2020 AWARDS OF DISTINCTION BREAKFAST

Each year the Weinberg Center recognizes the contributions of two extraordinary individuals dedicated to change and justice.

2020 HONOREES

Marilyn Chinitz

Partner, Matrimonial & Family Law Group
Blank Rome LLP

CHAMPION FOR CHANGE

Marilyn Chinitz is a formidable advocate for her clients, guiding them through some of the most challenging transitions in their lives. She concentrates her practice in matrimonial law, particularly high-net-worth divorce actions. Marilyn is a skillful negotiator whose numerous high-profile and celebrity cases have received national and international attention. She has more than 35 years of experience in every facet of family law, including:

  • Complex divorce actions involving diverse transactional matters
  • High-conflict custody cases
  • International custody cases including the return of abducted children in proceedings filed under the Hague Convention
  • Premarital agreements and postnuptial agreements
  • Same-sex divorce/dissolution matters
  • Paternity cases

Known for her straightforward, creative, and responsive approach to representing her clients, Marilyn is as successful in litigation as in settlement negotiations. She has argued winning appeals in the appellate courts of New York, and in trials before the family court and the supreme courts of New York.

When high-profile marital matters or recent changes in the law make headlines, Marilyn is a sought-after commentator. She is often quoted in print, and has appeared on local and national television and radio shows including:

  • NBC’s The Today Show
  • ABC News 20/20
  • Inside Edition
  • HLN’s Headline News
  • Hollywood Heat

Outside the Firm

Marilyn is the proud mother of two accomplished adult children. She loves cycling, and participates in fundraising rides and organizes travel to international destinations.

Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson

Deputy Chief Administrative
Judge for Justice Initiatives

CHAMPION FOR JUSTICE

Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson In 2017, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Mendelson was appointed to head the newly expanded Office for Justice Initiatives, tasked with ensuring meaningful access to justice for all New Yorkers in civil, criminal and family courts, regardless of income, background, or special needs. To serve this mission, the Office for Justice Initiatives administers pro bono attorney and other volunteer programs, self-help services, Help Centers, and many other resources designed to serve unrepresented litigants. Additionally, Judge Mendelson directs several juvenile and family justice initiatives, including the Office of Court Administration’s Child Welfare Court Improvement Project, and the implementation of the seminal new law raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State.

Judge Mendelson also remains active on the bench, conducting pro se trials in correctional facilities in her capacity as a Court of Claims judge, and serves in Supreme Criminal Term, NY County. Previously, she presided over the Youth Part in New York County Supreme Court, hearing cases of youth charged as adults.

After representing clients in New York City Housing Court, Supreme Court and Family Court, Judge Mendelson joined the court system as a Court Attorney-Referee in Queens County Family Court. She later became a Family Court Judge in 2003, Queens County Supervising Family Court Judge in 2008, and a year later, was elevated to Administrative Judge of all New York City Family Courts.

Judge Mendelson, a graduate of CUNY Law School whose motto is “Law in the Service of Human Needs”, also holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, and has been an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hofstra Law School. She maintains active membership and leadership positions in several bar association and court committees involving criminal, family and juvenile justice.