Areas of Practice

In addition to representation of clients in areas such as business transactions, commercial litigation, collections, estate planning and administration, family matters, personal injury cases, as well as residential and commercial real estate transactions, alternate dispute resolution is an integral part of the practice. The firm's principal, Charles A. Gruen, serves as a Court-appointed and private Mediator and Arbitrator. Representation is also offered to clients in the alternate dispute resolution process.    
Our firm represents small, medium-sized and large businesses in all aspects of business law and transactions. We provide legal services to new businesses, as well as established businesses, family-owned, privately held and publicly traded companies.

We understand the advantages and disadvantages of corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other forms of business entities. As a result, we are able to advise our clients on the proper form of business entity to meet their objectives. Once our clients have decided on the proper form of business entity, we prepare the necessary documents to form and organize the entity, and work with our clients and their accountants, bankers, insurance brokers and others to get the business started in the right direction.

We have negotiated and prepared various types of contracts for our clients in a wide variety of businesses. Among the types of agreements we have negotiated and prepared are agreements among shareholders, partners and members, buy-sell agreements, manufacturing and supply agreements, distributorship and dealer agreements, as well as brokerage agreements, license agreements, employment agreements, consulting agreements, confidentiality agreements and non-competition agreements.

We have represented business owners in disputes among shareholders, partners and members. When the breakup is amicable, we have negotiated and prepared necessary documents for our clients. When it is not, we have used our experience to attempt to resolve disputes through negotiation, rather than litigation. If litigation is necessary, we are able to litigate and protect the rights and interests of our clients in the appropriate forum.
Our firm represents many businesses and individuals in litigation, as well as in alternate dispute resolution processes, such as Mediation and/or Arbitration.

It is always our goal to develop, through consistent and open communication with our clients, proactive, cost-effective strategies to resolve legal disputes. Our commercial litigation services include actions involving breach of contract, creditor actions (for both Plaintiffs and Defendants), lease agreement disputes, financing agreement disputes, ownership, partnership and shareholder disputes/litigation, real estate disputes, specific performance actions, quiet title actions, commercial contract disputes involving secured transactions, construction and contractor disputes, as well as many other types of commercial litigation.

We have represented clients who are Plaintiffs and clients who are Defendants in all types of litigation. We have defended matters where a client has been sued in this arena, and we have also instituted and successfully prosecuted numerous lawsuits to conclusion on behalf of Plaintiffs.
Estate planning begins with an analysis of one’s assets and liabilities, tax and non-tax concerns, including family considerations, and a review of the client’s overall objectives. It also includes planning for management of one’s personal and financial affairs in the event of incapacitation. A client’s estate planning documents should consist of a Will and/or Trust that addresses the tax and non-tax concerns, a General Durable Power of Attorney and an advance directive or healthcare proxy (Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will), if the client so desires. When involved in the process of estate planning, it is also a good time to consider the impact upon one’s family and the state of long term healthcare costs and, in particular, care in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Once the client has completed basic estate planning and appropriate Wills or Trust instruments, General Durable Powers of Attorneys and Advance Directives or Living Wills are in place, it is time to turn one’s attention to more advanced planning techniques to minimize or even eliminate estate and inheritance taxes. Choices range from not taking any action, because it is unnecessary, or simply paying taxes that become due, through implementing complex and state of the art tax reduction or elimination techniques.

The laws and tax provisions which apply to many of the available estate planning techniques are constantly changing. Our firm can assist clients and their families in implementing comprehensive plans. We also often work with the client’s accountants to accomplish these goals, as well as outside professionals with whom we are associated in the tax and estate planning arenas.
Our firm handles the entire range of Family Court matters, including divorce, custody, adoptions, domestic violence and post-Judgment applications. We also handle matters involving the negotiation, preparation and enforcement of premarital agreements. We have also advised clients in the areas of domestic partnerships and civil unions, where the law is constantly evolving.

This practice area requires a high level of sensitivity to the emotional and sociological issues faced by persons engaged in family disputes. Matrimonial support cases have grown more complex because of fluctuations in asset values and the prevalence of dual careers and incomes. Because of the fluidity of modern society, there is also an ever-increasing prevalence of interstate and international relocations.

We provide aggressive representation to our clients, but our reputation for sensitivity and integrity in this highly emotional area is the reason clients consistently choose, and refer others to, our firm, for resolution of their family law matters.
Municipal Court is the arena where most people experience the New Jersey Court system. In New Jersey, Municipal Courts deal with, among other things, traffic offenses, criminal matters of a non-indictable nature, neighbor to neighbor disputes, domestic violence and Municipal Ordinance violations. Often these violations appear to be of little significance. However, potential penalties for violations heard in Municipal Court can have a lasting and significant effect upon one’s life, financially through fines and motor vehicles surcharges, and on an individual’s liberty, through loss of your driver’s license, assets or the imposition of jail time or required community service.

It is therefore critical that one is represented in Municipal Court by an experienced attorney who understands the nature of the charges, the legal defenses to those charges, and the procedural issues to insure that one’s constitutional rights are adequately protected and that fairness and justice prevail.

We have represented Municipal Court Defendants in many types of matters, including but not limited to, DUI/DWI offenses, other moving violations including speeding, careless driving, reckless driving, failure to stop or yield, driving without insurance, and driving on the suspended list, disorderly persons offenses, such as assaults, disorderly conduct, harassment charges, and municipal ordinance violations.
We represent individuals in a wide range of personal injury cases, as well as claims against insurance companies for failure to honor their contracts to provide benefits.

Mr. Gruen started out practicing law in a firm which represented insurance companies in the defense of personal injury claims, and also served for many years as a member of a Court-appointed Settlement Conference Panel. Later, drawing upon his experience in representing insurance companies, Mr. Gruen began representing Plaintiffs in personal injury cases against other individuals and entities, as well as in claims against their own and other insurance companies.

Our personal injury practice offers comprehensive client service to people who need help with their damages claims. What this means is that you can count upon us not only for advice and representation on your legal position, but also for assistance with the other problems that are associated for you and your family after an accident. These types of issues might include problems with insurance coverage, medical benefits, life insurance or workers’ compensation.

Probate is the procedure of presenting a decedent’s Will to the Surrogate of the county where the decedent resided and asking the Surrogate to declare the Will valid, to admit it to probate, and to qualify a personal representative, (i.e., an Executor). In New Jersey, this process generally takes less than 15 minutes and costs merely a few hundred dollars. In other states such as New York and Florida, the probate process is Court-supervised and can take much more time and cost a significant amount of money. In those states, individuals often take steps to avoid the probate process, but that is generally not necessary in states with systems similar to that of New Jersey.

If someone dies without a Will (referred to as intestate), his or her estate is subject to Administration. This process also starts at the county Surrogate’s Office or Court. In these circumstances, the personal representative is known as an Administrator.

In either case, some degree of estate administration will be required. Administration includes the process of gathering together the decedent’s assets and liabilities, satisfying all debts and expenses, filing estate tax returns, if necessary, paying the taxes, if any, and distributing the remainder of the estate in accordance with the decedent’s Will, or in the case of an intestacy, according to the applicable statutes.

In the course of administering an estate, several tax and non-tax decisions will have to be made. Our firm can help you understand the law and make the decisions which are most appropriate for you and your family.
Our firm handles all aspects of residential and commercial real estate transactions in the States of New Jersey and New York. We assist clients in the purchase, sale, lease and financing of residential and commercial real estate, and our firm provides clients with quality, sophisticated and cost-effective legal representation in this area.

We have experience in negotiating and preparing purchase and sale agreements for commercial and residential real estate transactions. We also negotiate and prepare commercial and residential leases.

We are familiar, not only with contract, leasing and conveyance laws, but also with environmental law, land use law, bankruptcy law, brokerage law, mortgage foreclosure law, and the Uniform Commercial Code.

We have also represented clients in connection with the preparation, filing and processing of documentation for land use and zoning transactions before appropriate Municipal Government agencies, such as the Planning Board and Zoning Board.

In connection with our representation of clients in the commercial and residential real estate area, we have become familiar with many lending institutions, real estate brokers and other individuals associated with the process. For this reason, we are often able to help our clients obtain appropriate financing for their real estate transactions, and to render advice in this area.
Our firm sometimes represents individuals, developers and businesses who own property that is either not being put to its best use, or which requires development. Land Use Law is the area that addresses issues involving zoning, site plan applications, subdivision applications, use and bulk variance applications and related land use issues. Frequently, the process of obtaining approvals for new developments, new construction or home improvements requires the interaction of owners, their professionals and local and state governmental bodies, and an analysis of the local and state rules and regulations related to land use.

Our firm can assist you in navigating the myriad of laws, rules and regulations relating to land use. We provide a comprehensive review of your municipality’s Zoning Ordinance to help you develop an appropriate plan. We coordinate efforts with your other professionals, such as architects and engineers, in order to obtain approvals and development.