Spring 2016 Newletter

Member News

President, Jessica S. Allen,
has joined the firm of Calcagni & Kanefsky, The New Jersey Office of Harris, St. Laurent & Chaudhry LLP as partner. Her practice focuses on representing individual and corporate clients in employment, criminal, and complex commercial matters as well as government and internal investigations.

Board Member and Past President,
Lynne Anderson,
was quoted in an American Bar Association Journal article on challenges to diverse women in law firms. Read the article here.

Board Member,
Melissa Miele Bracuti, has been promoted to Partner at
Graham Curtin, P.A.

Board Member,
Irina B. Elgart,
has been promoted to Partner at
Fox Rothschild LLP.

Board Member and WILL Platinum Award Honoree,
Michellene Davis,
was selected as a recipient of the Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award, honoring New Jersey women for exceptional achievements. The award was presented by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez at the 6th Annual Women’s History Month Celebration on March 6, 2016 at Montclair State University.

Board Member,
Sharmila Jaipersaud,
has been promoted to Counsel at Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP.

Board Members,
Heather Boshak,
Susan Feeney and
Galit Kierkut
, were honored by the
Executive Women of
New Jersey at the 16th biannual Salute to the Policy Makers Awards Gala.

Marla J. Moss, has been appointed by Glenn Grant on behalf of Chief Justice Rabner to the NJ Supreme Court Committee on Complimentary Dispute Resolution.

NJWLA congratulates Lynda Bennett, NJWLA Past President and current board member;
Jennifer Velez, prior WILL Platinum Award honoree;
Nicole Alexander, Dean Kathleen Boozang,
Sheila Calello,
Jennifer Mazawey and
Christine Stearns
, NJWLA members; and all of the other honorees who have been named the
Best 50 Women in Business 2016 by NJBIZ.
See the entire list here.

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


Member Spotlight
Natalie S. Richer

As an Intellectual Property lawyer who works with many electronics and software companies, I am used to being the only woman in the room. Even back in my undergraduate electrical engineering classes, it was the same dynamic. I distinctly remember walking in late to the first class one semester, and hearing my friend say, “Hey, look! A female!”

I am perfectly fine with that dynamic, but being a member of the NJWLA has shown me how helpful it is to make meaningful connections with other women in the legal field. I have gained tremendous insight from many of the women I’ve met through the NJWLA. When I hear about their accomplishments and extend my heartfelt congratulations, I often think, “Maybe I could do something like that.”

Using that inspiration, I formalized a women’s initiative at my firm. I recognized that not everyone is as comfortable being the only woman in the room, and I wanted to help. The initiative builds on the informal support system previously in place. We provide mentoring to attorneys and foster business development efforts. We also help women identify their career goals and guide them towards achieving those goals.

I enjoy providing encouragement and support to others, just as I have found the NJWLA to be the perfect resource for encouragement and support for me. Now and again, we all need a little boost – whether we’re facing a particularly large obstacle, or just stuck in the rut of a daily routine. It’s always comforting to know you have people in your corner, even if some of them are still strangers.

Natalie is a partner at Lerner David Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik, LLP in Westfield, NJ. She has been named as one of NJ Law Journal’s “New Leaders of the Bar,” and recognized as a Rising Star by NJ Super Lawyers. She is also slated to serve as chair of the NJWLA Women’s Leadership committee.

Do you want to be featured in our Member Spotlight Section?
Please submit your story and photo to
for consideration.

May 2016

Feature Article


9th Annual WILL
Platinum Awards Gala

March 22, 2016
The Grove at Cedar Grove

Cedar Grove – 700 distinguished guests attended the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association’s sold out 9th Annual Women’s Initiative and Leaders in the Law (WILL) Platinum Gala at The Grove in Cedar Grove on Tuesday, March 22nd. The NJWLA awarded five extraordinary women from the bench and bar with the WILL Platinum Award, an honor bestowed upon women for their outstanding achievements in the legal profession and their sustained contributions to gender equity challenges and other issues unique to women in the legal profession.

This year’s WILL award recipients were the Honorable Lois H. Goodman, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey, the Honorable Harriet E. Derman,(Retired) Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division and Of Counsel at Di Francesco, Bateman, Kunzman, Davis, Lehrer & Flaum, P.C., Kirsten Scheurer Branigan, NJWLA Past President and Founder of The Law Office of Kirsten Scheurer Branigan, P.C., Michellene Davis, Executive Vice President For Corporate Affairs at Barnabas Health, and the Honorable Carolyn A. Murray, Acting Essex County Prosecutor. The evening began with a heartfelt tribute recognizing the accomplishments of New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Marie Garibaldi. The Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

The NJWLA was very proud to spotlight its 2015 Grant Recipients, who received grants totaling over $25,000. The 2016 Grant Recipients are: Partners for Women and Justice, the Alice Paul Institute, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice and The New Jersey Law & Education Empowerment Project. Scholarships were awarded to three female law students from Seton Hall University School of Law and Rutgers School of Law, who wrote poignant essays that appeared in the 2016 Gala Journal.

Nuts and Bolts of the Judicial and New Jersey State Appointments Process

April 4, 2016
The New Jersey Law Center
New Brunswick– Approximately 100 attorneys attended the panel discussion and networking reception “How To Become a Judge, Commissioner or Board Member: Nuts and Bolts of the Judicial and New Jersey State Appointments Process” on Tuesday, April 5th, at the Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ.

Panelists included Honorable Lois H. Goodman, United States Magistrate Judge, Susan A. Feeney, Partner at McCarter & English, LLP, E. Michael Angulo, General Counsel at Stockton University, Andrea Martinez Mejia, Community Health Services Coordinator for the City of Trenton and Yolanda Rodriguez, Assistant Counsel, Appointments Office, Office of the Governor of the State of New Jersey. The moderators were Kirsten S. Branigan, Founder of the Law Office of Kirsten Scheurer Branigan, P.C. and Arlene Quinones Perez, Partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, LLP.

Panelists provided practical advice on best practices for potential candidates to achieve a New Jersey or federal judicial appointment and/or appointment to a New Jersey Board or Commission through a vibrant and well-informed discussion. The panelists also discussed the process that candidates undergo for both judicial and board consideration. The panelists emphasized the need to plan for and begin engaging in the application and lengthy appointment process as early as possible.

The program was sponsored by McCarter English, LLP, Barnabas Health, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, DeCotiis, FitzPatrick and Cole, LLP, Law Office of Kirsten Scheurer Branigan, P.C. and Hudson Court Reporting. The program was co-sponsored by the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey and the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey. Supporters included the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, the Diversity Committee, Women in the Profession Section and LGBT Rights Section of the NJSBA and the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey.

Tales from the Bench

April 12, 2016
Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP.

Princeton – Thank you to Drinker Biddle & Reath for a fabulous Tales From the Bench luncheon and much appreciation to former Chief Justice Deborah Poritz for sharing her words of wisdom and engaging personal stories with our group in such an honest and intimate atmosphere.

YLD Happy Hour

April 13, 2016
George & Martha’s

Solo and Small Firm
Commercial Damages & Cost Benefit Assessment of Litigation Disputes

May 4, 2016
Eisner Amper

Iselin- NJWLA’s Solo and Small Firm Committee hosted an informative CLE seminar designed to help lawyers identify the acceptable commercial damage methods and better understand the concepts of reliability, certainty, and foreseeability. It also addressed how experts approach mitigation in damage claims. Special thanks to our generous sponsor Eisner Amper.

Law Day 2016

April 29, 2016
JP Stevens High School

Edison- NJWLA extends an enormous thank you to our co-Chief Operating Officer Susan Kleiner, board member Nancy Lottinville, NJWLA member Jillian Stein, as well as attorneys Samantha Fasanello and Sandy Larson for their participation in Law Day 2016 at the JP Stevens High School in Edison. These five fabulous women took time away from their busy schedules to present a comprehensive, full-day program about Miranda warnings, with an emphasis in the context of schools, to students in six Advanced Placement government classes. The students also were educated about the mission of the NJWLA, and Nancy shared her personal experience about being a woman in the legal profession.

In This Issue

Member News
Member Spotlight
Nuts and Bolts of the Judicial and NJ State Appointments Process
Tales from the Bench
Solo and Small Firm Seminar
Law Day 2016
Upcoming Events
Message From the President

Upcoming Events

“Fore Ladies Only”
Golf Outing and Clinic

June 20th, 2016
Cedar Hill Country Club
Livingston, NJ
Golf 18 Holes/Lunch/Reception $250
Golf Clinic +9/Lunch/Reception $250
Lunch Only
Cocktail Reception Only
Tee Sponsorship

Register For Golf Here!

For Sponsorship Opportunities, please contact Wendy Deer/ECBF @ wsdeer@essexbar.com
or Colleen Skinner/NJWLA @ cskinner@njwla.org

Message from the President

As my Presidential term comes to an end, I reflect on what a tremendous year it has been for NJWLA.  Through our hard work and persistence, we have achieved extraordinary success in furthering the mission of the organization.  Both our innovative and signature programs and events have informed, educated, celebrated and promoted amazing women in the legal profession.  

On March 22, 2016, 700 distinguished guests attended NJWLA’s 9th Annual Women’s Initiative and Leaders in the Law (WILL) Platinum Gala in support of five extraordinary honorees to celebrate their incredible achievements in the law.  On April 4, 2016, we held the annual “Nuts and Bolts of the Judicial and New Jersey State Appointments Process” at the Law Center where interested potential judicial, board and commission candidates gathered to learn about the process of being appointed to these important and competitive positions.  

On April 12, 2016, we had another fabulous “Tales from the Bench” program, generously hosted by Drinker Biddle & Reath.  Former Chief Justice Deborah Poritz candidly shared her story of success and path to achieving various leadership roles in the profession.

NJWLA’s Young Lawyers Division brought us another terrific networking event on April 13, 2016.  The night was co-sponsored by the Morris County Bar Association Young Lawyers, and the Somerset County Bar Association Young Lawyers at George and Martha’s restaurant in Morristown.  Providing a casual social setting for young lawyers to meet, network, and share common goals as well as exchange ideas is just one of many examples of how NJWLA is committed to women helping women.  

On May 4, 2016, we continued our goal of providing unique and practical educational programs. The Solo and Small Firm organized an extensive CLE program focused on practical tips concerning commercial damages and cost benefit assessment of litigation disputes, generously hosted by Eisner Amper. 

A related mission of NJWLA is to pay it forward so to speak. On April 29, 2016, NJWLA once again participated in Law Day.  NJWLA board members and general members along with female practitioners from the larger legal community presented a comprehensive program about Miranda warnings to students at the JP Stevens High School in Edison.  The program was such an enormous success that the five presenters have been asked to present a similar program to another group of high school students in the Edison school district.

We will continue to bring educational and inspiring programs as well as great networking and social events in the coming months.  On June 1, 2016, our Judicial Outreach Committee will present another installment of the judicial panel at the Federal Courthouse in Camden, where a distinguished panel of female judges will share their insight and tips about why there are so few women lead counsel and how we as women get seats at this proverbial table.  

On June 20, 2016, we, along with the Essex County Bar Foundation, will hold our annual Fore Ladies Only golf outing at the Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club in Livingston.  Be sure to visit our website for final dates and times for all of our upcoming events.  

Our success this past year can be measured not only by NJWLA’s motivating  programs and events but by the recent expansion of our membership throughout the State. We also have continued to develop new partnership opportunities to co-host, promote and co-sponsor programs and events with other sister bar associations, non-profit organizations and law firms.  
Finally, we have continued to press forward with NJWLA’s goal of increasing the number of qualified women for appointments to the state judiciary.  Earlier this month, NJWLA passed a Resolution urging Governor Christie and the Senate Judiciary Committee to continuously work cooperatively, with input from bar associations like the NJWLA, to take prompt action on qualified judges and judicial candidates.  NJWLA is committed to having a strong and active voice in this process.
I will close by thanking our entire board, our Executive Director, Colleen Skinner, and our Marketing Director, Victoria Michals, for their efforts and support this past year.  I also would like to thank the entire NJWLA membership for providing me with this extraordinary opportunity to lead this incredible organization.  Have a wonderful and safe summer.  I look forward to seeing each of you at the next NJWLA event.


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

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