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Women’s Bar continues Lunch with a Judge tradition with Justice Lara Genovesi

October 21, 2022 Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association hosts a monthly “Lunch with a Judge” program that has gone on for so long that it has invited Hon. Lara Genovesi back for the second time on Wednesday after five years.

Justice Genovesi had just come off an election to the Kings County Supreme Court back in 2014 when she was invited the first time. Now she is sitting in the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, which is one of the busiest appellate courts in the entire United States.

“We are excited to have her share her experiences and your judicial insight as a woman and as one of the newest associate justices in the Appellate Division,” said BWBA President Susan Mauro. “She is one of the hardest working women and hardest working judges who I know so her elevation to the Appellate Division did not come as a surprise. It was really well deserved.”

Justice Genovesi, who was born in Brooklyn, is a graduate of Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, and worked in a family private practice prior to going to work in the courts for Judge Eric Prus as his court attorney in 1999. She served as the clerk to Hon. Edward Rappaport from 2000 to 2003, and was the clerk to Hon. Jeffrey Sunshine from 2003 until her election to the bench in 2014.

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“You heard from my resume that I’m part public school, part Catholic school and part Yeshiva taught so it is clear I’m a Brooklyn girl,” Genovesi joked. “I was fortunate to have two lawyers in the family growing up. I became a lawyer partly because I was always told I would be a lawyer. But watching what they do for people is something that always attracted me.”

Justice Genovesi added that in addition to Judges Rappaport and Sunshine being mentors in her career, Justice Marsha Steinhardt also played a major role in her life. Justice Sunshine’s office was next to Justice Rapport’s so, she explained, she got an education from her as well during the 2000 to 2003 stretch of her career.

Lunch with a Judge is a regular event hosted by the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association that gives members a chance to get to know a judge and ask them questions. Screenshot via Zoom

Hon. Genine Edwards normally moderates the Lunch with a Judge series. However, on Wednesday, BWBA members had the opportunity to hear Justice Genovesi in a discussion with her fellow appellate division justice when Hon. Lillian Wan stepped in.

The event is generally attended by anywhere between 25 and 50 attorneys, judges and court employees. It gives an opportunity for litigants to get to know the judges they appear before them. Often judges will explain their careers, how they became judges, and will discuss the rules and expectations of their courts. It gives lawyers an opportunity to ask the judges questions they might never get anywhere else.

“Everyone knows that I’m Italian from my last name, but I’m actually half Italian and half Lebanese, which tends to surprise people,” Justice Genovesi shared.

Justice Genovesi had great insight for members who might be thinking about becoming a judge because she, admittedly, tried just about every path there is to get on the bench. She explained that it has given her an appreciation for the way New York State holds both elections and appoints judges.

“I think I tried every way — the mayor’s committee, the governor’s office, and the general elections of the public and also with the quasi-general election with the district leaders,” Justice Genovesi said. “It’s an interesting process. There is nothing like the way New York State does it anywhere. There are big proponents of the appointed system, and the elected system. Both have their pluses and minuses, but the interesting and wonderful part is that you have a few different choices. If you think you aren’t getting a fair shake via one avenue there is another route for you to take.”

Hon. Lillian Wan, associate justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, was the moderator for Lunch with a Judge. Screenshot via Zoom

Scholarship Fundraiser Event Coming Up on October 26

The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association recently established a Foundation which it can use to raise money to give towards charities and good causes. It is having an event on Wednesday, October 26 at Giando on the Water to raise money for a law school scholarship.

The scholarship has been named after Hon. Sylvia Hinds-Radix, a past president of the organization who is currently serving as the New York City Corporation Counsel.

The scholarship will be given annually to a Brooklyn Law School student interested in public service and advancement of women in the law.

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