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4th Annual Women’s Leadership Summit Uplifts Women in Law

The Honorable Esther Salas

The Honorable Esther Salas, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey

On Friday, March 22, 2024, Seton Hall Law School hosted the 4th Annual Women’s Leadership Summit put on by the Women’s Leadership Advisory Committee. The Women’s Leadership Advisory Committee’s goal is to develop an intergenerational network that provides mentorship opportunities, builds professional skills and a personal brand, and provides students with a well-rounded picture of today’s legal world while nurturing their unique position in the workplace. 137 alumnae, women lawyers, and allies attended the summit.


After opening remarks by Interim Dean John Kip Cornwell and Cristina Accardi Mirda, the first panel began discussing taking ownership of your career. Featuring accomplished panelists, The Honorable Lisa Perez Friscia ’96, Qing Guo ’14, Kara McCarthy Perry ’98, and Elizabeth Weiss ’01, moderator Shoshana Schiff ’98 started the panel by telling a story of one of her mentors who started law school decades before Schiff. The mentor was one of three women in her 1L class and the only woman to make it to graduation. This incredible story, told to a room full of female lawyers and law students, set the tone for the day and highlighted how far women have come in the legal profession and Seton Hall Law’s commitment to uplifting women. Panelists discussed the changes they have made throughout their careers and the life events that prompted those changes. The women were open about family relationships, the role of motherhood, and what kind of work-life balance works for them.


Following a short break, the second panel focused on alternate career paths with a law degree. The panel explored some of the career options that may be more flexible or provide a different way to apply legal skills. Esteemed panelists included Shari Hyman, Jennifer C. Holdsworth ’08, Helen Antoniou McGowan ’05, and Floyd Morris ’10, and was moderated by Elaine Rocha ’98. The panelists discussed in depth some of the pressures that arose from charting an untraditional path and how they handled these pressures.


The summit continued with a fireside chat focused on being our authentic selves without sacrifice, featuring, The Honorable Esther Salas, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey, interviewed by, The Honorable Tonianne Bongiovanni, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey. The discussion flowed easily between memories of the friend’s days at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of New Jersey, tales of hardship and where the Women’s strength to go on comes from, and their hopes for females in the legal profession going forward. 


Elizabeth Dennis, president of the Seton Hall Law Women’s Law Forum reflected on the event stating, “The Women's Leadership Summit was one of my favorite events of the year because of the keynote speaker. As a former intern to Judge Salas, I knew she was brilliant and hardworking. However, the Summit allowed her to share deeply personal stories about being a woman in the law. I loved looking around the room and seeing everyone nodding because they had similar experiences. You could feel the community coming together, and I was honored to be a part of it.”


The event culminated in the Seton Hall Law atrium with a cocktail and networking reception where committee members, panel speakers, and attendees had an opportunity to speak to one another recapping the impactful day. View the photo album here.

Categories: Alumni

For more information, please contact:

  • Seton Hall Law School