Bergen County Attorney Captures Prestigious Title for Compassionate Work on Behalf of People and Their Animal Companions
ORADELL, NJ • November 15, 2012 – Gina Calogero, a leading attorney in family law and animal law, was recently awarded the coveted Humanitarian Achievement Award from Seton Hall Law School’s Peter W. Rodino Jr. Society. Calogero was recognized for her work in animal law, specifically related to fighting for pet custody rights, as well as her representation of animal organizations and indigent clients handled pro bono or at reduced rates.
The Humanitarian Achievement Award is a prestigious award given by the Peter W. Rodino Jr. Society, an Italian-American organization that engages in philanthropic activities that embody compassion, honor and wisdom. Annual awards for excellence have been presented to professionals of Italian-American descent who personify the values that Congressman Rodino exemplified through his own altruistic efforts. This year, Calogero was named as the recipient of the Humanitarian Achievement Award.
“Receiving the Humanitarian Achievement Award was a humbling experience,” says Calogero, who has been working on behalf of both human and animal clients since 1993. “I just do what I love and try my hardest, but I don’t expect to be congratulated. Getting an award from an eminent law school truly validated the field of animal law. What was previously considered a fringe interest is now a recognized and noteworthy area of practice.”
It was specifically Calogero’s work on the landmark pet custody case of Houseman v. Dare that garnered her the accolade. In the landmark case, a trial judge had originally awarded a woman money damages instead of shared custody of her pet pug which her ex-fiancé refused to share. Through Calogero’spro-bono appeal of the judge’s decision, both her client and her ex-fiancé were awarded shared possession of Dexter the pug in alternating five-week periods. Calogero paved the way to have New Jersey family courts consider animals more than just material possessions.
Calogero was presented with the Humanitarian Achievement Award at the Celebration of Excellence Banquet held on October 17, 2012 at the Newark Club. Past recipients of the honor include: Judge Madeline Cox Arleo, Professor Ronald Riccio, Father Nicholas Gengaro of SHLS, MarioGabelli of Gabelli, LLP and the Honorable Michael Casale.
Gina Calogero founded her law firm in 1993. Her areas of practice include Animal Law, Divorce/Family Law, Domestic Violence, MediationandTraffic Violations. She takes pride in providing compassionate, professional advice for businesses, families and their companion animals. Calogero is an alumnus of Douglas College of Rutgers University and Rutgers Law School Newark. In the past, Calogero has been recognized by the Bergenfield Women’s Club, Italian American Police Society, Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Emerson Environmental Commission for her tireless efforts on behalf of the environment, domestic violence victims and animals.
She is a member of Women Lawyers in Bergen, the Bergen County Bar Association and the Animal Law Committee and Family Law Section of the New Jersey Bar Association. She is the author of “Pitfalls for Pitbulls,” which was published in the August 2005 edition of New Jersey Lawyer magazine. She has also appeared on both The Today Show and Eyewitness News First at Four.