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New Jersey Women Lawyers Association Honors Exceptional Achievements of Four Alumnae in the Judicial, Public and Corporate Sector

February 05, 2013 – 

When the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association holds its 6th Annual WILL Platinum Gala on March 20, 2013, four of the six honorees will be Rutgers School of Law–Newark alumnae.

The Honorable Jaynee LaVecchia ’79, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey; the Honorable Jennifer Velez ’96, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services; and Lucinda Long ’84, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Valley National Bank, will receive the NJWLA’s Women’s Initiative and Leaders in Law (WILL) Platinum Award. 

Frances V. Bouchoux ’87, Senior Associate Dean at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, will receive the Trailblazer Award.

WILL Platinum Award recipients are chosen for their exceptional achievements, the development of the legal profession, their sustained contributions to gender equity challenges and other issues unique to women in the legal profession. The Trailblazer Award recognizes a man or woman who has “blazed a trail” for women lawyers in New Jersey through hiring, promoting or mentoring women in the profession.

Hon. Jaynee LaVecchia has been a Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court since February 2000. She previously was New Jersey Commissioner of Banking and Insurance and, before that, she was the director of the Division of Law within the Department of Law and Public Safety. In addition, she served as director and chief Administrative Law Judge for the Office of Administrative Law and as an assistant counsel and then as deputy chief counsel to Governor Thomas H. Kean. She also has been in private practice and worked as a deputy attorney general in the Division of Law. Justice LaVecchia has chaired or served on numerous Supreme Court committees, subcommittees, and other Court-assigned projects.

As head of the Department of Human Services since 2007, Hon. Jennifer Velez focuses on several key initiatives, including Medicaid reform, creating employment opportunities and advancing supported placement of individuals with disabilities, and sustaining the safety net of services for the state’s older population and low-income individuals and families. She was previously first assistant child advocate in the Office of the Child Advocate and, prior to that, senior associate counsel and Assembly liaison in the Office of Governor’s Counsel for three administrations.

Lucinda Long joined Valley National Bank in 1991 from Lowenstein Sandler LLP where she specialized in mortgage lending and commercial real estate. Before practicing law, she taught political science at Montclair State University. She has held numerous leadership positions, including vice president and committee liaison for the New Jersey Corporate Council Association, a NJCCA director and chair of its Small Law Department Committee; vice chair of the New Jersey Bar Association Banking Law Section; and chair of the Bank Lawyers Council of the New Jersey Bankers Association. 

Frances Bouchoux oversees all administrative functions relating to students at Rutgers–Newark Law School. Her professional leadership positions include co-chair of the Amicus Committee of the National Association of Women Judges, member of the board of directors of New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and past vice chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts. Before joining the law school in 1993, she was with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where her practice areas included commercial litigation and bankruptcy.

This year’s NJWLA WILL Platinum Gala will take place beginning at 6 pm at the Grove in Cedar Grove. Dee Dee Myers, former White House press secretary, will be the keynote speaker.