Color of Justice - NAWJ New Jersey's Annual Outreach to the Next Generation of Leaders

Apr 17, 2021 @ 10:00AM - Apr 17, 2021 @ 1:30PM

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Event Details

Committee Members

Planning Committee

Below are the names and biographies of the planning committee members who are not speaking during this event.  The moderators of this event are also members of the planning committee and their biographies are available in the session descriptions.


HONORABLE AVIS BISHOP-THOMPSON was appointed to the Superior Court of New Jersey by Governor Chris Christie in 2017. She was first assigned to the Family Division and served eighteen months. In November 2018, Judge Bishop-Thompson was temporarily assigned to the Civil Division during which time she continued to handle family cases. Since July 2019, she sits in the Civil Division. Judge Bishop-Thompson has participated in various professional associations including the Justice Morris Pashman American Inn of Court and Bergen County Bar Association. She is currently co-District III Director of the National Association of Women Judges. Judge Bishop-Thompson was also a committee member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Security Risks to Judges and Court Staff Associated with Public Access to Personal Information. Prior to coming on the bench, Judge Bishop-Thompson began her legal career as an associate attorney with DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole & Giblin and became a partner in 2006. While at the DeCotiis firm, she practiced in the areas of civil ligation, education and labor law representing both public and private-sector clients. She represented management in collective bargaining negotiations, unfair labor practice proceedings, grievance arbitrations, interest arbitrations as well as general labor counseling. She also represented public and private employers in a broad range of employment matters ranging from agency investigations, consent decree compliance, discrimination, and wrongful termination matters. In addition, Judge Bishop-Thompson provided employment counseling, drafted workplace policies, and training. She also represented K-12 and post-secondary institutions before various State and Federal agencies and courts. She received a juris doctorate from Santa Clara University Law School in Santa Clara, California in 1987. After graduation, she began her legal career in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She then transitioned into private practice with an emphasis on public entity defense, employment and contract litigation. Judge Bishop-Thompson is an alumna of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she received a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) in Political Science and minored in International Relations.

HONORABLE MUMATZ BARI-BROWN is a graduate of Rutgers Law School, Newark, NJ and Howard University, Washington, D.C.   In 1990 she was appointed to with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) where she presided over state agency matters such as Civil Rights, Lemon Law, Special Education, Environmental Protection (DEP), Welfare, Medicaid, and Public Utility rate increase petitions.  She retired in 2015 and currently serves as an ALJ on “Recall”.  Prior to her appointment to the OAL she served as a Deputy Public Advocate in the Department of the Public Advocate, concentrating in public utility law and civil rights litigation.    Judge Bari-Brown began her career as a staff attorney with Harlem Assertion of Rights, Legal Services, N.Y., and also served as the Attorney to the Hillside Board of Health and Municipal Assistant Prosecutor, in Hillside, N.J.  She has served as a panelist on Traditional Values, Culture - Women’s Human Rights at the U.N. General Assembly Session 68, United Nations, Headquarters, ECOSOC Chamber.  She has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University and taught “Race and the U.S. Legal System” and “Administrative Law”.  Judge Bari-Brown is a fervent advocate for mental health education and appeared in the DVD and PBS Program, Struggling in Silence, Physician Depression and Suicide produced by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (  Judge Bari-Brown is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey and a member of several legal and professional organizations.  She is active in various civic organizations, currently serving on the East Orange Public Library Board of Trustees and on the Advisory Board of The Paralegal Studies Program at Montclair State University.  She is a member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The LINKS, Inc.

ELIZABETH DAVIES, ESQ. graduated from Rutgers Law Newark 2012 and works as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey Division of Law. 

KYLE HOLLAR-GREGORY, ESQ. received a Juris Doctor Degree from Rutgers Law School – Newark, New Jersey. Prof. Hollar-Gregory served as a law clerk for the Honorable Siobhan A. Teare in the criminal division of the Superior Courts of New Jersey in Essex County.  Also, Prof. Hollar-Gregory worked as a paralegal for the Brandon J. Broderick, LLC law firm in New Jersey. As an attorney for the Freeman Law Center in Jersey City, New Jersey he practiced family law, personal injury law, and municipal court.  Prof. Hollar-Gregory has been teaching for over 10 years.  He has taught at the following institutions – Essex County College, East Side High School – Newark, New Jersey and now serves as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at LaGuardia Community College in New York.  Currently, Prof. Hollar-Gregory serves as an Amicus Judicii Member of the National Association of Women Judges

HONORABLE MICHELLE HOLLAR-GREGORY is a retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge.  Prior to her appointment to the Superior Court she served as the Corporation Counsel for the City of Newark.  As Corporation Counsel, she was responsible for the direct administration of the Law Department for the State of New Jersey’s largest municipality.  Serving as chief legal officer and attorney of record in all proceedings, she diplomatically represented the City, interacting with municipal council members, department directors, outside counsel, attorney, contractors and regulatory agencies on a daily basis.  She also served as Associate Legal Counsel for the New Jersey League of Municipalities advising the League on legislation and complex legal issues affecting the municipalities of New Jersey.  As past New Jersey chair of the National Association of Women Judges she continues to advance the mission especially with the Color of Justice Program.  She currently serves as a board member on the Rutgers University -Newark Advisory Board and member of many professional and charitable organizations.  She received her B.A. from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, a Masters in English from University of Pittsburgh and her J.D. from Rutgers University of Law.  Judge Hollar-Gregory is admitted to the New Jersey Bar, United States District Court of New Jersey and the United States Court of Appeals-Third Circuit.  She has served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable David S. Baime, J.A.D.; as an Assistant Essex County Counsel; and as an intern with the Public Advocate-Officer of the Public Defender prior to serving as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Newark.  As an Assistant Corporation Counsel, she served as primary attorney for the Division of Tax Abatement and Special Taxes, Budget, Central Planning Board, Tax Assessment and the Watershed Corporation.  Judge Hollar-Gregory has always been dedicated to public service and prior to entering the legal profession, she taught English and Theater Arts at Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey and other secondary public schools.  She is a member of many organizations dedicated to public service and the welfare of children. Her proudest accomplishment is her family; being a wife, mother and grandmother.

HONORABLE SUE PAI YANG attended Rutgers Law School - Newark when her two daughters were in grade school. She clerked for Judge Marilyn Loftus in Essex County Superior Court and then worked as a Deputy Attorney General in Trenton before starting her own general law practice. She was the first Chinese American appointed as a judge in New Jersey. She served in the NJ Workers Compensation Court in Newark hearing cases involving workplace injuries until her retirement. Judge Yang was a founding member and officer of the National Workplace Bullying Coalition. She encourages everyone to help eliminate workplace bullying by signing the pledge at www.workplace bullying as well as encouraging organizations to partner with NWBC to conquer this issue.  Judge Yang has held numerous leadership positions and served on many boards including the National Association of Women Judges, the International Association of Women Judges, the NJ State Bar Association, and the National Girl Scouts USA. She initiated the founding of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of NJ and became its first President in 1985. In addition, Judge Yang has received numerous honors and awards for her commitment to justice and the greater good of the legal community and the community at large. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Law and Who’s Who in New Jersey.

HONORABLE SANDRA ANN ROBINSON was appointed in 2001 to the Administrative Law Bench by Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Donald Thomas DiFrancesco, Acting Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate of the New Jersey Senate. She holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence degree from Howard University School of Law, a Historically Black College and University (HBUC). Judge Robinson is admitted to the bars of the Supreme Court of the United States of America; the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; United States District Court for the District of New Jersey; Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey; and the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Her legal experiences include a clerkship with the Honorable Irving Rubin, Superior Court New Jersey; a legal internship with the Reginald Heber Smith Graduate Fellow Program; member of the “Litigation and Appeals Unit” of Legal Services Corporation in New Jersey; Bergen County Assistant County Counsel; Bergen County Adjuster; Municipal Planning Board Attorney; Municipal and County Zoning Board Attorney; Deputy Mayor City of Hackensack; Councilwoman City of Hackensack;  Adjunct Professor of legal studies at Farleigh Dickinson University. Ms. Robinson’s legal internship with the Center for Clinical Legal Studies at Howard University led to an affiliation with Hudson and Leftwich Law Firm in Washington, DC and Mound Bayou Mississippi where she assisted with establishing a Federal Home Loan Bank.  She has worked for McCarter and English Law Firm; Newark Legal Services as an Executive Director; Assistant Director and Associate Director; and Johnson and Johnson Law Firm. Ms. Robinson served as in-house Counsel for Newark Pre-School Council, Inc., and Computerland/Techniserv Companies in New Jersey.  She was certified as a high school substitute teacher for the District of Columbia public school system; and a teacher and head dorm counselor for the Howard University Upward Bound Pre-College Program.  Currently she serves as National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) District III Co-Director for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virgin Islands; Co-chair of NAWJ National Audit and Compliance Committee; former chair and current member of NAWJ Resolutions Committee. Also, currently Trustee Bergen New Bridge Medical Center Board, Of Counsel with the law firm of Barbara B. Comerford, LLC in New Jersey and New York - focusing on Disability claims: Social Security Administration, Long-term disability insurance, individual disability and ERISA. 

HONORABLE L. GRACE SPENCER was appointed to the Superior Court in July 2016. Since her appointment she has handled matters in the Special Civil Part, which includes Landlord Tenant and Small Claims matters.  Judge Spencer has also handled matters arising in the regular Civil Division as well.  Presently Judge Spencer is assigned to the Family Part where she handles matter arising under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and those matters involving child abuse and neglect.  Prior to her appointment Judge Spencer serve in the New Jersey State Assembly and was Deputy County Counsel for the County of Essex.  Judge Spencer also served as Chief Prosecutor for the City of Newark.  Judge Spencer is a graduate of Rutgers Newark College of Arts and Sciences and Rutgers School of Law in Newark.

HONORABLE SIOBHAN A. TEARE has been a Superior Court Judge for the State of New Jersey for over fifteen years.  She currently sits in the Criminal Division of the Essex County Vicinage and presides over Criminal Jury trials and Domestic Violence detentions.  She previously sat in the Civil Division and presided over cases involving Special Civil Part, Landlord/Tenant matters, Prerogative Writs and other Law Division motions.   Judge Teare also sat in the Family Division for four years where she presided over Juvenile, Domestic Violence, Non-Dissolution cases and Post Judgment divorce motions.  She also previously sat in the Criminal Division and served as the Drug Court Judge for the Essex County Vicinage.

Keynote Speaker

Introduction by:
The Honorable Helen E. Hoens
Justice (Retired), New Jersey Supreme Court

Keynote Speaker:
The Honorable Fabiana Pierre-Louis
Justice, New Jersey Supreme Court

Participating Education Entities

These are participating education entities as of 3/23/2021

Universities and Colleges

  • Bloomfield College
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Montclair State University
  • Morgan State University
  • Rutgers University Camden, New Brunswick, Newark

High Schools

  • Fort Lee High School
  • Glen Rock High School
  • Hackensack High School
  • Hasbrouck Heights High School
  • Hoboken Charter School
  • Infinity Institute, Jersey City
  • Liberty High School
  • Madison High School
  • Mahwah High School
  • Morris Hills Regional High School
  • Newton High School
  • North Arlington High School
  • Park Ridge High School
  • Randolph High School
  • Renaissance Institute, Jersey City
  • Sparta High School
  • Teaneck High School
  • Vernon Township High School

Session 1 Speakers - Leaders in the Law

The Honorable Rosemary Gambardella (Moderator)
Bankruptcy Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of New Jersey

The Honorable Victoria Pratt
Professor of Professional Practice, Rutgers Law School of Criminal Justice

The Honorable Joseph H. Rodriguez
Judge, United States District Court, District of New Jersey

Karol Corbin Walker, Esq.
Partner, Kaufman Dolowich Voluck LLP

Session 2 Speakers - Careers in the Law

The Honorable Lourdes I. Santiago, J.S.C. (Moderator)
Judge (Retired), New Jersey Superior Court

Amrita Basu, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel, Wurth Group of North America, Inc.

Julia A. Lopez, Esq.
Partner, Reed Smith

Maria Vizcarrondo
President and CEO, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers

Session 3 Speakers - Pathways to the Law

The Honorable Estela M. De La Cruz, J.S.C. (Moderator)
Judge, Superior Court of New Jersey

Kathleen M. Boozang
Dean and Professor, Seton Hall University School of Law

Matthew Feinstein
Executive Director, New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project

David Lopez
Co-Dean, Professor of Law, and Professor Alfred Slocrum Scholar, Rutgers Law School

Kimberly Mutcherson
Co-Dean and Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School

Supporting Organizations

Thank you to these organizations for support of this program:

  • Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey
  • Garden State Bar Association
  • Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
  • New Jersey Women Lawyers Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Foundation
  • The Links, Inc., Bergen County (NJ) Chapter