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Essex County Surrogate Theodore N. Stephens, II

           I was raised in East Orange, New Jersey and I am a proud product of the public school system. In 1972, I graduated from East Orange High School and, as a football scholar-athlete, was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.  In 1976, I graduated from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science/Economics.  Thereafter, I attended Seton Hall University Law School in Newark and, as a student, served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Irvin B. Booker at the Newark Municipal Court.  In 1980, I earned my Juris Doctor Degree and received the Monsignor Thomas Fahy Award for student activism.  After graduating, I completed a judicial clerkship with New Jersey Superior Court Judge Paul T. Murphy and was admitted to the New Jersey Bar.   My legal career began as the Eastern Region Attorney for Unisys Corporation.  In 1990, I accepted the call to public service as Corporation Counsel for the City of East Orange. In 1994, I began my judicial career by being appointed a judge of the East Orange Municipal Court.  Ten Years later, I was appointed to the bench of the City of Orange Township Municipal Court.
            On January 1, 2012, I was sworn in as the Essex County Surrogate.   Essex County, with 21 municipalities ranging over 127 square miles and a total population of approximately 800,000 residents, is New Jersey's second most populous County and the Surrogate's Court is one of County's busiest courts.  Even before taking my oath of office it became clear that too many residents are unaware of the role and responsibility of the Surrogate. Therefore, during my first year of service as Judge of Essex County Surrogate's Court, my goal was to make presentations at council meetings in all 21 municipalities and before numerous community organizations so that Essex County residents can more fully understand the services rendered by the Surrogate's Court.  In order to provide an enhanced level of service, we now offer service during extended evening hours on an appointment basis.
            As a frequent lecturer and panel participant on the areas on wills, estates and trusts, I am available for presentations to organizations and groups throughout Essex County.  As a Constitutional Officer I join with all other elected officials in this county by Putting Essex County First!