“Zoom Lunch with a Judge” is a series presented by the Bronx Women’s Bar Association. In this virtual event, the association wanted to bridge the gap between its membership and the bench allowing for an informal conversational setting to get to know jurists. On Sept. 27, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the association featured the Honorable Wilma Guzman, a jurist in the Supreme Court, Bronx County, Civil Division. Carol E. Malcolm, board member of the Bronx Women’s Bar Association moderated the conversation.
Guzman was born and raised in the borough of the Bronx — the only daughter of six siblings — to Puerto Rican parents and attended New York City public schools. Upon graduation from high school, Guzman began full-time employment as a legal secretary for a personal injury law firm. While there, she continued her education and received a Bachelor of Science degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, simultaneously raising two daughters and working full time. Due to her close association with the trial attorneys of the firm, and her assistance in the preparation of trials, her interests in the law flourished, leading to Guzman’s decision to attend St. John’s University School of Law at night, graduating with a Juris Doctorate in 1986. She is admitted to practice law in New York state and New Jersey. Guzman has had the distinction of returning to the firm she had worked as a legal secretary and para legal, as an attorney assigned to their Asbestos Unit and eventually given the opportunity to try cases.
Guzman was a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an association of trial attorneys throughout the U.S., who have achieved a verdict of $1 million or more — an indication of the exceptional experience, skill and diligence Guzman would later bring to the bench. She achieved her dream of becoming a judge in 1998 when she was elected to the Civil Court of the City of New York and later elected as a Supreme Court justice of the State of New York and presently sits in Bronx County.
Service and mentorship have been an important part of Guzman’s career. Guzman serves as a mentor to high school and college students. Most recently she volunteered as a mentor with the Judicial Mentor Program of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission on Minorities, aimed at providing guidance to attorneys on the path to becoming a judge. She has served as vice president and member of the executive board of the Puerto Rican Bar Association and presently serves on the Gender Fairness Committee for the Twelfth Judicial District.