Welcome to the Nassau County Women's Bar Association!

Summer 2016

It is my privilege to be part of an organization that is dedicated to the advancement of the status of women in society and the promotion of fair and equal administration of justice. 

This association was started by a group of women lawyers in the nineteen thirties who were not permitted at that time, to join the local Bar Association. Those trailblazers paved the way and created a path of empowerment, opportunity and choice for women that we embrace today.   Some people may wonder -- In the year 2016, with all of the advancements women have made, do we really still need a Women's Bar Association? Yes, we do and that is because the journey is not over!  Although our history is filled with countless achievements, there is much more to accomplish.  As our bar association grows and evolves each year, we want to continue to advance the lives of women in all of our communities. 

I have three goals that I hope to accomplish during my term: First, that we continue programs to support the underserved women and children in our Long Island communities.  To that end, we are assisting victims of domestic violence, by co-sponsoring the Walk in Her Shoes Fashion Show.  This winter, we will continue our annual Mittens Drive that also raises funds to support victims of domestic violence. 
Second, that we work with our Women’s Bar Foundation to support fundraising efforts such as the Annual Golf Outing which raises money for breast cancer research and awareness, and the Scholarship Luncheon which benefits deserving law students. My third goal, is that we endeavor to expand membership to new lawyers and young lawyers.  They are the future of this organization.  I believe we have a duty to mentor and guide newly admitted lawyers to advance in the profession, just as we have.  We need to be mindful that newer lawyers have so much to offer more seasoned lawyers.  To that end, I would like to initiate a program whereby accomplished attorneys can share their experience with newer lawyers, who in turn, can share with us their technological skills, which are very much needed for success today.   
It is important to understand that each and every one of us, regardless of age or experience, has something valuable to offer.

Of course, to accomplish these goals, we have to work together.  While no group of individuals will always agree, we can respect each other's rights to have differences of opinion.  This healthy exchange of ideas will only make our cherished organization stronger.    
I have often heard women say that they are reluctant to join a woman's organization. This is unfortunate.  We should support and build each other up because if one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
To quote Eleanor Roosevelt: Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events;  And small minds discuss people
This year, we will work together to achieve our common goals in an environment where everyone feels free to express their varying opinions.

I would like each of you to join me as we continue this journey. I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we exchange ideas and grow our beloved women’s bar !

Yours, 

Linda M. Oliva, President


PAST MESSAGES

SIMONE M. FREEMAN, ESQ.

SIMONE M. FREEMAN, ESQ.

JULY 2015

I am both honored and humbled to have been elected the voice of an organization dedicated to the advancement of the status of women in society, and the promotion of fair and equal administration of justice. 

If my mother were alive today, she would tell you that my journey here began the day I told her “I have constitutional rights, you know”, which, of course, relieved me of my obligation to put my toys back in my monster sized piglet toy chest as she asked.  There is no denying that I have had a big voice from early on, and that I often use that voice to speak out against what I view as injustice.  This is one of the reasons why I am honored to have been elected the voice of an organization dedicated to the advancement of the status of women in society, and the promotion of fair and equal administration of justice.  It is unfortunate but not every woman is blessed, or cursed, with a big voice, and/or a strong role model to encourage her to have a big voice and realize her dreams.  Too often women fail to exercise their voice for fear of being inappropriate, or simply because she lacks confidence in herself.  However, as Laurel Thatcher Urlich remarked, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” 

Indeed, pivotal laws and issues affecting women are often decided or raised by men.  For example, although many female jurists sit on the benches of high-ranking courts in this county, we have yet to see a female Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Likewise, we have yet to see a female President. Moreover, although many women in this profession are just as, if not more accomplished, than our male counterparts, we still debate whether or not we are entitled to equal pay.  According to a U.S. Supreme Court Decision written by a male majority, we are not.  Why?  Apparently because we are more likely to provide care to our children, family and elderly, then our male counterparts.  That is just unacceptable.

Additionally, although domestic violence has existed for as long as relationships have, and in 90% of cases, victims are women and/or children, it was not a women’s group, or the mother or child suffering from broken bones that brought the issue of domestic violence to the forefront of public debate.  IInstead, it was the NFL - a predominantly male franchise - dealing with a series of PR nightmares involving its players, coaches and officials that brought the single major cause of injury to women, to the forefront of public debate. 

In addition to domestic violence, the U.S. State Department estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, including the U.S.  Of these 600,000-800,000 people, 80% are females who are sexually exploited.  Sadly, in the rare instance in which a trafficked victim escapes, and is able to seek assistance, she is often treated as a criminal due to her status as an illegal immigrant.  As such, lawmakers continue to address the issue, as one of immigration reform, rather than a question of constitutional law and/or human rights.  Unfortunately, we may have to wait for an incident involving the FIFA World Cup before this topic is brought to the forefront of public debate. 

Based on these examples, it seems clear that despite how far we have come toward equality and the fair administration of justice, we still have a long way to go.  Indeed, we need to be the voice of change. We need to encourage not just adult women, but girls and teens, to be bold enough to use her voice, brave enough to listen to her heart, strong enough to realize her true potential, and confident enough to live the life she envisions for her future.

I consider myself a very fortunate woman.  My mother was an amazing role model.  She encouraged me to dream big, fight for what I believe in, never let the fear of failure stand in my way, and NEVER give up.  After all, as Babe Ruth noted, “it is difficult to beat someone who never gives up.”   But not everyone is as lucky as I am.  As illustrated above, many women lack the voice needed to change her circumstances and/or a role model to help her find her voice.  This year, I hope this board and its members can be strong role models to all women, and to continue to advocate for those less fortunate than us. 

I look forward to working with all of you this coming year!

Warm Regards,

Simone M. Freeman, President

__________________________________

 

Fall 2014

As we begin the Fall season, I am amazed at all we have accomplished so far.  It is hard to believe that it has been four months since I was blessed and honored to be installed as President of this wonderful organization.

The new term began with a grand celebration at the Jericho Terrace, where approximately 200 guests witnessed the installation of the 2013-2014 Board and Officers.  Our keynote speaker, Hon. Jenny Rivera, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, delivered an inspiring address challenging us to continue to forge ahead in our mission to promote women in the law and in society.  I am proud to say, that we have been working hard since day one of the new term to do just that.

The first meeting of the Board was held at the Mary Brennan Inn, located in Hempstead.  For those of you who are not familiar with the the Inn, it is the largest private social service agency of its kind on Long Island. It addresses the issues of hunger and homelessness on Long Island by providing food, shelter, long-term housing, and supportive services in a dignified and respectful manner for those who seek their help.   The NCWBA has been a long-time supporter of the Inn and our organization established the Pro Bono Legal Clinic at the Inn several years ago.  It was a great experience to be able to see first-hand where our help is needed and delivered.  Executive Director, Jean Kelly, was kind enough to give the Board and Officers a tour of the entire facility.  If you have never been there, I encourage you to take a trip down there to volunteer for the Pro Bono Legal Clinic.  It is a truly rewarding experience.  

Our first major event of the year was our Annual Membership Cocktail Party and Salute to the Judiciary.  As always, this event was very well-attended by both our fellow attorneys and distinguished members of the Judiciary.  This event is a wonderful opportunity to for members of the Bar and Bench to come together outside of the courthouse in the spirit of supporting the NCWBA and acknowledging the extraordinary work of the Judges in our County, State, and local municipalities.

In October, the Executive Committee of the NCWBA met at the offices of the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, where we had the opportunity to see all the Agency has to offer its clients.  The NCWBA has also been a long-time supporter of the NCCADV, whose mission is to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault while challenging and changing social systems that tolerate and perpetuate abuse.  As part of our support of the NCCADV, the NCWBA will be collecting donations of necessary items at the Annual Holiday Party, as well as running the "Mittens Fundraiser Benefiting the Coalition Against Domestic Violence".  I hope we can count on your support of this worthy cause.  

On October 20, a group of NCWBA members and Board members joined together in solidarity to walk in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Jones Beach.  The NCWBA group walked among the over 60,000 people involved in helping to find a cure for this disease which has affected each one of us in some way.  To say that the event was inspiring is and moving does not seem sufficient - it was and continues to be a life-changing experience for me personally.  So far our team has raised over $2000 and there is still time to donate!!

Our Committees have also been very hard at work putting together innovative, informative and relevant programs.  Specifically, the Small Firm Committee has been hard at work developing programs to suit the interests and needs of the attorneys who are in small practices in the County.  The Matrimonial and Networking Committees have continued to bring us informative programs every month at the Nassau County Bar Association.

As we approach the halfway point of the 2013-2014, I am excited about what is in store for the NCWBA.  I invite to you all to come to an event and I challenge you all to find the time to take advantage of programs and benefits to which your membership entitles you.

I wish everyone safe and happy holidays!

Summer 2013

I am so honored to serve  as President of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association. Our new year officially began on June 1, 2013, and the Officers, Directors and Delegates were installed at our Annual Installation Dinner on June 12, 2013.  The event was held at Jericho Terrace in Mineola, New York was attended by over 270 members, friends,and  family.  Associate Judge Jenny Rivera delivered the keynote address, inspiring us to give back to our communities and use our profession for the good of all.

As we begin the 2013-2014, I think back to why I decided to become a lawyer and who influenced my decision.  The decision to become a lawyer was based upon a number of factors, but the most important being that I wanted to help others, especially women.  My mother has been my greatest influence.  Over the years she has shared with me the struggles she endured in her native country as a woman, and in this country as an immigrant.  Despite her own struggles, she managed to find a way to help others gain access to justice and to information.  I believe that it is our duty to give back.

I am excited about the year to come and as I shared with the over 250 - person crowd at our Annual Installation Dinner, my focus for my term will be education and service.  Education to me is multi-layered, meaning we, as women-attorneys, must not only educate ourselves with respect to our careers and areas of practice, but also as women, mothers, sisters, and daughters.  More importantly, we must help educate other women in our communities.  To that end, the programs and mentoring committees will be hard at work this year putting together events and programs to support our mission!