Remembering Judith Kaye: A Pioneer for Women in the Legal Profession and Advocate for Children and Families

 

By: Mallory McGee

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On Wednesday, January 6, 2016, former New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith Kaye passed away at the age of 77 years old, leaving behind a legacy as an advocate for social justice who paved the way for many women in the legal profession.

 

Born Judith Ann Smith on August 4, 1938 in Monticello, New York to Polish immigrants Benjamin and Lena, Judge Kaye skipped two grades and was admitted to Barnard College at the age of fifteen. At Barnard, she studied Latin American Civilization and worked for local newspapers in the hopes of pursuing a career in journalism. Post graduation, Judge Kaye landed her first journalism job at the Hudson Dispatch, a newspaper in Union City, New Jersey where she reported on the society pages. In the hopes of furthering her journalism career, she decided to enroll in New York University’s law school. She attended law school part time and worked as a copy editor by day. The law began to appeal to her more and in 1962, Judith Kaye graduated from N.Y.U Law School; she was one of ten women in her graduating class of 300.

 

Following law school graduation, Judge Kaye worked at Sullivan and Cromwell for two years and then went to IBM’s legal department. While raising her family, Judge Kaye worked as an assistant to the dean at N.Y.U. Then she went to Olwine, Connelly, Chase, O’Donnell & Weyher, where she became the first female partner. Her career took a different turn when former Governor Mario Cuomo stated that if elected, he would appoint the first female judge to the Court of Appeals.… <Read More>


Spotlight: Professor Lisa Young, Australian Family Law Scholar

By: Danielle Edrich

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to sit down with Professor Lisa Young, an Australian family law professor, and talk about some of the differences in family law between the United States and Australia. Young has focused her career in family law as a practitioner, professor, and researcher for more than 20 years, and is currently Dean of Research as well as an Associate Professor at Murdoch University School of Law in Western Australia. She is also the current editor of the Australian Journal of Family Law, Australia’s premier family law journal, and is co-author of Family Law in Australia, one of Australia’s principal family law treatises. Young also has been working with the Commonwealth’s Child Support Agency for 16 years, where she routinely hears and decides cases. Before getting into academia, Young was a commercial and family law practitioner. She mentioned that although she ultimately ended up in academia, practicing law was a valuable experience that gave her a “real-world” understanding of the law.

As Dean of Research at Murdoch, Young has been speaking with law schools throughout the world to gain an understanding of what programs and ideas their students are interested in pursuing so that she can further develop a thriving program for her students in Australia. She is also interested in looking for connections her school can build with other law schools. Furthermore, as Young is a family law scholar, she was very interested in learning about family law in the United States and how it compared to Australian law.… <Read More>


Spotlight: Professor Carlin Meyer

By: Lori Anne Vergara

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Professor Carlin Meyer has a renowned reputation for her professional and academic achievements; a simple Google search will return pages of information related to her legal career and involvement with New York Law School. However, there is so much more to be said about her amazing spirit and life, which cannot be gleaned from those sources.  During a recent interview with the editors of JustFamilies.org, Professor Meyer spoke candidly about her educational experiences and personal life. When we sat down for our interview, Professor Meyer had already begun the process of packing her belongings from her office in the Abbey Institute area. There were still books on the shelves, though, and she asked each of us to take one or two. As we chose books, she peered over and gave us her brief thoughts on the authors and their work. I was amazed at how much she could remember about each of the books and it made me realize just how passionate she is about discussing legal concepts and ideas.

Recently, Professor Meyer stepped down from her role as director of the Diane Abbey Law Center For Children and Families, recently renamed the Abbey Institute as part of the new Impact Center for Public Interest Law.  She is becoming emeritus in January 2015. Though I was not lucky enough to have her as a professor, I am still saddened to see her set out on the retirement track. I first met Professor Meyer at the New York Law School Gala last fall.… <Read More>