PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE, WINTER 2024
I am very satisfied with the events we have had in the past few months. The Tribute to Our Founders which was held in October at Fresh and Fancy Farms was a beautiful event in a beautiful setting. The mums were brightly colored, the tables were outside, the wine was flowing, the pizza oven was warm and inviting and the company was terrific. Retired Judge Marguerite Simon was one of the guests of honor. She was the first elected president of Women Lawyers in Bergen in 1977 and was honored by our group. Several other original founders and members were there whom we recognized and honored. It was a nice night for original members such as Hedy Grant, Lorraine Abraham, Retired Judge Lois Lipton as well as many prior WLIB presidents.
On November 3rd, we had the Law Clerks Reception and changed it up this year. Following the advice of Linda Spiegel, we restored it to the Courthouse as opposed to a bar restaurant and provided a gourmet lunch in the Courthouse. Most of the judges and their law clerks attended and were introduced to the group and to each other. It was a nice way for them to meet each other and to meet us. There are some of us who recruit our new associates from law clerks and meeting them in this venue was very helpful. Everyone was appreciative of Women Lawyers in Bergen for providing this event and having it in the Courthouse at lunchtime was not just convenient for everyone, but a huge money saver for us.
On November 9th, I was very proud to be a part of the program inducting the Honorable Julie Kim to the bench. She had a beautiful ceremony in the Courthouse with a threepiece orchestra playing the Star Spangled Banner, bagpipers, color guards, honor guards and of course, the procession of judges. I presented her with the crystal gavel which she appreciated, and I am preserving WLIB’s tradition of presenting female judges with gavels at their swearing in ceremony. I like the idea that it is a crystal gavel because it is timeless, unique, and feminine.
I feel I have started to accomplish my goal of camaraderie and believe that the Women Lawyers are a cohesive, friendly group communicating by listserve emails, in person social events and professional events. But now I feel we need to have some community outreach and charitable events. We are now collecting for the Women Rights Information Center. We did a paper product drive at the Fresh and Fancy Farms event and did a gift drive at the holiday party. Aside from collecting for Women Rights Information Center, several members of WLIB, including Helene Herbert, Helayne Weiss, Donna Dorgan and others, regularly appear at the Women Rights Information Center and provide legal advice and legal help to the women in need. I would encourage this and would like to have a specific date when we can have a WLIB group attend and provide legal help to these women. Two of our superstars, secretary Helene Herbert and past President Helayne Weiss will be honored this May by the Women Rights Information Center as Persons of the Year. WLIB will be attending the Annual Gala to support and honor these amazing women. We are so proud to have them as prominent members of our group.
The holiday party this year was called the “Jean Robertson Holiday Party.” I donated the supplies, food, liquor etc. and our members, instead of paying for the holiday party, were asked to donate what they would have paid for the event to the Jean Robertson Scholarship Fund. We need to replenish that fund, and this was a good way to do it. We also collected for the Women Rights Information Center holiday gift drive.
This winter we will dedicate our services to community outreach. I want to do a mentoring event with Seton Hall Law School and asked Viviana Torres, who is a member and helps us frequently, to work with us in creating an event, maybe a networking event which we could sponsor. I am open to suggestions for other community outreach as that is an important part of Women Lawyers in Bergen. This winter, January, February, and March are usually somewhat quiet and often we do CLE’s or virtual events. It is my understanding we may have Curry Night at the home of Erica Fields and Lynn Feldman. I am really looking forward to that and we will keep everyone posted in the meantime.
I am proud to say that the members of the Board and I went to see Judge Rachel Wainer Apter, who was not able to appear at our annual dinner. We presented her with a crystal gavel. I obtained biographical information for my article included in this newsletter, and we took photos with her.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy winter.
Diane M. Lucianna