by Lisa S. Fine, Esq.
It is hard to believe that seven months have passed since I was installed as president of the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association! In looking back at the last seven months, I realize how quickly time flies when you are having fun. I have had the honor of working with a dedicated and hard working board. The fun began with our first board meeting graciously hosted by our Vice President of Programs, Scott McBride,Esq., who spoiled us by barbequing a fantastic meal for us as we discussed the year ahead.
Vice President of Membership Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq. coordinated yet another well- attended Membership Appreciation Cocktail party in September at Kumo’s as our first event. The food was fabulous and the company even better. We were honored to have Appellate Division Judge, Honorable Sandra Sgroi in attendance, as well as Supreme Court Justices, Honorable Arthur Pitts, Honorable David Reilly and Family Court Judge Theresa Whelan. Also in attendance was the newly elected Touro Student Women’s Bar President, Lauren Gallo. A good time was had by all and it was a fantastic way to kick off the year and show our appreciation to our members!
October, being Domestic Violence Awareness month, a topic that has always been near and dear to our organization and WBASNY as a whole, we were thrilled to be invited to co-host the program put together by the Touro Student Women’s Bar entitled Domestic Violence & Human Trafficing featuring keynote speaker Kathleen M. Rice, Nassau County District Attorney. Among the other respected and well versed panelist, sat our own board member and District Court Judge, Hon. Stephen Ukeiley who spoke about his experiences sitting in the fairly new human trafficking court. Also a member of our Board of Directors, acting County Court Judge, Hon. Chris Ann Kelly spoke about what interesting and unique issues she faces sitting in the domestic violence part. It was an interesting and eye-opening program and my hat goes off to the Touro Student Women’s Bar Association for their hard work in orchestrating such a great event!
November brought colder weather, falling leaves, and our Winery Tour and east end program. One of our group’s favorite events, we paired with the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association for some networking at the wineries located on the North Fork of Long Island. Visiting Diliberto’s and Jason’s Vineyard, and sampling their wines, a good time was had by all. Special thanks to our sponsors Touchdown Abstract Services and Jacka-Liquori Agency, Inc. Shortly after our successful winery tour, a small crowd gathered on a bitter cold night in Riverhead at the Dark Horse Restaurant for some delicious hors d’ oeuvres and cocktails, as well as an informative power point presentation about 1031 exchanges given by Eric Brecher, Esq., Certified Exchange Specialist. The event was sponsored by Fortitude Investment Group. Having little to no knowledge of this area before, I can honestly say that these gentlemen know the 1031 exchange business and we were so grateful for the knowledge they imparted to our group.
We have been busy appointing chairs to our substantive committees as well, which are slowly ramping up under the guidance of the appointees. Christal Prinz and Meghan Tomlin, co-chairs of the matrimonial/domestic violence committee have been steadfastly working on re-energizing that committee; Lilia Factor, chair of our new environmental committee is busy looking for other practitioners in such a specialized field to join her in exploring some important issues that effect women right here in Long Island; Marianne Rantala, chair of the criminal law committee is restoring that committee back to life, and our own VP of Membership Melissa Negrin-Wiener and former president Nicole Zuvich are co-chairing the committee on Elder Law and Estate Planning. I cannot encourage our members enough to become involved in these substantive committees. Discussions and topics that come up in the committee meetings can be brought to the attention of WBASNY, and beyond due to our strength in numbers and the great reputation in Albany we have built as an organization. There is no extra charge for being a member of our substantive committees, and our goal is to have an impact on local laws and local lives!
Of course, our networking luncheons, always a big hit, have been underway with Lisa Bisagni, Esq., chair of the networking luncheon committee at the helm. There is no shortage of good food and lively conversations and business referrals have been known to occur so please check out our website for the next date and join the fun.
I am so looking forward to the months ahead. We have some excellent programs and CLE’s planned for 2015 by our Vice President of Programs, Scott McBride, Esq. In January, we will be eating some delicious food at Blend in Hauppauge and learning how to achieve work-life balance with Heidi Krantz. This program has been well attended by our Nassau compatriots and I cannot wait to get some helpful tips being no stranger myself to the rollercoaster that is life with a career and a family! February we are fortunate to have our own board member Leora Ardizzone, Esq. presenting a health law update CLE. March’s program, also a CLE, will be presented by Joseph Campolo Esq. and will focus on solo and small practice management from beginning to end, including succession planning. In April we are looking forward to yet another CLE on copyright and other intellectual property laws and the interplay that area has on all attorneys and practitioners. We are planning a family friendly event for May to wrap the year up and welcome the summer months. Convention this year will be in mid May at the Sagamore Hotel in Lake George. What a great location! Bring your swimsuits and plan for some fun on the lake as well as networking, awards presentation, CLE’s and just a great time all around. Please check the website and look out for our e-mails to remain apprised of all the events and activities we are planning for our members, supporters and friends.
In between organizing all of the above, our members have been busy screening judges for appointment to positions with the appellate division and court of appeals, discussing and voting on our participation in new laws and amicus briefs for issues affecting women and children in New York, updating our resources, including our newsletter and website, contributing to various local charities and, oh yeah, practicing law! I am so proud of our chapter, our members, and this organization as a whole for all that we contribute on a local and state level. Irene Villacci, Esq. and the rest of the WBASNY board are doing a great job and they are an inspiration.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this journey. So far, it has been quite a ride. Hoping a happy holiday was enjoyed by all of our members and supporters and I look forward to a productive and exciting 2015!