This spring New Jersey State Bar Association members will vote on a trio of leadership positions.
 
On the ballot will be candidates for second vice president, secretary, and an at-large trustee. Successful candidates will be sworn-in at the Annual Meeting and Convention in May.
 
Also on the ballot are five bylaws proposals, ranging from reorganizing inactive sections and divisions to adding the immediate past president to the Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.
 
In the coming weeks, the roughly 16,100 eligible general members of the state bar association will receive information about voting procedures. Associate members are not eligible to vote. To be eligible to vote, an individual must be an active general member of the NJSBA on April 1.
 
Here is a closer look at the candidates and the bylaws proposals. Biographical information was provided by the candidates.
 
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
The Nominating Committee selected Angela White Dalton to serve as second vice president. She recently became a judge, leaving the position open.
 
The candidates for the one-year position are: Thomas Hoff Prol, association treasurer; Nancy Erika Smith; and Kenneth Vercammen.
 

Thomas Prol
PROL
Prol is the association’s treasurer, the past secretary, a three-term trustee, and a trustee of the state bar’s foundation. Prol has been an active member of the association for many years. He has been vice-chair of the association’s Amicus Committee for four years, the association’s representative to the Supreme Court’s Board of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education for two years, a six-year Legislative Committee member, chair or member of the Finance and Operations Committee for four years, a three-year member of the Membership and Public Relations Committee, and has served in a leadership role in many other association sections and committees, including chair and officer of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Section, and member of the association’s Diversity Committee and numerous ad hoc committees. Prol has also authored or co-authored many association amicus briefs, and argued and testified on issues affecting members and lawyers in the courts and Legislature. To learn more, visit  facebook.com/TomProlNJSBA
 
“As the only candidate with experience as an NJSBA trustee or member of its executive leadership, I will continue to advocate for lawyers, their practices and their clients to shape laws and policies that affect them. The hallmarks of my NJSBA leadership tenure remain unchanged — open, transparent, and inclusive governance and elimination of wasteful spending. My candidacy represents a commitment to continue these efforts and my service to the NJSBA and its membership,” Prol said.
 

Nancy Erika Smith
SMITH
In 1986, Smith founded Smith Mullin, an employment litigation firm, and has litigated many landmark cases for discrimination victims. Recognized as a leader in the field, Smith has published articles and spoken at numerous conferences. Active in the state bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section for her entire career, she has served on its executive committee for over 25 years, as chair for two, and managed its annual toy drive. Smith has served on ethics and fee arbitration committees. She is on the Board of Governors of New Jersey Association for Justice, and was a trustee of the Essex County Bar and National Employment Lawyers associations. She is a fellow of the American College of Employment Lawyers and has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers. During her career, she has been honored by the NAACP, Garden State Equality, New Jersey Women Lawyers, and Rutgers Law School. She received the state bar foundation’s Medal of Honor for her work with 9/11 victims, and is a founder and former chair of Wynona’s House, which serves victims of child abuse. Visit, smithmullin.com to learn more.
 
“The NJSBA is rooted in the principle that practicing law is a noble endeavor, aimed at achieving justice, protecting the powerless, preserving the rule of law, and maintaining the integrity of the profession. I have been active in the NJSBA for more than 30 years, including in leadership positions. If elected, I promise to work hard to make the NJSBA the diverse and powerful voice that lawyers and litigants deserve,” Smith said.
 

Kenneth Vercammen
VERCAMMEN
Vercammen is a trial attorney in Edison who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on business and litigation topics. He handles criminal, probate, civil litigation and estate matters. Vercammen has been honored with the state bar association’s Young Lawyers Division Service to the Bar and General Practitioner Attorney of the Year awards. He often lectures to trial lawyers of the state, American, and Middlesex County bar associations. He is a past chair of the Municipal Court Practice Section, and is editor of New Jersey Municipal Court Law Review. He has also served as a special acting prosecutor in nine different cities and towns in New Jersey and successfully handled over 1,000 municipal and superior court matters in the past 18 years.
 
“I am a voice for the solo and small-firm attorney. When I was asking fellow attorneys to sign my petition many asked why they should join. I advised that there are many things the bar association does for all attorneys, such as testify on legislation or hold great continuing legal education programs or make suggestions about the court rules. I don’t know if the typical attorney who handles criminal and municipal court cases is aware of how active the state bar association is in making sure their voice is heard before legislation is passed. I would like to communicate those efforts to the entire legal community, and I believe that will help our association. It’s good for lawyers,” said Vercammen. 
 
SECRETARY
The Nominating Committee selected trustee John Keefe Jr. as its candidate for the secretary position.
 
The candidates are Keefe and Bonnie Blume Goldsamt, a trustee.
 

John Keefe Jr.
KEEFE
Keefe founded Keefe Bartels in 2006, and serves as its co-managing partner. He is a certified trial attorney and practices throughout the state and federal courts in New Jersey, specializing in negligence and product liability, as well as complex mass tort litigation. He has tried numerous matters to verdict and prosecuted hundreds of cases on behalf of victims of catastrophic loss, including being appointed as plaintiffs’ liaison counsel in a historic national consumer fraud national class action. He is a trustee of the state bar association, and is the former chair of the Civil Trial Bar Section. AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, Keefe has been a frequent speaker and moderator of educational seminars for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He is also a past president of the Trial Attorneys of New Jersey.
 
“My platform focuses on integrating county and state bar relations, bridging the gap between younger and older lawyers, and establishing a groundbreaking mentorship program through the NJSBA,” said Keefe. “I have been discouraged by a breakdown in bench/bar relationships, the judicial selection process, and the negative perception recently portrayed, which seems to marginalize the Judiciary as a less than co-equal branch of government. I am a staunch supporter of our system of trial by jury. I ask for your support and assistance in winning this election so I may continue to be a forceful and effective advocate and benefit the lawyer community with my experience of more than 20 years.”
 

Bonnie Blume Goldsamt
GOLDSAMT
For 33 years, Goldsamt has practiced in New Jersey, first as a litigator, and later as a mediator and an arbitrator. Recognized by her peers as a pathfinder in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), she has also devoted her time and energy unstintingly to bar association activities, serving as trustee of the NJSBA for the past six years. Goldsamt chaired the association’s Dispute Resolution Section and various bar committees. She was an officer of the General Council. She is an active member of the Family Law, Solo and Small-Firm and Women in the Profession sections, and Meeting Arrangements and Program, Judicial Administration, Long-Term Planning and the Membership/Public Relations committees. She also served as a member of the Election Committee. For years, Goldsamt was a Bergen County Bar Association trustee and was president of Women Lawyers in Bergen County. NJ Biz named her among New Jersey’s "Top 10" mediators, and she received the Boskey ADR Practitioner of the Year Award, the ADR LegendsAward, and the NJICLE Distinguished Service Award.
 
“I seek the position of secretary because, as a woman, and as a trustee, I will bring diversity to the ranks of the NJSBA officers. I am the only woman candidate for an officer position who actually has years of experience as a NJSBA trustee. It takes time to develop relationships on any board. During my years’ service on the NJSBA board, I developed relationships with my fellow trustees, working collaboratively and productively with my colleagues on all sorts of challenging issues. My skills and experience on the board and as a 30-plus year practicing attorney will further enhance my contributions as an officer. As a problem solver and a consensus builder, I am well equipped to work with attorneys, the board, the bar association, the Judiciary and the public, and to tackle issues of importance,” said Goldsamt.
 
AT-LARGE TRUSTEE
The Nominating Committee selected Mitzy Galis-Menendez to serve as an at-large trustee. The position became open because she recently became a judge. There are eight at-large seats on the board, which are open to members of under-represented groups. The board-determined under-represented groups are: members who are African-American; Asian American; Hispanic; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender; over age 70; or women. The seat Galis-Menendez was selected for was designated for a woman.
 
The candidates seeking the position are Christine A. Amalfe, Amy Sara Cores, Christina Vassiliou Harvey, a trustee , and Marla Marinucci.
 

Christine Amalfe
AMALFE
Amalfe is chair of the employment and labor law department at Gibbons P.C. She defends single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class claims under state and federal employment laws, representing corporate defendants, and officers, directors, or employees sued personally, in both state and federal courts and before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and American Arbitration Association. She also conducts employment counseling and training. She is listed in  Best Lawyers (New York area);  Super Lawyers (Top 100 Lawyers and Top 50 Female Lawyers in New Jersey); and  Chambers. Additionally, Amalfe is dedicated to women’s professional advancement—for example, co-founding the Gibbons Women’s Initiative (winner of the international Catalyst Award); leading a comprehensive study of women in the legal profession for New Jersey Council on Gender Parity; serving as trustee for NJSBA’s Women in the Profession Section and on its Task Force on Work-Life Balance; and serving on the board of the National Association of Women Lawyers Foundation.
 
“I have focused throughout my career on advancement of women in law. I believe I can bring the NJSBA a new perspective on the unique issues women lawyers face. I also look forward to being a voice for all lawyers as the bar tackles the complex issues facing our profession,” Amalfe said.
 

Amy Sara Cores
CORES
Cores is a family law attorney in a boutique Howell firm. She served on the board and committees of the Women in Profession and the Family Law sections, the Young Lawyers Division, and the Appellate Practice, Children’s Rights, and New Jersey Lawyer Magazine Editorial Board committees. She has also served on various committees for the Monmouth Bar Association. She is a volunteer for the state Appellate Division’s Pro-Bono Pilot Program and the U.S. State Department’s attorney network for Hague Convention cases. Cores is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a matrimonial lawyer, and is also a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has written over a dozen articles for NJSBA publications, and moderated or lectured at more than a dozen seminars. To learn more, visit amysaracores.com.
 
“The board currently does not appear to be representing the true face of the bar or the needs of the general membership. There is a lack of transparency in the decision making and policies. There appears to be no one who is willing to ask the tough questions needed for growth in the organization. As someone who has worked on countless committees in this organization, but remained an outsider to the leadership, I will work to make the organization more open to all members, rather than the select few,” said Cores.
 

Christina Harvey
HARVEY
Harvey is a personal injury and appellate practice lawyer at Lomurro, Davison, Eastman & Munoz PA in Freehold. She has been active with the state bar association as a member of the Board of Trustees. She is also the former chair of the Young Lawyers Division and vice chair of the Membership Committee, is active with the Meetings, Arrangements and Programs Committee, and has been a speaker at educational seminars. The Nominating Committee selected her to be the association’s young lawyer delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates.
 
“By electing me to another term on the NJSBA Board of Trustees, I will continue to advocate for issues facing the bar, the most pressing of which are: improving bench-bar relations and communications to the bar, improving member relations and services, and increasing statewide events and networking opportunities.”
 

Marla Marinucci
MARINUCCI
Marinucci is a partner in the law firm of April & Marinucci, P.A. in Marmora, where her practice is devoted to family law. She lives in Egg Harbor Township, where she also serves as the assistant prosecutor. Marinucci has been a member of the Family Law Section’s Executive Committee for the past three years and is also certified by the Supreme Court as a matrimonial law attorney.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, she spent 10 years in the casino industry working in various entry-level and management capacities. She is fluent in French, and once thought she would be a high school French teacher, but instead saw that her future was in law. She serves on matrimonial early settlement panels in Cape May and Atlantic counties.
 
“My decision to run as trustee has evolved out of my desire to involve more attorneys in the New Jersey State Bar Association. Over the past few years, I have experienced the benefit of involvement by my membership in the Family Law Section Executive Committee, and I have seen first hand the benefit of membership within the state bar association. I want to bring more inclusion to attorneys in New Jersey, as involvement within the state bar association brings with it growth in the profession. As we move forward in knowledge and experience, it enhances our own practice as well as our professional experience to our peers and our clients,” said Marinucci.  
 
BY-LAWS CHANGES
 
The membership will be asked to vote on a series of bylaws changes that cover everything from trustee email addresses to eligibility for an officer position.
 
One proposal comes to the ballot through the support of the membership. A petition was signed by at least two percent of the general members to include a requirement for association officers to have a law practice primarily in New Jersey.
 
The proposed bylaw states: “To be eligible to serve as an officer, a member’s practice of law shall be primarily in the state of New Jersey.”
 
“This is a no-brainer,” said former state bar association President Richard Badolato.
 
“It’s important to make this change because in order to be an effective leader of the association, and communicate effectively with all of its constituents — its members, the Supreme Court, the Legislature, and the Governor’s Office – you have to be able to speak with authority. To have the necessary authority on the issues that matter to New Jersey’s lawyers, you should be one of them — a lawyer who practices full-time in New Jersey.”
 
Four other proposals were approved by the Board of Trustees. They include:
 
  • Requiring members of the Board of Trustees to maintain an active email account and clarify that the board may act on urgent matters by email under certain conditions, which is consistent with current corporate law.
  • Clarification that no member may serve in more than one officer or trustee position at any one time, and that a sitting trustee elected to an officer position is deemed to have resigned from his or her trustee post at the end of any potential challenge period without opposition, and the resignation is effective upon the start of service as an officer.
     
  • Clarification that the Board of Trustees has the authority to reorganize sections or divisions that have become inactive.
     
  • Including the immediate past president on the Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee. The committee, which vets candidates for the bench and prosecutor positions, is currently a 26-member body, including representatives from each county, as well as the association’s current president and president-elect. This proposal would include the immediate past president as part of the process, so he or she can share additional insights, information and knowledge about the candidates.