Intertwined, Bound Together, Forging Strength
By: Claudia A. Reis, Esq., President
Just like the workers that we represent, we succeed when we come together to overcome the significant resources that employers and their high-paid henchmen have at their disposal.
It is with a sense of great responsibility, honor, pride, and gratitude that I took on the responsibilities as President of NELA-NJ. NELA-NJ, the first and only organization in New Jersey devoted entirely to furthering the rights of our State’s workers, is comprised of some of New Jersey’s best legal minds whose professional credits are outweighed only by their personal accomplishments and selflessness. We are an organization comprised of individuals who care deeply about and work tirelessly for people and ideals rather than false constructs or individual financial gain at the expense of decency, fairness, and justice. Our members work day and night to right individual wrongs in an attempt to foster workplace equality and create a better environment for all New Jersey workers.
I am often inspired by many of the extraordinary lawyers who comprise our membership. I am struck by both the tenacity of our members when faced with unfairness and by their refusal to throw up their arms in surrender even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. Their professional accomplishments, breadth of knowledge, and ability to construct complex and logical (yet somehow overlooked) new propositions of law is awe inspiring.
Our members have been involved in the seminal employment cases as well as worker-friendly legislation in this State. Through smart and creative lawyering, we have created new causes of action, means by which to promote accountability, and laws that protect and enhance workers’ rights and safety. We have overcome great obstacles to prove the existence of workplace wrongdoing when the powers that be – those with the lion’s share of the resources and economic power– do everything within their authority to cover up injustice. We have done so and continue to do so even though most of our members are solo practitioners or attorneys in small firms who, on a daily basis, battle against adversaries from large firms with seemingly infinite resources, armies of support staff, and virtually boundless litigation budgets. Our members are able to effectuate systemic change one workplace at a time because we do so with the wisdom, strength, competence, power, and support of our entire membership. In that way, each of us is like an individual strand in a rope – individually we are capable but out strength and power stems from our association.
It is with that understanding in the forefront of my mind that I take on the leadership of this great organization. In the end, my hope, efforts, and focus for the next two years will be to collaborate and ultimately improve our individual advocacy through a multifaceted approach that focuses on group intelligence and a unified understanding that our collective goals foster and nurture our individual success. Individually we are smart, zealous, and worthy advocates. Collectively we are indomitable.
Claudia A. Reis, is a member of the law firm of Lenzo & Reis, LLC in Morristown, New Jersey and focuses her practice on the representation of individuals in employment disputes. She can be contacted at:
Lenzo & Reis, LLC