The Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey (ABWL) has presented Paulette Brown, Edwards Wildman's chief diversity officer and a partner in the firm's Labor & Employment practice, with the Honorable Renee Jones Weeks Past Presidents Award of Excellence. Brown was honored for her work in the cause of equality for minorities and women in law. A founder and past president of ABWL, Judge Weeks was active for 36 years in the legal community, the last 20 on the Superior Court bench. She was the first African-American woman to preside in New Jersey's General Equity and Probate Court as well as Essex County's first African-American appointed to that court. In addition, she was a co-incorporator of the Garden State Bar Association and the first African-American trustee of the Essex County Bar Association.
Brown has engaged in the private practice of law, focusing on all facets of labor and employment and commercial litigation, for the past 30 years. She has successfully defended employers in cases involving discrimination on the basis of age, sex, marital status, sexual harassment, disability, race and national origin. Brown is a frequent lecturer on labor and employment issues and issues related to electronic discovery and serves as 2nd vice chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is a certified mediator for the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, and a member of the Employment AAA Panel.
As a result of her charitable efforts and work with various bar associations, Brown has received numerous awards, including the Cora T. Walker Legacy Award from the National Bar Association; the Medal of Honor Award from the New Jersey Bar Foundation; the Equal Justice Award from the National Bar Association; the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association; the Award of Excellence from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; the Robert L. Carter Legacy Award by the New Jersey chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and the Gertrude Rush Award from the National Bar Association. She has also received the Professional Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism. Brown earned her law degree from Seton Hall University, School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from Howard University.
ABWL is the first women’s bar association in the state of New Jersey. The most illustrious women in the bar and on the bench of New Jersey are its founders, members and supporters. ABWL is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes and encourages the participation of women, particularly African-American women, in the field of law. For over 30 years, ABWL has served as a link in the strategy to gain legal, educational, economic and social empowerment to enhance the quality of life for African-American women, their families and communities.