In 1984, three women attorneys met for lunch to discuss whether it made sense to form a women’s bar association in Rockland County. Each of the three women thought there were just a handful of women attorneys in the County, but after brainstorming they came up with a list of about 20. These other attorneys were contacted and at a meeting of this larger group of women, interest in forming a women’s bar association was again discussed. As a result of that meeting a list of approximately 50 women attorneys was developed. A larger meeting was then held in the Grand Jury Room of the Rockland County District Attorney’s office. The presidents of the Orange-Sullivan chapter and Westchester chapter attended the meeting, explained the benefits of forming a women’s bar association, answered our questions and gave us advice.
At the end of the meeting, we decided to form our own women’s bar association as a chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY). On May 4, 1984 the following women were elected as Officers and Directors:
|President||Sydell J. Green||Vice-Presidents||Lynn Brustein|
Ellen B. Holtzman
|Corresponding Secretary||Marilyn Davis|
|Recording Secretary||Bridget Casey|
|WBASNY Director||Lorna Bernard|
Shortly after these first organizational meetings, the WBASNY convention was held in Westchester County; we were invited and encouraged to attend. The Hon. Lawrence S Cooke, then Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, officially swore in our first president, Sydell J. Green and our first WBASNY delegate Lorna Bernard. It was a very moving moment and the first of many events to which the members of WBASNY have made our chapter feel welcome.
The purposes of the Rockland County Women’s Bar Association (RCWBA) are to provide a network and support system for the women attorneys in Rockland County and, through WBASNY, statewide; to provide educational programs to our members; to address issues affecting all lawyers, in particular women; and to encourage the interest of law in our system of justice and the law. After the publication of the report of the New York State Task Force on Women in the Courts, RCWBA researched and published its own report on women in the courts in Rockland County, as a result of which many improvements were made, including the Family Court and hearing examiner process. In addition, as a direct result of the efforts of RCWBA a local country club changed its by-laws to permit women to own memberships.
RCWBA continues to provide education programs to our members and support to the local community. We are proud to be able to bestow the Belle Mayer Zeck Award in recognition of an individual’s wisdom, ethics, creativity and pursuit of excellence in the law; thus promoting understanding between the legal profession and the community and advancing the state of women in society.
RCWBA is proud of its affiliate with and commitment to WBASNY. Although RCWBA is one of the smaller chapters in WBASNY, our members include two past presidents of our statewide bar association; Ellen B. Holtzman, Esq. (1991-1992) and Mindy R. Zlotogura, Esq. (2004-2005).
|Sydell J. Green||1984-1986|
|Marilyn P. Davis||1987-1989|
|Hon. Catherine Miklitsch||1989-1991|
|Hon. Linda Christopher||1991-1993|
|Bridget M. Casey||1993-1994|
|Lesyle M. Schlesinger||1994-1996|
|Mindy R. Zlotogura||1996-1998|
|Hon. Michele Marcus||1998-2000|
|Ellen B. Holtzman||2000-2002|
|Maureen A. Moran||2002-2004|
|Amy Baldwin Littman||2006-2008|
|Rachel Tanguay McGuane||2008-2010|
|Mindy R. Zlotogura||2012-2013|