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Hot Topics in Child Custody and Visitation for New York Practitioners 2018


Speaker(s): Beth Krause , Daniel M. Weitz, Deborah Gould, Elizabeth Rieser-Murphy, Gail Adams, Hal Silverman, Hon. Adam Silvera, Hon. Anthony Cannataro, Hon. Dean Kusakabe, Hon. Javier Vargas, Hon. Karen M.C. Cortes, Jeffrey Colt, Juan Luciano, Juanita Wing, Lauren Norton-Lerner , Lisa M. Courtney, Marcia Werchol, Monica Eskin, Philip Katz, Susan L. Bender
Recorded on: Apr. 13, 2018
PLI Program #: 218932

After graduating from Stanford University, Deborah got her JD from St John’s Law School. She then worked at Legal Aid, Juvenile Rights Division where she represented children on Custody/visitation, delinquencies, neglects, and PINS cases. Deborah then went into the world of private business where she was a human resource manager/director for many years.

 In 2003, Deborah returned to her true passion: representing children in family court.She is currently the Co-Director of the Bronx Office of The Children’s Law Center.


Anthony Cannataro is a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court and the Administrative Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York.  He was elected to Civil Court, New York County in 2011 and served in various assignments, including Supervising Judge of the New York County Civil Court during 2016 and 2017, until his election to the Supreme Court in the General Election held in November 2017.  Previously, Justice Cannataro served as Judge of the Civil Court in Bronx County from 2014 until 2015 and as a Judge of the Family Court in Kings County from 2012 until 2014.  He currently serves as a Commissioner of the Richard C. Failla LGBTQ Commission of the New York State Courts and also served as the Co-Chair of the LGBT Committee of the NYC Family Court Administrative Judge’s Advisory Council from 2012 until 2014.  Judge Cannataro received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1993 and graduated from New York Law School in 1996.  Justice Cannataro started his legal career at the NYC Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel where he worked in the Tort Division from 1996 until 2000.  He went on to clerk for the Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick at the New York State Court of Appeals from 2000 until 2003 and later served as Principal Law Clerk to the Hon. Lottie Wilkins in Manhattan Supreme Court from 2003 until his election as a judge in 2011.


Beth Krause has spent her legal career as an attorney for children in New York City. In her capacity as appointed counsel to children first at the Children’s Law Center and then in a solo practice, she represented children in custody, visitation, guardianship, abuse, neglect, paternity, and domestic violence matters in the Bronx County Family and Supreme Courts. Beth is currently the Supervising Attorney of the Immigrant Youth Project at the Legal Aid Society in New York City. The Immigrant Youth Project annually represents hundreds of children and young people in Immigration Court, before US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and in New York Family Courts in the five boroughs of New York City and surrounding counties. Beth is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Maryland School of Law.


Elizabeth Rieser-Murphy is a Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Youth Representation Project at The Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit in New York City which provides low -income unaccompanied, child migrants living in New York City with free comprehensive immigration services. As a Staff Attorney, she represents unaccompanied immigrant children in federal courts, New York family courts, and administrative proceedings. Elizabeth believes that access to justice is a human right and that every young person deserves to have his/her voice heard.

Before joining The Legal Aid Society, Elizabeth worked with detained, unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States as a Child Advocate (best interests guardian ad litem). In her work with detained, unaccompanied children, Elizabeth worked in Harlingen, Texas and Washington, D.C., where she practiced best interests advocacy before various U.S. government agencies and courts. For the past five years, Elizabeth has mentored law and business students through an innovative law and technology program called Law Without Walls during her free time. She has also trained lawyers, government officials, and advocates on a variety of topics including: children and trauma, legal remedies for unaccompanied children, best interests advocacy for immigrant children, as well as immigrant children and detention. In 2016, Elizabeth spent two weeks working with unaccompanied child migrants in the Moria detention camp in Lesbos, Greece. A graduate of the University of Miami Law School, she also holds a Master's Degree in Education from New York University and a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from University of Delaware. Prior to law school, Elizabeth worked as middle school teacher in the Bronx, NY.


Honorable Dean T. Kusakabe was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a New York City Family Court Judge in July of 2012, and was reappointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in December of 2015. He presently presides over Juvenile Delinquency in Queens County Family Court. Prior to this assignment, Judge Kusakabe presided over Custody, Visitation, and Family Offense proceedings in Kings County Family Court. 

Judge Kusakabe serves the New York State court system by acting as a representative on two different committees. He is a commissioner on the New York State Commission on Parental Legal Representation, and is a member of the Attorneys for Children & Assigned Counsel Advisory Committee for the 2nd, 11th and 13th Judicial Districts. He has also served on the New York State Judicial Committee on Elder Justice, and as co-chairperson for the Kings County Family Court Teen Day Program.   
Judge Kusakabe is a member of both the New York State Family Court Judges Association and the New York City Family Court Judges Association.  He is a board member of the Asian American Judges Association of New York.  He is also a member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. 

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Kusakabe worked as an attorney in various legal settings.  He worked for Eviction Intervention Services from 1996 to 1999, representing low-income tenants in Housing Court. From 1999 to 2004, he worked as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Division, where he represented children in child protective and juvenile delinquency proceedings. In 2005, he formed the firm of Dezelic and Kusakabe, LLC, which focused on family court, real estate, criminal, and workers’ compensation matters.

Judge Kusakabe is a graduate of Emory University and Brooklyn Law School.

 


Honorable Karen M.C. Cortes was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as a New York City Family Court Judge in January of 2019.  Judge Cortes currently presides over Child Protective and Custody, Visitation, Family Offense proceedings in Bronx County Family Court.  Judge Cortes previously served on the New York City Family Court Custody, Visitation, and Family Offense Operations Advisory Committee to the Administrative Judge of the New York City Family Court and the Bronx County Family Court Strategic Plan Implementation Team for Custody, Visitation, and Family Offense.

 

Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Cortes was a Court Attorney Referee for the New York City Family Court for four years presiding over custody, visitation, guardianship, and family offense cases and was a Court Attorney for the New York City Family Court for six years.  Judge Cortes also served for five years as a trial attorney in the Family Court Legal Services Division at the Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”), where she tried and supervised hundreds of abuse and neglect trials.

 

Judge Cortes was formerly a member of the Family Court and Family Law Committee at the New York City Bar Association and Kings County Family Court Disproportionate Minority Representation Committee.  Judge Cortes is currently a member of the Bronx County Family Court Bar Association, New York State Women’s Bar Association - Bronx Chapter, New York State Family Court Judges’ Association, and Asian American Judges’ Association of New York State.

 

Judge Cortes earned her undergraduate degree from New York University and her law degree from Brooklyn Law School, where she was a recipient of the Judge Doris A. Thompson and Judge Edward Thompson Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy.


Jeffrey Colt is the supervising attorney at Covenant House New York, one of the nation’s largest, privately funded, non-profit adolescent care agencies serving homeless, runaway and trafficked youth. Covenant House New York’s Legal Department provides services for a wide array of legal issues affecting young people, including immigration, custody/visitation, child support, domestic violence/orders of protection, broken adoptions, consumer and employment issues, and public benefits. Prior to joining Covenant House, Jeff was a staff attorney at The Children’s Law Center and represented children up to age 21 in Kings and Bronx County in matters of custody/visitation/guardianship, orders of protection, paternity and SIJS. Jeff received his Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law and is a Fordham Law adjunct professor who has coached student advocates at the Brendan Moore Trial Advocacy Center.


Juan Luciano is a graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law. He has been admitted for 12 years and has practiced exclusively in the area of domestic relations and family law since 2008. In June 2013, he was admitted into the First Department Assigned Counsel Panel and certified to represent adults and children in matters related to Custody, Visitation, and Family Offenses. He was elected President of the Bronx Family Court Bar Association from January 2016-January 2018.


Justice Silvera took his undergraduate degree at Queens College - CUNY in 1994 and his law degree at Brooklyn Law School in 2001. 

Justice Silvera was elected to the Civil Court in 2013, appointed an Acting Supreme Court Justice in 2017 and was elected to the Supreme Court in 2017. 

Prior to election to the bench, Justice Silvera was a Senior Associate at the law firm of Paul B. Weitz & Associates.

From January 2014 through January 2016, Justice Silvera was assigned to Family Court, Kings County, in a general custody and visitation part handling cases involving custody, visitation, paternity, guardianships, special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) cases, adoptions and family offense petitions involving domestic violence and elder abuse.

In February 2016, Justice Silvera was assigned to Civil Court, Kings County, in a dedicated consumer credit and Self-Represented part involving actions for monetary damages of $25,000.00 or less.  In February 2017, Justice Silvera served in the Civil Court, New York County, in a dedicated consumer credit and Self-Represented part involving actions for monetary damages of $25,000.00 or less. In June 2017, Justice Silvera was assigned to the “Forum Selection” Part as well as handling cases in small claims, no fault, and commercial landlord and tenant cases.

In August 2017, Justice Silvera was promoted to Acting Supreme Court Justice handling the Integrated Domestic Relations Part in Family Court, New York County presiding over matrimonial actions arising out of Family Court proceedings. 

Justice Silvera is currently assigned to the Motor Vehicle Part handling all personal injury actions resulting from an automobile accident with over 2400 cases pending. 


Lisa M. Courtney is Statewide ADR Coordinator for the NYS Unified Court System and oversees the ADR office. The ADR office oversees the statewide Community Dispute Resolution Centers Program, the Attorney-Client Fee Dispute Resolution Program, and the Collaborative Family Law Center.  The ADR office reviews and approves training programs under Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge, and provides technical support and training to local courts seeking to establish ADR programs.  Lisa trains judges and attorneys in ADR processes and occasionally mediates court-referred cases. She is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia University School of Law.   She speaks Spanish and Hebrew. 


Referee Gail A. Adams was born in Guyana, South America.  After migrating to the United States, at the tender age of 16, she attended P.S. 275 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where her family resided.  She quickly rose to the top of her class graduating valedictorian and moving on to Martin Luther King Jr. High School in New York County.  At Martin Luther King, Jr., she progressed and excelled by achieving a full scholarship to Colgate University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in African American Studies and Sociology. 

After College, Referee Adams attended Touro Law Center in Huntington, NY, where she received her Juris Doctorate.  Her first job after law school was with the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division.  After three years with the Legal Aid Society, she went onto Upton, Cohen and Slamowitz where she handled debt collection and foreclosure work.  
In 2004, Referee Adams decided to go out on a limb and open a general practice private practice in Kings County. In private practice, she specializing in Landlord/Tenant, Family Law and Real Estate practice.  During this time, she has mentored many new lawyers and interns.

In 2012, Referee Adams closed her practice to join the Unified Court System as the Principal Law Clerk to the Honorable, Fern A. Fisher, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge of New York City.  As Principal Law Clerk, Referee Adams worked on matrimonial cases and served as a Referee in the foreclosure part in Queens County. She also was responsible for training Newly Admitted attorneys in the areas of Landlord and Tenant as well as Matrimonial practice through the Court’s volunteer Lawyers’ program.    

In 2015, Referee Adams was appointed a Referee with the Family Court and was assigned to New York County handling Custody, Visitation and Orders of Protection cases. 
Referee Adams’s proudest achievements are her loving husband and her two sons Jonathan and Brandon.  

 


Referee Lauren Norton-Lerner was hired as a Court Attorney Referee September of 2012 where she served the children and families of Bronx County Family Court until October of 2016.  She now serves in Queens County.  Ref. Norton-Lerner presides over custody, visitation, order of protection and guardianship cases as well as special immigrant juvenile status motions.  She has dedicated the better part to her 20 plus year career to Family Court and the children and families of NYC.  Prior to being a Referee she was a Court Attorney in Queens County Family Court for a number of years and early in her career an attorney and supervisor at the Administration for Children’s Services where she civilly prosecuted Article Ten cases and oversaw a team of six to ten attorneys.  She was in private practice as well doing real estate and insurance defense for turn and for a short period was an investigative attorney for the Feds. 

 

Referee Norton-Lerner serves on numerous committees both in Family Court and in her private life including Co-Chair of the City Wide Custody Visitation and Family Offense Operations Advisory Committee to the Administrative Judge and  NYC Bar Association Children and the Law Committee.  Further she sits on a committee at her alma mater Hofstra School of Law where she serves as Co-Chair of the Career Services Alumni Committee.  She is also very active in the NYC Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  She is a faculty member at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and of course the PLI.

 

Referee Norton-Lerner has taught numerous CLE’s over the years, including Custody v. Guardianship, Lease Terminations in Family Court, Service Issues in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Cases, and How Did We Get From Alison D. to Tri-Custody?:  A Timeline and Discussion.


The Honorable Javier E. Vargas has been a Judge of the Family Court of the State of New York, Kings County, since December 2015.  Prior thereto, Judge Vargas had served with distinction for the New York State Unified Court System since 1993 in various capacities, including as Senior Court Attorney at the New York State Court of Appeals; Principal Law Clerk in N.Y.S. Supreme Court and the Appellate Division; Chief Court Attorney for the Supreme Court’s Appellate Term; and, most recently, as a Civil Court Judge assigned to the Housing Part in Bronx County between 2013 and 2015.  Judge Vargas received his B.S. from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, his J.D. from SUNY School of Law, and an LL.M. from New York University School of Law in 1993. 

Judge Vargas is actively involved with the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) as a Regional Deputy President, the Latino Judges Association of N.Y., where he is the Treasurer, and the International LGBT Judges Association, as a Board Member.  Judge Vargas has lectured in various capacities and has received accolades, including the 2017 HNBA Latino Judge of the Year, a 2016 Special Recognition Award by the National Hispanic Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair, and the 2016 Annual Recognition by the Association of Housing Court Judges.  Among the other positions he has held are: HNBA Secretary of Elections, President-Elect of the Puerto Rican Bar Association (PRBA), Chair of the PRBA Scholarship Fund Selection Committee, selecting hundreds of law students scholarship recipients, and Co-Chair of the HNBA-NY Law School-Sin Limites Program, working with a team of HNBA members to mentor dozens of high school and college students on their path to law school.  Judge Vargas’s commitment and contributions to communities of color is further evidenced by his membership in charitable and professional associations, including the New York City Bar Association and Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York,


Dan is the Director of the Division of Professional and Court Services for the New York State Unified Court System (UCS).  Dan oversees the statewide responsibilities of alternative dispute resolution, attorney for the child contracts, judiciary civil legal services contracts, office of language access, office of grants and contracts, guardianship and fiduciary services, legal information, office of the court record, parent education and awareness program, records management, the federally funded child welfare court improvement project, the court appointed special advocates assistance program, the children’s centers program, and operational issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dan has over nineteen years of experience as a court administrator and twenty-seven years of experience in the field of ADR, serving as an administrator, professor, trainer and practitioner.  He is an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Mediation at Cardozo School of Law, an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law at NYU School of Law and has taught ADR and conflict resolution related courses at Vermont Law School, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Pepperdine School of Law, Idaho College of Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Long Island University.  Dan is an international ADR speaker having presented across the United States and beyond including Japan, China, Thailand and South Africa.  He has also served as mediator in a wide range of matters including, general civil, family, employment, human rights, community, and police conduct cases.

Dan received his law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he participated in the Mediation Clinic and was a Teaching Assistant in Legal Negotiation.  He has worked at JAMS, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (The Civil Appeals Management Plan), and served as an original member of FutureLinks Inc., working in South Africa with youth leaders from all backgrounds to conduct workshops in non-violent social change, conflict resolution, and community development.

Highlighted Awards and Recognition:                   

The Lawyers Committee Against Domestic Violence “In the Trenches Award” Recognizing Indomitable Courage, Vision and Dedication to Ending Domestic Violence 2013

The New York City Bar Bernard Botein Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Administration of the Courts 2011


Hal Silverman is the Director of Litigation for Lawyers for Children, Inc. Prior to his position with Lawyers for Children, Inc., Mr. Silverman was a staff attorney with the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society. He has worked in the field of child advocacy for over twenty-five years. Mr. Silverman has represented children in proceedings involving issues of neglect, abuse, termination of parental rights, custody, adoption, PINS, and juvenile delinquency. Prior presentations include "Legal and Mental Health Collaboration in Child Maltreatment and Custody Issues"; "Domestic Violence - The Effects on Children"; "Mediation in Family  Court": "Conflicts of Interests - Ethical Responsibilities of an Attorney for the Child" and "Broken Adoptions - A Child's Return to the Foster Care System."


Marcia Werchol, M.D., is the Assistant Vice President for Family Court Mental Health Services (FCMHS) at New York City Health + Hospitals, and a Clinical Assistant Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. She is a New York State-licensed physician and board-certified in General/Adult Psychiatry. 

Dr. Werchol has a bachelor’s degree in Biology cum laude from Harvard University, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  She was a chief resident in psychiatry at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and a fellow in Forensic Psychiatry at the New York University Medical School.   After completing the fellowship, she worked briefly as an attending at the Bellevue Inpatient Forensic Psychiatry Unit.  She has been employed full time at FCMHS since 1987 and served as staff clinician, clinic director, training coordinator, and senior director prior to assuming her current position in 2012.

New York City Health + Hospitals is the largest public healthcare system in the country and provides services, regardless of ability to pay, to a population that is very racially, culturally, economically, and medically diverse, but disproportionately minority, undocumented, poor, and chronically-ill.  Its Family Court Mental Health Services program provides a variety of on-site mental health evaluations of youths, adults, and families, as ordered by the New York City Family Court, for all counties except Richmond, in juvenile justice, child protective, domestic violence, and other proceedings. FCMHS does not provide “full forensics”, but has recently introduced a child-welfare-oriented “targeted evaluations” protocol for custody/visitation proceedings.

Dr. Werchol’s responsibilities at FCMHS include program oversight, strategic planning, policy-setting, interagency liaison, and forensic education. She serves on a wide range of multi-disciplinary panels, such as the Family Court Administrative Judge’s Advisory Council & CVO Subcommittee, the DOHMH Mental Health Juvenile Justice Workgroup, and the ASFA Mental Health Workgroup.  In addition, she has consulted on multiple court-related initiatives, including Close-to-Home, Crossover Youth, Children in Court, Broken Adoptions, Permanency Planning, and Raise the Age.  She teaches forensics to child psychiatry fellows from Bellevue, Harlem, and other hospitals and has presented at many multi-disciplinary seminars, including at the Family Court, Professional Law Institute, Brooklyn Law School, New York Law School, Rockland Psychiatric Center, and Health + Hospitals.


Philip Katz, Esq. has been a member of the firm of Fink & Katz, PLLC, a firm that concentrates its practice in the areas of Family Law, Criminal Law and Immigration Law for 20 years.  He is bilingual; serving his clients in both the English and Japanese languages fluently.  He graduated with his JD from Hofstra Law School.  In addition to his work at Fink & Katz, PLLC, attorney Katz has also been a member of the Assigned Counsel Panel in the New York Family Court since 2011, the Part 36 Panel since 2014, sits as a member of the Family Court Advisory Committee for the Appellate Division, First Department, and serves as the current President of the New York Family Court Assigned Counsel Association.  In addition to representing adults, attorney Katz represents children as well in New York County Family Court and Supreme Court.  He is also an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Farmingdale State College.


Juanita E. Wing graduated Cum Laude from St. John’s University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies in 1994. She then attended St. John’s University School of Law and graduated in 1997 with her Juris Doctor Degree. She was admitted to the New York State Bar, 2nd Department, in 1999. She is also admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  She worked as an attorney in private sector real estate and bankruptcy law for several years (1997 – 2000).  
 In 2000, Ms. Wing became a Staff Attorney for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, prosecuting abuse and neglect cases in New York County Family Court. In late 2001, Ms. Wing was employed by District Council 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services Plan. While serving as a Staff Attorney at the Union for five years, she represented parents and other adults in Family Court in custody, guardianship, paternity, family offense, neglect and abuse defense, and visitation cases. 
 In July 2006, Ms. Wing opened her own private family law practice in Jamaica, Queens, as well as, joined the Court Appointed Counsel Panel and Attorneys for Children Panel in Queens County Family Court. She represented both adults and children in all matters in Family Court. 
In 2010, Ms. Wing was appointed as a Court Attorney Referee for the New York City Family Court. She served on the bench in Bronx County from 2010 to late 2014 in the custody, guardianship, visitation, and family offense specialty.  She then transferred to Queens County Family Court, where she presently presides over these same specialty cases. 
Ms. Wing has taken an active role in numerous legal and public service associations. She is a member of the Queens County Women’s Bar Association and the Macon B. Allen Black Bar Association. She serves on the Family Law and Family Court Committee for the New York City Bar Association. Ms. Wing volunteers as a Girl Scout Leader and is actively involved in various public service events and projects performed by her sorority Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  
Ms. Wing has presided over moot court competitions sponsored by St. John’s Law School, the New York State Bar Association, and the Legal Outreach Program. She has lectured and has been a panelist at many community and legal forums and seminars.

 


Monica Studdert Eskin has been practicing law for almost twenty-five years with a specialization in family law and matrimonial law for the last twenty years.  Monica is a New York native who was born in the Bronx, raised in Queens and attended college and law school in New York and she has dedicated her career towards helping other New Yorker’s with their family law needs.

Monica has been a member of the Bronx County Assigned Counsel Plan since 2001 and has maintained a private law practice with her husband David Eskin since 1995.  She has represented over a thousand litigants in areas such as custody and visitation, orders of protection, child protective matters, child support, paternity and estoppel, adoption, juvenile delinquency, PINS matters and divorce.  Monica has represented petitioners, respondents and children in these various proceedings.  Additionally, Monica is also a member of the Part 36 law guardian panel where she is frequently appointed to represent children in matrimonial proceedings in Bronx Supreme Court.
  
Monica is a member of the Bronx Bar Association, Matrimonial and Family Court Committee; Bronx Family Court Bar Association and Bronx Women’s Bar Association.  Additionally, Monica has lectured and conducted numerous CLE programs for other lawyers and members of the judiciary. 

 


Susan L. Bender was admitted to practice law in the State of New York in 1980.  Susan has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.  In the over thirty-nine years that she has been in practice, matrimonial practice has occupied approximately ninety (90%) percent of her time.
Ms. Bender is a Fellow of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers.  She is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and a former Vice President of the New York Chapter.
Chief Administrative Judges Ann Pfau and A. Gail Prudenti appointed Susan to serve on the Matrimonial Practice Advisory and Rules Committee of the New York State Office of Court Administration, and most recently, the Honorable Justice Peter Tom appointed Susan to the Board of Governors of the New York State Attorney-Client Fee Dispute Resolution Program.
Ms. Bender was appointed by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to the New York Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, and is a former member of the Advisory Committee on Civil Practice having been appointed by former Chief Administrator of OCA, Matthew T. Crossen.  She was appointed by Judge Betty W. Ellerin to the First Department Judicial Committee to Certify Law Guardians.  She was appointed by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to the Matrimonial Commission chaired by the Honorable Sondra Miller.  She was appointed by Justice John T. Buckley to the Law Guardian Advisory Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department.  
Ms. Bender is a past President of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) and remains a member of WBASNY.  She is a former Chair of the New York City Bar Matrimonial Committee.  Ms. Bender is a former member of the Interdisciplinary Forum and formerly a member of its Executive Committee.  She is a founding member, former Vice President, Secretary and current board member of Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (JALBCA); a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Family Law Committee; a member of LeGal (Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association); and a member of the American Bar Association Family Law Section.
Ms. Bender is routinely chosen to be included in “The Best Lawyers in America” published by Woodward/White, Inc. and is routinely named a “Super Lawyer.”