Denise Gackenheimer Verzella is an Associate at Manes & Weinberg,LLC. She has spent a large part of her career working in a variety of areas of higher education at Cardozo Law School, Seton Hall School of Law, and the Silberman College of Business at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Prior to working in higher education, she represented employees in actions against their employers.
It was while advocating for the needs of her own children, that she realized the complexity of
the laws and processes pertaining to special education. To become a better advocate, she
pursued opportunities for education and training in this area. She quickly began to assist
friends and relatives in advocating for their own children with special needs. She explained the
IEP and 504 process, and helped parents understand the structure and substance of the
evaluations and IEP and 504 Plans they received. When she decided to return to the
practice of law, it was this desire to assist other families navigate the special education process
that drove her decision. She spent a short time representing school districts, but
quickly realized her passion was representing families and she returned to Manes and
Outside of work, she was licensed Resource Family for New Jersey and currently volunteers her
time in her community food bank. She is currently a member of her town’s Democratic
Committee and on the Board of her school district’s SEPAC.
Denise is a member of the Bars in New York and New Jersey, and the Federal District Court of
New Jersey. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Tulane Law School, a Master of Arts in Student
Services Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a Bachelor of Arts from
Binghamton University. She volunteers with Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, is a member of the
New Jersey State Bar Association, School Law Committee, and Women in the Profession Section.
She lives in Essex County with her husband, two children, and their rescue dog.
She has selected for inclusion in the New Jersey Family Magazine, Best Lawyers for Families
2020 and a selected by the New Jersey Super Lawyers Magazine as a “2021 Rising Star”.