FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 22, 2023
The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ) congratulates long-time members the Honorable Raquel Vallejo and Wendy Reek, and former Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor, Leonardo A. Hernandez, on their confirmations as judges of the New Jersey Superior Court. The HBA-NJ also congratulates the Honorable Yolanda C. Rodriguez, J.S.C., and the Honorable Lisa Miralles Walsh, A.J.S.C. on their receipt of tenure. Notably, Judge Miralles Walsh is the first Latina to serve as Assignment Judge in Union County.
Judge Vallejo is a former trustee of the HBA-NJ, having served on the board for over 9 years in the roles of Union County Trustee and Trustee-at-Large. She has extensive experience litigating complex and contested matrimonial and family law issues. She dedicated much of her practice to advocacy for victims and the wrongfully accused. Judge Vallejo is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Attorney, an achievement held by only 0.5% of attorneys in the State. While appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Vallejo praise her 90-year-old mother in attendance at the hearing, remarking: “I was raised by a single mother who taught me the value of education, hard work, perseverance, and determination. Thanks to her sacrifices, I’m living proof that the American dream is attainable.” She will serve in the Superior Court of New Jersey for Union County.
Ms. Wendy Reek is a skilled trial attorney, having tried more than 70 jury trials to verdict. She is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a civil trial attorney, a distinction held by less than 2% of attorneys in New Jersey. Ms. Reek was honored last month by the Middlesex County Trial Lawyers Association as the 2023 recipient of the Herman L. Breitkopf Award. She will serve in the Superior Court of New Jersey for Somerset County.
Mr. Leonardo A. Hernandez was an Assistant Prosecutor with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. At the Hudson Prosecutor’s Office, he oversaw homicide investigations and prosecuted complex and high-profile criminal cases. He will serve in the Superior Court of New Jersey for Essex County.HBA-NJ President, Jacqueline Peña stated: “The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey commends Governor Murphy and his administration for their commitment to increasing the diversity of our great State’s bench. The HBA-NJ is proud to have endorsed Judges Vallejo, Reek, and Hernandez for judgeships. They are all respected members of the Bar, who undoubtedly will continue their dedication to excellence as members of the judiciary. We implore the Governor to continue to work with the HBA-NJ to identify Latino judicial candidates so that our judiciary can reflect the diversity of our communities.”
About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.
The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.
Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101
For press inquiries, please contact: Jacqueline S. Peña, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Jacqueline.Pena@bowmanandbrooke.com, and Press Secretaries, Janett Smyth, Esq. at JSmyth@hoaglandlongo.com and Maria Marrero, Esq. at M.Marrero22@gmail.com
For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org.