Retired Family Court Judge Marilyn Hoffman O’Connor was the center of attention on Dec. 4 at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, held at the Hyatt Regency Rochester.
All four of Judge O’Connor’s children were present, along with three of her eight grandchildren. The Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin, first woman to serve as presiding justice of the Appellate Division, First Department — for whom the WBASNY award was created — was also in attendance to present the award.
Current WBASNY President Deborah Weisman-Estis spoke about Judge O’Connor’s critical role in founding the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys, one of the early WBASNY chapters. There are now 18 WBASNY chapters. Besides serving as a GRAWA president in the 1980s, Judge O’Connor has also served as WBASNY vice president and is currently the chairwoman of WBASNY’s Long Range Planning Committee. “WBASBY has flourished because of the dedication, perseverance and generosity of women such as Judge O’Connor and Judge Ellerin,” Weisman-Estis said.
Several past GRAWA presidents also spoke of the significant role Judge O’Connor played in their careers, thanking her for her mentorship and friendship. A letter from retired Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye was also shared. “I cannot imagine an award that more honors Judge Ellerin’s great work on our behalf, or better captures Judge O’Connor’s manifold contributions in the struggle for gender parity,” Judge Kaye said. “Marilyn, you are a genuine treasure.”