Summer 2014 Newsletter

Member News

Board Member, Nicole Bearce, has been named NAPW’s Professional Woman of the Year.

President, Suzanne Cerra , has been selected to the Board of Trustees of the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park, NJ.

Executive Board Member, Michellene Davis, was honored by The Network Journal as one of the Top 25 Influential Black Women in Business for 2014.

Law360 Female Powerbrokers Q & A featuring Executive
Board Member
Kathleen Einhorn,
can be found

Board Member, Annemarie Simeone,
has been elected President of the Board of Trustees of the Resource Center of Somerset, Inc., a private, non-profit agency serving victims of domestic abuse in Somerset County.

Board Member,
Silvia Courtney,
gave birth to a baby girl on June 7th.

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
with any details you would like to be included in our next NJWLA newsletter

Member Spotlight:
Laurie A. Poulos

Work-life balance has been a popular topic of discussion in the legal industry since the time I graduated from law school. Many of us have searched in vain for ways to achieve this elusive, yet alluring, goal. In 2011, while trying hopelessly to balance being a wife and mother of two young boys with my full-time career as a litigator at a big firm, I decided to compete in my first triathlon. Since then, I have competed in 18 triathlons, including a Half Ironman, in addition to various running, biking and swimming races. It may seem counter-intuitive, but taking on this additional, time-consuming activity has actually helped me to achieve better balance in my life. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that it has helped me to put things in perspective so that everything seems more balanced, even though it may not actually be that way in reality.

Triathlons can provide a great metaphor for life, as many of the skills necessary to achieve success in triathlon are the same as those necessary to succeed in life and at work. Much like nurturing a family and/or a career, training for and completing a triathlon is a great undertaking. It is a physical and mental challenge, requiring hard work, discipline and dedication, as well as mental stamina. There are moments when it seems like it’s all just too much and I just want to give up and succumb to the negative voices in my head. Those are the moments which test my will to carry on; the moments where I harness my mental strength and learn to dig deep in order to press forward. In triathlon, as in life and at work, there is always room for improvement. There is even the need to balance competing interests, as I attempt to master three different disciplines – swimming, biking and running. As in life, I must make choices about where to focus my attention; and at different times, one thing may require more attention than another. And, of course, periodically I must take a break, rest and recharge. Finally, like family and career, triathlon can be a great source of pride and accomplishment when I perform well; the only difference being that I have no one but myself to disappoint when I perform poorly.

Triathlon has taught me that I can overcome setbacks. As a goal-oriented person, I thrive on setting, working toward and achieving goals. If I don’t reach my goals on the first try, it only gives me the drive to try harder. Sometimes, however, things are not entirely in my control. In the Summer of 2012, I fell and broke my leg. I was laid up for eight weeks in a cast that covered my leg from hip to toes. I had to cancel all my races and could not train during that time. As a result, my strength and endurance regressed. I was disappointed, but I refused to let it stop me. Sitting there in that cast, I registered for my first Half Ironman, which would be my most challenging race to date. It gave me a rush just to do that. As soon as I was physically able to do so, I returned to training. It took me some time to get back physically to where I was before the break, but eventually I did and then surpassed it. Nine months after the break, I finished my first Half Ironman. If I had not broken my leg, I am not sure that I would have thought to do a Half Ironman. Through triathlon training, I have learned that sometimes I may need to adjust my goals, change my strategy or reset my expectations in order to succeed. Sometimes things work out even better than originally planned.

Aside from teaching me these basic life skills, being a triathlete has had a positive impact on my life in other important ways. To begin, training allows me time to care for myself. It helps me to improve my body and my mind, as I become physically and mentally stronger and healthier. It also makes me happier – nothing feels better than the exercise-induced endorphins following a good workout. Making time for training also helps reduce stress. Being healthier, happier and less stressed allows me to better focus on my family and my career.

But, perhaps the most important insight I get from being a triathlete is that it is not just about the goal; it is also about the journey. I have come to understand that the training is just as important as the race. I remember at the end of my first race, when I reached the finish line, I felt great. But then I suddenly became sad because it was over. Everything leading up to that moment — all those hours and miles swimming in the pool, running at the track and riding on the road, all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears – were now all behind me. I realized then that I had achieved some of my greatest accomplishments while training.

While completing the race was the ultimate goal, it was actually during my training that I had some of my best moments – each time I reached a new milestone, achieved a “personal best,” overcame an obstacle, or conquered a fear, I was succeeding. Reaching the finish line of the race was the final victory, but all of those achievements along the way were no less important. I decided right then and there to register for another race, just so I could do it all again. And I have not stopped since. That sense of accomplishment is what keeps me going back for more. These days, it’s less about the races and more about the training to get better, faster, stronger. I still like to register for races to keep me motivated and to stay on task. But I remember to stay present while I am training for each race and to enjoy each moment as it passes.

All of this carries over to my life and my career. I don’t want to wait until I have reached the pinnacle of my career, or for the time when my children have grown and left the house, to look back on the past and realize that I missed out on enjoying the best moments of my life. By remembering to stay present, I am able to enjoy my life, and all of the chaos, hard work, blood, sweat and tears that come with it. When things start to get out of balance or I suffer a setback, I reset my expectations, adjust my goals or consider new strategies. When I have a bad day, I tell myself that this is par for the course. Some days are just going to be better than others; I must keep pressing forward. I have faith that it will all work out in the end, maybe even better than expected. I remind myself that, someday I will reach my goal and, at that point, I will look back on all of it and be sad that it’s over. That is when I can cherish the memories that I made and be grateful that I remembered to enjoy each moment as I lived it.

Laurie A. Poulos practices civil litigation at her own firm in New York and New Jersey. She practiced at two AmLaw 100 firms and worked in-house at a Fortune 100 company before striking out on her own. Laurie is a Member of the Board of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association.

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July 2014

Featured Article


7th Annual WILL Platinum Awards Gala

March 25, 2014
The Grove at Cedar Grove

Cedar Grove, New Jersey – Approximately 650 accomplished attorneys and elite leaders of the New Jersey bench and bar attended the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association’s sold out 7th Annual Women’s Initiative and Leaders in the Law (WILL) Platinum Gala at The Grove in Cedar Grove on Tuesday, March 25th. Over 50 members of the judiciary were in attendance, including New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. The NJWLA awarded six exceptional leaders of the bench and bar with the WILL Platinum Award, an honor bestowed upon individuals 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 Patty Shwartz, United States Circuit Judge, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Honorable Patricia K. Costello, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, Jane Hanson, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Partners for Women and Justice, Pamela Craven, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel for Avaya, Inc., The Law Firm of Adams, Gutierrez & Lattiboudere, LLC and the Honorable Dorothea Wefing, who was presented with the 2014 Trailblazer Award. The Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

NJWLA President Suzanne Cerra discussed the NJWLA’s theme for the year, “Women Empowering Women”, and the NJWLA’s efforts to overcome the institutional, personal and professional obstacles faced by women lawyers. The Keynote address was delivered by Emmy Award Winning Television Anchor and Journalist, Deborah Norville. Ms. Norville spoke with candor and humor about dealing with life’s “curveballs” and the unique challenges faced by female professionals.

The NJWLA was very proud to spotlight its 2013 inaugural class of Grant Recipients and to announce the 2014 Grantees, who will receive grants totaling over $42,000. The 2014 Grant Recipients are: Partners for Women and Justice, the Alice Paul Institute, the National Association of Women Judges, and NJLEEP. Scholarships were awarded to three female law students from each of the New Jersey law schools, who wrote poignant essays that appeared in the 2014 Gala Journal.

Lean In

February 13, 2014
The Park Avenue Club

Florham Park, New Jersey – Over 120 Female Attorneys attended the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association’s “Lean In” Panel presented by the Best Practices Committee at the Park Avenue Club on February 13, 2014. The event included cocktails, food and a thought-provoking discussion of career questions that have recently been highlighted in the book, Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. The event was generously sponsored by Lowenstein Sandler, LLP.

Solo and Small Firm
Networking Breakfast

March 3, 2014
The Park Avenue Club

Florham Park, New Jersey – NJWLA’s Solo and Small Firm Committee hosted a networking breakfast and round table discussion in which participants shared practice management tips for solo practitioners and small firms. The event was generously hosted by Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C..

YLD Fundamentals of Networking Event

April 9, 2014
Greenbaum Rowe Smith and Davis, LLP.

Iselin, New Jersey – NJWLA’s Young Lawyers Division hosted a night of exploring how to put the “fun” in the fundamentals of networking. A professional “Rainmaker” discussed the ethical considerations to be aware of in order to network, both live and virtually, without running afoul of the New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct. The event was generously hosted by Greenbaum Rowe Smith and Davis, LLP.

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

April 16, 2014
The New Jersey Law Center

New Brunswick, New Jersey – Over 100 attorneys attended the “How To Become a Judge, Commissioner or Board Member: Nuts and Bolts of the Judicial and New Jersey State Appointments Process” panel discussion and networking reception on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at the Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ.

Panelists included Honorable Lois H. Goodman, United States Magistrate Judge, Michellene Davis, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Barnabas Health, Daniel R. Guadalupe, Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., Susan A. Feeney, McCarter & English, LLP, Julie Cavanagh, Assistant Counsel, Appointments Office, Office of the Governor of the State of New Jersey and Yolanda Rodriguez, Assistant Counsel, Appointments Office, Office of the Governor of the State of New Jersey. The moderators were Ahmed M. Soliman of Stark & Stark and Jhanice V. Domingo of Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito & Frost, P.C.

Panelists provided practical advice on best practices for potential candidates to achieve an eventual appointment through a vibrant and well-informed discussion. The panelists also discussed the process candidates for both judicial and board consideration undergo. The discussion outlined the process, which ranges from obtaining a judicial questionnaire from the Governor’s Office, background vetting, appearance before the NJSBA’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee (“JPAC”) when appropriate, to the eventual Senate Judiciary hearing. The overall message was that it is never too soon in one’s career to consider this process. The panelists also gave practical advice on how to avoid and overcome roadblocks in the process.

The program was co-sponsored by the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, The Garden State Bar Association, The New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, the Women in the Profession Section and LGBT Rights Section of the NJSBA and the Law Office of Kirsten Scheurer Branigan, P.C.

2014 Judicial Panel

May 1, 2014
U.S. District Court House

Trenton, New Jersey – NJWLA’s annual Judicial Panel took place at the U.S. District Court House in Trenton on May 1st. The event included a discussion with a distinguished panel of state and federal female Judges who shared their insight and tips on the topic of PreTrial Practices.

In This Issue
Member News
Member Spotlight: Laurie A. Poulos
Feature Article: 7th Annual WILL Platinum Gala
Solo and Small Firm Networking Breakfast
YLD Fundamentals of Networking Event
Nuts and Bolts of the Judicial and NJ State Appointments Process
NJWLA Judicial Panel
Upcoming Events
2014-2015 Executive Board

Upcoming Events

“Fore Ladies Only”
Golf Outing and Clinic

July 17th, 2014
Cedar Hill Country Club
Livingston, NJ

Golf 18 Holes/Lunch/Reception
Golf Clinic +9/Lunch/Reception
Lunch Only
Cocktail Reception Only
Tee Sponsorship

Register For Golf Here!

For More Sponsorship Opportunities
Click Here!

2014-2015 Executive Board Officers and Directors

The following is the complete list of the 2014-2015
Executive Board Officers and Directors of
New Jersey Women Lawyers Association.

We congratulate all of
our newly elected Board Members
for the 2014-2015 Board Year (Executive Board) and for the 2014-2016 Board Term (Director and Trustee at Large Positions).
We welcome you to the NJWLA Leadership if you are new to our Board and thank you for your continuing commitment if you are a returning Board Member.
All Board positions will become effective July 1, 2014.

President –
Randi Kochman

Jessica Stein Allen

Vice President
Loren Pierce

Chief Financial Officer
Annmarie Simeone

Co-Chief Operating Officers
Michelle Schaap,
Linda Harvey,
Susan Kleiner

Co-General Counsel
Susan O’Connor,
Teddy McCormick

Co-Chief Diversity Officers
Carmen M. Garcia,
Eboneé Hamilton Lewis,
Renee Rubino

Co-Secretaries –
Laurie Poulos,
Sandra Moran

Immediate Past President –
Suzanne Cerra

Nominations Director –
Galit Kierkut

Committee Chairs/Directors

Best Practices –
Michele Haas, Nicole Bearce,
Laura Conway

Diversity –
Osato Chitou,
Lora Fong

Endorsements –
Michellene Davis,
Susan Feeney,
Stefani Schwartz,
Angela Iuso

Gala Committee Co-Chairs –
Kathy Einhorn,
Elyse Wolff

Grants/Charitable Giving-
Wendy Klein,
Karen Wachs,
Elizabeth Gramigna,
Jen Barna

Judicial Outreach –
Heather Boshak,
Dina Mastellone,
Jemi Lucey

Marketing –
Tanya Mascarich,
Irina Elgart,
Jennifer Borek

Membership –
Loryn Lawson,
Melissa Bracuti,
Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor,
Theresa Donahue Egler,
Thomasina Thornton

Programming/Sponsorship –
Nancy Lottinville,
Michelle Sekowski,
Diana Manning,
Jaimee Katz Sussner

Public Policy –
Jody Carbone,
Christine Bator,
Anne Breslin,
Khabirah Myers

Solo/Small Firm –
Carole Nowicki,
Jodi Rosenberg,
Sharon Bittner Kean

Women’s Leadership –
Cherie Adams,
Nancy Arencibia
Stacey Adams

Young Lawyers –
Silvia Courtney
Jewel Waston
Lauren Martinez

Trustees at Large –
Kristin Sostowski,
Elizabeth Legiec,
Donna Jennings,
Sharmila Jaipersaud,
Lisa Presser

Past Presidents –
Kirsten Scheurer Branigan
Lynda Bennett
Lynne Anne Anderson
Wendy Johnson Lario

New Jersey Women Lawyers Association | 973-819-9488 | |
633 Franklin Avenue
PMB #118
Nutley, NJ 07110

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