Dale Laster Lessne is counsel in the Princeton, NJ office of Hill Wallack, LLP, where she is a member of the Eminent Domain and Environmental Issues practice groups. She represents the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and New Jersey Transit Corporation as Outside Counsel to the NJ Attorney General’s Office for the acquisition of property by condemnation for various public projects. Ms. Lessne also represents private property owners whose properties have been taken by eminent domain by public entities.
Ms. Lessne has extensive trial and appellate practice, including but not limited to, condemnation, inverse condemnation, environmental cost recovery, environmental licensing and enforcement cases, defending challenges to State agency decision. She also handles commercial and industrial tax appeals.
Ms. Lessne is a trained mediator and has been appointed as a mediator by the Superior Court in civil matters.
During her years as a Deputy Attorney General in the NJ Attorney General’s Office, Ms. Lessne provided legal counsel on a wide range of legal issues to the NJ Department of Transportation, NJ Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Transit Corp., NJ Schools Development Authority and NJ Economic Development Authority. She also served as a Hearing Officer in the NJ Department of Transportation on employee disciplinary and grievance matters after retiring as a Deputy Attorney General.
Ms. Lessne is admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit and the U.S. District Court, New Jersey. She attended Georgetown University Law Center and received her J.D. from Rutgers Law School – Newark. Ms. Lessne clerked for the Honorable Frederick C. Kentz, Jr. in the Superior Court, Hudson County, General Equity for two years while attending the Evening Division of Rutgers Law School – Newark. She received her B.S. with honors from the University of Maryland, College Park.Representative Matters
Ms. Lessne was a member of the legal team that successfully represented the NJ Department of Environmental Protection against a challenge from several oceanfront property owners, from whom easements were taken by eminent domain for a storm mitigation project in Ocean County, State of NJ, by the Dept. of Environmental Protection v. North Beach 1003, LLC, 451 N.J. Super. 214 (App. Div. 2017).
Ms. Lessne was co-counsel representing the State and NJ Transit Corp. respectively in two landmark cases concerning the condemnation of contaminated properties, Hous. Auth. of City of New Brunswick v. Suydam Investors, LLC, 177 N.J. 2, (2003) and NJ Transit Corp. v. Cat in the Hat, LLC, 353 N.J. Super. 364 (App. Div. 2002), aff’d 177 N.J. 29 (2003).Leadership
Presentations & Publications
- Qualified Mediator on Roster of Court-Approved Mediators for Civil, General Equity & Probate Cases
- Eligible condemnation commissioner, NJ Superior Court, Law Division, Mercer County
- Member, NJ Professional Mediators Association
- Adjunct Professor, Monmouth University Dept. of Criminal Justice, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Course, Spring, 2012
- Presenter, Redevelopment Law Seminar, Condemnation of Contaminated Properties, NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education, (Jan. 2009)
- Lecturer at numerous professional seminars for attorneys as well as NJ Dept. of Transportation real estate acquisition and environmental seminars for in-house and private engineering and real estate professionals.