Fall 2016 Newsletter

Member News

Board Member and Past President,
Lynda A. Bennett,
shares her journey that shattered her own bias of “Women Groups” in this Bloomberg Law article.

Board Member and Past President,
Kirsten Branigan,
published an article in the NJ Law Journal about her path from big firm to her own practice and quest to find work-life balance. You can find that article here.

Board Member and WILL
Platinum Award Recipient,
Michellene Davis,
has been named #25 on
Politicker NJ’s 2016 Power List.

Board Member,
Carmen M. Garcia,
pictured here (above, left) with New Jersey State Senator, Nilsa Cruz Perez, after receiving their awards at the Hispanic Leadership Summit held on October 29, 2016 at Rowan University.

Board Member,
Dina Mastellone,
was recognized as Touro Law Center’s Alumni of the Month for the month of October.

Board Member,
Tanya Mascarich,
argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on November 9, 2016 in a case of first impression in which the trial court had invalidated an assignment of an insurance policy to an alleged corporate successor. The Supreme Court hearing was recounted in this Law360 article

Executive Board Member,
Michelle Schaap,
was featured in this NJBiz “Beyond the Law” article.

Annmarie Simeone,
received the Professional Lawyer of the Year Award at the November 3rd NJ Commission on Professionalism in the Law Luncheon.

Member and WILL
Platinum Award Recipient,
The Honorable
Barbara Byrd Wecker,

retired Judge of the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court and Chair of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Department of Greenberg Dauber Epstein & Tucker, for being elected to membership as a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators. The College, an invitation only organization comprised of nationally and internationally recognized commercial arbitrators, promotes the highest standards of conduct, professionalism and ethical practices in the field of commercial arbitration.

Have you recently …

Won a summary judgment motion?

Closed a big deal?

Tried your first case?

Started a new job?

Had a baby?

Earned a promotion?

Returned to the workforce?

Celebrated 10, 20, 25, etc. years as a lawyer?

Been named a Rising Star or SuperLawyer in your field?

Whatever your good news is, we want you to share your success! Please email njwlacomm@gmail.com with any details you would like to be included in our next NJWLA newsletter


NJWLA Supports Resolution 107 
Passed by ABA

Do you want to be featured in our Member Spotlight Section?

On February 8, 2016, the American Bar Association passed Resolution 107, encouraging all states with mandatory or minimum continuing legal education requirements (“MCLE”) to modify the requirements to include a minimum number of credits for programs regarding diversity and inclusion. In support of Resolution 107, on October 3, 2016, the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association submitted a letter to the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s Board on Continuing Legal Education, strongly urging the Board to adopt Resolution 107 and require diversity and inclusion programming as a part of New Jersey’s mandatory continuing legal education for attorneys. Thereafter, the NJWLA reached out to the affinity bars and the New Jersey State Bar Association seeking additional support of Resolution 107. In a resounding effort, all of the active affinity bars and the NJSBA have signed on to support the NJWLA request to modify current New Jersey MCLE requirements. This support includes a separate letter, dated October 19, 2016, from NJSBA President, Thomas Prol, to the Board, urging the Board to include mandatory programming on diversity and inclusion for New Jersey MCLE requirements. We now await the Board determination on this request.

 2017 NJWLA
Grant Announcement

NJWLA is currently accepting Grant Applications for programs that research, develop, and/or implement solutions, strategies and initiatives to: 1) support and promote women lawyers to the highest levels of law firm, government, academic, community and corporate positions and the judiciary; 2) engage in statewide and/or nationwide efforts designed to retain women in the legal
profession, including through providing education; 3) remove barriers to women’s entry and advancement in the legal profession; 4) develop and promote women leaders, role models and mentors in the legal profession; 5) educate the legal profession and general public about gender equity concerns and issues related to the legal profession; 6) provide a voice for women, including in shaping legislation of importance to women; and 7) encourage women to attend law school. The total amount of the Grant availability will be $25,000. There is no dollar limit on the amount an organization may apply for; however, NJWLA anticipates that it will award multiple grants in 2017 from this total amount. NJWLA in its discretion may award all, some or none of the available grant funds to applicants.

The 2017 Grant Application can be found here.
The 2017 Grant Agreement can be found here.

Colleen Skinner,
Executive Director
New Jersey Women
Lawyers Association
372 Franklin Avenue,
Suite 713
Nutley, NJ 07110

5:00 P.M. on
DECEMBER 15, 2016.

Applications that do not follow this format will not be considered for funding.

December 2015

Committee Spotlight

In an effort to help familiarize our membership with each NJWLA committee, each quarterly E-newsletter will highlight various NJWLA committees. A list of all committees and committee directors can be found here. This edition will highlight the Endorsements Committee.

The events planned by the NJWLA Committees are designed to support and promote the advancement and retention of women in the legal profession. The Endorsements Committee focuses its efforts on supporting female lawyers who wish to advance their careers through appointments to the judiciary and to State Boards and Commissions. In addition to executing educational programs, the Endorsements Committee interviews and endorses qualified women attorneys for appointments within the State and Federal Judiciary, and for other roles, including key executive roles such as County Prosecutor, County Sherriff and County Counsel, or service on a State Board or Commission. Members of the Endorsement Committee have also participated in meetings with the Governor’s Counsel and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the importance of appointment qualified female candidates and provided names in that regard.

To that end, NJWLA has partnered with the Hispanic Bar Association (HBA) and other specialty bar associations for the past several years to host “How to Become a Judge, Commissioner or Board Member: Nuts and Bolts of the Judicial and New Jersey State Appointments Process” (“the Nuts and Bolts event”). The Nuts and Bolts event is a panel discussion comprised of attorneys who have either obtained judicial and State appointments or have participated in the evaluation process required to obtain those appointments. The event provides CLE credit and is incredibly informative, providing detailed information about what to do and expect throughout each type of appointment process as well as the time commitment involved in holding those positions. There is also great networking before and after the panel discussion. It is a must-attend for anyone with true aspirations of becoming a judge or sitting on a State commission or board, and anyone just exploring new ways to get involved and expand her career opportunities.

The powerhouse panel of the April 2016 Nuts and Bolts event was comprised of: Honorable Lois H. Goodman (United States Magistrate Judge), Michellene Davis (Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Barnabas Health), Yolanda Rodriguez (Assistant Counsel, Appointments Office, Office of the Governor of the State of New Jersey), Susan A Feeney (partner at McCarter & English, LLP), E. Michael Angulo (General Counsel at Stockton University), and Andrea Martinez-Mejia (Community Health Services Coordinator for the City of Trenton). Past NJWLA President Kirsten S. Branigan (Founder of the Law Office of Kirsten Scheurer Branigan, P.C.), Arlene Quinones Perez (Partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick and Cole, LLP) and Jhanice V. Domingo (Counsel at Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito & Frost, P.C.) co-moderated the discussion.

Meet the
 Political Party Leaders

September 28, 2016
Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis

Iselin, New Jersey – The Women’s Leadership Forum of Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis hosted “Meet the Political Party Leaders,” a bi-partisan program sponsored by the Public Policy Committee of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association and co-hosted by the Mercer and Middlesex County Bar Associations. One hundred guests were on hand to network with state legislators, county chairs and state committee members. Attendees then had the unique opportunity to participate in an informative and interactive panel discussion about election law and the political process here in New Jersey.

A Night with the Author of Notorious RBG

October 13, 2016
The Law Center

New Brunswick, New Jersey-
In excess of 130 attorneys gathered at the New Jersey Law Center to enjoy “An Evening with Irin Carmon” co-author of New York Times Best Seller, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Notorious RBG, Ms. Carmon’s first book co-written with Shana Knizhnik, not only chronicles the life and accomplishments of Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg, but succeeds in transforming her into a pop culture phenomenon.
A networking cocktail reception preceded the presentation by Ms. Carmon in which she and moderators, Dina Mastellone, NJWLA Board Member and WIPS Chair President, and Jaimee Katz Sussner, NJWLA Board Member, discussed the book and insight into the progression of Justice Ginsburg’s legal career, notable cases, and her dedication to the advancement of women. The program concluded with an audience Q & A and an opportunity for all attendees to meet Ms. Carmon and receive copies of the Notorious RBG autographed by both authors. The program was generously sponsored by Genova Burns LLC, Felicia F. Garland of Greenberg & Rapp, Provident Bank and Friedman LLP.

YLD Roundtable

November 17, 2016
Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC

West Orange, New Jersey – Thank you to NJWLA’s Young Lawyers Division and Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC for planning and hosting an interactive and informative Young Lawyers Roundtable with presentations by Jean Oursler, The Results Queen and Beth McKenna and Cristy Kaur of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Member Spotlight:
Christine Bator

Board Member and Rutgers Law School Professor, Christine Bator, and her Energy Law students at Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant. Oyster Creek is the oldest nuclear power plant in the country.

In This Issue

Member News
ABA Resolution 107 Announcement
Grant Announcement
Committee Spotlight
Meet the Political Party Leaders
A night with the Author of Notorious RBG
YLD Roundtable
Upcoming Events
Message From the President

Upcoming Events

NJWLA Annual
Holiday Party

Come join NJWLA at our Annual Holiday Party.

December 13, 2016 McCarter & English
Newark, NJ

Register Here

10th Annual WILL Platinum Gala


March 28, 2017

The Grove
Cedar Grove, NJ 

The NJWLA’s Women’s Initiative and Leaders in Law (WILL) Platinum Award is bestowed upon individuals for their exceptional achievements, their sustained contributions to gender equity challenges and other issues unique to women in the legal profession. 

View Save the Date
View Honorees
View Table Sponsorship Packages
View Ticket Order Form 

Message from the President

Wow, we have had a very exciting and busy fall. We had a great networking and Annual Kick-off Event in mid-September at LeMalt Lounge in Colonia, New Jersey, where we excitedly greeted old friends and eagerly met new members. We discussed our plans for the coming year and new ideas for programs and events. Special Thanks go out to our co-sponsors, Wilentz and Hudson Court Reporting.

We followed the kickoff with the Public Policy Committee Program entitled: “Meet the Political Party Leaders” held in late September at Greenbaum Rowe. Political party leaders presented their personal and professional experiences to a packed house. It was also our first NJWLA approved CLE course, so we were excited to be able to award CLE credit to all attendees. The event turned out to be a great success, and was well attended by members, non-members and political party representatives. All in attendance learned about becoming involved in the political party process at all levels. Thanks go to our sponsor Greenbaum Rowe for hosting and to the Middlesex, Mercer and Bergen County Bar Associations for getting the word out about the program.

We co-sponsored an event in early October with the New Jersey State Bar Association regarding the Equal Rights Amendment. A number of panelists at the program, which was held at the Alice Paul Institute, were involved early in the movement seeking passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. The discussions centered on past efforts and possible future strategies in an effort to revitalize the movement. Facts were presented regarding recent surveys taken across the country which demonstrated that many American citizens incorrectly believed that the Equal Rights Amendment had passed a number of years ago and was, in fact, a Constitutional Amendment. Unfortunately, that is not the case but, New Jersey State Bar President, Thomas Prol, has made it a mission of his presidency to move the Equal Rights Amendment towards passage. Again, the crowd was at capacity and there was much discussion about raising your passion to take action toward a passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Later in October, we held the Notorious RBG Event at the Law Center, which was co-sponsored by the Women in the Profession Section of the State Bar Association. The event was very well attended and in all likelihood was our largest event, aside from our annual Gala. Dina Mastellone and Jaimee Katz Sussner moderated the discussion with the Notorious RBG author, Irin Carmon about the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her efforts to establish important rights for women. The evening was a tremendous success.

Our Tales from the Bench series continued with a presentation by retired Judge Harriet Farber Klein in November. She presented to a full house and shared her experiences as a lawyer and a Judge. She also offered insight on work-life balance issues pointing out changes that she has seen over time. Many thanks go to Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP for hosting the luncheon.

Just before Thanksgiving, the Young Lawyers Division held an evening of roundtable discussions hosted by Chiesa Shahinian and Giantomasi. Seasoned representatives from the accounting, marketing and legal fields led discussions with the young lawyers. The young lawyers gained insight into areas affecting their personal and professional lives and thought it was a great opportunity to seek advice in an informal setting.

Finally, we are so excited to announce that our 10th Annual Gala is on March 28th at The Grove in Cedar Grove. It’s already looking like it will be another exceptional night in the life of our organization. Ticket sales are moving at a fast pace and we expect a sell out so please reserve your tables now. Discounts are available through December 31st. Please see NJWLA.org for details.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at the Holiday Party on December 13th at McCarter & English!

New Jersey Women Lawyers Association | 973-819-9488 | cskinner@njwla.org | http://www.njwla.org633 Franklin AvenuePMB #118Nutley, NJ 07110

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