Rutgers' Asian-Pacific American Law Student Association's (APALSA) 16th Annual MELA was held in the law school's lower atrium in Newark on March 29, 2018. Approximately 150 guests were in attendance at this year’s event.
Mela, meaning “gathering” in Sanskrit, is a school-wide event that welcomes new and returning students to the Rutgers Law community and commemorates Asian-Pacific American achievements in the legal field.
Among the honorees this year was Sharmila D. Jaipersaud (Rutgers Law '02) a Partner in Schenck, Price, Smith & King's Health Care Law Practice Group as well as the Corporate Practice Group. Ms. Jaipersaud was acknowledged for her achievements in law and her support in the South Asian community.
During Women’s History month this past March, the SPSK Women’s Initiative and the Central & Northern NJ Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners held a joint networking event at SPSK’s Florham Park office. The attendees were asked to donate handbags for Dress for Success Northern NJ.
Pictured: Connie Pizarro, CSA (NAWBO President-elect); Meredith L. Grocott, Esq. (head of SPSK Women’s Initiative); Susana Fonticoba (NAWBO President); and Willa Edgerton-Chisler (Steps2Success Coordinator, Dress For Success).
SPSK’s Sharmila D. Jaipersaud, President of the South Asian Bar Association, co-moderated a panel discussion on “Gun Control in America,” presented by the South Asian Bar Association and TV Asia. The program was a debate featuring different viewpoints in the South Asian community on the contentious issue of gun control.
The program was nationally televised on TV Asia and was also broadcast on Facebook live. Ms. Jaipersaud’s co-moderator was Rohit Vyas, a well-known television personality in the South Asian community.
Panelists : Roshan Shah, Counsel at Scarinci Hollenbeck, Ehsan Chowdhry, founder of EFC Law Practice, Senator Vin Gopal, Monmouth County, Rajiv Parikh, partner at Genova Burns, and Lt. Col. Kamal Singh Kalsi, known for pioneering the effort to allow Sikh Americans to wear turbans and have beards while on active duty. Also pictured is HR Shah, president of TV Asia.
The Charity Committee of the SPSK Women’s Initiative collected over $1,500 in donations for Jersey Battered Women Service (“JBWS”), which provides housing and emotional and financial support to women and children in the Morris County area. JBWS is a full service, private, nonprofit domestic violence agency. In addition to housing, JBWS provides counseling, intervention, and legal assistance.
Pictured: Helen LeFrois, Vice President, Development for JBWS and SPSK attorneys Sandra Calvert Nathans, Valerie Vladyka, and Meghan Hoppe.
Clifford Dawkins served as Master of Ceremonies for the Morris County NAACP’s 86th Anniversary Gala, held at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Guests included Mayor Timothy Dougherty of Morristown, national representatives from NAACP and local leaders of various organizations.
Sharmila D. Jaipersaud was a panelist at the November 3, 2017 Minority Student Program Fall Reception held at Rutgers University-Camden School of Law. The topic was “United For Justice: A Collaborative Conversation.”
Clifford D. Dawkins, Jr., was a speaker, representing both Schenck, Price, Smith & King and Rutgers Law School, in a program, "Having Our Voices Heard," in which attorneys and members of the Congressional Black Caucus discussed how lawyers and politicians can support and partner with one another. The program, held on Capital Hill in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and leading universities, including Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Howard, George Washington and Cornell.
On September 14, 2017, SABA-NJ held its 4th Annual Gala. The event was held at the Marigold in Somerset, where incoming President, Sharmila D. Jaipersaud, also served as the Gala co-chair. SABA-NJ is comprised of over 200 members throughout the State. SABA-NJ is a voluntary association of attorneys and professionals dedicated to the needs, concerns, and interests of the South Asian community in New Jersey. The event was attended by various business, political and legal pillars in the South Asian community, with close to 200 attendees.
On June 29, 2017, SABA-NJ President-Elect Sharmila D. Jaipersaud was interviewed on Community Roundup for TV Asia. Community Roundup is hosted by Aditi Lamba. Aditi interviewed the current SABA-NJ President, Bhaveen Jani, and Ms. Jaipersaud, regarding the membership, the programs, and activities SABA-NJ provides for the South Asian community. The interview aired on July 7, 2017.
Melanie Morales, Rutgers Law School, Class of 2018, was the recipient of the SPSK scholarship. The scholarship was presented at the Garden State Bar Association 42nd Anniversary Scholarship & Awards Gala in Atlantic City by SPSK Managing Partner Gary Werner and Partner Crystal West Edwards, Past President of the Garden State Bar Association.
In her role as President-Elect of the South Asian Bar Association - New Jersey and Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee for New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, Sharmila Jaipersaud has attended a number of events, including the Outstanding 40 Asian Americans in Business Awards and the annual galas of the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association and the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association.
Clifford Dawkins was the moderator for a gubernatorial candidate’s forum in Morristown sponsored by a number of local organizations. Five candidates, or their representatives, addressed the audience about issues faced by, and policies affecting, the disabled, minority, LGBT, Muslim, Jewish, working class, young adult and elderly communities.
Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP was a sponsor and participated in Mercer County Hispanic Association, Inc. (MECHA’s) 15 Annual Golf Outing held Mountain View Golf Course on May 22, 2017.
On May 23, 2017, Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP conducted an in-house Immigration Law CLE. The panelists were both prominent immigration attorneys: Susan W. Scheer, Esq., with a focus on immigration issues from a business owner’s perspective, and Asma Warsi, Esq., with a focus on individual immigration issues. The panel was moderated by SPSK attorneys, Michael K. Mullen, Esq., and Sharmila D. Jaipersaud, Esq. The CLE was presented to broaden our lawyers’ understanding of immigration law, particularly in light of significant national developments and related changes in Immigration Law and related procedures.
More than 100 women attended the event at the Park Savoy Estate on May 3, 2017 for a fun evening of networking with friends, both new and old.
The SPSK Women’s Initiative is committed to the advancement of women in the workplace.
The SPSK Diversity Committee hosted a Holi celebration to celebrate the arrival of spring.
SPSK welcomed Paulette Brown, Esq., Immediate Past President of the American Bar Association, on Monday, January 30, 2017 to conduct a firm-wide Diversity & Inclusion Training Workshop.
Paulette Brown, Esq.
Paulette Brown, Esq. with SPSK Attorney Crystal West Edwards, Esq.
Sharmila Jaipersaud has been named President Elect of the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ), a voluntary association of attorneys and professionals dedicated to the needs, concerns and interests of the South Asian community in New Jersey. The organization supports the professional development and advancement of its members through networking opportunities, educational events, mentoring and advocacy.
Ms. Jaipersaud is a member of Schenck, Price, Smith & King’s Health Care Law and Corporate practice groups. She practices primarily in health care transactional matters, working with hospitals, health care systems, physicians, practice groups and other health care professionals. She has extensive experience with general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, business succession planning, employment matters, real estate, software licensing, EMR agreements, day-to-day operations and other transactional matters.
The Charity Committee of the SPSK Women’s Initiative collected over $1,500 in donations for Hope House in Jersey City. This allowed the Committee to purchase gift cards for the 20 women and their children currently residing at Hope House to help brighten their holiday season.
Hope House is an emergency shelter for homeless women with children that helps families become self-sufficient by giving them an opportunity for decision making and for assuming responsibility for improving their situation under the supervision, support, and guidance of shelter staff. Housing up to 20 mothers and their children, the program offers short-term supervised residence, including three meals a day, assessment/planning, case management, housing, education, food, and clothing.
Crystal West Edwards has been installed as President of the Garden State Bar Association. The Garden State Bar Association is the largest professional organization for African-American judges, lawyers and law students. The organization seeks to improve the administration of justice in the State, the elimination of discrimination based on race and ethnicity, and advance the economic well-being of all the State’s residents.
An attorney with Schenck Price since 2010, Ms. Edwards focuses her practice on elder law, special needs planning and advocacy, estate planning and estate administration. Ms. Edwards is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the ABA Accredited National Elder Law Foundation. She is Immediate Past President of the New Jersey chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a member of the Elder and Disability Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
More than 100 women were in attendance at a networking event hosted by the Firm’s Women’s Initiative held at the Park Savoy Estate on May 4, 2016. Pictured are Meredith Grocott, Esq., Guest Speaker, Kelly Piacenti, and Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq.
Ms. Piacenti was named a 2015 Working Mother of the Year by Working Mother Magazine.
Ms. Piacenti has become an advocate in both her personal and professional life for individuals with special needs and their families. Ms. Grocott and Ms. Whitenack are Partners at the Firm.
The SPSK Women’s Initiative is committed to the advancement of women in the workplace.
On June 24, 2015, the Schenck, Price Smith & King Women’s Initiative hosted a networking event with the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (“NJAWBO”) at the Firm’s Paramus office. The event was the culmination of the Firm’s six-week food drive to support “Brown Bag Buddies,” a program headed by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County to provide breakfast and lunch to children from low-income families in Bergen County during the summer when school is out. A total of 575 pounds of food was collected and donated to the Center for Food Action for distribution to the children. Shown, from left: Farah Ansari, Attorney SPSK, Erica West, Director of Corporate Engagement, Volunteer Center of Bergen County, Inc., Meredith Grocott, Attorney SPSK and William Jim James, Regional Manager, Center for Food Action.