Noteworthy Winter 2010 – 2011

The lawyers of W J & L remained busy, both personally and professionally, in the last year.
Let’s start with education. Almost every one of our lawyers spent at least a little time in front of the classroom, teaching other lawyers or other interested parties, about their areas of specialty. Particularly busy in this area was Partner, AnnMarie Smits, who made presentations to the National Business Institute, to the Garden State Paralegal Alliance Convention, and regularly does seminars at Wells Fargo Bank branches, usually for CPAs and business people.

Paramus Rotary Career Day is always an event at our office (the program was started back during Partner, Tom Wells’ Presidency of the Paramus Rotary Club). This year the torch was passed to Associate, Nicole Russak, to run the program at our office for us. Taking her love of law to an even younger group, she also spoke to a middle school in Elmwood Park during the past year, as did Partner, Darrell Felsenstein.

Partner, Stuart Liebman, as he has for so many years, continues to Chair the Annual Bar Association training for local Planning Board and Board of Adjustment members. Partner, Darrell Felsenstein, who continues to be a Trustee at the Bergen County Bar Association, also spoke at the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.

Taking teaching to the extreme, our own Of Counsel, Lisa Aljian, launched “American Grownup,” a reality radio broadcast series ( American Grownup is a talk show about all kinds of things, including legal matters. Lisa tells us these are “real guests with real matters,” each with something to teach, or to share. If you want to hear both Lisa and Partner, AnnMarie Smits, listen to the podcast that AnnMarie did on the 2010 Estate Tax, or lack thereof, and her ideas on “gifting” for estate planning. Lisa was also recently appointed to the District Ethics Committee, the Committee on which Partner, Tom Wells, also served a number of years ago. The Committee handles complaints of unethical conduct by lawyers.

On the civic front, we continue to have three active Rotarians; Partners, Stuart Liebman, Jim Jaworski and Tom Wells. Partner, Darrell Felsenstein, continues to be active in the Glen Rock Baseball Association; and Partners, Jim Delia and Tom Wells, remain on the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees respectively of the Ridgewood YMCA. Jim is on deck to be President of the Board of Directors next year. Associate, Jill Rosenfeld, is active with the Paramus Education Foundation.

On the international front, our firm’s efforts in Haiti continue. Partner, Jim Delia, went back this year for his third year, running the Soccer Summer Program for the YMCA d’Haiti. Brian DePalma, son of secretary, Michele DePalma, went along as one of the coaches. Partner, Tom Wells, through the Ridgewood YMCA World Service Committee, which he Chairs, and the Wells Mountain Foundation, undertook a clothing drive for Haiti after the earthquake that resulted in twelve 40 ft. ocean-going containers of clothing and supplies. This February, Tom and his wife, Carol, and daughter, Ciera, lead a group of sixteen volunteers working on sorting and distribution of the clothing, and retrofitting of the containers into new classrooms and YMCA-type buildings.

On the personal side, firm Associate, Nicole Cleenput, became Mrs. Nicole Russak on August 28, 2010. Congratulations to Nicole and her new husband, Brad. Nicole’s e-mail is Readers might find it interesting to know, that together with all the teaching, the lawyers of our firm together with the lawyers all over the State of New Jersey, now have to go back to school as well. New Jersey, like many other states, now has mandatory Continuing Legal Education as a requirement for attorneys to maintain their license to practice law. Attorneys must now take a minimum of twenty-four hours of Continuing Legal Education each year to make sure they keep abreast of the new developments in their areas of expertise.

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