton) License and has testified as an expert witness on matters of seamanship and seaworthiness of recreational vessels.
He serves as the Moderator/Participant of Continuing Legal Education Programs run by The Florida Bar in New York City and as a trial practice lecturer at various New Jersey and Florida CLE presentations and Inns of Court programs. He writes articles for Florida Bar issued publications which address trial techniques, law practice management and marketing techniques.
He is a certified National Institute of Trial (NITA) Advocacy law teacher and has earned an Advocate Level status in the America Board of Trial Advocates
He co-authored a law firm management textbook, Profitable Law Firm Management, which he used for a lecture series which he conducted.
Richard is presently an Adjunct Professor at Florida State University College of Law teaching Trial Advocacy techniques and coaching their championship Mock Trial teams.
He is certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a Civil Circuit Mediator and conducts mediations throughout Florida.
- All Florida State Courts
- All New Jersey State Courts
- All New York State Courts
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- United States District Court for New Jersey
- United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- United States District Court for the Western District of New York
- United States Supreme Court
- Florida Bar Association, Member
- Board of Governors, Past Member (1998-2015)
- Executive Committee, Member
- Chair of The Florida Bar Governance Committees including:
- Professional Ethics/Advertising Committee
- Program Evaluation Committee
- Communications Committee
- Fee Arbitration Review Committee
- Board of Certification & Specialization Review Committee
- Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Committee
- Out of State Division
- Former President and Secretary
- American Bar Association, Member
- Vanderbilt Inns of Court, Master and Lecturer
- Florida Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee, Member
- Florida State University College of Law, Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy
- Tallahassee Bar Association, Member
- Sarasota County Bar Association, Member
- Richard is a Program Speaker for The Florida Bar CLE programs, as well as a speaker for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education.
- In 2016, The Florida State University College of Law invited Richard to be a guest lecturer at their Mock Trial Team “Boot Camp”. His two lectures focused on trial practice, his area of specialty.
- Richard coached the Florida State University Law School Mock Trial Team to its first national championship in 2012. His guidance led the team to a victory against 22 other law schools.
Civic Speaking Engagements
- Kiwanis International
- Metro Builders Association
- Shore Builders Association
- Big Brother, Inc. of Monmouth County
- Greater Pt. Pleasant Charter Boat Assoc.
- Superior Court of New Jersey
- National Association of Charter Operators
- Rotary Club International
University of Illinois College of Law
Juris Doctor – 1969
University of Illinois
Bachelor of Science Economics, cum laude with Special Honors in Political Science – 1966
Awards & Recognition
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating
- Florida Super Lawyers 2016-2018
- American Board of Trial Advocates Advocate Level
- Top One Percent, National Association of Distinguished Counsel
- United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award
- Best’s Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys
- Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite – 2015
- Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Circuit Mediator
- Tallahassee 100 Club