New York Women's Bar Association, 132 East 43rd Street, #716, The Chrysler Building, New York, NY, 10017-4019
Message from the President


Our Struggling Family Courts

As a former New York Supreme Court Justice and administrative judge for matrimonial matters across New York State, I know first hand the importance of the Family Courts in New York. Unfortunately, these courts are burdened with enormous caseloads that are handled by way too few judges and insufficient resources. This means that every day parents and children are left in limbo – there are simply not enough judges to hear them and resolve their issues in a timely or appropriate manner.

NYWBA was founded with the mission to promote the “fair and equal administration of justice.” It is imperative that we support the ongoing efforts to cure the ills of the Family Court. To that end, I am pleased that our statewide Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (of which NYWBA is a founding Chapter) has joined the “Coalition for Family Court Judges,” and that our own member, WBASNY Officer Amy Saltzman, has volunteered to serve as WBASNY’s Liaison to this group. The Coalition was formed to support the request of the Office of Court Administration to add twenty new judge positions to the Family Courts across NYS. I hope you will help us galvanize support for this important issue.

As I reflect on the passage of another year, I am delighted that 2013 was very productive for the NYWBA. Our Committees have been teeming with activity, offering members countless opportunities to network and learn. Many of these opportunities are available at no cost, thanks to a bequest by our beloved founder and past President, the late Hon. Florence Perlow Shientag, which provides complimentary CLE programs to all paid-up members.

Speaking of membership, it is essential that if you haven’t yet renewed (or joined!) that you get your NYWBA dues up-to-date as soon as possible (and hopefully by January 31st, when we submit our periodic membership report to WBASNY). We are very close to our goal of having sufficient members so that we will have another vote when we go to WBASNY Board meetings next year. Won’t you join me in reaching out to lawyers you know to recommend that they join the NYWBA, and by making sure your own dues are current? (If you have questions about your member status, email ed@nywba.org.)

In early February, NYWBA will hold some of our signature annual events. Our cocktail reception to honor newly elected, newly re-elected, newly appointed, and newly elevated judges in New York County will be held on February 4 (see notice, at left). This event, at the Yale Club, is always a huge hit, so RSVP today. On February 3, we will hold our Annual Mentoring Circles Reception (see announcement, p.5). Our award-winning Mentoring Circles Program allows members to develop their networks and professional profiles, while providing mutual support.

There were so many outstanding events in 2013, including practical programs from the Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee on legal branding, marketing, and ethical issues for running your own practice; fun evenings arranged by the Programs & Events Committee organized around wine, fashion, and cultural events like the New York City Ballet (and the upcoming Metropolitan Opera event in February). The Civil Courts Committee’s New York Civil Court Express Lunch Series offered useful tips for Civil Court practitioners and also introduced attendees to Court Attorneys in the Civil Court. Thanks to the Litigation Committee’s Lunch with a Judge series, members have also had the opportunity to meet and mingle with members of the bench, including federal judges, a New York Surrogate Court Judge, and New York State Supreme Court Justices.

The Trusts & Estates and Elder Law & Disabilities Committees have held numerous programs, including programs on veterans’ rights, practicing in the Surrogate’s Court, Guardians Ad Litem, training on supplemental and special needs trusts, and Medicaid. The Matrimonial and Family Law Committee has been extraordinarily prolific, presenting to repeatedly full house events on a near-monthly basis, including CLEs, covering all key aspects and current trends in their field. There were also popular Professional Ethics and Discipline Committee programs in the form of game shows. Members were able to attend other programs from the Criminal Law Committee, Reproductive Rights & Women’s Health Committee, and the Domestic Violence Committee.

On a personal note, I must thank our CLE Chair Amy Goldsmith for her calm and professional assistance to each of the Committees as they endeavor to present cutting-edge programs that comply with the technical CLE requirements imposed by OCA and WBASNY. Last year also brought the decisions in two major Supreme Court cases that made gender-neutral marriage a viable option in the U.S. I couldn’t have been prouder that WBASNY served as an amicus in those cases.

There still is much for us to do. We need to protect and preserve reproductive rights and fight those who try to whittle away at Roe v. Wade. We need to fight the passage of discriminatory laws in several states that make it harder for minorities to vote through specious “voter ID” requirements, or to try to restrict women’s access to birth control, or attempt to ban or severely restrict women’s right to choose. Ironically, a Texas District Judge was almost blocked from voting and was flagged for possible “voter fraud” because the name on her voter registration card did not exactly match the one on her driver's license. Organizations such as the NYWBA are uniquely qualified to denounce and shed light on discriminatory legislation or case law. We must continue to work to right these wrongs, and for that we need you to be current and active members.

Wishing you all a wonderful new year!

Jackie

Archives

November 2013

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "A Busy Fall Season".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

October 2013

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "A Sense of Community".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

September 2013

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "An Exciting Year Ahead!".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

June 2013

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "A Time for Celebrating and Making Plans".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

May 2013

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "Reflecting on Our Extraordinary Year".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

April 2013

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "Fighting for Equality".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

February 2013

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "So Much To Celebrate!".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

January 2013

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "Happy New Year".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

November 2012

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "Strength in Numbers".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

October 2012

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "The Power of Membership".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

September 2012

In her President's Message, Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann titled her message "Our Important Mission".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

June 2012

In her President's Message, Patricia Ann Grant titled her message "Opportunities and Transitions".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

April 2012

In her President's Message, Patricia Ann Grant titled her message "Discrimination Against Women Continues".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

January 2012

In her President's Message, Patricia Ann Grant titled her message "A New Year".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

February 2011

In her President's Message, Gretchen Beall Schumann titled her message ""Growth, Education & Advancement".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

January 2011

In her President's Message, Gretchen Beall Schumann titled her message "Happy New Year!".
To view the President's Message in full, click here.

November - December 2010

In her President's Message, Gretchen Beall Schumann titled her message "Season's Greetings". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

October 2010

In her President's Message, Gretchen Beall Schumann titled her message "Harvest". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

September 2010

In her President's Message, Gretchen Beall Schumann titled her message "The Benefits of Sharing". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

June 2010

In her President's Message, Gretchen Beall Schumann titled her message "In Remembrance". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

May 2010

In her President's Message, Donna M. Praiss titled her message "Mothers and Role Models". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

April 2010

In her President's Message, Donna M. Praiss titled her message "Spring Cleaning". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

March 2010

In her President's Message, Donna M. Praiss titled her message "The Reality of Elder Care". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

February 2010

In her President's Message, Donna M. Praiss titled her message "Helping Hands". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

January 2010

In her President's Message, Donna M. Praiss titled her message "The New Life Balance ". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

December 2009

In her President's Message, Donna M. Praiss titled her message "Beyond Firsts". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

November 2009

In her President's Message, Donna M. Praiss titled her message "Finding Inspiration". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

October 2009

In her President's Message, Donna M. Praiss titled her message "Can I Give You A Hug?". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

June 2008

In her President's Message, Lisa A. Sokoloff titled her message "STAND UP FOR OURSELVES AND AMERICA". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

April 2008

In her President's Message, Lisa A. Sokoloff spoke about "Re-Evaluating A "Victimless" Crime". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

March 2008

In her President's Message, Lisa A. Sokoloff spoke about celebrating the women in our lives. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

February 2008

In her President's Message, Lisa A. Sokoloff spoke about continuing the struggle against gender bias. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

December 2007

In her President's Message, Lisa A. Sokoloff spoke about making 2008 the best year ever for the NYWBA. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

November 2007

In her President's Message, Lisa A. Sokoloff spoke about the summary of results from our first annual survey on the status of women working in Manhattan law firms. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

September 2007

In her President's Message, Lisa A. Sokoloff spoke about GENERATIVITY. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

June 2007

In her President's Message, Lisa A. Sokoloff spoke about how "Our Work is Not Done". To view the President's Message in full, click here.

May 2007

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller reviewed this year's events. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

April 2007

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller reflected on the importance of rainmaking. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

March 2007

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller reflected on gender diversity in large law firms. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

February 2007

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller reflected on lessons in humility. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

January 2007

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller reflected on the benefits of dual membership in the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

December 2006

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller reflected on the importance of pro bono service. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

November 2006

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller reflected on military wives as unsung military heroes.To view the President's Message in full, click here.

October 2006

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller Teresa Schiller reflected on the importance of making our worlds larger again. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

September 2006

In her President's Message, Teresa Schiller Teresa Schiller reflected on the importance of building a network of women lawyers. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

July 2006

In her inaugural President's Message, Teresa Schiller reflected on the importance of community. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

Spring 2006

In her President's column in the Spring issue, President Christina Kallas discussed how women continue to lag behind men when it comes to earning power, and suggests that this is one more item for the legislature to address as it considers 'no-fault' divorce legislation. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

March 2006

For Women's History Month, Christina Kallas reflected upon how far we have yet to go. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

February 2006

In her column for February President Christina Kallas asked us to consider what it is we pay attention to in our culture. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

January 2006

In her column for January President Christina Kallas asked, "Do we (still) need a women's bar association?" To view the President's Message in full, click here.

December 2005

In her column for December President Christina Kallas discusses the Mental Health Court initiative. To view the President's message in full, click here.

November 2005

In her column for November President Christina Kallas asked us all to honor the memory of Ms. Rosa Parks by making one change. To view the President's message in full, click here.

October 2005

In her column for October in honor of Mediation Settlement Month, President Christina Kallas discusses whether mediation is an underused tool in a lawyer's toolbox. To view the President's message in full, click here.

September 2005

In her column for September, President Christina Kallas reflected upon the changes in our country since September 11th. To view the President's message in full, click here.

June 2005

In her column for June, President Christina Kallas discusses change and continuity. To view the President's message in full, click here.

April 2005

In her column in April, President Elizabeth Bryson talked about sexual politics and "women's work." She took issue with Harvard President Lawrence Summers' recent remarks implying that women are innately less suited to pursing careers in science or engineering. Such retrograde thinking is self-defeating. Mr. Summers had to apologize, and Harvard is now actively address the status of women in academia. Ms. Bryson also discussed upcoming events, including the Association's Annual Meeting, a CLE program on "Evolving Opportunities for Women' Lawyers," the Foundation's next fundraising breakfast, the WBASNY Convention, and of course our fantastic 70th Anniversary celebration on June 1st. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

February 2005

In her column in February, President Elizabeth Bryson talked about matters of life and death. She related the experiences of a friend fighting breast cancer and her mother and family addressing the loss of two brothers to AIDS several years ago, and how each circumstance, though very different, teaches us once again the importance of choosing to live life to its fullest every day. By contrast, she considers the proposal in the NYS Legislature to reinstate the death penalty, and WBASNY's brave stance in opposition. To view the President's Message in full, click here.

January 2005

In her column in January, President Elizabeth Bryson discussed the importance of taking steps to ensure that judges in New York have the appropriate qualifications and integrity to ensure the fair and equal administration of justice. She discusses pending legislation and proposed amendments to the Rules of Judicial Conduct that would have an influence on the method of selecting state court judges and the rules that would apply to candidates for judicial office in New York. Ms. Bryson was honored to chair a WBASNY Task Force to look at the proposed legislation and rule changes, and she discusses the process and proposals. She also describes the recent gala celebration WBASNY's 25 Anniversary and the wonderful presentation of the inaugural "Betty Weinberg Ellerin Mentoring Award" to Justice Ellerin. Finally, she reminds everyone of the importance of ensuring that their membership is renewed by January 31, 2005. New members are also welcome, and they can join for half-price dues starting in January! To view the President's Message in full, click here.

December 2004

In her column in December, President Elizabeth Bryson discussed the importance of speaking out and being heard. She demonstrated the value of the Association's screening of candidates for judicial office, particularly now, when the integrity of the judiciary is under attack. Because many of our members practice in solo and small firm settings, Ms. Bryson recommended that members appear before the Commission on Solo and Small Firm Practice, which is holding hearings and looking for comments, concerns and suggestions to make the lives of attorneys in these settings and their clients easier. Members should also plan to join us at several upcoming events that promise to be very exciting, including the NYWBA Foundation's Breakfast Series Speaker Event, a fundraiser scheduled for December 1st, WBASNY's 25th Anniversary Gala on December 2nd that will pay tribute to our own past President, the Honorable Betty Weinberg Ellerin, for her nearly 50 years of mentoring and service to women attorneys and judges throughout New York and across the country, and the New York Women's Agenda's Star Breakfast on December 7th. To view the President's message in full, click here.

November 2004

In her column in November, President Elizabeth Bryson celebrated all the wonderful programs and events that happened this fall, including our Annual Membership Reception. She also discussed the recent controversy with respect to screening the qualifications of candidates for judicial office in New York County, which became the subject of an article in the New York Law Journal. To view the President's message in full, click here.

September 2004

In her column in September, President Elizabeth Bryson asked members to join her in celebrating the Association's 70th Anniversary year (2004-05). Coincidentally, it was also the 25th anniversary year for the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY), which is the umbrella organization for all 16 women's bar associations across New York State. The NYWBA and its past President Joan Ellenbogen were instrumental in the formation of WBASNY, and it is a joy to see that it is flourishing. This is Beth's second term as President, and in her column she discussed the excitement of continuing programs begun last year and new programs that will begin this year. She also congratulated everyone who was involved in the wonderful year-end festivities, including our Annual Dinner and the WBASNY Convention. To view the President's message in full, click here.

April 2005

In her column for April, President Elizabeth Bryson congratulated several women who make history every day, including the 11 honorees designated for Women's History Month by the National Women's History Project and the New York City Commission on Women. She provided an update on the proposed rules that we have supported to allow asylum for women who are victims of domestic violence or other brutality that is directly or indirectly endorsed by their country's governments. Ms. Bryson also highlighted numerous upcoming events, including the NYWBA Annual Meeting and the Annual Ethics Forum, both in April, and the Women's Bar Convention in New Orleans and the NYWBA Annual Dinner, both in May. To view the President's message in full, click here. .

March 2004

In her March 2004 column, Ms. Bryson notes that NYWBA's membership has increased by over 33 percent from last year, and nearly 50% from two years ago. She praises the terrific work of NYWBA members, Officers, Board members, Committee Chairs, and others who worked on our membership drive and demonstrate why our bar association is so important, strong and vital. She also salutes two people who may not be lawyers but whose contributions are absolutely invaluable to the Association and the NYWBA Foundation - Executive Director Marta Toro and NYWBA Foundation member Denise Coleman. "Our Association is blessed with so many wonderful women and men who contribute their talents." To view the President's message in full, click here.

February 2004

In her February 2004 column, Ms. Bryson discussed the importance of mentoring and networking, especially for women attorneys. She also announces that the Association's Annual Meeting will be on April 28, 2004, when the 2004-05 officers and directors will be elected. Our gala Annual Dinner will be on May 26, 2004. At that event, awards will be presented to Linda Greenhouse, Pulitzer Prize winning author and New York Times reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Hon. Jacqueline Silbermann, Administrative Judge of the NY County Supreme Court and Chief Administrative Judge for NYS Matrimonial Courts. To view the President's message in full, click here.

December 2003

In her December 2003 column, NYWBA President Elizabeth Bryson profiled important issues for our military, including the incidents of rape and sexual harassment at our military academies, the scourge of domestic violence, and the shameful track record of "don't ask, don't tell." She also discussed our exciting membership drive and the Reception Honoring Newly Elected and Appointed Judges. To view the President's message in full, click here.

November 2003

In her November 2003 column, NYWBA President Elizabeth Bryson discusses the importance and benefits of membership, as well as the recent visit of distinguished attorneys from Malaysia who were invited by the U.S. State Department to meet with NYWBA representatives. To view the President's message in full, click here.

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