Women Judges Reflect on their Careers in Discussion at Columbia Law School

New York Judges Sheila Abdus-Salaam '77, Kathy King, and Lisa Sokoloff Take Part in Discussion as Members of the National Association of Women Judges

New York, October 6, 2014—Distinguished Columbia Law School alumna and New York State Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam ’77 joined two of her colleagues from the judiciary for a Sept. 23 discussion about their careers in the law.

Abdus-Salaam, Kathy J. King, a New York City Civil Court judge who has been an acting Supreme Court judge in Kings County since 2009, and Lisa A. Sokoloff, a New York City Civil Court judge who sits by designation in the New York City Criminal Court, addressed some of the challenges they faced as they began their careers in an often male-dominated field.
Abdus-Salaam said when she began her career she was often the only woman, black woman, or black person in a room. King, who is the president-elect of the National Association of Women Judges, New York Chapter, said students shouldn’t second-guess their skills; she was elected a judge despite the fact that she didn’t have a significant background in litigation prior to taking the bench. And Sokoloff, who started her career as a domestic relations attorney, said pursuing interests in the law—whatever they may be—is key to standing out.
(l-r) Judges Sheila Abdus-Salaam '77, Lisa A. Sokoloff, and Kathy J. King discuss their careers.
For men and women, networking is an important part of charting a career path, the judges said.
“Relationships are very, very important,” Sokoloff said. “If that’s not your strength, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve.”
The talk was organized by Anne Green, the director of academic counseling and judicial programming in the Law School’s Office of Student Services.