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Meyer Suozzi Awards Beth Rubenstein with Judge Bernard S. Meyer Scholarship

Aug 12, 2009

Media Source: State Bar News

Beth A. Rubenstein of New York City, a student at St. John’s University School of Law in Queens, has been chosen as the 2009 recipient of the Judge Bernard S. Meyer Scholarship. The award, funded by the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. (Garden City) and administered by The New York Bar Foundation, is presented annually to a student who exhibits excellence in legal writing and advocacy skills.

Ms. Rubenstein is recognized for her legal scholarship for a paper she wrote entitled,“It Will Take More Than Hall v. Nalco to Eradicate the Ambiguities of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978: When Will the Law Overcome its Impotency?” The paper discusses the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which affords women equal employment opportunities by prohibiting discrimination in the workplace on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. It demonstrates that the PDA failed to anticipate medical developments, such as in vitro fertilization, which has led to ambiguous judicial interpretations of the law. Ms. Rubenstein determines that, “Instead of forcing the courts to interpret the purpose and limitations of the PDA, Congress should exercise its power to amend the law.” You can access the essay in its entirety at The Foundation’s Web site at

Lois Carter Schlissel, managing attorney for Meyer, Suozzi English and Klein, P.C. said, “We are very pleased that the Judge Meyer Scholarship has been awarded to Ms. Rubenstein. This essay contest allows the firm to encourage excellence in legal writing and advocacy among future members of our profession while honoring Judge Meyer for his outstanding work and dedication to the law.”

Established in 2004, the award is available to second-year law students attending a law school in New York. (Seen in the photo above from left to right are Managing Attorney, Lois Carter Schlissel, 2009 Scholarship recipient, Beth Rubenstein, and Municipal Law Chair and Trustee and Sustaining Fellow of the New York State Bar Foundation, A. Thomas Levin). A $5,000 scholarship will be applied to Ms. Rubenstein’s 2009/2010 academic year tuition at St. John’s.

M. Catherine Richardson, president of The Foundation said, “We are pleased to award the Judge Meyer Scholarship to a student of such distinction. Ms. Rubenstein’s essay discusses a subject with significant relevance to all Americans, particularly women in the workforce who struggle with the challenges of balancing their careers and families along with the complexities of childbearing. Her paper exemplifies the excellent legal writing and advocacy skills that we seek in law students planning to become members of the legal profession.”

Ms. Rubenstein is an honors student and a member of the St. John’sLaw Review. She is a recipient of the Ruth W. Fine Scholarship and the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation Scholarship. Additionally, she has been awarded the CALI Award for Excellence in Legal Research & Writing II and the CALI Award for Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution. She is a consultant at the St. John’s University School of Law Writing Center, a mentor/coach at St. John’s University Middle School Mock Trial Program and a member of the Jewish Law Student Association. She is a 2009 summer associate with Shearman & Sterling, LLP, New York, and interned last summer with Hon. Bernard J. Fried, New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division, New York.

Ms. Rubenstein also is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (University Honors) in Psychology in 2006. While there, she was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Vice President of the Order of Omega (National Greek Leadership Honorary), a member of Psi Chi (National Psychology Honorary) and a member of Gamma Sigma Alpha (National Greek Academic Honorary).

Judge Meyer was an associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals from 1979-1986 and practiced with Meyer Suozzi from 1987 until his death in 2005. He earned his law degree at the University of Maryland School of Law and was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. Among his notable accomplishments, he served as special Deputy Attorney General of New York in charge of the Special Attica Investigation and was a member of the Governor’s Commission on Integrity in Government.

Andrew J. Turro, Esq., a member of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., Hon. Michael A. Ciaffa, a former member of the firm now serving as Nassau County District Court Judge, and Foundation Board member, Lucia B. Whisenand, Esq. comprise the scholarship selection committee and participated in the blind judging of the essay submissions. Meyer Suozzi will hold a reception in honor of Ms. Rubenstein at its offices in Garden City this summer.

The Judge Meyer Scholarship is one example of the important initiatives that have been designed to stimulate the growth of The Foundation and to better serve New York's legal profession, the justice system and the community. For more information about The New York Bar Foundation, visit contact Rosanne M. Van Heertum, director of development, The New York Bar Foundation, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207, 518/487-5651.