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Judge King hosts final event as NAWJ president

December 9, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Justice Laura Lee Jacobson (center, pictured at the NAWJ annual dinner last June with Hon. Betty Williams on the left and Hon. Cheryl J. Gonzales on the right) was honored by Hon. Kathy King during the holiday party on Thursday. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The New York Chapter of the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) hosted its annual holiday party at the Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan on Thursday night, but it was bittersweet for Justice Kathy J. King as it was her final event as president of the organization.

“In the spirit of the season, I would just like to thank each and every one of you for being here,” King said. “This holiday party marks a special time for me since I am counting down my days as president. So this is a special, special time.”

King reflected on her two-year term as chapter president, but mostly took her time speaking to thank those who helped her.

“I’d like to thank all of you who have supported the organization in your capacities as attorneys, as judges, as court personnel in making the past two years that I served as president successful,” King said. “I tell my son that if anyone tells you that they are successful on their own they are not telling the truth. It takes other people to make you and your organizations a success. I thank you very much for the last two years.”

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King explained that the organization means a lot to her, especially as tool for helping to connect judges throughout the country and to spread ideas.

“NAWJ is such a wonderful organization,” she said. “In addition to traveling to various venues throughout the country, you get an opportunity to meet judges throughout the country, get to exchange ideas, talk about the options and alternatives to complete the challenging and difficult job that we have to do.”

King took a special moment to thank and honor Justice Laura Lee Jacobson, although she wasn’t in attendance. Hon. Cheryl J. Gonzales, who worked for Jacobson for 14 years, spoke on her behalf.

“I would not be here if not for Judge Jacobson,” Gonzales said. “I started with Judge Jacobson as a court attorney and she is my role model. She loves this organization. She’s been a part of the Women in Prison Project, she was a district director, she was a New York director, I know that she would be very pleased to accept this award if she were here and I’m honored to accept it on her behalf.”

Jacobson was busy working on a holiday project that NAWJ does every year — the Women in Prison Project, where judges get together and collect gift bags for women in prison, a tradition that Jacobson herself helped to start.

“As you know, we wanted to give special recognition to judge Laura Jacobson, who, true to form, is working tirelessly this evening putting together bags as part of the Women in Prison Holiday Project,” King said. “Each year Judge Jacobson, along with Judges Gonzales and Betty Williams as well as other judges, put together gift bags for incarcerated women. These bags mean so much to those women who often don’t have family.”

King will step down from her position in January when the president-elect will be sworn in during NAWJ’s annual meeting in Manhattan. Judge Renee Forgensi Minarik, from Rochester, will take her place. The judge drove down from Western New York earlier on Thursday to join the party and say goodbye to King.


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