Cedric Ashley: Cedric leans forward and provides coaching, training, and facilitation services to help individuals, team, and organizations achieve resilience, well-being, and meaningfulness during times of challenge and change. Cedric graduated from the Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being Program from the George Mason University - Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Cedric is also certified in Mental Health First Aid by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.
Cedric’s legal experience includes being a sole practitioner (Ashley Law Firm) in Princeton, New Jersey, serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, as a Litigation Associate with the law firm of Pitney Hardin Kipp & Szuch LLP (now Day Pitney LLP), and serving as Director of Academic Development at Rutgers Law School-Newark.
Cedric most recently served as the Editor-in-Chief of the American Bar Association (ABA) GPSolo Magazine, where he regularly authored a column titled: “BLT – Balanced Life Theory,” that focused on life balance, resilience, and well-being. Cedric currently authors a twice-monthly post titled “The Meaningful Life” on LinkedIn and https://cedricashley.substack.com.
Noreen Braman, CLWI, is Communications Manager for NJLAP. In 2010, she became a certified Laughter Yoga Leader, had her mind blown at a conference 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 through her Smile Side of Life Laughter & Happiness Club presentations ever since. She continues to add to her knowledge base through continuing education and certifications, workshops, conferences and seminars. 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.
Dixie Brown, PhD Dr. Dixie Brown, is an Integrative Medicine Practitioner passionate about helping individuals who seek optimal health and wellness. Using Complementary & Alternative Medicine, she helps her clients feel their best- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Dixie, co-founder of Willow Place for Women, a treatment program in Asheville, NC is a Master’s level therapist and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the state of North Carolina, Florida, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. Dixie holds certification through the Center for Mind Body Medicine in Washington, DC to provide Mind Body Medicine Skills Groups for trauma healing worldwide. Furthermore, Dixie has also completed certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Biofeedback, and Wellness Coaching. Additionally, Dixie is co-founder of Moonstone Wellness, an online wellness center geared toward busy professionals and organizations who want to prioritize health and need a little support to get there. For More info, Dr. Brown can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Brusca: Since 2009, Michael has devoted the majority of his practice to representing vulnerable people and their families who have been harmed by abuse or neglect in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and hospitals. Michael is one of a select few lawyers in New Jersey who truly concentrate their practice to this area. Michael shares his knowledge on this important topic by regularly lecturing around the country and teaching other lawyers to prosecute these claims the right way, as well as assisting law enforcement. He has been published many times, including in the New Jersey Law Journal and in “Trial”, the attorney magazine published & disseminated nationally by the American Association for Justice.
Michael brings a unique perspective to his work. He himself has lost family members in institutions and he knows, first-hand, what it’s like to see someone you care about struggle and die. He uses that passion and understanding to bring about justice for his clients. Michael is a highly skilled and dedicated advocate. Prior to entering private practice, Michael served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force, where he tried many cases all over the world, including Japan, Qatar and Kuwait.
Michael was lead counsel for the plaintiff in the case of Dwyer v. Harborview, which generated the largest nursing home verdict to date in the state of New Jersey: $13.2 Million. While the verdict was later the subject of post-trial motions and an appeal, and ultimately settled for a different amount on appeal, the results demonstrate Michael’s considerable skill in the courtroom. Please note, every case is unique and no specific case or outcome can predict future results.
Lisa Chapland, Esq. is the Senior Managing Director of Government Affairs of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Lisa previously worked as an attorney, practicing in commercial litigation. She also specializes in election law matters. Prior to practicing law, she was a political consultant for Message & Media in New Brunswick, where she helped to develop multi-media campaigns for private corporations, special interest groups, and high profile federal, state and local candidates throughout the country.
Lisa was once again named one of New Jersey’s most powerful women in politics by Senator Loretta Weinberg in this year’s Women’s Power List. Senator Weinberg created the list to acknowledge the “dynamic and powerful women in New Jersey who deserve recognition for their work.” She was twice named a Rising Star by New Jersey Super Lawyers. She is a graduate of Douglass College and Seton Hall School of Law. Lisa is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia. She serves on the Board of Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey, the Middlesex County Board of Ethics, the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect’s Staffing and Oversight Review Subcommittee, and is a Trustee of Embrella (formerly Foster and Adoptive Family Services).
Shawn Healy, PHD is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and a member of the clinical staff at Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers in Boston, Massachusetts where he provides individual clinical consultations and groups to law students, lawyers, judges, and legal professionals. He regularly presents and publishes on all manner of mental health topics germane to the legal community. Dr. Healy serves on the Massachusetts SJC Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism, as well as on the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Lawyer Well-Being Committee. Dr. Healy is also the coauthor of the book The Full Weight of the Law: How Legal Professionals Can Recognize and Rebound from Depression (ABA Publication, 2017). He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
John E. Keefe, Jr. is a Shareholder at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. and a member of the Management Committee, resident in the Red Bank office. Prior to joining Wilentz in 2021, John served as the Managing Shareholder of Keefe Law Firm, a litigation boutique he founded in 2005, known for achieving top verdicts and settlements in complex litigation.
John is the former president of the New Jersey State Bar Association. As president, his significant achievements included building diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, launching a mentoring program for new lawyers and leveling the malpractice playing field.
As a Certified Civil Trial Attorney, John has devoted much of his time to civil trial practice throughout the State and Federal Courts of New Jersey specializing in negligence and product liability as well as complex mass tort and class action litigation. John has tried numerous matters to verdict and prosecuted hundreds of cases on behalf of victims of catastrophic loss.
Camille M. Kenny was appointed to the Superior Court in 1997 and has served in all three Divisions, as well as handling Chancery matters as conflict judge. Judge Kenny has conducted hundreds of jury and non-jury trials, in every case type.
Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Kenny was in private practice in Newark, N.J., as an associate with Clapp and Eisenberg and later as a partner with Fleming, Roth, and Fettweis. She focussed on civil and criminal litigation in State and Federal Courts, and conducted all phases of criminal and civil litigation, including commercial and employment litigation.
Notable among her clients (which she can reveal) were the Plaintiffs in Mancini v. Township of Teaneck, 179 N.J. 425 (2004), whom she represented until taking the bench. She defended a police lieutenant against a civil sexual harassment complaint, and won not only the “no cause” verdict, but an additional finding by the jury that the complaint was brought in bad faith. She served as a Special Counsel to Trenton State College (now College of New Jersey) in an investigation by the Commissioner of Education, and wrote the report that bolstered the decision to move Higher Education to separate department. She provided general legal advice to various commercial clients, and represented brokerage houses in arbitrations before the NYSD and NASD, at which her clients prevailed. On several occasions, she was selected by federal judges to represent indigent defendants in Federal criminal actions. She is experienced in conducting civil and criminal internal investigations. Early in her legal career, Judge Kenny was an assistant prosecutor in Hudson County. Before entering law school, Judge Kenny was a newspaper reporter for the Hudson Dispatch, and public information officer for the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education.
Judge Kenny has served as an instructor on NJICLE panels, has presented on several occasions at the NJ State Bar mid year meetings on topics as diverse as civil litigation and stress and ethics, and has been a repeat panelist on the civil law update presented to her fellow judges at the annual NJ Judicial College.
Her volunteer activities include serving on the Child Place Placement Review Board in Hudson County (1994) and the Board of Directors of Horizon Health Center in Jersey City (1994-95); for over 15 or years, she has volunteered as a judge for the State Bar High School Mock Trial Competition. Judge Kenny graduated cum laude from Seton Hall Law Center, where she was a member and associate editor of the Seton Hall Law Review.
Judge Kenny retired in 2019 after over 21 years on the Superior Court. She currently conducts internal investigations through her sole proprietorship, CKSolutions, and is available to serve as a mediator or hearing officer
Anna Levine is the Director of the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program. A graduate of the Western New England University School of Law, she spent time practicing law in Massachusetts before becoming involved in law practice management, and Lawyer Assistance Programs. She is the former Executive Director/CEO of the Massachusetts Lawyers Assistance Program, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, supporting resilience in the legal community. She joined NJLAP in 2021 and continues to work to assist New Jersey attorneys, judges, law students and law graduates achieve and maintain personal and professional well-being. She is a certified Peer Specialist and holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Washington, a Master of Human and Environmental Studies from Kyoto University, and a BA in Political Science from Columbia University. She has served in public service projects providing recovery support and served on the Wilbraham Board of Selectmen’s Finance Committee and Bylaw Study committee. Growing up, Anna’s family lived in both Germany and Japan, leading to her fluency in both those languages as well as speaking French and Spanish.
Andrew D. Manns, Jr. is a former Trial Lawyer (Retired), Child Advocate, Creative Change Agent, film producer and Career Coach. Mr. Manns grew up in Buffalo, NY, the oldest of 3 siblings, raised by a single parent and the product of the Buffalo Public School system.
Mr. Manns completed his education at Syracuse University where he earned his Master's Degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Mr. Manns relocated to New Jersey after a consulting assignment with the international consulting firm Booz, Allen & Hamilton.
Mr. Manns received his Doctorate of Law Degree from Rutgers Law School in Newark and was practicing criminal defense lawyer and Child Advocate for many years. He litigated many cases of abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights cases in NJ. He holds the further distinction of trying the first Munchausen Syndrome by proxy case in Middlesex County.
In NJ he was elected and served as President of the Garden State Bar Association, the oldest and largest minority Bar Association in NJ. Currently, Mr. Manns, Jr. serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Greater Life Community Outreach Center, Newark, NJ.
Mr. Manns was elected to national office as a Board member to the National Association of Counsel for Children's Board of Directors. NACC is a national child advocacy and lobbying organization. In that capacity Mr. Manns served as Chair of the Racial Diversity Committee where he actively sought out Black and Latino professionals to serve on the Board.
Ramon Ortiz, Esq. 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 26 years assisting lawyers with problems related to 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’s Village 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 of Clinical Programs at Seton Hall Law School. He also practiced law with the firm of Ortiz & Velez for 20 years.
Mr. Ortiz holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Vermont and a J.D. from Howard Law School and Rutgers Law School – Newark.
Nicole L. Perskie, JD, is Office Administrator for the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program. Ms. Perskie’s career includes previous practice as a bankruptcy attorney, teaching & tutoring, performing outreach and working with persons with disabilities, with a focus on self-advocacy. 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 is currently working on pursuing Alcohol and Drug Counseling courses.
Tom Roman, JD, brings over 30 years of experience working with individuals and families struggling with substance use disorders and mental health issues to his business development role at Pavillon- a residential drug and alcohol addiction treatment center for men and women located in western NC. In long term recovery, he transitioned from an active legal practice that focused on children and families impacted by addiction to a more “hands-on role” in behavioral health. He has worked both privately and professionally over the last 20 years in the recovery community and has a passion for promoting attorney wellness. Tom has personally benefited from his own participation in lawyers’ assistance groups and 12 Step Fellowships and has been active in lawyers’ recovery groups throughout the Mid-Atlantic since 2002. He has served as a volunteer/advisor with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs since 2011 and is a peer support/volunteer in both NC and PA lawyer assistance programs. Tom can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Stek, 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.
Kenya Tyson, JD is an internationally recognized criminal justice expert and higher education executive, with expertise in the fields of race, crime, and inequality. Kenya is the Senior Associate Provost at Dartmouth College. In this role, she oversees government and community affairs, institutional research, capital projects, and operations. Prior to working at Dartmouth College, she served as Assistant Provost of Academic Affairs and University Curriculum at The New School (NYC) and the Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Student Services at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice, where she successfully led the university’s effort to develop a prison education program. In addition to her 20- year career in law and higher education, Kenya has consulted with courts and other government agencies across the nation on procedural justice and racial and ethnic disparity (RED) initiatives. She has worked with universities and human rights organizations around the globe, facilitating trainings on Title IX, crime prevention and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and has served in an advisory capacity for several professional organizations
Kenya is also the founder and Executive Director of The Black Massacre Project. The Black Massacre Project is an independent public research center that explores the historical race massacres perpetrated against black communities in the United States. The Project serves as an interdisciplinary nerve center that brings scholars, historians, activists, students, and community members together to engage in collaborative research and cultural exchange, and to explore the role of race-based violence in the greater context of American society.
Kenya’s extensive service includes work with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), NJ LEEP (Law and Education Empowerment Project), and the Community Justice Advisory Board for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. She currently serves as Treasurer and Chair of the Community Service and Social Justice Committee for the Garden State Bar Association and as Vice-Chair of the Public Policy and Advocacy Committee for the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. Kenya is also a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Access and Fairness and the Review Board of Appeals for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
A Fulbright Scholar, Kenya has received recognition and awards in honor of her service and scholarship. In 2016, she was recognized by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives in appreciation of her support to the Citizens of New Jersey. Kenya is a fellow of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation and was recognized by the National Gang Crime Research Center as the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Frederick Milton Thrasher Award for her scholarship on gang courts. She was also named one of the New Jersey Law Journal’s Diverse Attorneys of the Year in 2019.
Kenya earned a JD from Widener University Delaware Law School, a MS in Criminal Justice, with an emphasis on Criminal Behavior Analysis from the University of Cincinnati, and a BA in Political Science from Winston-Salem State University. Kenya is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.