WWBA judges the judges

The Westchester Women’s Bar Association released its ratings today for the eight candidates running for four judicial seats in the 9th District, which covers Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange and Putnam. Possible ratings are “outstanding,” “well qualified,” “qualified” or “not qualified.”

The WWBA has deemed these candidates “well qualified”
State Supreme Court Justice Orazio Bellantoni
State Supreme Court Justice Francesca Connolly
Westchester County Judge Jeffrey Cohen
Westchester County Judge James Hubert
Hyde Park Town Justice David Steinberg

The group deemed these candidates “qualified”
Pawling attorney Charles “Terry” Stewart
Yonkers City Judge Charles Wood

For Westchester County Court, the WWBA deemed incumbent Judge John P. Colangelo well qualified.
Peekskill City Judge William Maher, who was a late addition to the 9th JD race, was not rated.

The WWBA’s Judicial Screening Committee conducts a personal interview of each candidate and reviews a written questionnaire, a resume, written decisions, legal briefs and other writings. The committee bases its rating on judicial temperament, knowledge of the law, legal writing ability, general reputation, character and fitness, and attitudes towards women’s issues. The panel also considers a candidate’s judicial experience and references from lawyers who have appeared before the candidate or as opposing or co-counsel.

This year, the WWBA Judicial Screening Committee was chaired by attorney Loren I. Glassman and included attorneys Lisa Bluestein, Sylvia Goldschmidt Sandra Kurtz, Roberta Michael, Lucille Oppenheim, Kevin Plunkett, Marilyn S. Reader, Beverley Rogers, Steven A. Swidler and Arlene Gold Wexler.

WWBA is the largest chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, with more than 600 members who live or work in Westchester County and nearby counties.

Legal sisterhood in Westchester

More than two dozen young women who aspire to be attorneys are visiting the Westchester County Courthouse this afternoon to meet with professional women who might someday become their mentors.

The legal field trip is part of the first annual Summer Justice Academy at Pace Law School, sponsored by the New York chapter of the National Association of Women Judges.

The 25 young ladies live in what Pace described as “underserved” school districts, attending high schools in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and two Catholic schools in the Bronx.

The timing of the academy coincides with the confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court candidate Sonia Sotomayor.

The summer academy offers the young ladies college prep-level law courses and leadership training from judges, law school professors and legal practitioners.

Among the professional women who will speak with the would-be lawyers are Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore Pace Law School Dean Michelle S. Simon, Westchester Women’s Bar Association President Debra Scalise and state Supreme Court Justices Judith Gische and La Tia W. Martin.

The week-long academy ends Friday.