Robin C. Bogan is a partner at the law firm of Pallarino & Bogan, L.L.P., in Parsippany, Morris County, New Jersey. She has devoted her practice to family law and related matters for over twenty-six years. Bogan is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney. She is also actively involved in the legal community. She is the Immediate Past-Chair of the Family Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association and has served as a member of the Executive Committee since 2005. She also serves on the Legislative Committee for the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Supreme Court Family Practice Committee. She is a Past President for the Morris County Bar Association and Morris County Bar Foundation. Bogan received the 2022 Family Practice Award from the Morris County Bar Association. She received the 2013 Professional Lawyer of the Year Award for Morris County from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law. In 2022, Ms. Bogan received a Distinguished Legislative Service Award and recognition for her amicus curiae contributions on Moynihan v. Lynch from the New Jersey State Bar Association. In 2022 and 2023, Ms. Bogan Co-Chaired the NJSBA Putting Lawyers First Task Force with Matheu Nunn, Esq. which issued a report and recommendations on improving the legal profession for lawyers that is being considered by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as well as other stakeholders.
Kimberly D. Deal, Esq. is a graduate of Seton Hall Law School, and has practiced law in both private and public sectors for more than20 years; one of her areas of concentration is real estate. She is from a large family where she is the seventh of eight children and the youngest daughter.She grew up loving education, sports, music, family and God.
She strongly believes in the power of having a relationship with God and spiritual practices for overall well-being. This has helped her navigate life, motherhood, and the legal landscape over the years. Her faith is integral to her sense of purpose, and she finds solace in prayer and mindfulness. She leads a balanced lifestyle that prioritizes nourishing the mind, body and soul by focusing on like-minded community, education, exercise,nutrition and self-love.
Throughout her life, Kimberly has been committed to thechurch. She has lead bible studies and activities for youth, teens and women’s groups. She also served as an executive board member; trustee; and president of the women’s ministry. Early in the COVID pandemic, Kimberly created a prayer group titled “Partners in Prayer” which met regularly by call conference, throughout the pandemic, to pray collectively about serious issues we faced on personal and global levels.
Ms. Deal is the current President of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey (“ABWL”). As a long-standing member of ABWL, she founded the My Sister’s Keeper group which focuses on facilitating a monthly safe space forABWL members and invitees, to share and receive educational information on howto treat themselves with self-love and self-care, in order to lead better and more fulfilling lives. In 2022, Kimberly created and coordinated an ABWL bonding and relaxation retreat to her happy place (Oak Bluffs, MA) andaffectionately named it “ABWL on Martha’s Vineyard.”
Recently, she was a guest speaker for the Burlington County Bar Association DEI Initiative on Mental Health and the Black Community. She was also a panelists at the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Women In Leadership Conference in February. Kimberly is a proud mother of two daughters, who recently graduated college and have launched their careers “In Tech” at Top Fortune 50 Companies.
Dr. Defne Ekin is a counseling psychologist who serves as the team clinician for the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program (NJLAP). She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from New York University, an M. A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and completed her post-graduate training at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Before joining NJLAP, Dr. Ekin served as a faculty member at Columbia University, Adelphi University, New York University and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. For most of her years in academia, she held key administrative and supervisory positions in addition to teaching. She remains actively involved in clinical treatment research and maintains a private practice in New York City since 2009.
Sara is a former entertainment and intellectual property litigator who has changed careers to become a mental health counselor to lawyers and other professionals in careers where mental health challenges are often ignored, stigmatized, and left untreated. Sara desires to not only help colleagues, but to change how seeking help is seen in her community by working to make institutional changes in the well-being space.
Sara has worked with the Vanderbilt Comprehensive Assessment Program, where she conducted comprehensive fitness-for-duty assessments for professionals with substance abuse and mental health disorders. Additionally, Sara has provided group and individual therapy to executives in recovery at the West Palm Beach treatment center.
In September 2022, Sara joined the executive committee and board of directors for the Lawyers Depression Project, a not-for-profit that provides a confidential online peer-to-peer support group for members of the legal profession. If you are struggling, know that there is help.
Bonnie C. Frost, ESQ., was admitted to the Bar in 1984 and was a law clerk to Robert Muir, Jr. Morris County Assignment Judge and later an Appellate Division Judge (1984-1985). She is a partner in the law firm of Einhorn, Barbarito, Frost & Botwinick in Denville. Ms. Frost has been a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney since 1998. Ms. Frost was a former member of the Disciplinary Review Board where she was Chair of the Board for six years, former Chair of the Family Law Executive Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association, a former Chair of the Appellate Practice Committee, and a former member of the Supreme Court Family Practice Committee. She has been a volunteer for the Morris County Early Settlement Panel Program for almost 30 years. Presently, she serves on the District X Fee Arbitration Committee and the Committee for Attorney Advertising.
Ms. Frost is the 2012 Saul Tischler award winner for the New Jersey State Bar Association for “Lifetime contributions to the advancement of Family Law in New Jersey” and the 2016 Alfred C. Clapp winner for “Excellence in Continuing Education,” an award given for planning, moderating, and participating in continuing education programs in Family Law, Appellate Practice and Ethics. She was also a finalist for Attorney of the year by the New Jersey Law Journal in 2016. In 2022, Ms. Frost received a lifetime achievement award from the New Jersey Law Journal.
She has participated in more than 34 published Family Law opinions, including D.M.C. v. K.H.G., 471 N.J. Super.10 (App. Div. 2022), Woytas v. Greenwood Tree, Quinn v. Quinn, J.B. v. W.B, and Steneken v. Steneken in the Supreme Court and Reese v. Weis, Clark v. Clark, Overbay v. Overbay, Addesa v. Addesa in the Appellate Division. She has co-authored or authored the amicus brief on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association in the family law cases of Weishaus v. Weishaus, Mani v. Mani, Fisher v. Fischer, Gac v. Gac, Snyder v. Snyder, Segal v. Lynch, and, in the ACPE Opinion 735. She has orally argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the State Bar in Mani v. Mani, Segal v. Lynch and ACPE Opinion 735. She has also co-authored amicus briefs for AAML in Gnall v. Gnall and Moynihan v. Lynch.
Ms. Frost received her B.A. from Douglass College, M.Ed. and Ed.S. from Rutgers, the State University and her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law.
Michael Kahn, is the ReelTime CLE Co-Founder in Vancouver, BC, holds a JD from the Dickinson School of Law, and practiced law with the Attorney General's Office for the State of New Jersey for 6 years. Although he left the practice of law in 1991, his work thereafter has kept him involved in the lives of lawyers in variouscapacities. Following a stint as Assistant Director of Career Services Tulane University School of Law, Michael obtained his M. Ed. in Counseling from LINC-Greensboro in 1994, and shortly thereafter thereafter became a Professional Counselor in the State of North Carolina.
Michael's areas of focus in his psychotherapy practice have included anxiety, depression, griefin /loss, career satisfaction and men's issues, and he has worked with adolescents and adults in individual and group therapy settings. In 2012, he relocated to Oregon, where in addition to continuing his speaking career, he served as an Adjunct Professor at the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education & Counseling and co-facilitates grief groups for lawyers.
Michael currently resides in Vancouver, BC, where he serves part-time on the counseling staff of the Lawyers Assistance Program of British Columbia. He continues to present training seminars and workshops on ethics, grief, wellness, diversity and inclusion, and other topics for lawyers and mental health professionals throughout the U.S., Japan and Germany, including for the U.S. military.
Jeralyn L. Lawrence, Esq. is the Managing Member and Founder of Lawrence Law. Jeralyn devotes her litigation practice to matrimonial, divorce, and family law, and is a trained collaborative lawyer, divorce mediator, and arbitrator. Jeralyn is President of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) and Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers New Jersey Chapter. Jeralyn is also certified by the Academy as a Family Law Arbitrator. Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, Jeralyn represents clients with matrimonial and family law needs, including divorce litigation, mediation and arbitration, custody and parenting time issues, alimony and child support, separation and property settlement agreements, adoption and guardianship advice, domestic partnership matters under the Domestic Partnership Act, domestic violence and sexual abuse, and palimony.
Jeralyn handles matters ranging from the simple and straightforward to the complex, involving significant income and assets, including representation of celebrities, professional athletes and other high-profile individuals. She takes great pride and care in helping her clients through difficult personal matters. Through collaborative law, Jeralyn assists and guides clients who are committed to resolving their matter without court intervention through the divorce process. She has argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association in a matter concerning the Division of Child Protection and Permanency and on behalf of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, NJ Chapter on a palimony case.
Matheu D. Nunn, a Partner and Board Member of the firm,chairs the firm’s Family/Matrimonial Practice and its General Appellate Practice. Mat has a wide array of experience representing individuals from all fields, including but not limited to: athletes, business owners, entertainers,executives, financial services, lawyers, physicians, police officers, and teachers—as well as the spouses of individuals in those fields. Mat, a former county and municipal prosecutor, is an experienced litigator; he has tried jury and bench trials and has been counsel in more than 70 Appellate Division and Supreme Court matters, including 12 precedent-setting decisions, among others, Bisbing v. Bisbing, 230 N.J. 309 (2017) and Quinn v. Quinn,225 N.J. 34 (2016). Mat’s noteworthy victories have earned him numerous awards and recognitions, including consecutive selections as a New Jersey Law Journal“Attorney of the Year” finalist. Prior to joining Einhorn Barbarito, Mat clerked for the Morris County Assignment Judge, the Hon. B. Theodore Bozonelis, A.J.S.C. (ret.), and then at the Appellate Division for the Hon. Jack M.Sabatino, P.J.A.D. Mat is also a certified matrimonial attorney, Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, and Vice-Chair of the New JerseyState Bar Amicus Committee. Mat served as co-Chair of the Putting Lawyers First Taskforce with Robin C. Bogan, Esq.
In addition to his ongoing work as Co-Founder of ReelTime CLE, Chris Osborn is the founding principal of Osborn Conflict Resolution, which proves Superior Court mediation, pre-litigation dispute resolution and collaborative law services throughout North Carolina. Chris has been certified by the N.C. Dispute Resolution Commission as a Superior Court mediator since 2009, and construction and employment law disputes,and will caveat disputes.From 2012-2105, Chris serves as an Assistant Professor at the Charlotte School of Law, where he taught "Interviewing, Client Counseling, and Negotiations," Civil Procedure, Contracts, "Problems in Practice: Commercial Transactions," and "Intro to the Study of Law." While on the faculty, Chris' scholarly research focused on ethics and professional responsibility, and particularly the interrelationship of both with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Upon graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995, Chris began practicing litigation in Charlotte. He served as a career law clerk to former U.S. Magistrate Judge Carl Horn Ill before joining Horack Talley Pharr & Lowndes, PA, in 2001. During his 11 years as an associate and a shareholder with the firm, Chris handled construction and real estate litigation, business litigation, and employment disputes in Superior and District Courts, as well as in all three North Carolina federal district courts.
Wendy Osborn, LCMHC, is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and the founder of Nurture Counseling (www.nurturecounseling.net) in Charlotte, NC. She earned her M.A. in Clinical Counseling from Liberty University, and also earned a B.S. and an M.S. Ed. in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Georgia.
In her counseling practice, Wendy works with couples as well as individuals navigating the challenges of their interpersonal relationships, particularly when dealing with grief and loss, betrayal, infidelity, addictions, and family of origin influences.
Prior to completing her counseling degree, Wendy completed Larry Crabb’s School of Spiritual Direction and two certificates in Trauma Informed Narrative Focused Therapy through The Allender Center at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, as well as a yearlong externship with Dr. Dan Allender.
Nicole L. Perskie, JD, is Office Administrator for the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program. Ms. Perskie’s is a former bankruptcy attorney a. Ms. Perskie holds a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University, Camden and a Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University as well as graduate level accounting courses. She currently spreads the message of hope, and the ability to recover and works with attorneys with a variety of mental health concerns and substance use disorder. She is working on obtaining mental health credentials in addition to working with the NJLAP’s database, automations and other fun stuff.
Maritza Rodríguez is the sole proprietor of the Rodríguez Law Firm LLC in Newark, New Jersey, and concentrates her practice on family law, specifically domestic violence cases and international family law cases. She is Admitted to practice in New Jersey in both federal and state court, as well as the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Maritza is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Family Law Section Executive Committee, the Association’s Continuing Legal Education Committee, and is the current Co-Chair of the Lawyer Wellbeing Committee. She recently served as Co-Chair of the Mental Health Working Group for the State Bar’s Putting Lawyers First Special Taskforce.
She is the second vice-president of the International Association of Family Lawyers (“AIJUDEFA”) and a member of the National Hispanic Bar Association’s Latina Commission and she sits on the Boards of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice and Central Jersey Legal Services.
Maritza is an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School-Newark teaching Family Law, Domestic Violence, How to Start a Solo/ Small Practice and Lawyer Well-Being and Professionalism. She also coaches attorneys on career and professional development and starting a solo practice through her company, Intentional Lawyering.
Maritza received her B.A. in Comparative Literature from Rutgers College and her J.D. from Rutgers Law School-Newark as an evening student.
Scott Sheldon is a personal injury attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ He has been in recovery since June 18, 2019.
Nancy Stek, MS, LCADC is the Associate Director of the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program/NJ Judges Assistance Program. Ms. Stek’s career spans the fields of health care, education and the non-profit sector. She has been a featured speaker at national conferences and has provided specialized training for the New Jersey Department of Education, the Rutgers University Center for Alcohol Studies, the American Bar Association and the National Judicial College.
She is a certified Stress Hardiness Trainer through the University of California at Irvine, a certified Life Coach and Reiki Master Practitioner. Ms. Stek holds a B.A. degree from California State University, Sonoma and an M.S. in Psychology from California Coast University. She is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor and serves on the Board of A.S.A.P, a jail-based addiction treatment program.
Nicole “Nikki” Tierney is the loving mom of four children, including 22-year-old triplets, Ashley, Kyle, and Amanda, and an 19-year-old son, Kole. Nikki has been in sustained remission from opioid use disorder for nearly 15 years. She has lived in Monmouth County, specifically the Belford section of Middletown for the past 43 years. Nikki received her Juris Doctor with honors from Rutgers School of Law – Newark, in 1997. She was elected to Order of the Coif and was recognized for donating over 35 or more professional hours to the school’s pro bono service program.
Nikki practiced law for nearly 10 years until her opioid use disorder had become so severe, she surrendered her license to practice. In 2007, after trying for years to remain abstinent from opioid and other drugs, Nikki felt helpless and hopeless and attempted to end her life. Unknowingly, that began the start of her journey to health and wellness. Since that dark day in 2007, Nikki has finally received evidence-based treatment for her previously undiagnosed mental health disorders and has focused on living her best life and moving forward from her past negative experiences.
Towards that end, she returned to Monmouth University graduate school where she obtained her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Addiction Studies. She graduated w a 4.0 GPA and received the 2021 Advocacy Award from the Department of Professional Counseling.
She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Nikki has a private Practice, Hope-Fullness Counseling, Prevention, and Education. Nikki also works at CPC Behavioral Healthcare as a Clinician and Peer Recovery Specialist and at AutonoMe Counseling Center, LLC, where she works with children in crisis as an intensive in-community clinician. Nikki is also the Coordinator for the Hazlet Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Use Disorders and a Policy Analyst for the National Center for Advocacy and Recovery (NCAAR).
Nikki and her children founded a small nonprofit charity in honor of her parents, Hope is NEVER Lost. Nikki was also trained as a member of the Monmouth County inaugural Crisis Intervention Team. She also volunteers on the steering committee of Long Branch HEARS, the advisory board of Prevention Coalition of Monmouth County, and the Monmouth County Board of Addition Services. Nikki has made it her mission to decrease stigma and barriers to treatment for mental health and substance use disorders.
Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, Esq. is Executive Director and Chief Legal Officer of CAIR MA with sixteen years experience in corporate, family, and civil rights law. She was a staff attorney with Community Legal Aid and she served as a commissioner with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women from 2014-2020. Tahirah is active in the Western Massachusetts interfaith community and serves on non-profit executive boards and committees throughout the region. In recognition of her service, she was named a Top Woman of Law by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, and in 2021 she received the prestigious Massachusetts Bar Association Community Service Award. She served as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors at CAIR-Massachusetts from 2016 until being hired as its legal director in 2022. During her tenure the organization has overseen restructuring and rapid growth. Ms. Amatul-Wadud is a graduate of Western New England University School of Law(2005) and Elms College cum laude (1998). She identifies as an African American Muslim woman, and is a proud married mother of seven.
Susan Wilk, founder of Focused Mind Dynamics, LLC and No Place Like AUM LLC, was a practicing attorney for over 20 years.
Her legal and business background and expertise in teaching stress management and meditation make her uniquely qualified to help her clients deal with the pressures of the legal profession. Her clients have found relief from workplace, personal, and academic stress, hypertension, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, eating disorders, weight loss issues, and chronic pain. They have found new ways to approach and deal with daily or extraordinary challenges in their professional and personal lives.
With certifications in meditation training, she has been teaching meditation and stress management for over 15 years to people of all ages, and from all walks of life. Her clients have found relief from workplace, personal, and academic stress, hypertension, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, eating disorders, weight loss issues, and chronic pain. They have found new ways to approach and deal with daily or extraordinary challenges in their professional and personal lives.
James A. Lewis, V is the inaugural Chief Diversity Equity & Inclusion Officer at AmLaw 200 law firm, Cole Schotz. Known for his deep experience developing and implementing DEI programs in the public, non-profit and legal sectors, James serves as a thought leader in best practices in advancing diversity internally within the firm, and externally throughout the legal industry by virtue of education, collaboration, and intentional initiatives. Additionally, James heads the firm’s DEI Committee which creates and promotes equitable policies, develops networking and educational activities, and supports the firm’s expansive mentorship and sponsorship impact.
Through his nearly decade long experience as an employment attorney, James leverages his expertise in employment law compliance and litigation of federal, state, and administrative matters, to inform his role as an adviser and driver of DEI. With this unique lens, James serves as a leader in the legal community and beyond. James’ DEI leadership includes his prior service as the Executive Director for the New York City Bar Association, Office of Diversity Equity Inclusion & Belonging. In that role, James provided training on implicit bias, best practices in employee onboarding and employee feedback to organizations, which included AmLaw 200 law firms and government agencies.
James is a sought-after speaker and is frequently called upon to discuss diversity and employment matters, including building and sustaining inclusive workspaces, fostering allyship and combatting invidious discrimination. James is regularly published in connection with his insights as it relates to the evolution of DEI and workplace matters in the legal field. For his service, James has received a number of awards, honors and distinctions. A select list of recent recognitions include:
NJSBA Legislative Award (2023)
New Leader of the Bar by the New Jersey Law Journal (2022)
The National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 (2022)
The National Black Lawyers Top 100 (2022)
One of the first Black attorneys to receive the Young Lawyer Award from the NJSBA (2021)
National Bar Association – 40 Under 40 Award (2021)
GSBA’s Young Lawyer Award (2020)
American Bar Association Diversity Fellow (2019-2020)
Named the Professional Lawyer of the Year by the Commission on Professionalism (2019)
Joseph Milowic III serves as the Director of Well-Being and Of Counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, and as Co-Founder and Treasurer of the Lawyers Depression Project, a non-profit which provides a global, online peer support community for legal professionals (not just lawyers) who have experienced a mental health condition (not just depression) or just do not feel quite right. If you know anyone who could use support, please share this link: www.lawyersdepressionproject.org
NJLAP Staff Who Contributed Time And Talent For This Year’s Event
Anna Levine is the Director at the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program (NJLAP). She is passionate about her work assisting lawyers with a range of concerns, from day-to-day well-being, alcohol/substance use & mental health topics or questions, to law practice management. She enjoys collaborating with her colleagues throughout North America and the world and serves on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (ABA COLAP).
Before joining NJLAP, Anna was the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Lawyers Assistance Program, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc. Prior to joining the lawyers assistance program world in 2016, Anna practiced law for about 10 years, in a range of practice settings, from business and finance at a larger firm, to court-appointed work with defendants in criminal matters. She appreciates every opportunity to share about and improve mental health, recovery, and resilience in the legal community. She relocated to New Jersey and joined NJLAP in 2021 and enjoys her work assisting New Jersey attorneys, judges, law students and law graduates achieve and maintain personal and professional well-being.
Anna is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York and is also a Massachusetts Certified Peer Specialist.
Ramon Ortiz is Senior Attorney Counselor with the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program (NJLAP) in New Brunswick, NJ. He has been employed by NJLAP for the past 28 years assisting lawyers with problemsrelated to mental health (stress, anxiety, depression), alcohol, drugs,gambling, and other process addictions.
Prior to joining the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program,he worked as a drug and alcohol counselor at Turning Point in Verona and Eva’sVillage in Paterson, N.J. Before entering the field of addictions treatment he was an Associate Professor of Property Law, Clinical Professor of Law, and Director ofClinical Programs at Seton Hall Law School. He also practiced law with the firmof Ortiz & Velez for 20 years.
James Burke is the new Program Assistant for New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program. James is an experienced Community Associate with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization industry. Through helping with at-risk families and the at-risk homeless population, James discovered that the one constant is that the people need help. He works to be the light in the darkness for anyone who reaches out, regardless of their race, gender, or occupation, because at the end of the day we are all humans. He is skilled in Data Entry, Conflict Resolution, Case Management, Public Speaking, and Community Outreach. He graduated from Georgian Court University with a B.A. in Criminal Justice. James has personal experience with finding help when help is needed most and feels that NJLAP is a perfect program in which he can continue to help others. James will help anyone out and never looks down on people unless he is helping them back up. One of James’ favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” James feels so welcomed here at NJLAP already and wants to thank all the staff for making that happen. He is eager to get to know everyone more, so if you see him in the hallways, feel free to stop him and have a chat.
Noreen Braman, CLWI, is Communications Manager for NJLAP. In 2010, she became a certified Laughter Yoga Leader, had her mind blown at a coference called “Can Humor Save the World” and studied the Psychology of Laughter at Rutgers University. She added certification in Laughter Wellness, studied the Science of Happiness through The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, joined the Association for Applied & Therapeutic Humor (AATH) and has been presenting laughter for the health of it ever since. Noreen is an instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Rutgers University and has shared her well-being messages to lawyers and others nationwide, including as Keynote for conferences in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.