A: I have been a member of the WWBA for over 20
years. I was introduced to the
organization by my law partner, Lucille Fontana. Initially, I volunteered for different events
and then took on the role of co-chair of the Litigation committee. That committee had been dormant for years and
I was active in resurrecting it with Past Presidents Donna Frosco and Lisa
Bluestein. Proudly, today Litigation
continues to be an active committee in our organization. I started the Litigation Tip column for our
newsletter which informs our members of new statutes, cases and reminders on
litigation tips. I have also held
positions of recording secretary, state delegate, chair of the Legislation
committee and this year, treasurer.
Q: In your opinion, why is it important to be
involved in the WWBA?
The WWBA offers a tremendous amount of resources to its members. Some of these resources include CLE,
discussion panels and mentoring.
Socially, it allows you to meet other attorneys in our community both in
your area of practice and in other areas who you might not otherwise meet. There are many long-lasting friendships that
have developed from this organization.
Most importantly, it is an organization that allows you to participate
based upon your personal situation in life.
I can share from experience that as a young associate my participation
was less both due to my own family commitments and work commitments. Once becoming a partner and as my children
grew up, my participation increased and was welcomed by the association.
Q: Please tell us about your legal career, and
how it has developed?
While at Fordham University, I took an elective course, Constitutional
Law. I was a psychology major and thought for sure I would go on for my Masters
and perhaps consider school psychology.
After our first exam, my professor asked to see me after class. I didn’t know what to expect and of course,
thought maybe I bombed his exam. Just the opposite, he told me that I had the
highest grade in the class and said I strongly recommend you apply to law
school. While at Pace Law School, I had the privilege of interning for the late
Honorable Judge Isaac Rubin at the Appellate Division Second Department. I also was a summer intern at the prestigious
firm of Clark, Gagliardi & Miller, P.C. and later was hired by the
firm. I was fortunate to become a
partner at CGM and worked there for 28 years learning each day under the
guidance of renowned trial attorney, Henry Miller and esteemed plaintiff’s
attorney, Lucille Fontana. On May 1st of
this year, Lucille and I started our own firm Fontana Giannini LLP.
Q: What would you like to accomplish in your
career going forward?
A: Starting my own firm is an exciting,
challenging new adventure. It is not
something I really envisioned when I became a lawyer. While it is still very
new, it has proved to be very rewarding.
I hope to continue to represent victims of accidents in the areas of
personal injury, premise, auto, labor and medical malpractice for many
years. Over the years, I have mentored
many law students, and one day would like to teach a law class and have a role
in our court system.
Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges
for women lawyers today?
In the last 25 years women have continued to make strides in our
profession due to the tenacity, professionalism and talent of the women of
previous generations. Years ago, I
participated as a group leader in a state bar committee program exploring
balanced lives in the practice of law.
The group involved both men and women and while there were many
important findings, I think what most impressed me was the overwhelming feeling
amongst the participants that there really is no such thing as a balanced
life. It is a fluid experience both
based on our areas of practice and our own personal lives. I think recognizing this early in your
career, especially as women, can make the practice much more doable and
Q: How have you managed to juggle your career
with your family life?
A: I was very fortunate
to have a great family network of support as I started my law career. In fact, I would like to dedicate my
interview to my Dad, Anthony J. Morcone, who passed away last April. It is a great loss for my family but his
(along with my Mom’s) nurture, guidance and encouragement, are responsible for
my family’s achievements and successes.
My husband and I learned quickly in raising our boys that there was no
set way to juggle it all and each year brought its own challenges. I think one key lesson I learned, which is
not easy, is to set your own priorities and not to let the lifestyle of others
in the profession dictate what works for you.
Q: What activities are you involved in outside
of the law?
purchased a summer home which has proved to be a great weekend get-away! It introduced me to antiquing and tag
sales. I really like the idea of
re-purposing items and the DIY projects have been a lot of fun. We also purchased bikes . . . my husband’s
idea for exercise . . . ughh . . . but actually, it proved to be a good outdoor
workout. As for upcoming projects, I am
in charge of organizing an extended family event this year where we will donate
our time to prepare, cook and serve food for those in need.