Majors Law Firm P.C.

Providing Skilled Legal Expertise
for 135 Years

Richard Dieterly (In Memoriam)


1934 - 2017

We celebrate the life and mourn the loss of our cherished friend and colleague, Richard Dieterly, who worked by our side at Gebhardt & Kiefer since 1961.

Dick was our friend and partner for more than 55 years.  His analytical capacity, his phenomenal memory and his technical writing skills were unmatched among lawyers, but what made him such a valuable partner was his love of our firm, his respect for others, the equanimity of his temperament and his good judgment as a friend and a mentor.  He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.

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Mr. Dieterly concentrated his practice in the representation of New Jersey local government bodies, estate planning and estate administration.

He served as municipal attorney for Holland Township, East Amwell and Tewksbury Township, all for more than 20 years, and two of them for more than 30 years. He was also the attorney for the White Township (Warren County) Planning Board, and served as attorney for other planning boards and zoning boards of adjustment, as well as attorney for several school districts.  Mr. Dieterly also served as special counsel to other New Jersey municipalities in satisfying their affordable housing obligations under the Mt. Laurel doctrine, and served on an advisory body to the N.J. Council on Affordable Housing.

In his representation of local government bodies, Mr. Dieterly successfully defended many lawsuits attacking zoning and land use decisions, and prosecuted and defended lawsuits involving a wide variety of other matters such as construction contracts, zoning violations, and tax assessments. These suits involved appearances in the New Jersey Supreme Court, as well as in the Appellate Division and the Law and Chancery Divisions of the N. J. Superior Court, the N.J. Tax Court, and the U.S. District Court. Mr. Dieterly was one of the attorneys involved in the so-called Mt. Laurel III case, Hills Development Co. v. Bernards Twp. in Somerset Cty. , 103 N.J. 1 (1986), before the N.J. Supreme Court. In representing municipalities and school districts, Mr. Dieterly also handled collective negotiations with employee unions, grievance arbitrations, and unfair practice charges before the N.J. Public Employee Relations Commission. His representation of municipalities involved the preparation of complex contracts and a wide range of other matters, frequently featuring sensitive dealings with the public. He also had significant experience in New Jersey's Farmland Retention Program, since one of the municipalities he represented preserved approximately 2,000 acres of farmland through acquisition of easements prohibiting development.

Mr. Dieterly also had extensive experience in drafting a variety of wills, including those with complex trust and tax saving provisions, and in the administration of trusts and estates.

Mr. Dieterly received a B.A. degree magna cum laude from Yale University, and was awarded a J.D. degree from the Yale Law School. Subsequently, he obtained a Diplomate in Municipal Law from Rutgers University, and completed courses in land use planning at the New York University Graduate School of Public Administration. Mr. Dieterly was admitted to the bar in New Jersey in 1963, and worked with Gebhardt and Kiefer as an associate and partner since that time.

Mr. Dieterly served as secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the Local Government Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and was a former Trustee of the New Jersey Association of School Attorneys. He was also a member of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys, New Jersey Planning Officials, and the Hunterdon County Bar Association. He lectured on municipal and school law in continuing legal education programs and for municipal officials.

Mr. Dieterly was a Trustee of the Hunterdon Art Museum, and former member and Vice-President of the North Hunterdon Regional High School Board of Education.