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 People in the News


People In The News - Women's History Month Madeline Singas

Madeline Singas - Elected in 2015, District Attorney Singas serves as the chief law enforcement official serving Nassau County’s 1.3 million residents. She manages a staff of more than 350 attorneys, investigators, and support staff prosecuting and investigating approximately 30,000 criminal cases annually. Singas became the first Greek-American and the second woman to become the top law enforcement official of Nassau County. She was elected in November of that year and took office for a four-year term in January 2016.

On March 27, 2018, Singas announced the establishment of the Nassau County School & Community Safety Task Force to enhance the security of schools, colleges, places of worship, and public buildings. The Task Force is chaired by Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Community Relations, Joyce Smith. Among the Task Force’s goals is to “prepare a training curriculum for educators and mental health practitioners regarding the health and safety exceptions to … privacy laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), [which] are frequently cited by medical professionals and school officials as obstacles to information-sharing regarding potential threats.”.

As District Attorney, Madeline has focused efforts on combating drug and gun trafficking, violent gangs and sexual assaults. Using innovative investigative strategies, collaborative partnerships and intelligence based prosecution models, she has effectively dismantled narcotics and gang enterprises within Nassau County and beyond its borders. She has dedicated unprecedented resources to battle the epidemic of heroin and opiate abuse plaguing Nassau County, prioritizing education to prevent addiction and treatment for those abusing drugs. In addition, she is committed to aggressively investigating and combating government corruption to protect taxpayers from those who abuse the public trust.

The daughter of Greek immigrants, Madeline grew up in Astoria. She is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Barnard College, Columbia University, and Fordham University Law School. She lives in Manhasset with her husband and teenage twins.


People In The News - Women's History Month Betty Ford

Betty Ford: A Champion for Breast Cancer Awareness

 Reprint from National Archives Museum

Photograph of First Lady Betty Ford speaking with reporters outside the Guttman Institute for Early Detection of Breast Cancer in New York City, November 7, 1975

Photograph of First Lady Betty Ford speaking with reporters outside the Guttman Institute for Early Detection of Breast Cancer in New York City, November 7, 1975April 6, 2018 - April 4, 2019, at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C., the public can view rarely seen objects, documents, and photographs that highlight Betty Ford’s courage and candor when speaking publicly about her own personal battle with breast cancer. Breaking with social conventions of the time, she reassured women already suffering from similar ordeals and purposefully raised public awareness of screening and treatment options that ultimately saved the lives of countless Americans.

The display includes:

  • Letters and cards from children and adults sharing words of encouragement and their own personal battles with cancer
  • Speech cards from Betty Ford’s American Cancer Society speech with her own handwritten edits
  • Letter to Betty Ford from Gerald Ford and their children (facsimile)
  • Award Betty Ford received from the National Association of Practical Nurse Education and Service honoring Betty Ford for her “outstanding courage and for furthering public understanding regarding the importance of early detection and treatment as a means of combating cancer.”
  • A selection of photographs

People In The News - Women's History Month Judge Fern Fisher

Judge Fern Fisher is the Special Assistant for Social Justice Initiatives to the Dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law and a Visiting Associate Professor. Until July of 2017, she was Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts and also served as the Director of the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program.

Judge Fern Fisher (photo Brooklyn Daily Eagle)Judge Fisher’s career started in the Civil Court as a Legal Services attorney practicing in Manhattan Housing Court. She served as Deputy Director of Harlem Legal Services, Inc. and as an Assistant Attorney General of the New York State Department of Law. For four years, she provided pro bono legal services to Harlem-based community organizations as a project director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers. In 1989, she was appointed Judge of the Housing Part of the Civil Court, and later, in 1990, was elected to the Civil Court where she served as Deputy Supervising Judge. Judge Fisher was elected in 1993 to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. After serving in both the City and the Matrimonial Parts of Supreme Court, in December 1996 she was appointed Administrative Judge of the Civil Court where she served until March 2009

Judge Fisher contributed the Views from the Bench in the Thomson-West practice guide, “Residential Landlord-Tenant Law in New York” for twenty one years. She served as the host of a series of television shows on housing issues for Crosswalk’s, a public service cable show. She has been a frequent lecturer at the New York State Judicial Institute and has taught at CUNY Law School and Touro Law School. Judge Fisher is a founding member of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, a member and past Board member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the New York County Lawyers Association. Judge Fisher also served as the Chair of the Housing Court (Judges) Disciplinary Committee and Chair of the Anti-Bias Committee of the New York County Supreme Court. Judge Fisher served as an expert on courts of lower jurisdiction for the Yale Law School China Law Center during two workshops in China devoted to exploring improvements to the Chinese judicial system. In 2006, Harvard Law School awarded her the Gary Bellow Public Service Award. In 2008, she was appointed to the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. She is the recipient of many other awards too numerous to list here. Judge Fisher has also written extensively on issues relating to access to justice. 

Judge Fisher received her B.A. summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 from Howard University and received her J.D. in 1978 from Harvard Law School.

Judge Fisher will be honored by the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the Stonebridge Country Club, Smithtown.


People In The News - Women's History Month Mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck

Mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck has become the first woman to win the Abel prize, sometimes called the Nobel prize of mathematics. She has been awarded the 6 million Norwegian kroner ($700,000) prize for her work in the fields of gauge theory and geometric analysis, which have been credited with far-reaching impact in both mathematics and physics.

Uhlenbeck has always blazed a trail for women in mathematics. Her plenary lecture at the 1990’s International Congress of Mathematicians was the first delivered by a woman since Emmy Noether in 1932.

When she was awarded the American Mathematical Society’s Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research in 2007, she blamed the culture of the mathematical community for the small number of women in leadership positions. In a self-deprecating summation of her award-winning work, she said “changing the culture is a momentous task in comparison to the other minor accomplishments I have mentioned”.

First awarded in 2003, the Abel Prize is presented by the King of Norway to a mathematician who has made extraordinary contributions to the field. Previous winners include Andrew Wiles for his proof of Fermat’s last theorem, and Nobel-prizewinning game theorist John Nash, who was made famous by the movie A Beautiful Mind. Read article at New Scientist


People In The News - March Is Women's History Month Hon. Mary Margaret Werner


Hon. Mary Margaret Werner’s life has been an amazing journey. ‘The mother of seven, she returned to college at the age of forty. After graduating from Dowling College and St. John’s University School of Law, Justice Werner began her legal career as an Assistant District Attomey in Suffolk County. There, she was one of the first women to serve in the District Court, Grand Jury, Rackets and Family Crime Bureaus. As Chief of the Family Crime Bureau, she was an ardent advocate for victims of famity violence.

In 1991. Justice Wemer was appointed to the New York State Supreme Court and was subsequently elected to that position. In 1994, she was appointed District Administrative Judge of Suffolk County, the first woman to hold that position. ln that role, Justice Wemer initiated trial case management reforms. She implemented the first Drug Treatment Courts in both the Suffolk County District Court and Family Court, with the mission of providing treatment and rehabilitation. With the support of the Suffolk County Women in the Courts Committee, Justice Wemer was the driving force behind the establishment of the Children’s Center at the Cohalan Court Complex, Iocated in the District Court. Today, the Center continues to offer a safe, secure and nurturing environment for children whose parents are attending to court business.

‘Justice Wemer is an active member of the Board of the Energeia Partnership, a stewardship program at Molloy College that fosters leadership roles in the business, government and education communities. She also serves on the Board of Advisors ol ERASE Racism, an organization dedicated to exposing racial discrimination and advocating for laws and policies that elin.rinate racial disparity.

A Founding Member and Past President of the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association, Justice Wemer is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Suffolk County Bar Association, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Suffolk County Bar and the Suffolk Academy of Law. Justice Werner is also a former member of the New York State Family Violence Task Force and has served as a member ofthe Boards of the Cleary School for the Deaf and St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association. She is an active participant in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Stony Brook University.

Justice Werner is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Child Abuse and Family Violence Professional Award, the Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County Award for Distinguished Service to Victims and their Advocates, the Zonta Community Woman ofthe Year, a Certificate of Merit from NYS Govemor Mario M. Cuomo, the American Red Cross Community Service Award, the Education & Assistance Corporation Humanitarian Award, the Suffolk Region of Hadassah Myrtle Wreath Award and the Suffolk Academy of Law Distinguished Merit Award. She has also been honored by the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration and the Long Island Women’s Coalition, Inc. for her professionalism and humanitarian achievements.

Having retired from the bench in 2006, Justice Wemer’s professional contributions to the legal system have had a tremendous impact on the lives of attorneys, employees, litigants and children in Suffolk County. Her personal legacy stands as an inspiration for future generations of women. 

Justice Werner will be honored by the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the Stonebridge Country Club, Smithtown.