Global Women’s Issues Conference Showcases the Talents of Newark
After two years of inspiring planning and leadership, 2011 Annual Conference Chair Hon. Sue Pai Yang, Judge
on the New Jersey Workers Compensation Court, and Conference Co-Chair Frances Bouchoux, Senior Associate Dean
at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, presided over six days of education programming on the leading issues of current
times; gatherings of the state, federal and international legal community of judges, attorneys, academics and
nonprofit leaders; and a most welcome venue for the annual meetings of the National Association of Women Judges.
As one of the top two most well attended conferences NAWJ has presented, Global Women’s
Issues, attracted over 500 people, 50 of whom were international attendees from 23 different countries.
The 33rd Annual Conference took place throughout downtown Newark, New Jersey from October 12-16, 2011, at
venues including Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Seton Hall University Law School, Essex County Historic
Courthouse, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, The Newark Club and the Hilton Hotel.
The myriad of inviting activities would not have been possible without the additional energy and dedication
of the Conference Planning Committee including Lorraine A. Abraham, Esq., Hon. Frances L. Antonin (Retired),
Hon. Judith Chirlin (Retired), Hon. Estela Maria De La Cruz, Hon. Barbara A. Curran (Retired), Hon. Rosemary
Gambardella, Hon. Debra J. Gelson, Hon. Michelle Hollar-Gregory, Mamie M. Lau, Hon. Amy L. Nechtem, Hon.
Sandra Ann Robinson, Hon. Lourdes I. Santiago, Hon. Isabel B. Stark (Retired), Hon. Siobhan A. Teare and
Susan E. Volkert, Esq.
Friends Committee Chair Paulette Brown, Esq., Partner and Chief Diversity Officer at Edwards, Angell,
Palmer & Dodge, LLP, whose fundraising talents matched the vision of conference chairs, raised considerable
funds to support the Conference. Nearly $200,000 was raised from the Newark community from approximately
50 firm, corporate, university, and individual contributors.
In addition, we acknowledge and greatly appreciate the many volunteers and exceptional guest speakers, who
joined in making the experience in Newark unforgettable.
Enthusiasm in Anticipation
Before the conference officially began, judges visiting from other countries experiences with tours of the
local courts. The strong gathering of attendees for The Mentor/Mentee session for First Time Attendees and
International Judges praised conference organizers for providing an opportunity to share experiences and
socialize with each other. Later that evening, conferees joined at the beautiful, storied Essex County
Historic Courthouse for the Welcome Reception. New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, with a
gracious warm welcome, addressed the group proudly noting the advances in judicial diversity made by New Jersey.
After more than two years in the making, an excited NAWJ President Hon. Marjorie Laird Carter, and an even
more enthused Conference Chair Judge Yang, opened the Conference with a thankful welcome to all supporters
and attendees. The Hon. Cory Booker, Mayor of the City of Newark, New Jersey opened the city to our
congregation, and gave a hint of the gracious visit to come for the rest of the week. Right after, attendees
quickly fell into conference mode with the presentation of the Conversation with
Leaders of Global Women’s Issues panel. Attorneys Raymond M. Brown, Esq, Wanda M. Akin, Esq., and
Joseph M. Sellers, Esq., along with Federal Appeals Court Judge Rosemary Barkett and Simone Monasebian
from the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime spoke to themes which would run through the programs in the next two days.
The Friends Appreciation Luncheon
The extraordinary contributions made to this year’s conference were championed by attorney Paulette Brown.
A program at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center acknowledged Conference donors with masterful dance
performances from the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. Senior Counselor to Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano, the Hon. Alice Chamberlayne Hill (Judge, Retired) offered the keynote address describing the
Department’s many efforts designed to combat human trafficking. You may find a viewing of Judge Hill’s
remarks on this web page of ICEPN Television.
While the opening panel, Conversation with Leaders of Global Issues, remained at the host hotel, this year’s
conference offered attendees an alternative experience by holding education session at academic bastions
Rutgers Law School-Newark and Seton Hall University Law School.
The source of many of the conference’s participants, and instrumental in logistics, organizational and
volunteer support, both Rutgers and Seton Hall afforded easily accessible venues and a wealth of knowledge
on the many topics NAWJ wished to impart to attendees. There were sessions on Urban Revitalization; Forensic
Evidence and Daubert; Family Law and Domestic Violence; and Effective Leadership Styles, in addition, many
sessions surrounded this year’s conference theme, Global Women’s Issues.
Dedication to Former NAWJ President the late Hon. Shirley Tolentino
The education programs at Seton Hall University School of Law were dedicated to the memory of the late Hon.
Shirley Tolentino, who was NAWJ’s President from 1996-97 and a Seton Hall alumna. Inspirational remarks were
given by Paula Dow Esq., Attorney General for the State of New Jersey, Hon. Renee Jones Weeks, Superior Court,
State of New Jersey (Retired), and Hon. Joyce London Alexander-Ford (Judge, Retired), U.S. District Court,
Massachusetts. All spoke to the extraordinary and vast legacy Judge Tolentino left by touching the lives of
many people in the legal profession and throughout the community. Heartfelt remarks were given by her
husband, Dr. Ernesto Tolentino, and daughter Ana-Ramona Tolentino, an attorney. As part of the dedication,
the Hon. Tiffany Williams sung the national anthem, and an NAWJ Equal Access to Justice Scholarship was
awarded in honor of the late Hon. Shirley Tolentino to Chrishana M. White, a law student at Seton Hall.
Girl Scout Junior Troop 21263,
Cadette Troop 594, and Troop 12182 served as color guard for the morning ceremonies. The late Honorable
Shirley Tolentino served on Hudson County’s Girl Scouts Board of Directors.
Annual Business Meeting, New President and Great Food
At Newark's famous Don Pepe’s Restaurant, members and guests joined to celebrate the achievements of the
passing year, and to look forward to the exciting year ahead. NAWJ devoted members, the Hon. Judith
Chirlin, recently retired from the Los Angeles Superior Court, and Hon. Jennifer Gee, District Chief Judge
at the U.S. Department of Labor, San Francisco, were proud recipients of the awards recognizing their service
and achievements. Outgoing NAWJ President Hon. Marjorie Laird Carter proudly presented Judge Chirlin the
Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award and Judge Gee the Mattie Belle Davis Award. Congratulations to both!!
The elections of new board officers proved to be a festive event as well, as new leaders were sworn into
office by Founding Mother Justice Joan Dempsey Klein. (
Click here to view listing of the full board. Continuing this yearly meeting ritual, after the new President,
Massachusetts Juvenile Court Judge Amy L. Nechtem, was sworn in, she was surrounded by a team of fellow
Massachusetts and NAWJ District One judges in support of her upcoming service as President.
You may learn more about Judge Nechtem here, and
read her investiture speech here.
The outstanding Portuguese cuisine at Don Pepe’s was an experience in and of itself with over seven
courses served to the delight of all in attendance.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Awards and… Singing and Dancing!
The NAWJ Annual Awards Banquet began with frequent conference attendee Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
addressing our group, impressing upon them the importance of dissent
(read New Jersey’s Star Ledger account here.) To a packed, quiet room at The Newark Club,
Justice Ginsburg drew a line through the history of dissent on the bench leading to advancements in equal
rights through future legislation. Equally pleasing for the Justice was her opportunity to present the
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholarship Award to Seton Hall law student Megan Altman, already in pursuit
of values in NAWJ’s mission.
The banquet’s namesake is reserved for one of the evening’s most important events – the awarding of NAWJ
awards. This year’s recipient of the Florence K. Murray Award is Elaine Metlin, Esq. a partner at one of
the nation's leading firms, Dickstein Shapiro LLP. Ms. Metlin humbly accepted this award in recognition
of her service supporting women in the profession and encouraged the audience of judges to use the discretion
they have to make a difference by inquiring into a firm’s representation that appears in their court.
The Hon. Judith Chirlin presented the Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year Award to Hon. Judith S. Kaye,
former Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. The award recognized Judge Kaye’s decades of
trailblazing achievements for the courts New York.
Despite these august presentations, the highlight of the evening was the performances of the young people
in the Newark Symphony Hall’s Ensemble. In a series of renditions of classic songs, the kids of the ensemble
paid enthusiastic tribute to the brilliant, devoted and lovely women in the audience. You had to be there!
Attendees thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from the totality of events, both social and educational, and
appreciated the warm hospitality extended to all. Some attendees took advantage of excursions offered to
grand estates deep within Essex County, NJ and to New York City. Many thanks to the security services
provided by the Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, FBI, and the New Jersey state and the
local police. Thank you once again to the 2011 Annual Conference Chairs Judge Sue Pai Yang and Dean
Frances Bouchoux and to the entire Conference Planning Committee.