Personal Attention Backed by Knowledge and Experience

For more than 50 years, our law firm, Gruccio, Pepper, De Santo & Ruth P.A., has provided effective representation for clients with a range of legal needs. We have navigated many kinds of conflicts for a variety of clients, including government agencies, businesses, families managing estate issues, individuals going through divorce and workers or others who have suffered an injury. Whether through litigation, negotiation or alternative dispute resolution, our knowledgeable team is prepared to provide focused advocacy that protects your rights and advances your interests.

At Gruccio, Pepper, DeSanto & Ruth P.A., we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive and personalized service. In a modern age which often values efficiency over relationships, we take the time to get to know each client and understand their priorities and concerns. And we use our significant legal prowess to help our clients achieve those goals.

Contact us today if you need legal assistance with any of the following: 

  • Real Estate
  • General Litigation
  • Mediation and Arbitration
  • Personal Injury
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Representation of Government Agencies
  • Estate Planning Administration
  • Business Corporate Law
  • Labor And Employment Law
  • Municipal Court


Call 856-691-0100 today to arrange your free initial consultation

Attorney James J. Gruccio, Sr.

James J. Gruccio, Sr., President of the law firm of Gruccio, Pepper, De Santo & Ruth, PA, is a lifelong resident of Vineland, New Jersey. He graduated from St. Joseph’s College, Philadelphia, Pa. with a Bachelor of Science in International Politics. He obtained his law degree from Villanova University School of Law.

Mr. Gruccio began his law career as a partner in the firm becoming president in 1972. He served as the Prosecutor of the City of Vineland for 8 years. He also served as the Vineland Solicitor and Director of the Legal Department. Other professional positions held by Mr. Gruccio include Vineland Economic Development Solicitor; Member Board of Trustees of the Delaware Valley Council; Chairman Regional Board of Directors of First Peoples Bank of New Jersey; Member Federal Magistrate Appointment Committee; and Solicitor of the Landis Sewerage Authority.

He currently continues to serve higher education at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law as a Member on the John Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and as a Member of the University’s Board of Consultors.

He was a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney from 1984 - 2021. The areas of his practice include general counsel to numerous private corporations, limited liability companies, and other business entities including banks and insurance companies. He has been personal counsel to Superior Court and Municipal Court Judges, as well as to attorneys and physicians in disciplinary proceedings before various professional review boards. In addition, he has been trial counsel and general counsel in business disputes, shareholder disputes, corporate dissolutions, oppressed shareholder litigation, and personal injury and products liability litigation. Mr. Gruccio enjoys an AV Rating in a national attorney rating service which signifies the highest possible rating by his peers based upon experience, the nature of the practice, and qualifications relevant to the profession. The rating also indicates faithful adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics.

Attorney Lawrence A. Pepper Jr.

Mr. Pepper is an Officer of the law firm of Gruccio, Pepper, De Santo & Ruth, P.A. He was awarded a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame in 1965. He received his law degree from Rutgers University in 1968.

Mr. Pepper's practice is concentrated in the areas of Business Law, Banking, Labor Law, Estate Planning and Administration and Governmental Law. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cumberland Insurance Group. He has also served as a director or member of advisory boards of several area corporations. Mr. Pepper has handled numerous mergers and acquisitions, has guided the administration of sophisticated estates, and trusts and has provided representation to clients in connection with complex banking and financial matters.

He has served as labor counsel to numerous counties and municipalities in South Jersey. Mr. Pepper has extensive experience in representing employers in collective bargaining negotiations, mediation, fact-finding, arbitration, and unfair practice proceedings.

He served as Prosecutor of the City of Vineland and as its First Assistant City Solicitor. Mr. Pepper served as counsel to the Vineland Industrial Commission and Vineland Economic Development Corporation and played an integral role in the development of the Vineland Industrial Park. He was also solicitor for the Cumberland County Sewerage Authority and General Counsel to the New Jersey Expressway Authority, the agency that operates the Atlantic City Expressway. He also served as labor counsel to the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the agency that now operates the Atlantic City Expressway and Atlantic City International Airport.

He is also active in numerous civic, cultural and charitable organizations. Mr. Pepper is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Guidance Center from 1972 to present; a member of the Board of Trustees of Hendricks House from 1992 to present; past member, Board of Trustees of Newcomb Foundation from 1979 through 1997; a past member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of South Jersey Health Care Foundation from 1997 to 2013 and a member of the Board of Trustees of Inspira Health Network from 2013 to 2021.

Attorney Robert A. De Santo

Mr. De Santo is a partner in the Vineland law firm of Gruccio, Pepper, De Santo & Ruth. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Education from Trenton State College, where he was active in numerous organizations and committees. He served in the U.S. Army and, thereafter entered the Rutgers University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctor Degree.

Mr. De Santo served as Associate Solicitor for the City of Vineland from 1980-1988. He was Secretary of the New Jersey Supreme Court Fee Arbitration Committee from 1982-1985, and a member of the Supreme Court District I Ethics Committee from 1993-1996. He served as Trustee (1984-1986), Vice-President (1986-1987) and President (1987-1988) of the Cumberland County Bar Association. He currently serves as Solicitor to the Vineland Board of Education, a position he has held since 1988. He is a former Board member of the American Trial Lawyers Association of New Jersey. Mr. De Santo is a charter member and Past President of the American Board of Trial Advocates - South Jersey Chapter.

Mr. De Santo was honored by the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism with the prestigious Professional Lawyer of the Year Award for 2002. He was designated as a “Top Attorney" by New Jersey Monthly Magazine from 2005-2016. His peer rating is “AV” by Martindale-Hubbel, the highest attorney peer rating designated by that lawyer rating service. Mr. De Santo was certified by the New Jersey State Supreme Court Board on Trial Certification as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney from 1984 - 2021. He served for over 15 years as a court appointed mediator in various New Jersey counties. 

Attorney Joseph E. Ruth

Joseph E. Ruth graduated from Villanova University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History.  In 1982, he received a Master of Arts Degree in History from the same University.  In 1985, Mr. Ruth graduated from the Widener University School of Law.

Mr. Ruth was admitted to the practice of law in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 1987.  In 1991, Mr. Ruth became an associate with the Gruccio Pepper Law Offices, and became a Shareholder in the firm in 2002.

Mr. Ruth’s practice focuses on the representation of clients in the trial of civil matters primarily involving the assertion or defense of personal injury claims. Mr. Ruth also handles criminal and municipal court matters, routinely appearing in the Superior Courts and Municipal Courts in southern New Jersey on behalf of clients who are charged with indictable, non-indictable, motor vehicle, and ordinance violation matters.

Mr. Ruth has also served as a court-appointed arbitrator in personal injury and automobile accident cases, and similarly is selected to serve as an arbitrator in common law arbitrations. Mr. Ruth has also lectured at numerous seminars the themes of which focused on the handling of personal injury cases from initial consultation, to investigation and evidence gathering/conservation, to pre-suit negotiations, to the institution of legal proceedings, to discovery and ultimately to the preparation and execution of successful trial strategies that best represent the interests of the client.

Attorney Stephen D. Barse

Mr. Barse is a 1980 graduate of the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1983. Upon graduation, he served as Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Philip A. Gruccio, Assignment Judge, in Atlantic City. He was admitted to practice law in the State of New Jersey in 1984.

Mr. Barse’s practice is concentrated in the areas of Labor Law, Local Government Law, Business Law, Banking, Estate Planning and Administration. He is solicitor for the Borough of Avalon and serves as labor counsel for various municipalities. He has concentrated in private and public sector labor relations and employment for more than 20 years, representing clients in mediation, arbitration, disciplinary proceedings, unfair practice charges, and related labor and employment matters. He represents clients in commercial and residential real estate transactions and financing transactions. Mr. Barse also provides training to employers regarding work-place issues and conducted investigations of employee claims of harassment and discrimination.

Mr. Barse is currently a member of the Board of the American Red Cross – Southern Shore Chapter. He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society – South Jersey Region and the Vineland YMCA.

Attorney Lee J. Hughes

Lee J. Hughes graduated from LaSalle College in 1983 cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice. In 1986, he graduated from Rutgers University School of Law – Camden.

Mr. Hughes was admitted to the practice of law in the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 1986. He first clerked and then worked as an Associate with the law firm of Falciani & Fletcher in Woodbury, New Jersey. In 1990, he joined the firm of Mazzoni & Marcolongo, in Vineland, New Jersey as an Associate and then became a Partner with that firm. In 2000, Mr. Hughes was a founding Partner in the law firm of Rone, Hughes & Kowalski located in Milmay and Ventnor, New Jersey. After leaving that practice and working as a solo practitioner for a brief period of time he joined the firm of Gruccio Pepper De Santo & Ruth, PA.

Mr. Hughes is a member of the Cumberland County Bar Association, a Member of the New Jersey State Bar Association as well as a member of the New Jersey Association for Justice. He is also a member of the Bar for the United States District Court of the District of New Jersey.

Attorney James J. Gruccio, Jr.

James J. Gruccio, Jr. graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1987.  He continued his studies at Villanova University School of Law where he received his Juris Doctor in 1990.  He served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Robert E. Francis, Presiding Chancery Judge of Vicinage 15.  Mr. Gruccio is Counsel to the Firm and serves as Chief Financial Officer and In-House Counsel for the Burns Kull Automotive Group.

Mr. Gruccio’s experience includes supervising and oversight of multi-franchise dealer operations with focus on financial compliance, securing credit facilities, procuring business insurances, land use and construction needs as well as corporate governance, assignment of and participation in business litigation, employment matters and negotiation of labor contracts.

Attorney Judith C. Arnold

Judith C. Arnold graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications.  In 1988, Ms. Arnold graduated from University of South Dakota, School of Law in Vermillion, SD and began the practice of law in New Jersey.
In law school, Ms. Arnold participated in Moot Court, single and team client counseling competition, negotiation competition, and the American Agricultural Law Research Competition.  Ms. Arnold was awarded an American Jurisprudence award for Natural Resources and was a Native American Research Assistant.
Ms. Arnold’s experience was a very broad and varied one as an associate at the law firm from 1991 to 2005. 
In her real estate practice, she was responsible for title work, title claims litigation, construction litigation, loans, residential, and commercial purchase and sale agreements, residential and commercial selling agreements, closings, foreclosures and other related litigation.  She also handles federal and state court litigation, Municipal Tax Appeals at the County Tax Board and State Tax Court. 

State Required Disclosure: No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

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