Mountain Lakes High School alumnus Jonathan E. McMeen is the current Municipal Prosecutor for the towns of Sparta, Newton, Ogdensburg and Green Township. In addition to being one of the leading lawyers in New Jersey, he is also the embodiment of a man who has seized everything Mountain Lakes has to offer.
A Laker since birth, Jon has vivid stories of the experiences and culture that make Mountain Lakes such a special place to grow up. From sailing, to poker, to practicing law, McMeen is an active person who is always taking advantage of life. Recently, we sat down with him and learned more about his story and his time in Mountain Lakes.
MLAA: When did you first come to Mountain Lakes?
JM: Day 1 of Birth!
MLAA: What year was that?
MLAA: How would you describe your time in town?
JM: The best place to grow up! Small-knit community, loved activities in Mountain Lake, including sailing, building homemade rafts, and the fireworks!
MLAA: In your view, how has Mountain Lakes changed over the years, if at all?
JM: The town is generally the same; the houses are similar, the Boulevard is the same – just new faces!
MLAA: What sports/activities/clubs were you in during high school?
JM: Lighting for the GAA show; Key Club.
MLAA: How did you decide to get involved in law?
JM: By accident. I graduated college and really couldn’t find a job that I wanted or liked. I had grown up around the law (both parents were attorneys) but in actuality, that was the reason I DID NOT want to become an attorney. I didn’t want that grueling lifestyle that I grew up with. One day, I figured I would just take the LSAT because I had nothing else better to do. After sending in a few applications to law schools — and not getting accepted to any — a mysterious invitation came to my door from Quinnipiac School of Law asking me to apply there. I had never heard of the place and did not even apply there. Two days later, I was accepted with a scholarship. Then that was it.
MLAA: What has been the biggest challenge you have experienced in your field?
JM: Keeping up with the ever-changing law. New Jersey has a lot of laws which are constantly being changed. The biggest reward? Having a client say: “You did a great job.”
MLAA: Tell us about your family.
JM: My wife, Erin McMeen, who is in nursing school, and our two (pathetic) dogs.
MLAA: What are your hobbies/interests?
JM: Boating on Lake Hopatcong; gardening, Texas Hold ‘Em poker. I am a 311 (the band) fanatic! I have seen them live in concert once every single year since 1996.
MLAA: How do you spend your ideal day or night?
JM: Decompressing by watching mind-numbing YouTube videos of hidden camera pranks and 80s metal hair bands.
MLAA: Favorite movie?
MLAA: Given your business expertise and the nature of what you do, what advice (whether general or specific) can you offer to the readers?
JM: Be proactive. You cannot simply expect business to fall in your lap. It is important to maintain constant community presence and to engage in interactions with as many different types of people as possible to keep your name out there. This is especially important in the business of law. It is also important is to always accept that you do not know everything and that should always be open to learning. Mistakes are learning experiences and everybody makes them.
MLAA: What else should we know about you, your family, or your business?
JM: I serve as the Municipal Prosecutor for the towns of Sparta, Newton, Ogdensburg and Green Twp. In my capacity as Prosecutor over the past seven years, I have seen my fair share of interesting and sometimes unusual cases. A few examples of cases that I have prosecuted are as follows: A driver charged with going 127 miles an hour; a driver who was “unclothed” while stopped by police and eventually charged with Driving While Intoxicated; A passenger who threw drugs out of a car at a motor vehicle stop by police only to have the incident recorded on the police car camera – whereas the camera recording was the actual witness (the officer never saw the drugs fly out the window while talking with the driver at the stop); prosecution of a defendant for illegal possession of a pet alligator; prosecution of individuals for the theft of hundreds of lawn gnomes; prosecution of a man dressed in a bunny outfit whom blew an air horn in a police station as part of a YouTube skit.
MLAA: If you could go back in time for one day, to any point in your career, when would it be and why?
JM: I have no regrets and would not go back and make any changes!
MLAA: What is next for you or what do you see yourself doing in the future?
JM: It is hard to say, but continuing as an attorney. I would like to teach more young attorneys about the practice of law and what I have learned along the way.
MLAA: If you could invite three people to dinner, alive or dead, real or fictional, who would they be and why?
JM: James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of Metallica. I think that the band Metallica is a marvelous example of American entrepreneurship. To think that a band playing music has a value of a little under a billion dollars is mind boggling. I have so many questions to ask on the American success story. Jeff Bezos – Amazon. I think talking with a person who single handedly altered the course of retail in this world would have some insightful tips about entrepreneurship.
MLAA: Give us a story or memory from growing up in Mountain Lakes that has impacted you today or in your journey over the years.
JM: I remember very vividly the Fourth of July fireworks. I loved either going into a canoe or going to a party on the lake to watch them. It was very symbolic for me as a young guy that this was really the beginning of summer – and summer was a great
time in Mountain Lakes for me because it meant freedom!
At a Glance:
● Name: Jonathan E. McMeen
● Position: Attorney/Municipal Prosecutor
● Company: Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP
● Website: www.lcrlaw.com
● Business Address: 60 Blue Heron Road, Sparta, NJ 07871
● Industry: Legal Services
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