another day, another sexual harasser. A/K/A call us

I knew last Monday was going to be a super long day. I had personal training at 8:30 am, the first of many in-office meetings at 10 am, tons of work to do all day, and then choir rehearsal from 7:30 to 10 pm. I had a rare commute to myself (usually I drop off one of my two girls) and I was taking the time to try to focus and rally myself. “You can do it!” I was saying to myself, probably listening to Lizzo. I had transferred from the F to the A/C when a guy got on the train next to me. I was standing near the doors, and he got on next to me at the doors. He was yelling and obviously unhinged – ok fine. But he immediately turned toward me staring directly at me. I actually don’t remember what he was yelling but it involved accusations of me being a “bitch”, his desire to “rape” (me?), yelling about “fucking”, and grabbing his junk under his pants.  He was about 2-3 feet away from me. I froze in my spot. I did not move or blink, other than to close my eyes, and think calm thoughts until the next stop, planning to switch cars at the next stop. But High Street to Fulton is super long! It felt like forever. And when I moved to get off, he did the same. So then I stayed in place, which he did too. I finally darted off and ran into the other car. My heart was pounding while I waited to see if he was going to follow me into the car before the doors closed. The worst part of this was that there were so many people on the train who could have helped me. There was a super tall guy, not even wearing headphones, standing nearby, who could have just moved to stand in between me and the perpetrator. I kept looking at that guy and waiting for him, or anybody, to do something. Nobody did. Actually, that wasn’t the worst part. Here’s the worst part: there was a minute when I thought to myself, “I knew I should have waited until I got to the gym to change into my slutty gym clothes.” When I got off the train I was shaking and had tears in my eyes. I pretty much recovered and had a good workout at the gym. But I was mad. I was mad at the guy who didn’t help, but I was also mad at myself for questioning what I was wearing. I decided not to change out of my gym clothes when I went to the office that day. Everybody thought I was crazy when I walked in, but when I explained, they got it immediately. We represent a lot of clients who have faced sexual harassment. And all of us tend to say the same things to ourselves. Was it really so bad? Did I imagine it? Am I allowed-

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NYC Commission on Human Rights

This January, Susan testified before the NYC Commission on Human Rights at a hearing about Pregnancy and Caregiver Discrimination. January 2019 Hearing on Pregnancy and Caregiver Discrimination Update: The Report is Out! Click Here to read the NYC Commission on Human Rights’ report on pregnancy and caregiver discrimination.

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Why Caroline Cohen is the Woman for the Job (Civil Court Judge, 6th Municipal District)

Crumiller’s Senior Associate, Caroline Piela Cohen, is running for New York City Civil Court Judge in the 6th Municipal District.  Here’s why she is the woman for the job. I first met Caroline shortly after we both had our first children in the fall of 2012.  We had both joined a “Ditmas Park Moms” group.  I liked her right away and was happy to learn we were both attorneys in the same field. Caroline is a genuine person, and you can tell right away that she has a kind heart.  She’s warm and engaging; it makes her fun to be around.   Soon after we became friends, I came to realize that she is also whip smart.  I started trying to recruit her for my law firm way before I had the money to hire somebody.  I knew she would be an excellent attorney: great with clients, direct and to the point, and a savvy strategizer. I’ll never forget when Caroline finally reached out to me to ask if I still had a position for her.  I ran over to my calculator and crunched some numbers.  We had a deal within 10 minutes.  I learned later that she had texted me from the bathroom in court.  She had been in an uncomfortable position, where she felt pressured to move eviction proceedings forward against an elderly tenant and she felt like it went against her principles.  She made a decision on the spot. My instincts about Caroline’s excellence were 100% correct.  She brings her A-Game every single day, both with her litigation skills AND the homemade baked goods she makes for the office (how on earth the woman has time for everything she does is a mystery).  She is warm and empathetic with clients, tough but respectful with adversaries, supportive of colleagues.  Other employees have described Caroline to me as the “glue” of the office.  She is the first one with a kind word: about others’ work, their accomplishments, their hairstyles. The main quality I prize at my firm is our integrity, and this is also the main quality I prize in Caroline.  She is somebody who truly cares about doing the right thing.  We all took a little personality quiz, and Caroline’s result is that her motivating drive is to contribute.  I have seen her get teary-eyed when we have gotten great results for a deserving client.  I’m getting teary-eyed, frankly, as I’m writing this.  Caroline has dedicated her life and her career to social justice, and has found a way to make it happen even as a new mom.  She is the real deal. The thought of losing Caroline from the firm pains me and each of us will miss her dearly.  But, I truly believe that the bench needs her.  Her skills, her integrity, her fair-mindedness, will be a credit to the judiciary each and every day.  It’s what our litigants deserve. I hope you will join me in voting for Caroline Cohen this coming Tuesday.

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Spotlight On: Genesis Fisher

When I graduated from NYU Law twelve years ago, I could not possibly have imagined how beautiful and resilient the friendships I formed would become, and what an important part of my life they would be.  (That handsome man in my lawyering section – how could I have guessed we would one day get married and have two children together??)  But one of my great joys has been welcoming my friend and brilliant colleague, Genesis Fisher, to the world of entrepreneurship this year. Genesis and I became friends through the public-interest crowd and a capital defense fellowship we were fortunate enough to take together, helmed by the brilliant, esteemed, and preternaturally kind Tony Amsterdam.  Genesis went on to become a public defender, as many of us did.  Through the years she spent defending her clients in Brooklyn, she developed a thick skin, the lawyer version of street smarts (court smarts?), and amazing litigation skills.  Talking to Genesis about our jobs, she was never one of those jerks who sat around complaining about her clients or adversaries.  She was always thoughtful, always observing, analyzing, and listening.  She took the time and energy to really understand where her clients were coming from. BTW, she’s also super fun, and definitely way cooler than me.  One time she and some other friends were over at my place, and we were having a dance party with my daughter Zohra (Sadia wasn’t born yet).  I noticed Zohra quietly watching Genesis’s moves and then going off into the corner by herself to practice them.  But I digress. Genesis was – is – always the person we all went to for sage advice about an interpersonal conflict or drama.  You can depend on her not to judge you, or if judgment is warranted, to be honest, but not harsh.  So it was no surprise whatsoever to me when I learned she had embarked on a newer path into conflict resolution services.  It was immediately obvious to me, and anybody else who is lucky enough to know this amazing woman, that it is her calling. Genesis has thrown herself into mediation, conflict resolution services, and training.  Now with years of study and experience under her belt, and with her natural empathy, she is undoubtedly my go-to referral for anybody experiencing any kind of conflict.  She also continues to represent criminal defense clients, something she probably could do in her sleep having represented thousands of clients, but she has never lost her caring sense. I hope you will take the time to look around on her website and keep her in mind when you have a friend, colleague, or prospective client looking for a referral, whether in the mediation and conflict resolution department, or the criminal defense department.  Genesis is a phenomenal resource; let’s all make the world a better place by helping to spread the word about her blossoming practice to help connect clients in need with an amazing person they will feel lucky to have found.

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What’s the “Mother Court” You Ask?

The “Mother Court” is known officially as the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. While the exact origin of the nickname is unknown, it is supposed that it comes from the fact that not only can this court trace its origins to the Judiciary Act of 1789, but it predates the formation of the U.S. Supreme Court. For avid “Hamilton” fans – Aaron Burr was one of the first attorneys admitted to practice before the “Mother Court.” (We dare you to say Aaron Burr with a mouthful of peanut butter sandwich!) Want to read more about The Mother Court? Check out this excerpt on the ABA’s site.

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