WWBA April 2017 Newsletter

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Westchester Women’s Bar Association

APRIL 2017


any WWBA members celebrated

Read Across America

day on March 2, 2017 at the

Eugenia Maria de Hostos MicroSociety

School, a pre-kindergarten through

eighth grade school with over 600 students

located in southwest Yonkers. The

school’s minority enrollment comprises

approximately 97 percent of the student

body. The staff, students and parents

who compose the community at

the Hostos School are dedicated to providing

an atmosphere in which excellence

and equality in education are valued

and achieved by every student so

that they are encouraged to become

productive and successful members of

our multicultural society.

The WWBA was one of the first

chapters of WBASNY to participate in

the Read Across America program when





APRIL 2017

Foundation to Award

Justice Sondra M. Miller


(page 4)

An Interview with

Judge Susan Cacace

(page 7)

April Litigation Tip

(page 9)

continued on page 6 ➥

WWBA Upcoming Events

(page 12)

Jacqueline Hattar and Kelly Ficarotta with

their class

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News







April 4, 2017

LaBocca Ristorante

White Plains, New York




April 24, 2017

Sterling National Bank

Tuckahoe, New York


May 9, 2017

Sterling National Bank

Tuckahoe, New York



One of the best single

professional decisions

a lawyer can

make is to join and

become active in the


Women’s Bar Association.

After moving

to Westchester in the

early 2000’s I was trying

to get established

Susan Edwards


and therefore looking for a meaningful

network. After several unrelated events

and informal discussions, women who I

admired suggested to me that I should

“join the WWBA.” I took their suggestions

to heart and joined. Their statements

of encouragement have resulted

in my involvement now for almost 20

years. Their viewpoint spread a message

to me that joining was an important act

and even an act of critical importance.

As it has turned out, their encouragement

to join the WWBA has brought me

here to serve as president with a long

history of prior service in various capacities

and, importantly, many lasting


After officially joining the WWBA,

my first step was to join a committee.

Our committees are the backbone of our

activities and it is a rare month that the

calendar is not packed with their fabulous

programs and CLEs. It is through

our committees that our members teach

CLEs, engage speakers, or exchange

practice tips and solutions.

One of the formats that has been

truly useful is the panel discussion. At

least one per year, and often several, of

continued on page 3 ➥

Page 1

The Westchester Women’s Bar Association is a Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York

WWBA Member Newsletter

APRIL 2017

Published Monthly by the

Westchester Women’s

Bar Association, a Chapter of

the Women’s Bar Association

of the State of New York

~ 2016/2017 Officers and Directors ~


Vice Presidents




Corresponding Secretary KIM BERG

Immediate Past ast President


Elected Directors Westchester Board



State Directors Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York




Executive Director ELISABETH CAMPOS

© Copyright 2016 Westchester Women’s Bar Association. All rights reserved.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) only and do not reflect the official position of the Association.

Editor-in-Chief: Kim Berg • Designed and Printed by IPM Media Group, Inc. (516) 809-0501

2016-2017 WWBA Committee Chairs


By-Laws .................................................................. Anna L. Georgiou

Corporate & Commercial ........................ Lisa M. Bluestein, Eva David

Criminal Law ....... Kitley S. Covill, Lisa M. Denig, Hon. Sandra A. Forster

Families’, Children & the Courts .......... Shari R. Gordon, Joy S. Joseph,

Lauren Morrissey, Hon. Irene Ratner

Grievance/Ethics ............................ Kitley S. Covill, Deborah A. Scalise

Judicial Screening ............... Hon. Sandra A. Forster, Loren I. Glassman

Judiciary .......... Hon. Delores Scott Brathwaite, Hon. Linda S. Jamieson

Lawyering & Parenting ............................................... Joelle M. Burton,

Jana Kosberg-Kleidman

Legislation ................................................. Angela Morcone Gianinni

Matrimonial .......... Robin Carton, Dolores Gebhardt, Lonya A. Gilbert

Annual Dinner ......... Robin D. Carton, Lisa M. Denig, Jennifer L. Gray,

Stephanie Melowsky, Jennifer N. Netrosio

Annual Dinner Souvenir Journal ................................................. TBD

Appellate Practice ....................... Lisa M. Denig, Hon. Mark C. Dillon,

Hon. Sondra M. Miller, Hon. Robert A. Spolzino

Archive & Historian ..................................................... Susan L. Pollet

Awards ............................................. Elizabeth M. Barnhard, Kim Berg

Bankruptcy ................... Susan Mills Richmond, Wendy Marie Weathers

Breast Cancer Awareness ...................................... Adrienne J. Orbach

Collaborative Law ........................... Kathleen Donelli, John J. Grimes,

Lynn J. Maier, Hon. Sondra M. Miller

Community Outreach ... Deborah A. Scalise, Hon. Lisa Margaret Smith

Continuing Legal Education ..................................... Ann M. McNulty

Diversity in Membership ........... Jacqueline Hattar, Stephanie Melowsky

Domestic Violence ...................... Natanya L. Briendel, Audrey E. Stone

Education Law ....................... Adrienne J. Arkontaky, Julie P. Passman,

Susan Mills Richmond

Elder & Health Law ............. Patricia L. Angley, Elizabeth A. Cumming,

Shari R. Gordon

Employment Law ...................................... Kim Berg, Hillary Raimondi

Environmental & Land Use .......... Lucia Chiocchio, Anna L. Georgiou,

Jennifer L. Gray, Katherine Zalantis

Gender Dynamics ...................................... Hon. Terry Jane Ruderman

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Membership ............................................... Sherry Bishko, Hélène Côté

Networking ................................... Jennifer L. Gray, Patricia McCluskey

New Lawyers ............................. Elizabeth Marcus, Jennifer N. Netrosio

Professional Development .............. Adam J. Krim, Stephanie Melowsky

Programs ........................................... Lucia Chiocchio, Amanda Fried

Public Relations ............................... Joelle M. Burton, Jennifer L. Gray

Real Property ............................ Melanie Finkel, Hon. Sandra A. Forster

Sponsorship .................................. Lisa M. Bluestein, Lucia Chiocchio,

Joelle M. Burton

Taxation ....................................................................................... TBD

Trusts & Estates ................................... Gail M. Boggio, Anna B. Parker,

Nancy J. Rudolph, Karen J. Walsh

Golf & Tennis Outing ................................................................ TBD

Holiday Party and Boutique ...... Dolores Gebhardt, Jennifer N. Netrosio

Immigration ................................................................. Henry Mascia

Insurance ..................................................................... Dawn Warren

Intellectual Property .............. Elizabeth M. Barnhard, Donna E. Frosco,

Theresa O’Rourke Nugent

Judgment Enforcement & Collections .............. Christopher T. Bonante,

Daniel F. Florio, Jr.

Litigation ...................... Angela Morcone Giannini, Jacqueline Hattar

Kimberly Sheehan

Long Range Planning ............... Lisa M. Bluestein, Carla D. Glassman,

Linda Markowitz, Ann M. McNulty

Mediation ............................ Amy Carron Day, Hon. Sondra M. Miller,

Lauren S. Morrissey, Abby Rosmarin

Network of Bar Leaders ............................................. Donna E. Frosco

Pace Board of Visitors ....................... Gail M. Boggio, Lonya A. Gilbert

Past Presidents ........... Jane Bilus Gould, Mary F. Kelly, Linda Markowitz

Practice Management ......... Jamieson L. Keiser, Wendy Marie Weathers

Pro Bono .................................................. Marcia Levy, Marian Genio

Technology/Website .......... Donna E. Frosco, Theresa O’Rourke Nugent

WCA Board Delegate ............................................ Anthony Morando

WWBA Foundation President ....................................... Julie S. Kattan

WWBA Representative Director to the WCBA Board .. Dolores Gebhardt

Page 2

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

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President’s Message

from page 1

our general membership meetings and committee

meetings embrace this format. Some

of the most meaningful presentations are

discussions between the bench and our

members. For example, I encourage you

to attend April’s General Membership Meeting

“A Conversation with the U.S. District

Judges in White Plains” and the upcoming

program titled “Navigating the New

Maintenance Guidelines and Their Effect

on Child Support From a Judicial Perspective.”

These interactive programs will surely

focus on practical, useful topics, and promise

to expand everyone’s understanding and


Another type of meeting that our committees

continually find useful is the “lunch

and learn.” This is essentially a chance to

chat informally with your colleagues and

then ask questions, typically of an expert or

two who knows a practice area well. The

Elder Law Committee has embraced this

format extensively to present its continuing

series “Elder Law 101.” On March 15th

an informative discussion was had titled

Elder Law 101: Part II – A Continued Discussion:

Medicaid Planning, Wills and

Powers of Attorney, Advance Planning for

Health Care Decisions, Senior Housing

Options. As the name implies, the topic is

immense and lends itself to discussion of

many interwoven topics, approaches and

options. Even experienced attorneys see

pitfalls and solutions that they have not

quite seen or used in exactly the same way.

The last time that I attended an Elder

Law Committee lunch and learn I sat next

to a young attorney whose practice was primarily

municipal law. She was using the

meeting to investigate whether the topic was

of any interest to her at all. Plus, she was

trying to connect with those in a totally new

and different practice area. If she did make

this change into a new practice area she

knew she would certainly need contacts and,

most certainly, a mentor or two. For new

lawyers or law students I have found over

my time with the WWBA that there is no

shortage of opportunities to be mentored,

to observe, and to learn.

Mentoring, whether formal or informal,

is not actually a distinct assignment the results

of which often cannot be measured by

continued on page 10 ➥

Editor’s Note

Oh, Spring is surely coming, Her couriers fill the air;

Each morn are new arrivals, Each night her ways prepare;

I scent her fragrant garments, Her foot is on the stair.

~ John Burroughs, “A March Glee”

Making Dates and Getting Published


❑ Deadline for newsletter submissions is the 12th of the month prior to publication (submissions

received after the deadline are subject to the discretion of the editor).

❑ Send submissions as email attachments to Kim Berg at kberg@gouldberglaw.com.

❑ Articles should be 1,000 words or fewer. Remove all pagination, headers, footers or other

formatting, other than bold, underline or italics. Authors are encouraged to submit photographs

for publication with their submissions and include a short biographical statement with

their submissions.

❑ Materials submitted allow the WWBA a limited copyright and full permission to reprint the

material in any WWBA publication or on its website without additional consent.

❑ Photographs must be high-resolution (150 dpi or more) and the subject and all persons in

each photograph must be fully identified.


❑ First visit the WWBA website: www.wwbany.org and click on the calendar at the home page to

view scheduled programs. Conflicts in scheduling will be assessed on a case by case basis, with

priority for early submissions.

❑ Contact Kim Berg at kberg@gouldberglaw.com to schedule a WWBA sponsored or cosponsored

program, including committee meetings, CLE programs, etc.

❑ Once you have reserved the date with Kim Berg, proceed with planning your program and

creating your flyer.

❑ Flyers must be approved by the Programs Committee. In advance of the 12th of the month,

please send your flyer to the Program Committee Co-chairs for review and copy the Executive

Director. Once approved, please send your final flyer to the Executive Director, Kim Berg and the

President for publication on the website calendar and the newsletter calendar. The final flyer will

also be emailed to the membership.

❑ We will also consider publicizing programs from outside organizations that may be of interest

to our members.

❑ Post-event: You may report on the success of your program and provide photographs of the

speakers and participants that can be included in an upcoming newsletter. Send your submission

to Lisa M. Denig, following the guidelines above.


Kim Berg, Corresponding Secretary and Newsletter Editor-in-Chief: kberg@gouldberglaw.com

Lucia Chiocchio, Programs Committee Co-Chair: lchiocchio@cuddyfeder.com

Amanda Fried, Programs Committee Co-Chair: afried@cartonrosoff.com

Susan Edwards Colson, President: president@wwbany.org

Ann M. McNulty, CLE Chair: ann.m.mcnulty@morganstanley.com

Elisabeth Campos, Executive Director: executivedirector@wwbany.org

A d v e r t i s i n g R a t e s

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Deadline for all ads is the 12th of the month prior to publication. Ads are subject to space limitations.

Call Kim Berg at (914) 397-1050 or kberg@gouldberglaw.com for any questions regarding advertising.

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

Page 3

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Elder Law 101 Lunch

and Learn Program

on March 15, 2017

Elizabeth Cumming

On March 15, 2017, the

Elder and Health and New

Lawyer’s Committees sponsored

a second informative Lunchand-Learn

in their Elder Law

101 series. Jennifer

Bienenstock, Esq. of Maker,

Fragale & Di Costanzo, LLP,

continued the discussion of

“Bob and Jane” and the various

issues they would be facing

now that the couple had to

decide whether Bob could be

safely discharged home or

whether he would have to be

permanently placed in a skilled

nursing facility.

She addressed the importance

of involving family members

in the discussion, the ethical

considerations to be aware

of when involving family members,

and the importance of

obtaining the client’s permission

to involve the family. Jennifer

discussed the challenges

a couple can face when they

are dealing with discharge from

a hospital to a nursing home,

in addition to issues to be

aware of when dealing with

nursing home discharge to

home or permanent placement

in a nursing home. She discussed

Medicare and Medicaid

coverage, the Medicaid application

process, the various

planning tools available to

qualify the ill spouse for Medicaid,

and the need to review

and revise the estate planning

documents of the well spouse.

Jennifer also addressed the issue

of capacity and the importance

of having advance directives

to obviate the need for a

guardianship proceeding.

The question and answer

portion of the program resulted

in a group wide discussion as

many asked questions and all

shared their experiences on several

topics. Thank you to

Glassman & Brown, LLP who

hosted the Lunch-and-Learn for

our many participants. ◗

WWBA Foundation to Award

the 2017 Justice Sondra

Miller Scholarship Award

Julie Kattan

The WWBA Foundation will again present a Pace University

Law Student with its annual Justice Sondra M. Miller Scholarship.

This award is given in recognition of the incredible, successful

and inspiring efforts of our own Judge Miller. The recipient must

be a second or third year law student who demonstrates: a history

of community, volunteer and/or public service; an intention

to contribute to the Westchester legal community; and, inter alia,

an excellent academic record that considers not only G.P.A. but

professor references, clinic/law review work, and other law related


The Westchester Women’s Bar Association Foundation

(“WWBAF”) is pleased to announce that it will award the Justice

Sondra Miller Scholarship to a deserving Pace Law Student. The

selected awardee for 2017 is Nkasi (Erica) Akpaka, a third-year

law student expected to receive her Juris Doctor in May 2017.

Ms. Akpaka has overcome many obstacles to reach this

moment in her life. Not only has she persevered and never given

up her dreams despite struggles from childhood but she has

gone above and beyond to obtain an advanced education. She

continued on page 9 ➥

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Contact banking professionals

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unique needs 914-367-9000:

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Anthony Forgione, Managing Director

Moira Kiernan, Managing Director

To learn about Sterling’s full suite

of services, visit snb.com

Elizabeth Cumming, Jennifer Bienenstock and Patricia Angley

Page 4



Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

Westchester Women’s Bar Committee Announcements

The WWBA’s Diversity

Committee is Seeking

Nominations for the 2017

Diversity Achievement Award

Description and Criteria: The WWBA Diversity

Achievement Award honors WWBA members, law

firms and legal organizations, who recognize the value

of diversity in the legal profession and make significant

contributions toward achieving a high level of

diversity in the workplace. Diversity encompasses

race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation

and physical and mental abilities. Individual

WWBA members and law firms/legal organizations

will be honored on alternating years. Past recipients

include the Honorable Terry Jane Ruderman and the

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.

To qualify, the recipient must be actively involved

in furthering the work of the WWBA and demonstrate

a commitment to diversity. The individual recipient

must be a WWBA member in good standing. For law

firms and legal organizations to qualify, at least 10%

of the law firm or organization must be members of

the WWBA in good standing.

The WWBA President, the President’s designee, and

the co-chairs of the Diversity Committee will review the

submissions and select the award recipient. The nominations

should consist of: (1) an essay that shall not

exceed more than 1,000 words describing why the

individual/firm/organization should be selected; (2) the

names of at least two persons, who are familiar with

the initiatives/efforts, in support of the nominee; (3)

for individual nominations, a copy of the individual’s

resume or curriculum vitae; (4) letters of support and

(5) contact information (e-mail and phone number) of

the person submitting the entry. Submissions cannot

exceed 15 one-sided pages.

Nomination deadline/materials: The submission

deadline is April 21, 2017.

The award will be presented at the WWBA’s Annual

Dinner on June 7, 2017. The recipient must be

present to accept the award.

Please visit the WWBA’s website for nomination

forms or contact Jacqueline Hattar

jacqueline.hattar@wilsonelser.com or Stephanie

Melowsky smelowsky@mypcsb.com with any questions

or for nomination forms.

The WWBA’s Lawyering and

Parenting Committee is

Seeking Nominations for the

2017 Family Friendly Award

A critical component of success for today’s law

practices and related businesses is the creation of an

environment that encourages employees to balance

professional and family responsibilities. In such a

workplace, morale, job satisfaction, and productivity

are typically higher, while employee turnover is lower.

The WWBA has long recognized and honored those

legal employers who provide “family friendly” work


Nominations for the 2017 WWBA Family Friendly

Award are now being accepted.

Description and Criteria: Any legal or law

related business employer with an office located in

Westchester County in either the public or private

sector (including in-house legal departments) employing

at least three attorneys is eligible for nomination.

At least one employee of the organization must be a

WWBA member. Factors to be considered include opportunities

offered to employees for part-time employment,

flexible work schedules, maternity and paternity

leave policies, telecommuting options, and partnership

and executive leadership opportunities for

part-time employees. The nomination may be submitted

by any individual familiar with the nominee

and its policies.

Nomination deadline/materials: The submission

deadline is April 21, 2017.

The award will be presented at the WWBA’s Annual

Dinner on June 7, 2017. The recipient must be

present to accept the award.

Please visit WWBA’s website or contact Joelle M.

Burton at joelleburton11@gmail.com with any questions

for for nomination forms.

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

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WWBA Participates in Annual Read Across America Day

from page 1

it did so in the Yonkers Public

School approximately ten years

ago. During the course of their

ten year involvement in this inspiring

program, the WWBA

has donated books, t-shirts and

school supplies to the Yonkers’

students and schools.

The guest readers at this

year’s event included Elizabeth

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Barnhard, Lisa Denig, Shari

Gordon, Jacqueline Hattar,

Ann McNulty, Stephanie

Melowsky and Julie Passman.

WWBA President Susan

Edwards Colson stated: “We

are truly proud and honored to

continue to participate in the

Read Across America program

and promote the importance of

reading to children.” ◗

Education Committee Presents Informative Program

Julie P. Passman

On March 8th, the WWBA Education

Committee hosted an engaging and

informative presentation and roundtable

discussion on “ADAAA Accommodations

for People with Disabilities: Transitioning

from High School to College and the

Workforce.” While many people are familiar

with the process of advocating for

students with disabilities in kindergarten

through high school settings, there seems

to be a lower level of awareness regarding

accommodations available to students with

disabilities as they transition from high

school to the adult world.

Donna Drumm, Esq. and Molly

McCabe shared their wealth of knowledge

and experience regarding accommodations

available to people with disabilities in college

and employment settings. Ms. Drumm

and Ms. McCabe highlighted the importance

of ensuring that students and young

adults, particularly those with “invisible

Donna Drumm, Adrienne Arkontaky, Julie P.

Passman, Susan Mills Richmond; and Molly

McCabe, Associate Director for the Office of

ACCESSibility at Mercy College

disabilities” (such as ADHD and mental

illness), are aware that they are entitled to

reasonable accommodations as they transition

to post-secondary school and the


The two presenters brought to the table

important and diverse perspectives on the

process of obtaining accommodations

under Americans with Disabilities Act

Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). Ms.

Drumm, an attorney and Certified* ADAAA

Advocate, advocates for qualified persons

with disabilities in schools, courts and hospitals.

She is also an adjunct professor in

Health Policy at Mercy College, Masters in

Public Administration program. Ms.

Drumm provided a review of ADAAA Titles

I, II and III and EEOC, and she offered

strategies for attorneys to assist clients in

supporting students during the transition

from high school process and beyond.

In her role as Associate Director for

the Office of ACCESSibility at Mercy College,

Ms. McCabe reviews accommodation

requests and updates and aligns college

policies with current disability law. Her

insight into the needs of college students

is enhanced by her prior experiences as a

continued on page 9 ➥

Page 6

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

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An Interview with Hon. Susan Cacace

Susan L. Pollet

Chair of the Archive and

Historian Committee

Q: Please tell us about

your legal career prior to becoming

a Judge, and then


A. Upon my graduation

from Pace University School

of Law in 1989, I was hired

by then Westchester County

District Attorney, Carl

A.Vergari and began my

14-year career as a

Westchester County Assistant

District Attorney. Upon joining

the office, I worked in

the office’s Motions and

Appeals Division, where I

researched and drafted

appeals and motions, thus

gaining a detailed understanding

of the law and preparing

me for the transition

to the courtroom. I spent

several years in what is commonly

referred to as “local

court,” where I prosecuted

misdemeanor crimes, trying

more than 150 jury and

non-jury trials. Thereafter, I

was transferred to the

Grand Jury Bureau where I

investigated and presented

hundreds of violent and

non-violent felony cases to

grand juries. Finally, I was

assigned to the Superior

Court Trial Division, where

I litigated over 20 felony

jury and non-jury trials to


I left the District

Attorney’s Office in 2003 to

make my first run for

Westchester County Court

Judge. Unfortunately it was

not a successful run, but still

following my love of criminal

law, I opened up my

own practice with my husband,

James G Dibbini,

“[W]omen lawyers

should truly support

other women lawyers,

because if we stick

together, we can only

become stronger and

even more successful.”

forming the law firm of

Dibbini and Cacace in

2003. Between 2003 and

2005, I defended all the

criminal cases in our office,

while my husband handled

all of the civil matters. This

time in my career was an

eye-opening experience: it

was a time when I stood on

the other side of the room

from the prosecution table;

interacted with my clients, the

defendants, many of whom I

had prosecuted in the past 14

years; and even entered the

area where prosecutors seldom

ventured – the “lockups”

and “the jail,” to meet

with my clients. Those two

years as a defense attorney,

however, provide the balance

in my career that properly

prepared me for the

bench, to which I was eventually

elected in 2005.

My first year as a newly

elected Westchester County

Court Judge was spent in the

Superior Court Arraignment

(SCI) Part conducting conferences

where I negotiated

pleas and sentence dispositions

for violent and non-violent

felony cases. Thereaf-

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

ter, I began presiding over

felony jury and non-jury trials,

while still conferencing

and negotiating SCI cases.

Then, in or around 2010, I

was assigned to preside over

the Westchester County Sex

Offense Part, a position that

I still hold today. This is a

specialized part, in which

defendants who are charged

with sex crimes have their

cases heard from the conference

stage, through plea,

sentence, and a Sex Offense

Registration (SORA) hearing.

I preside over sex offense (

and non sex offense) jury and

non-jury trials, and monitor

compliance of convicted sex

offenders. In a civil capacity,

I preside over all proceedings

related to the Sex Offender

Management and

Treatment Act (SOMTA),

which includes Mental Hygiene

Law Article 10 probable

cause hearings, trials,

and dispositional hearings.

More recently, I became

the presiding judge of

Westchester County’s designated

DWI Part, where, with

the hope of promoting uniformity

in pleas and sen-

Hon. Susan Cacace

tences across the county,

one judge conducts conferences

and negotiates plea

offers in all of Westchester’s

felony DWI cases.

Q: Why did you want to

become a Judge?

A: I knew that I wanted to

become a judge when I was

a young girl. My father, the

late Robert W. Cacace, was

a judge for nearly 20 years

and ultimately he became

the Chief Administrative

Judge in the Yonkers City

Court. Unfortunately, he

passed away when I was

22, but not before he witnessed

my graduation from

college and acceptance

into Pace Law School. As a

little girl, I always loved

going to court with him to

watch the proceedings, and

it was then that I knew I

wanted to become a judge.

Q: What are the biggest

challenges for you on the


A: The biggest challenges

for me on the bench are presiding

over cases involving

very young defendants (i.e.

continued on page 8 ➥

Page 7

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An Interview with Hon. Susan Cacace

from page 7

16 and 17 year-olds) and

sex offenses involving victims

of tender age. Sixteen

and 17 year-old defendants

who are charged with

violent crimes oftentimes

get stuck between two systems;

they are too young to

get services that adults

would ordinarily receive,

but too old to get assistance

from Family Court, as they

are considered adults under

the New York State Law.

When they are charged with

violent sex crimes, I am required

to balance the

needs of the victims with the

needs of these defendants,

as young adults, and tailor

their dispositions accordingly.

My sex offense cases

involving child victims are

also very challenging, in

that it is very easy for a

young child to be re-victimized

during the trial process.

As a result, the negotiation

of a disposition prior to trial

is critical, and if there is no

disposition and a matter

proceeds to trial, I try to

make the process as comfortable

as possible for the

child, while still affording

both parties, the defendant

and the prosecution, a fair


Q: What advice would you

give to women lawyers starting

out in the profession?

A. The advice that I would

give to women starting out

in the profession is that you

can accomplish anything

through hard work. I also

advise them to always conduct

themselves in a dignified

manner, in and out of

court; be respectful of their

peers, their fellow attorneys,

and the judiciary; and be

forthright and honest, while

balancing the interests of

their clients – all because

your reputation proceeds

you and you will only be as

effective as your reputation

permits. Most importantly,

women lawyers should truly

support other women lawyers,

because if we stick together,

we can only become

stronger and even more successful.

Q: How has the practice of

law changed in Westchester

County over the years, if at

all ?

A: In my experience, having

been admitted to the Bar

nearly 30 years ago, the diversity

of the legal community

in Westchester County,

both Bench and Bar, represents

the greatest change I

have observed. As I have focused

most of my career in

the arena of criminal law, as

a prosecutor, a defense attorney,

and as a judge, I am

encouraged by the significant

growth in the ranks of

the female criminal defense

attorneys. At the beginning

of my career in 1990, I can

recall that outside of the District

Attorney’s Office and the

Legal Aid Society, there were

a mere handful of women

practicing criminal law in

Westchester County, whereas

today I would estimate that

women are the most rapidly

growing demographic in

this niche area of practice,

despite the historic misconception

by too many that

such work was better-suited

to our male counterparts.

Similarly, and perhaps even

more gratifying, is the growth

I have seen in the diversity

of the Bench, where women

are now routinely elected to

sit in the Surrogate’s Courts,

the Family Courts, the

County Courts and the State

Supreme Courts, as well as

the United States District

Courts, and all appellate

courts in both systems. Of

course, much has changed

over the course of my career,

but nothing more meaningful

than the diversity of our

legal community.

Q: When you are not on the

bench, what activities do you

like to engage in?

A: When I am not on the

bench, I spend time with my

family, friends, and I try to

work out as much as I can.

As a mother of three teenage

girls, my free time is filled

with traveling to track practices,

school events, and

doing homework. My eldest

daughter is a rising high

school senior, so we are currently

in the midst of a college

search. As a family, we

like to travel and are looking

forward to a trip to London

in August. Finally, I enjoy

getting in my early-morning

workouts on most weekdays

before the whirlwind of

school and work begin.

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Q: How have you managed

the work/family balance over

the years?

A: As any working mother

knows, managing the work/

family balance takes a great

deal of practice and I am

very fortunate to have had

a tremendous amount of

help along the way. My husband,

James G. Dibbini,

has always been my strongest

support both personally

and professionally. An

accomplished attorney in

his own right, Jim is a smart

and successful businessman,

a wonderful father,

and a generous and loving

husband, who always

makes time for me and our

three girls. Throughout the

years, we have had additional

support and assistance

from both of our

families, our friends, and

a few wonderful nannies,

as well.

Q: What are your goals

professionally and personally

going forward?

A: My goals both professionally

and personally going

forward are pretty

much the same -– to strive

to do my best at everything

that I do. In my personal

life, we are currently

searching for that “perfect”

college for my oldest

daughter; I hope she, as

well as my other two

daughters, find colleges

that they love, where they

will thrive as they move on

to adulthood. Professionally,

I feel so fortunate to

have been re-elected as a

Westchester County Court

Judge, a position that I

love, and to work in a field

that I continue to find exciting,

as well as challenging.

Going forward, I will

strive to gain even more of

an expertise in my capacity

as presiding judge of the

Westchester County Sex

Offense Part and continue

to promote the administration

of justice. ◗

Page 8

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

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April Litigation Tip



Even where parties stipulate to seal records, Uniform Trial Court Rule 216.1(a) requires a

finding of good cause by the court. The party seeking to seal court records has the burden to

demonstrate the compelling circumstances which justify restricting public access. It should be

recognized that access includes the right of the press to read and review court documents, unless

the documents have been sealed pursuant to a statutory provision or by a properly issued sealing

order. Confidentiality therefore is viewed as an exception not the rule and both the First and

Second Departments have held there is a broad presumption that the public is entitled to access

to judicial proceedings and court records.

The issue was recently addressed in an appeal of two related actions, Maxim Inc, et al. v Feifer,

et al. and Hearst Newspapers, LLC, et al., Proposed Intervenors, 2016 NY Slip Op 08319. The First

Department unanimously reversed the lower court’s denial of the motion made by Hearst Newspapers

to intervene for the limited purpose of accessing court records and granting public access

to certain redacted records. The appellate court undertook a thorough review of the documents

finding that certain documents were incorrectly sealed and did not involve matters of trade secrets,

confidential business information or proprietary information. While the appellate court

recognized that it may be easier for the parties and the motion court to seal an entire record rather

than make a determination document by document, the court held administrative convenience is

not a compelling reason to seal a record. The court ordered certain documents un-redacted

(action 1) and the sealing order vacated (action 2) but directed the clerk not to release such

documents for ten (10) days to allow the parties time to move by order to show cause to redact or

seal documents on notice and for the trial court to decide the motion in a written decision complying

with Rule 216.1(a). Of note, documents obtained through disclosure and not filed with

the clerk remain subject to protective orders as set forth in CPLR 3103(a). See 22 NYCRR


Written by Angela Morcone Giannini, Co-Chair, Litigation Committee

Other Co-Chairs: Jacqueline Hattar & Kimberly Sheehan

Education Committee Program

from page 6

special educator. Ms. McCabe highlighted accessibility issues that she has addressed

at Mercy College to ensure that students with disabilities have access to college programs

and services: for example, course substitutions; emotional support animals;

accessible technology; and accommodations in extracurricular activities.

The Education Committee program was very well attended. Attendees participated

in a vibrant and constructive roundtable discussion. The WWBA Education Committee

is grateful to Ms. Drumm and Ms. McCabe for providing attendees with valuable

written materials and promoting awareness regarding accommodations for people with

disabilities. The Education Committee appreciates the generosity of White and Williams,

LLP for providing its conference room for the event. ◗

*Certification from the Institute of Disabilities and Equal Access to Legal Systems Approved by

King’s International University of Science & Technology not a governmental entity.

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

2017 Justice Sondra

Miller Scholarship Award

from page 4

routinely gives back to the community in

various ways including tutoring and

mentoring students, advocating for others,

volunteering and interning, and serving in

leadership roles in various professional

organizations and clubs.

The Justice Sondra M. Miller scholarship

will be awarded to Ms. Akpaka at the

WWBA Annual Dinner on June 7, 2017.

I hope you have the opportunity to meet

Erika, congratulate her and welcome her

to the WWBA. ◗

Page 9

Chapter News and Announcements


❑ Attractive furnished and very reasonably priced interior office in congenial suite with

possible overflow work. Rent to include reception, phone, copying, library, conference

room, free parking, and easy access to I287 from Exit 4. Email linda@rosemarklaw.com

for further information. ◗

CLE Program:

Ethics for the Family Law Practitioner

Tanya Briendel

On Friday March 17th the Domestic Violence Sub-Committee presented a CLE

entitled Ethics for the Family Law Practitioner. The program was co-sponsored by the

Westchester Women’s Bar Association, the Pace Women’s Justice Center, the NYSBA/

WBASNY Domestic Violence Initiative and The Ninth Judicial Committee to Promote

Gender Fairness in the Courts.

The program commenced with a presentation by the Honorable Allen A. Hochberg,

Family Court Support Magistrate (Retired) and was followed by presentations by Audrey

E. Stone, Esq. and Deborah A. Scalise, Esq. They spoke about the continuing need for

lawyers to prepare thoroughly, present the court with evidence ethically disclosed and

to expeditiously return evidence wrongfully or erroneously obtained.

Despite the fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day, the room was packed to capacity with

over 30 attendees. ◗

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President’s Message

from page 3

the mentor. I have had many mentors and I can honestly say that I do not think any of

them actually knew they were mentoring me. I am grateful to our past presidents, judges,

civil and criminal lawyers as each of them have imparted upon me part of the fabric of

the practice of law. They still do today. I encourage experienced, as well as new lawyers

alike, to take full advantage of the collective wisdom of our diverse WWBA membership.

Consider attending a meeting that is outside your specialty which lends itself to presenting

different points of view. Then ask the questions, do the work, listen, observe, and where

appropriate, emulate. In particular, for the new lawyers and law students, there is no

greater opportunity for professional development.

We have added a section under the Membership tab on the website, entitled “Volunteer.”

Our goal is to keep this section updated with ways you can make a difference

within your limits. The depth of commitment we each have is a personal thing, influenced

by many factors and demands on our time. Traditionally, taking an active role in committee

work or projects meant being willing to devote a considerable amount of time over a

period of years. This model is showing signs of strain on both members and the WWBA.

I will be actively advertising for members to take on projects (or parts of a project) that

have a discrete lifetime and do not require burdensome amounts of time. It’s always great

to take on a project where you can make a difference without overburdening yourself.

We are a profession that is based on human contact on a very personal level and

one that promotes conflict resolution. The WWBA has done an excellent job in fostering

good working relations among members of the bench and bar. While simply becoming

a member is of critical importance, there is no reason to stop at merely paying your dues

each year. WWBA offers a single place to network, learn, give, teach, lead and socialize.

With so many opportunities, members can tailor their involvement to meet their

personal and professional preferences and needs.

I encourage you to be active and ask that you encourage your associates and

colleagues to invest in the opportunities the WWBA can provide. The WWBA is truly one

of the best places to connect. ◗

Become a New

Member Today




JUNE 1, 2016 TO MAY 31, 2017.


WWBA Membership includes

membership to the Women’s Bar

Association of the State of New York


January 31, 2017 is the closing date in

order to count the WWBA members

towards our certification to WBASNY and

assure our number of delegates.

Renewing before this date will allow our

Westchester Chapter (WWBA) to continue

to be a strong presence in our statewide

organization (WBASNY) while you will

enjoy its many benefits, events,

newsletter and CLE programming.

Hélène Côté, Sherry A. Bishko,

Elisabeth Campos

It is easy to renew by going to the

WWBA Website at www.WWBANY.org.

You can use a credit card or

PayPal to make payment.

Page 10

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

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Westchester Women’s Bar Association New Members

The Westchester Women’s Bar Association proudly welcomes our newest members:



Support the WWBA Foundation by Becoming a

Member of the Legacy Society

Linda Markowitz and Kim Berg

The WWBA Foundation

relies upon the financial support

of the WWBA members to

provide the annual scholarships

and grants aimed at supporting

those underprivileged segments

of our community. One way that

you can support this endeavor

is by becoming a member of the

WWBAF Legacy Society.

The Legacy Society has

been established to provide for

the long term sustenance of our

mission. By providing for the

Foundation in your estate plan

your bequest or designation of

the Foundation as a beneficiary,

whether large or small,

will help with continuing the

mission of the WWBA and the

WWBAF “to improve the position

of women in society and in

the law and help the

underserved women and children

in our society.”

Please consider making a

provision in your estate plan for

the Foundation and if you are

interested in doing so, submit

the form below to the address

or email at the bottom. Letting

us know your intentions now

helps us to be better aware of

your particular interests, and

will allow us to keep you informed

of developments at the

Westchester Women’s Bar Association

Foundation, which

may be relevant to your planned

gift. Unless you choose to remain

anonymous, it is our plan

to recognize your planned gift

by publicizing your name as a

member of our “Legacy Society.”

It is our hope that this recognition

will inspire generosity

in others. ◗


In support of the work of the WWBA Foundation, I/we want to provide for future generations and to ensure the continuity of the

funding it provides to assist the underserved segments of our community. This Letter of Intent represents my/our commitment to the

WWBA Foundation. It does not represent a legal obligation on my/our part and may be changed at any time.

Please check each of the options you are considering:

❑ Making a bequest in my/our Will or Trust

❑ Naming the WWBA Foundation as a Beneficiary of a Charitable Remainder or Lead Trust

❑ Naming the WWBA Foundation as a Beneficiary of a Life Insurance Policy or Annuity or a portion of a Life Insurance Policy or


❑ Naming the WWBA Foundation as a Beneficiary of a Retirement Plan or a portion of a Retirement Plan

❑ Optional: The amount of my/our planned gift is $_____________ or _____% of my/our estate

❑ I/We intend to include WWBAF in my/our estate plans by (date): ________________

❑ I/We wish to include the WWBA Foundation in my/our estate plan but wish to remain anonymous.

If you prefer to remain anonymous, do not complete the following section:


Address:___________________________________________ City:___________________ State: ______ Zip:_________

Phone: ( )__________________ Email Address:________________________________________________________

Signature:___________________________________________________________ Date:_________________________

Return to: WWBA Foundation, P.O. Box 926 Hartsdale, New York 10530 • Questions: email executivedirector@wwbany.org

Westchester Women’s Bar Association News

Page 11

WWBA Schedule of Upcoming Events

COMMITTEE DATE/TIME PLACE TOPIC RSVP (also online at www.wwbany.org)

Diversity Committee 3/28/17

6:00-7:30 p.m.

Mediation Committee 3/30/17

5:30 p.m.


6:00-7:40 p.m.


General Membership


Board of Directors


Families, Children and the

Courts Committee


5:30-8:00 p.m.


5:30-7:30 p.m.


5:15-5:45 p.m. Light

Supper and Program

5:45-8:00 p.m.

Wilson Elser Moskowitz

Edelman & Dicker LLP

1133 Westchester Avenue

White Plains, New York

McCarthy Fingar

11 Martine Avenue

12 th floor

White Plains, New York

La Bocca Ristorante

8 Church Street

White Plains, New York

BNY Mellon

701 Westchester Ave

White Plains, New York

Sterling National Bank

21 Scarsdale Road

Tuckahoe, New York

Immigration Committee 4/26/17 Elizabeth Haub School of

Law at Pace University

White Plains, New York

Board of Directors


Elder/Health Law and

Trusts & Estates


Corporate and



5:30-7:30 p.m.


5:30-6:00 p.m.

Registration and

6:00-8:00 p.m.


BNY Mellon

701 Westchester Ave

White Plains, New York

Sterling National Bank

21 Scarsdale Road

Tuckahoe, New York

5/9/17 Sterling National Bank

21 Scarsdale Road

Tuckahoe, New York

Community Outreach 5/23/17 United States District Court

300 Quarropas Street

White Plains, New York

WWBA Annual Dinner 6/7/17

5:30 p.m. Cocktails

7:00 p.m. Dinner

Mamaroneck Beach and

Yacht Club

Mamaroneck, New York

A Discussion on

Diversity and Inclusion

Bioethics and Family

Conversations: Primer on

Normative and Legal

Ethics as Applied to

Medical Decision-


A Conversation with the

U.S. District Judges in

White Plains

Navigating the New

Maintenance Guidelines

and Their Effect on Child

Support from a Judicial


Immigration Law for the

General Practitioner

Guardians Ad Litem and

Court Evaluators: A

Comparison of Ethical

and Procedural

Obligations under the

Part 36 Rules

ABCs on the Americans

with Disabilities Act

Law Day and Take Your

Children to Work Day

Annual Dinner and

Installation of Officers

Rregister online at


or email


register online at


or email


Register online at


or email


Susan Edwards Colson


if you are unable to attend

Register online at


or email


Register online at


or email


Susan Edwards Colson


if you are unable to attend

Register online at


or email


Register online at


or email


For information email


Register online at www.wwba.org

or email


Unless otherwise indicated, events are for WWBA members and invited guests only.

The opinions expressed by any program presenter are the presenter’s own, and do not reflect

the official position of the WWBA.

WWBA is a chapter of WBASNY, which is an approved provider of CLE credit. Full and partial scholarships for CLE programs based

on financial need are available. For information on the guidelines and procedures for applying, please contact the person running

the program. All requests are strictly confidential. All programs are for transitional credit unless the program states otherwise.








2016-2017 BEGAN ON JUNE 1, 2016.






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