By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) and the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association (BWBA) joined with legal research company LexisNexis to present “Color of Justice,” a program created by NAWJ and designed to expose high school girls to courts and the legal system with the hope of encouraging them to attend law school and/or pursue careers in the law.
The Saturday event included two panels allowing for the discussion of careers in the legal field and an in-depth overview of how female judges of color have made a significant difference within and throughout the justice system.
The "Law as a Career -- Preparing the Way" panel was included law students and practicing attorneys, including Paula T. Edgar, Esq,, chief diversity officer and admissions specialist at New York Law School; Susanna Rojas, Esq., clerk of the court, Appellate Division, First Department; Joy A. Thompson, Esq., deputy commissioner of the Public Administrator, New York County; and Brooklyn Law School students Emmanuel Fashakin Jr. and Leanne Welds.
Sharing anecdotes of their backgrounds, Hon. L. Priscilla Hall (Appellate Division, Second Department); Hon. Eleanora Ofshtein (Brooklyn Housing Court); Hon. Ruth Shillingford (Brooklyn Supreme Court, Criminal Term); Hon. Carolyn Wade (Brooklyn Supreme Court, Civil Term); and Hon. Lillian Wan (Brooklyn Family Court)—all of diverse ethnic backgrounds—explained roads that led to a career in law and a seat on the judicial bench.
Twenty young female students from the Brooklyn Institute of Liberal Arts High School, located in Crown Heights, participated in the program and were given a unique opportunity to have one-on-one mentoring sessions with judges, lawyers and law students.
Brooklyn judges Shillingford, Hon. Joanne D. Quinones and Hon. Betty J. Williams coordinated the March Color of Justice program.