2024 Solo and Small-Firm Conference

Date: Feb 24, 2024 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Crowne Plaza, Edison

Member Price: $195

Non-Member Price: $244

Section Price: $183

Event Code: I000124

Areas of Law: Solo & Small Firm

Earn up to 6.6 credits, including 0.6 in Ethics and 1.2 in Diversity! (More Information)




Randall P. Brett, Esq.
Law Office of Randall P. Brett, Plainsboro
Catherine Finnerty, Esq.
Goldman & Beslow, LLC, East Orange
is an associate with Goldman & Beslow, LLC with offices in East Orange, Newark, Paterson and Jersey City, New Jersey. She devotes a substantial portion of her practice to bankruptcy and debtor-creditor negotiations and handles all issues pertaining to Chapter 7, Chapter 13, foreclosure defense and mediation, debt collection defense, debtor-creditor negotiations and consumer representation. In addition to bankruptcy and debtor-creditor law, Ms. Finnerty has experience in real estate matters, simple Wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and municipal court matters involving traffic tickets, disorderly persons offenses, and violations of municipal ordinances. She also represents clients in residential real estate transactions, and has experience helping property owners who desire to sell their property via short sale, are at risk of foreclosure, or who cannot make their mortgage payments.

Admitted to practice law in New Jersey and New York, and before the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, Ms. Finnerty has been a member of the American and New York State Bar Associations and the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. She has been a member of the NJSBA Bankruptcy Law and Women in the Profession Sections, and is Secretary of the Solo and Small Firm Section. Ms. Finnerty is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the American Bankruptcy Institute. She has also volunteered with South Jersey Legal Services, Legal Services of New Jersey and the Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, and represents clients throughout their entire bankruptcy cases.

Ms. Finnerty received her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was the recipient of the New York Building Industry Scholarship and the Eugene Raskin Prizer for Spanish. She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a member of the Law Review and the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Torts.
Laura M. Fisher, Esq.
Law Office of Laura M. Fisher, LLC, Jersey City
Timothy F. McGoughran, Esq.
Immediate Past President, NJSBA
Law Office of Timothy F. McGoughran LLC, Ocean
is the founding Partner of the Law Office of Timothy F. McGoughran, LLC in Ocean, New Jersey. He concentrates his practice exclusively in family law and handles matters related to divorce, custody, alimony, domestic violence, adoption, prenuptial agreements, parenting rights, same-sex marriage and other issues. He has also served as a Municipal Court Judge in Ocean Township and is a former Municipal Prosecutor for the Township.

Mr. McGoughran is admitted to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and before the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and the United States Supreme Court. A member of the New Jersey State, Pennsylvania, Ocean County and Monmouth Bar Associations, he is President of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Past Chair of the NJSBA Family Law Section Executive Committee, serves on the Executive Committee of the Association’s Military and Veterans Affairs Section and is a member of the Legal Education Committee. Mr. McGoughran is also Past President of the Monmouth Bar Association and Past Co-Chair of the Monmouth Bar Association’s Family Law Committee. He has been a Trustee for Monmouth County on the NJSBA’s Board of Trustees and has co-chaired the Legislation and Meeting Arrangements and Program Committees.

In 2010 and 2013 Mr. McGoughran was the recipient of the Distinguished Legislative Service Award bestowed by the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the Monmouth Bar Association Family Law Committee presented him with the Family Lawyer of the Year Award in 2012. He is a regular lecturer on law and ethics topics.

Mr. McGoughran received his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and his J.D. from Seton Hall Law School. He was a law clerk to the Honorable Robert W. O’Hagan, JSC.
Thomas J. Perry, Esq.
Hutt Shimanowitz & Plocker P.C., Woodbridge
Alice M. Plastoris, Esq.
Law Office of Alice M. Plastoris, Esq., Morristown
Robyn E. Ross, Esq.
Ross & Calandrillo, LLC, Mountainside
Certified as a Matrimonial Law Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, is a founder of Ross & Calandrillo, LLC in Mountainside, New Jersey, where she practices exclusively in family law. She is also an approved family law mediator pursuant to the New Jersey Court Rule.

Admitted to practice in New Jersey, Ms. Ross is a member of the New Jersey State and Union County Bar Associations, and is Past Co-Chair of the Essex County Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee. She is a trained volunteer for the Jersey Battered Women’s Service, has served on the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Character and is a former member of the New Jersey Supreme Court District XB Ethics Committee. She has provided service to the Early Settlement Panel programs in Essex and Morris counties and is the recipient of several honors.

Ms. Ross received her B.S. from The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College) and her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law.


Hon. Andrew M. Baron, ALJ
Hon. Daniel H. Brown, J.S.C.
Middlesex County, New Brunswick
Hon. Sohail Mohammed, P.J.Cr.
Hon. Bertram C. Okpokwasili, JMC
The Law Office of Bertram C. Okpokwasili, Jersey City
Hon. Marcia Silva
Silva & Stahl, LLC, East Brunswick
Hon. Karen M. Williams, U.S.D.J.
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
Kelly Castor, Esq.
Castor Law LLC, Hasbrouck Heights
Greg Cooke
USI Affinity, New York
Eric Daniels
Sales Director, LEAP Legal Software, Jersey City
William E. Denver, Esq.
The Denver Law Firm LLC, Red Bank
Allen I. Gorski, Esq.
Gorski & Knowlton PC, Hamilton Twp
Ayesha Krishnan Hamilton, Esq.
Chair Elect, Women in the Profession Section
Hamilton Law Firm PC, Princeton
Angela Hooper-Menifield, Esq.
Law Offices of Angela Hooper
Eddie Howard
Sr. Director of Strategy and Segment Management, Lexis Nexus
W. Lois Kahagi, Esq.
W.Lois Kahagi Family Law Services, Iselin
Stanley Louissaint
Principal and Founder, Fluid Designs
Christopher M. Rodriguez
R&R Legal Advisors LLC, Montclair
Alix R. Rubin, Esq.
Rubin Employment Law, Fairfield
Asaad K. Siddiqi, Esq.
NJSBA Board of Trustees
Trenk Isabel Siddiqi & Shahdanian P.C., Livingston
Erdal Turnacioglu, Esq.
Erdal Employment Law, LLC, Verona
Anthony C. Valenziano, Esq.
Sherman Atlas Sylvester & Stamelman LLP, Florham Park
Jenna VanLeeuwen, CFP
Aligning Wealth, LLC
Howard B. Weber, Esq.
Law Office of Howard B. Weber, Brooklyn
Mary C. Williams
Paralegal, Licensed Title Producer & Notary, Superior Paralegal Services, LLC, East Brunswick
Emmanuel Xidias
Account Director, Bigger Fish Marketing
Cheryl Marks Young
Creative Blueprints for Leaders

The Solo and Small-Firm Conference is back and better than ever. Join the NJSBA/NJICLE and your esteemed colleagues and friends for the CLE event of the year, with networking, fun and CLE seminars especially designed for solo and small-firm attorneys.

This year’s conference features track programming! The day kicks off with a round table of judges who were formerly solo and small-firm lawyers, with tips and ideas for how to set goals high and achieve them. Then, choose programs in one of three tracks – Hanging Your Shingle, Honing Your Skills or Scale and Grow – with basic, intermediate and advanced topics that will meet your needs.

The day ends with a segment on cultural sensitivity for both inside and outside the office and, of course, a cocktail reception that celebrates solo and small firm attorneys.

Register today to stay on track for excellence in 2024!

Program Agenda:

  • 9:00 | Welcome, Introduction and Overview of Topics - Robyn E. Ross, Esq., Chair, NJSBA Solo and Small-Firm Section 
  • 9:05 | Limitless Opportunities – From Solo and Small Firm to the Bench
    Aim high! A panel of federal, state and executive branch judges discuss what they learned as solo and small firm attorneys that helped them achieve success.
    - Moderator: Timothy F. McGoughran, Esq.
    - Speakers: Hon. Karen M. Williams, U.S.D.J.; Hon. Sohail Mohammed, P.J.Cr; Hon. Daniel H. Brown, JSC; Hon. Andrew Baron, ALJ; Hon. Bertram C. Okpokwasili, JMC
  • 10:35 | Break
  • 10:45 | Choose from Three Tracks
    • Starting and Managing a New Solo Practice
      You have the legal knowledge and some clients, but how do you run the business side of the firm to make it successful? This session will focus on how to capably manage your business and personal cash flow, important accounting basics for every law firm owner and operational tips for running an effective office. 
      - Moderator: Randall P. Brett, Esq.
      - Speakers: Christopher M. Rodriguez, Esq.; Jenna VanLeeuwen, CFP
    • Honing Your Skills – Cybersecurity and Your Practices
      Keeping your clients’ information secure is the top priority for every lawyer. Hear the latest on cybersecurity for firms, including the most recent scams and how to defend against them. You’ll also hear about the importance of cybersecurity insurance, what is covered and what is not. 
      - Moderator: Catherine Finnerty, Esq.
      - Speakers: Greg Cooke; Stanley Louissaint
    • Scale and Grow – Working Efficiently 
      How do you successfully reach the next level in growing your firm? This panel will focus on how to do it efficiently. Topics include the top three considerations when scaling and growing, how to develop a vision and a mission, what kind of metrics you should be looking at when thinking about growth and the hiring conundrum – whom to hire first and how to decide on salary and benefit. 
      - Moderator: William E. Denver, Esq.
      - Speakers: Laura M. Fisher, Esq.; Ayesha Krishnan Hamilton, Esq.; Eric Daniels 
  • 12:15 | Lunch and Solo and Small-Firm Attorney of the Year
  • 1:15 | Choose from Three Tracks - Note: each will include 30 minutes of ethics
    • Hanging Your Shingle – Virtual Lawyering
      Virtual lawyering affects many areas of your practice, from presenting your case to supervising your employees. This segment will focus on how to best present your case virtually, how to manage a virtual team, prevent inadvertent attorney-client privilege breaches, important billing practices and ethics rules to keep in mind when representing clients in litigation. 
      - Moderator: Erdal Turnacioglu, Esq.
      - Speakers: Allen I. Gorski, Esq.; W. Lois Kahagi, Esq.; Mary C. Williams
    • Scale and Grow – The Latest in Marketing and Networking
      This experienced panel will present tips for how to grow your practice both to gain new clients and physically expand. Topics include how to make important connections, how to promote yourself while staying within the ethics rules, tips for a more effective website, some impactful information on how to get more space and more support staff and how integrity leads to success. 
      - Moderator: Alice M. Plastoris, Esq.
      - Speakers: Cheryl Marks Young; Howard B. Weber, Esq.; Emmanuel Xidias
    • Honing Skills – AI and Your Practice
      What is AI and how can you use it to be a more effective lawyer and better business owner? This panel will cover the pros, the cons and the how to’s. 
      - Moderator: Thomas J. Perry, Esq. 
      - Speakers: Kelly Castor, Esq.; Eddie Howard; Anthony C. Valenziano, Esq.
  • 2:45 | Break
  • 3:00 | Cultural Sensitivity from the Office to the Courtroom and Everything in Between
    Cultural sensitivity leads to more effective lawyering and a better functioning law firm. This segment will cover some easy steps that will enhance your solo and small firm practice. 
    - Moderator: Robyn E. Ross, Esq.
    - Speakers: Hon. Marcia Silva; Angela Hooper-Menifield, Esq.; Asaad K. Siddiqi, Esq.; Alix R. Rubin, Esq.
  • 4:00 | Adjourn and Cocktail Reception begins

CLE Credits
NJ CLE:NJ CLE information: This program has been approved by the Board on Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for 6.6 hours of total CLE credit, including 0.6 in Ethics and 1.2 in Diversity (Full Credits Available: NJ Beginner Diversity : 1.2, NJ Ethics: 0.6, NJ General: 4.8).
NY CLE (t&nt):NY Diversity Non-Transitional: 1.0, NY Ethics Transitional: 0.5, NY Practice Management Transitional: 4.5
PA CLE:PA Ethics Credit: 1.5, PA Substantive Credit: 4.0
New: No PACLE fee is required for this program. To earn PA CLE credits, a valid PA Bar ID number must be entered into the CLE form provided after attending the program.

Important Information About Our Events, Meetings, and More:
To secure your spot and receive important updates about our events, meetings, and other gatherings, such as schedule changes, remember to register in advance.

Cancellation and Refund Policy:
If you need to cancel your registration and are not transferring to another program or date, please submit a written request to us at least three business days before the event, meeting, or gathering. You will receive a refund minus a $20.00 cancellation fee. No refunds or registration changes will be issued within three business days of the event, meeting, or gathering.

Stay Informed:
Registered participants will be notified of any schedule changes. For updates regarding inclement weather, please check your email or visit NJSBA.com.

Media Consent:
By participating in our events, meetings, or other gatherings, you agree to be photographed and/or recorded. Additionally, all media content captured during these gatherings will become the property of NJSBA. This content, including your image and name, may be used in our future promotional materials without additional consent or compensation.

Scholarship & Financial Assistance Policy:
Read our Scholarship & Financial Assistance Policy and submit an Application here: https://njsba.com/njicle/cle-programs/scholarship/



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