NJSBA installs new slate of officers: Carmagnola becomes Association president; Lawrence is president-elect; Yonta is immediate past president

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May 20, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kate Coscarelli
732-937-7548
   
NEW BRUNSWICK - Domenick Carmagnola was sworn in Thursday night as president of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) for the 2021-2022 term. He took the oath of office at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick during the NJSBA’s Annual Meeting. 
   
New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner administered the oath at the ceremony, which could be viewed live online. The Annual Meeting, the most anticipated event on the New Jersey legal education and social calendar, was moved online for the second year in a row because of COVID-19 pandemic social distancing protocols. 
   
“As I stand here tonight, reflecting on what the year ahead will bring for our world, our nation and our profession, I am prepared to make a singular promise to you: In the days ahead, no one will work harder than me, my Executive Committee, our Board of Trustees, our terrific leadership team at the Bar Association led by Angela Scheck, and our dedicated and committed staff who together make up an incredible organization. On that, I give you my word,” Carmagnola said.
   
He said the Association’s focus in the year ahead would be dedicated to several issues, key among them helping attorneys emerge from the pandemic with the tools to thrive in their practice and well-being.
   
“After this past year, I know we will need to focus on rolling out of the lockdown and getting back to full speed. Hard work, unity and the strength of the NJSBA’s members are what helped the profession persevere this past year. And as we emerge from a once-in-a-century public health crisis, those qualities are what is going to bring us back – and bring us an improved, more resilient profession. Know this: The NJSBA’s mission in the year ahead will be to help you build back not just to where we were, but better than we were,” Carmagnola said.
   
He also emphasized the Association’s vow to continue the work of its Pandemic Task Force and Commission on Racial Equity in the Law. Further, he said filling judicial vacancies would be a focus of the Association’s advocacy. 
   
“Our courts are currently facing record numbers of judicial vacancies. That means too few judges at a critically vital chapter in our history. It is truly becoming a crisis. The need is real right now. I say that as someone who is involved in court matters every day and who speaks to judges and lawyers every day…Our courts are regarded as the finest in the nation. It is a strong, independent co-equal branch of government. It cannot be allowed to enter the upcoming rollout and face the impending situation without sufficient resources,” he said. 
   
Carmagnola is co-founder of Carmagnola & Ritardi and concentrates his practice in the areas of labor and employment law. His involvement in the NJSBA is extensive. 
   
In addition to Carmagnola’s installation, other members of the Executive Committee moved up the succession ladder and were sworn in by Rabner. Each officer holds the position for one year.
   
Jeralyn L. Lawrence became president-elect. She is a certified matrimonial law attorney in Watchung.
Timothy McGoughran became first vice president. He is a family law attorney in Ocean Township.
William H. Mergner became second vice president. He practices civil litigation in Cedar Knolls.
Christine A. Amalfe will become treasurer. She was unable to attend the event and will be sworn in at an upcoming meeting. She is a labor and employment law attorney in Newark.
Norberto A. Garcia became secretary. He specializes in medical malpractice law in Jersey City.
Kimberly A. Yonta began a term as immediate past president of the Association. 
   
Under Yonta’s leadership, the Pandemic Task Force was established to examine and address numerous concerns the public health crisis created regarding the legal community and its ability to serve the public. The NJSBA pivoted to a virtual environment to serve its members, sharing regular updates on pandemic-related developments that would affect their practice. 
   
Yonta and the NJSBA ardently advocated for the needs of lawyers and their clients to government officials in every branch. The NJSBA successfully advocated for passage of Daniel’s Law on the state level and is working on a companion measure to prohibit the disclosure of personal address and other identifying information about judges and their families. Yonta spoke out on social and racial justice issues, including the murder of George Floyd and other unarmed Black individuals, and established the Commission on Racial Equity in the Law to identify ways to address root causes of inequities in the legal profession and the law. She also launched NJ Free Legal Answers, an online version of the traditional walk-in clinic, and prioritized strengthening the NJSBA’s programs on lawyer well-being.
   
“This year has been a crucible. It has been intense and challenging in every way as we confronted the pandemic. On every level, the New Jersey State Bar Association worked to address the issues its members were facing, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together,” Yonta said in a speech at the installation ceremony.

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