Judges Ottley and Schneider honored during Women’s History Month
The King’s County Civil Court’s Gender Fairness Committee, in conjunction with the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, held its 2016 Women’s History Month Luncheon on March 29 at Brooklyn’s Civil Court.
In keeping with this year’s national theme, “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government,” the committee decided to pay homage to Hon. Lisa S. Ottley and Hon. Jean T. Schneider, as well as members of their staff, in a special ceremony during the luncheon.
These women were chosen for this honor because they have personified this year’s theme through their years of unrelenting hard work and dedication to serving the public, as well as through the leadership and mentorship they have provided to all, especially during their tenure in Kings County Civil Court and Kings County Housing Court.
In 2000, Ottley began working as Hon. Alice Fisher-Rubin’s associate court attorney in Civil Court, Kings County. In 2009, she was elected as a Civil Court judge and sat in Family Court in 2010. She returned to Civil Court, Kings County in 2011 as the supervising judge. In 2016, she was appointed acting Supreme Court justice in Supreme Court, Kings County.
Schneider was appointed as a Housing Court judge in 1997. She became supervising judge of Housing Court in New York County in 2009. In 2012, she became the supervising judge of Housing Court in Kings County, where she remained until her 2016 appointment as the citywide supervising judge of Housing Court.
The ceremony was opened by Hon. Cheryl Gonzales, the current supervising judge of Kings County Housing Court. Judges, attorneys, clerks, officers, other court staff and friends of the court packed the room and listened as Gonzales spoke about the important strides that women have made through the years. Awards were presented to Ottley and the Schneider by the program’s three emcees: Hon. Gary Marton, Hon. Robin Sheares (Gender Fairness Committee Chairwoman) and Hon. Theresa Ciccotto.
Also honored were Lenise Graddy, court attorney to Ottley; Donna Ricci, court attorney to Schneider; Chanel Lewis, Ottley’s law stenographer; and non-judicial staff member Mary Muniz, Kings County Civil Court’s network/systems engineer. The committee unanimously agreed to honor Muniz because she almost single-handedly serves as Kings County Civil Court’s “go-to” person in a high-volume court, solving all its technical network problems while managing to maintain a pleasant demeanor and positive attitude.
Guest speaker Helene E. Blank, president of the Brooklyn’s Women Bar Association, in addition to her commendations to the judges and other honorees for their achievements, also spoke about her experiences in Kings County Civil Court, and how returning to the building always felt like “coming home.”
Both Ottley and Schneider spoke of important milestones during their careers, some of their accomplishments, things they’ve learned along the way and their experiences in Kings County Civil Court. They each gave heartfelt thanks to their staff members, and attributed much of what they accomplished to them.
During the ceremony’s closing, Sheares thanked the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association for all of their support in making the event a success. She also introduced the Gender Fairness Committee members, and left an open invitation to anyone that might be interested in joining the committee. Current committee members are Hon. Robin Sheares, Hon. Ciccotto, Hon. Gary Marton, Hon. Leslie Stroth, Elaine Schack-Rodriguez, Esq., Nicole Jones, Tanya Faye, Laurana Springer, Sidney Moses and Jill Hanna Vega.
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