Justice Cenceria Edwards to be installed as president of Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association

June 12, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
Justice Cenceria Edwards will be installed as president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association on June 24 at the federal courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn. Eagle file photo by Robert Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association (BWBA) will hold its annual installation ceremony on Monday, June 24, at the federal courthouse for the Eastern District of New York in Downtown Brooklyn, where Justice Cenceria Edwards will take office as the new president, alongside other incoming officers.

Justice Cenceria P. Edwards, a distinguished member of the judiciary, was elected justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Second Judicial District, presiding in Brooklyn in November 2022. 

Her extensive legal and financial background includes serving as Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term, Kings County, and as a judge of the New York City Civil Court, Kings County. Justice Edwards, who also holds a certified public accountant (CPA) license, has a notable career that spans both law and finance.

Justice Edwards is known for her contributions to legal scholarship, including her authorship of several influential articles and her role as a Lexis practical guidance author in pretrial civil procedure topics. 

Her publications include “A View from the New York City Civil Court Bench: Vacating Default Judgments — The Self-Represented Litigant” and “New York State Procedural Processes to Vacate a Default — The Self-Represented Litigant,” among others. She has also served as a lecturer at the New York State Judicial Institute on Default Judgments.

Before her judicial career, Justice Edwards managed the Law Firm of Cenceria Edwards, PLLC, focusing on complex litigation and transactional matters for real property. As a trial attorney, she argued cases before the New York State Supreme Civil and Appellate Courts. Her career as a corporate tax lawyer included advising Fortune 500 companies on the structure of acquisitions, mergers and dispositions of assets for compliance with federal, state, and local tax laws.

Justice Edwards’ journey to the bench was unconventional. She initially ventured into politics by running for the New York State Assembly in 2008, garnering 25 percent of the vote in a strong political district despite having no prior political experience. Her extensive community work in foreclosure led civic organizations to encourage her judicial candidacy.

“For those looking to get into politics, make sure you know the local politics of the county in which you choose to run,” Justice Edwards advised. “People thought I was crazy; the politicians thought I lost my mind. A few people even approached me and told me to get out of the race. I thought it was my constitutional right to run, and I wanted to represent my community. I thought I could win.”

Justice Edwards emphasizes the importance of community service and encourages legal professionals to engage with their communities and associations like the BWBA to foster better environments and strengthen communal bonds. Her leadership roles, which include chairing the National Bar Association’s Judicial Council, have allowed her to connect with legal professionals across the country and internationally.

Justice Edwards’ judicial philosophy prioritizes settlement to expedite resolutions and minimize lengthy litigation, especially in foreclosure cases. She also encourages attorneys to consider the financial aspects of cases, advocating for pragmatic approaches to legal disputes.

“Your position should make dollars and cents, and you should have sense as you’re looking at the case,” Justice Edwards said. “A lot of lawyers believe that they have the best case and are going to win, and sometimes they become overzealous about arguing the case as opposed to looking at the real numbers. Look at the cost of the case. What does it cost you to prepare papers? Can your client really afford that cost?”

The BWBA looks forward to Justice Edwards’ presidency, anticipating her contributions to the association and the broader legal community in Brooklyn. Alongside Justice Edwards, Lisa Michael will be installed as president-elect; Hon. Connie Mallafre-Melendez, Hon. Genine Edwards and Danielle Ciarola will serve as vice presidents; Karlyne Fequiere will take on the role of treasurer; Victoria Serigano will be the recording secretary; and Lauren Arnel will be the corresponding secretary.

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