2011 Annual Conference


NAWJ 33rd Annual Conference

Global Women’s Issues

Hilton Newark Penn Station
Newark, NJ • October 12 - 16, 2011

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.

Opening Day
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.

Keeping Current
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.

Conference Registration Fees*

NAWJ New Member 1st Time Attendee: $375 (Attending within the first three years of joining)
NAWJ Member 1st Time Attendee: $450
NAWJ Member Attendee: $475
Non-NAWJ Member Attendee: $495
Guest: $450 (Does not include education sessions.)

*Please add $50 to each category after September 16, 2011

Download the Conference Brochure.


Conference Chair
Judge Sue Pai Yang, New Jersey Workers' Compensation Court

Associate Dean Frances Bouchoux, Rutgers School of Law - Newark

District 3 Director Judge Sandra Ann Robinson
NAWJ New Jersey Chapter Chair Judge Michelle Hollar-Gregory
Education Programs Judge Rosemary Gambardella

Standing Committees
Continuing Legal Education Judge Debra J. Gelson
Education Programs Judge Rosemary Gambardella
Associate Dean Frances Bouchoux
Finance Lorraine A. Abraham, Esq.
First Time Attendees/Mentor Program Judge Estela Maria De La Cruz
International Judges Judge Sue Pai Yang
Keynote Speaker Judge Sandra Ann Robinson
New Members Judge Debra J. Gelson
Publications/PR/Artwork Judge Siobhan A. Teare
Associate Dean Frances V. Bouchoux
Susan E. Volkert, Esq.
Mamie Lau
Kim Ware
Registration Judge Michelle C. Hollar-Gregory
Social Events Judge Barbara Curran, Ret.
Judge Lourdes I. Santiago
Volunteers Associate Dean Frances V. Bouchoux
Susan E. Volkert, Esq.


Premier: $20,000
Mr. Robert M. Kaufman and The New York Community Trust
Lowenstein Sandler PC
Medco Foundation

Gold: $10,000
Historical Society of the US District Court for the District of NJ
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Public Service Enterprise Group
Rutgers School of Law–Newark
The Sylvia Chin, Esq. Memorial Fund of the Pacific Asian Coalition, New Jersey

Silver: $5,000
The American Society of International Law
Corodemus & Corodemus Law, LLC
Coughlin Duffy LLP
Day Pitney LLP
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP
Genova, Burns & Giantomasi
Gibbons P.C.
Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Herrick, Feinstein LLP
Littler Mendelson P.C.
McCarter & English, LLP
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey
New York Law Journal
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP
Rutgers University - Newark
Seton Hall University School of Law

Bronze: $2,500
McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
Shapiro, Croland, Reiser, Apfel & Di Iorio, LLP
Trenk, DiPasquale, Webster, Della Fera & Sodono, P.C.

Supporter: Less than $2,500
Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School
Hon. Joan V. Churchill
Donahue, Hagan, Klein, Newsome, O'Donnell & Weisberg, P.C.
Essex County Bar Association
Garden State Bar Association
Greenberg Dauber Epstein & Tucker
Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
Korean-American Lawyers Association of Greater New York
National Association of Women Lawyers
Saiber LLC

NAWJ announces its 2011 award recipients. Please click here for more information about the 2011 award recipients. Please download the Awards Banquet Ticket Order form here.

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