Winter 2016 Newsletter

In This Issue

Member News
Member Spotlight
NJWLA Scholarship Application
Feature Article: Magna Carta
Fall Kick Off Cocktail Party
Tales from the Bench
Getting Women on Boards
Young Lawyers Division
Millenial Roundtable

2015 Holiday Party
Upcoming Events
Message From the President
Justice Marie Garibaldi

Member News

Loren Pierce, received the Professional Lawyer of the Year Award at this year’s New Jersey Commission on Professionalism In The Law Awards Luncheon.

Lynda Bennett, has been selected to serve on the compensation committee at
Lowenstein Sandler.

Congratulations to Board Member, Renee Rubino,
on becoming a partner at Gomperts Penza & McDermott, LLC.

Congratulations to Executive Board Member,
Jemi Goulian Lucey,
on becoming Counsel at Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis. Congratulations
as well to Senwan Akhtar on becoming Counsel, Stephanie Reckord on becoming Partner and Lisa Clapp on becoming Counsel.

NJWLA Member,
Rose Reyes McKiernan,
has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the
Women’s Rights Information Center in Englewood, NJ.

Congratulations to Members,
Heather Weine Brochin
Grace A. Byrd
Jennifer C. Critchley
Nicole DiMaria
Christina Vassiliou Harvey
Natalie Richer
Melissa Salimbene

on being selected as the
New Jersey Law Journal’s “2015 New Leaders of the Bar.” View the
complete list Here.

NJWLA Member,
Donna Hughes,
was appointed Senior Vice President, Human Resources of Impax Laboratories Inc. and named to the Executive Team.

Board Member,
Jewel Watson, gave birth to her son, Thor Harper Watson, on August 24th. 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

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

Please submit your story and photo to for consideration.

NJWLA Scholarship

NJWLA has established a scholarship program to benefit students who are pursuing juris doctorate degrees. In 2016, NJWLA intends to award grants of $5,000 each, to one student from each of New Jersey’s law schools: Rutgers University Law School – Camden; Rutgers University Law School – Newark; and Seton Hall University Law School.

In order to qualify, each nominee must be a matriculating law school student who:
Has completed at least twelve (12) credits at the time of application; Is carrying a minimum of six (6) credits per term; and
Has been recommended by a professor, an instructor, an adjunct faculty member, a clinical instructor, a Dean, a Director of their law school or has been recommended by a lawyer or a judge (either needs to have at least ten (10) years experience) with whom you have worked (1) as a clerk or intern for at least three (3) months during the past two (2) years.


In addition to these requirements, applicants will be judged according to their commitment and dedication to their law school and the practice of law as well as his/her essay.
Scholarship awards may be used for tuition, fees, books, and personal expenses, and are given directly to the students.
Applicants who work for companies that offer tuition reimbursement are eligible to apply.

Scholarship application forms are mailed to Deans of New Jersey’s three law schools and are also available on our website at

Winners will be announced in February 2016 and will be recognized at the 9th Annual WILL Platinum Gala on March 22, 2016.

January 2016

Featured Article

Magna Carta: Still Paving the Long Road to Equality

by Kirsten Scheurer Branigan and Claudia A. Reis

While it may not be widely known, Magna Carta is a key document that helped lay the groundwork for future legislation guaranteeing the rights of women. This was true despite only granting rights to a small percentage of elite women when it was signed in 1215. Over time, the seeds of progress planted by Magna Carta spread from Europe to America and led to the provision of greater legal protections for women.

By way of historical context, following the Norman conquest in 1066, land in England was considered to belong to the king.1 In what became known as the feudal system, the barons who supported and fought for the king were handsomely rewarded with large parcels of land to govern, and became the “tenants-in-chief” of those lands.2 In exchange for the continued support provided by the barons, the king was obliged to protect them, including their widows and children.3 However, once the barons died, the king often failed to fulfill these unwritten promises. Instead, the king preyed upon the vulnerable remaining family members, who were typically women and children.

Prior to Magna Carta, there had been ongoing tensions and escalating pressure on the monarchs by their barons, even before King John and King Richard, to respect the autonomy of noble widows and not force a union that might result in a stepfather disposing of the inheritance of his wife’s children from her first marriage. These conflicts, along with the heavy taxation of the barons and the English Church, led Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton and the barons to threaten civil war if King John did not agree in writing to grant of certain liberties and restrict his many abuses. That agreement, in 1215, became Magna Carta.12

Unlike Magna Carta, where the focus of protection was on a small segment of women, the protections under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD) are not limited to the privileged classes. Since its inception in 1945, the NJ LAD has been the standard for workplace protections for race, national origin, creed, national origin or ancestry and other “protected categories.”15 However, discrimination on the basis of sex and marital status were not included until 1970.16 The following 30 years brought several other amendments to the NJ LAD that impacted some women in terms of preventing discrimination on the basis of affectional or sexual orientation (1991),17 disability (2003),18 domestic partnership status (2003),19 civil union status (2006)20 and gender identity or expression (2007).21 There was also an amendment preventing discrimination on the basis of familial status (1992), however, this amendment does not squarely fall under the NJ LAD’s section that is applicable to employment discrimination.22 In addition to the above protections, the NJ LAD protects against retaliation for making complaints about discrimination.23

Click here for the full article via
New Jersey Lawyer Magazine.

Fall Kick Off Cocktail Party

September 30, 2015
JJ Bitting Brewing Company

Thank you to Hudson Reporting and Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer for sponsoring NJWLA’s Fall Kick Off Party!

Tales From The Bench

October 26, 2015
McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP.

Sincerest thanks to McElroy, Duetsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP for hosting a wonderful “Tales From The Bench.” A very special thank you to The Honorable Helen E. Hoens for providing us with practical tips, informal conversation and warm hospitality during our luncheon. We appreciate your time, your honesty and your continued support of the women and the mission of NJWLA!

Getting Women on Boards

November 18, 2015
Wilshire Grand
West Orange, NJ– Over 50 women attorneys attended the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association’s “Getting Women Lawyers On Boards: Risks, Rewards and Realities” program presented by NJWLA’s Women’s Leadership Committee and In-House Counsel Committee at the Wilshire Grand Hotel on November 18, 2015. Special thanks to Stacey Adams and Pamela Craven for their significant efforts in presenting this program. The event included networking opportunities, dinner and a panel discussion followed by Q&A.

The Panel was introduced by NJWLA Women’s Leadership Committee Co-Director,
Stacey D. Adams, and moderated by NJWLA In-House Committee Co-Director,
Pamela F. Craven, former Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel, Avaya Inc. and current Board Director, Amber Road. The Panel included Anita L. Allen, Founder & Managing Partner at Allen Advisory Group;
Thomas J. Fuller, Managing Director & CEO of the Epsen Fuller Group; Jean F. Rankin, Former Executive Vice-President, General Counsel & Secretary at LSI Corporation and current Board Director of Interdigital, Inc.;
Candace L. Straight, Private Investor and Investment Banking Consultant, current Board Director at Neuberger Berman and member of the Board of Governors of Rutgers University; and Susan Sutherland, Board Director at Eaton Vance Mutual Funds and Hagerty Holding Corp. The panelists candidly discussed the pros and cons of Board membership, the process for getting on Boards, and their personal experiences serving on Boards with a special focus on our community of women attorneys – all with the long term goal of increasing Board diversity.

NJWLA President, Jessica S. Allen, concluded the event thanking the panelists and event sponsors, Littler Mendelson PC, Dentons US LLP and HBA-NJ, as well as announcing upcoming NJWLA events. A list of notable points and pearls of wisdom from the event are available on the @NJWLA twitter feed.

Young Lawyers Division
Millenial Roundtable

December 3, 2015
Norris McLaughlin

Kudos to the Young Lawyers Division for putting together a great roundtable discussion led by NJWLA’s “Millennials”. Special thanks to Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. for generously sponsoring a great event!

Annual Holiday Party

December 15, 2015
Lowestein Sandler

The annual holiday party is a rare opportunity for NJWLA members to ring in the holiday season and catch up with friends and colleagues in a relaxed intimate setting. Also, due to the generosity of its members who attended, NJWLA proudly contributed more than $1,000 in gift cards to our charitable partner, the Essex County Family Justice Center.

Upcoming Events

9th Annual WILL Platinum Gala

March 22, 2016
The Grove
Cedar Grove, NJ

Honoring Leaders from the Judicial, Public, Corporate, and Private Law Firm Sectors. 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.
Mistress of Ceremonies:
Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo
U.S. District Judge, District of New Jersey
5:30pm Cocktail Hour
followed by Dinner and Awards Presentation

View Save The Date
View Honorees
View Sponsors
View Table Sponsorship Packages
View Ticket Order Form


Message from the President

Happy New Year 2016 to everyone. Although winter officially arrived some time ago, the winter weather has barely begun. In stark contrast, my term as NJWLA’s President is well under way. We have been off to a terrific start. On September 30, 2015, we celebrated the new NJWLA year with our Fall Kick Off Cocktail Party at J.J. Bitting Brewing Company. It was wonderful spending time with both new and familiar friends in a relaxed informal atmosphere. Thank you to Wilentz and Hudson Reporting for generously sponsoring the event.

This fall we brought back some popular programs from last year and presented new unique ones. On October 26, 2015, we enjoyed another installment of “Tales From the Bench,” generously hosted by the McElroy. We were fortunate to have The Honorable Helen Hoens lead us in a discussion about her time and experience on the bench. We also offered a new event, “Getting Women on Boards,” developed and organized by both the Women’s Leadership and In-House Committees. The program, held on November 18, 2015, provided an eye-opening and frank look at the process for getting and serving on corporate boards for both profit and nonprofit entities. Thank you to Littler Mendelson for its generous sponsorship and to Dentons US and HBA-NJ for co-sponsoring the program. Our Young Lawyers Committee created a fabulous roundtable discussion for millennials, which was hosted by Norris McLaughlin on December 3, 2015. Thank you to the Norris firm for its generous support. The program provided a rare opportunity for multi-generational attorneys to see how each generation approaches the practice of law, their career priorities, and ideas for bringing about small, but effective, positive changes in our work environment. We closed out the year with our annual and ever popular holiday party. Thank you Lowenstein Sandler for generously hosting NJWLA at this wonderful get together.

We are in the midst of planning a terrific schedule of programs and events. This year’s 9th Annual Women’s Initiative and Leaders in Law (WILL) Platinum Gala on March 22, 2016 at The Grove is right around the corner. We will once again gather to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of a remarkable group of women. This year’s WILL award recipients will be The Honorable Lois Goodman, U.S.M.J.; The Honorable Harriet Derman, Retired Superior Court Judge; our very own Kirsten Branigan and Michellene Davis, and The Honorable Carolyn Murray, Essex County Acting Prosecutor. The Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo, U.S.D.J. will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies. We also are in the planning stages of several events for this Winter and the upcoming Spring, including another installment of “Tales From the Bench;” the Judicial, Board and Commission Appointments panel program, which we will be co-hosting with HBA-NJ; our annual judicial panel, which will be held in the Federal District Courthouse in Camden; and the Annual Ladies Only Golf Outing. Be sure to visit our website in the near future for final dates and times for all of our upcoming events.

I will close by thanking our Executive Director, Colleen Skinner; our entire board; and Victoria Michals, our Marketing Director for their tireless efforts throughout the year. I also would like to thank the entire NJWLA membership for making this organization such an enormous success.


It is with great sadness that we pass along the news of
Justice Marie Garibaldi’s death.

She was truly a pioneer in the legal profession, setting

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

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