Summer Justice Academy for Young Women kicks off third year

The New York Chapter of the National Association of Women Judge and Pace Law School are launching the third annual Summer Justice Academy for Young Women with a fundraiser tomorrow for the program, which will take place on July 11-15.

The Justice Academy is a one-week program that introduces 40 minority and disadvantaged high school students from Westchester County and New York City to the law, to inspire them to pursue careers in the legal field. Students are taught primarily by women judges, law professors and practicing lawyers who volunteer their time. Pace faculty also serve as professional and academic role models.

The girls typically tour the Westchester County Courthouse to meet judges and prosecutors This year, for the first time, the girls are going to Washington, D.C. to tour the U.S. Supreme Court, the Capitol and possibly the White House.

“In its two years of operation, the Justice Academy has already motivated students who have gone on to college, and who now credit the Justice Academy with exposing them to the tremendous opportunities of a legal education and giving them the confidence and inspiration to pursue careers in law,” organizers said in a written statement.

The fundraising reception will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at Shenorock Shore Club in Rye. To RSVP or to inquire about making a donation, call Judy Jaeger at Pace Law School at (914) 422-4407.

Westchester DA to have scholarship in her name

Janet DiFiore, the Westchester District Attorney, is one of three top lawyers who will have scholarships created in their names by the Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community, which operates two all-girls high schools.

DiFiore will be honored tonight at the Sisters of Mercy’s headquarters in Hartsdale with the late William F. Harrington, an attorney for Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, and Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and a 1972 graduate of St. Catherine Academy in the Bronx. St. Catherine’s and Our Lady of Victory in Dobbs Ferry are run by the Sisters of Mercy.

Sister Patricia Wolf explained that the Sisters of Mercy wanted to do something to offering financial aid to struggling families who, as a result of the economic downturn, cannot afford to send their daughters to St. Catherine or Our Lady of Victory. She said the Sisters of Mercy had help from state Supreme Court Justice La Tia Martin of the Bronx to find candidates for the scholarship recognition.

DiFiore was selected for her years of public service and committment to women’s issues, particularly domestic violence, Sister Wood said. Roberts, a managing partner in a D.C. law firm, is being honored as an alumna and for her long, respected career. Harrington, who died in January, made “tremendous contributions” to the Catholic community, she said.

The $5,000 scholarships will cover 80 percent of tuition at the all-girls schools. The Sister of Mercy have started raising money to start handing out the scholarships either this September or in September 2011.

Photo: Janet DiFiore