Bergen County Surrogate Court Judge

Steve Rothman’s campaign sign for Bergen County Surrogate Election 1992

Steve Rothman’s campaign sign for Bergen County Surrogate, 1992 

In 1992, Steve Rothman was chosen by the Bergen County Democratic Party at their March 1992 convention to be their candidate for Bergen County Surrogate Court Judge. Each New Jersey county is required to elect a Judge of the Surrogate’s Court who is responsible, among other duties, for the probating and administering of the estates of the county’s residents.

Steve Rothman won the General Election in November 1992, the first attorney to serve as Bergen County’s Surrogate Court Judge in the 148 years since the position became an elected one.

During his administration, Steve Rothman updated the technology of the Bergen County Surrogate’s Office by introducing modern computers and management practices. This led to a 55% increase in cases processed despite a 10% reduction in the number of employees through attrition. He improved public access to the Office by adding phone lines and digitizing Court documents. His first hire while in the role was a Hispanic college graduate who was the first Spanish-speaking member of the Bergen County Surrogate’s Court in history.

During his tenure as Surrogate Court Judge, Rothman conducted more than 100 seminars throughout the county on wills, living wills, probate and powers of attorney, speaking directly to over 10,000 Bergen County residents. He invested over $75 million in assets for minors who received settlements or judgments in Bergen County.

In March 1995, Steve Rothman wrote and published an 18-page booklet entitled “The Three Legal Documents Recommended For Every Bergen County Adult”. Approximately 23,000 English and Spanish booklets were distributed. See them in the Photo Gallery.

During Steve Rothman’s three years in office, his federally-insured investments realized the highest rate of return of any Surrogate in the state.

The Palisadian newspaper article on the awarding of the Achievement of Quality and Consistently Excellent Service, by the New Jersey Judiciary’s Administrative Office of the Courts, to Bergen County Surrogate Steve Rothman 1993