POMPANO BEACH, FL, February 23, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Marilyn K. Askin with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Ms. Askin celebrates more than 50 years’ experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
In 2008, the Elder and Disability Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association created the annual Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement Award. She was its first recipient in recognition of her role in the development of Elder Law as a self-contained area of law. She began this role in 1977 when she became an attorney for Essex-Newark Legal Services to provide free legal services for persons over the age of 60 through a grant from the Older Americans Act. Her unit dealt with legal problems of more than 1,000 clients a year. She trained retired attorneys so that fewer clients were turned away, trained community residents as paralegals for clients needing access to public benefits, and saw the need for the private bar to become engaged. When she approached the Bar Association for creation of a Law and Aging Committee in 1983, she was told by the leaders that a viable Trusts and Estates Section could handle older adults. Undeterred, she convinced the Institute for Continuing Legal Education to promote a program, which she called, “Elder Law: It Ain’t Just Wills” repeated throughout New Jersey to overflow audiences.
She also obtained a Federal Older Americans Act grant to finance the first Elder Law seminar at Rutgers Law School in Newark in 1984 where she taught law students for 28 years and saw several of them embrace the practice upon graduation. During her first year, her students submitted to the Legislature the first living will legislation in New Jersey. They also promulgated legal proposals concerning guardianships, the legal problems of aging athletes, problems of aging prisoners, and created a program with private bar assistance to help aging veterans. She also taught seminars at Seton Hall Law School.
She entered private practice in 1993 as counsel to a Morristown firm but left to explore new means to represent vulnerable adults in the courts through the Law Office of Marilyn Askin. She promoted seminars to interest the private bar in suits against nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which private lawyers had eschewed since they saw negligence as the basis of those suits in which compensatory damages were minimal, based on the life of a non-wage earning plaintiff. In her own practice, she used contract law, consumer fraud, and even RICO as a basis for suits but while such suits were lucrative, she could not make good law because the defendants settled before trial. At that point, she was solicited by AARP to become its president, and after six years as its spokesperson, then became its chief legislative advocate, a position she held until 2015 when she retired to Florida.
Her work as a lobbyist for AARP finally fulfilled the reason she went to law school in the first place – to change the world. When she handed a legislator a proposal, the legislator often asked, “Tell me one good reason to promote this bill” and she could respond: “One point three million – the number of members we have in New Jersey – and we vote.” She found walking the halls of Trenton for AARP the perfect vehicle to secure social justice for older and vulnerable adults. As a result, she received 25 pens from New Jersey Governors when they signed statutes she had shepherded through the Legislature.
Before creating her niche in Elder Law, she worked in Washington, DC as staff counsel to the Public Documents Commission, which was created by Congress after President Nixon attempted to remove his papers from the White House following his resignation. The 17-member Blue Ribbon Commission, headed by President Eisenhower’s former Attorney General Herbert Brownell, was charged with determining ownership, access, control and disposition of papers generated by Federal officials. Under former Solicitor General J. Lee Rankin., Ms. Askin’s role was to research the public’s right to know under the First Amendment against the need for secrecy and the right of privacy of federal officials. Her knowledge in these areas led her to spend six years on the Board of Directors of the NJ ACLU from 1989 to 1995.
Her road to creating her niche in Elder Law was a rocky one.
She entered Rutgers Law School in Newark in 1967, a month after the summer’s uprising in Newark, as a mother of a 4-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, and joined seven other women in a class of 150, which dwindled from drop-outs during the Vietnam War. Adequate day care was non-existent but living at the Colonnades in Newark, she was helped by a supportive mother who traveled from NYC, and her husband, Frank Askin, already a professor at the Law School, who would feed the kids at night and put them to bed while she studied in the library.
Upon graduation in June of 1970, she was unable to practice her profession because she had to find child-care for her three children, now 7, 6 and 3. She needed a job with flexibility and accepted an offer to become the New Jersey Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress. As such, she had her own office on Commerce Street in Newark and was able to bring her youngest and a television set to the office. As Ms. Askin describes it, “At 11 AM, my secretary would take Danny to lunch; at noon, I would walk my son to the law school where my husband, Frank, had an office, and Frank’s secretary would take our son to lunch, and then Frank would return him to my office.” This went on for several months until Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then a professor at the law school, came to the rescue. She offered her the housekeeper she had legally-sponsored before she found a Swedish au pair for her two children while in Sweden on a research project. Finally, Ms. Askin began her legal career for the American Jewish Congress. She initiated suits protecting church-state relationships, e.g. Public Funds for Public Schools v. Cahill, and anti-discriminatory suits in housing. To keep her immersed in the practice of law, she worked nights on appeals for the Public Defender.
Women Lawyers Association recognized her advocacy for women and women lawyers in 2019 naming her a trailblazer for women lawyers. She was a cofounder of Essex County NOW (National Organization for Women) and was president for four years of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association from 1997 to 2000, having served from 1989 to 1991 as president of Essex County Women Lawyers and for 10 years on the Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts.
A passionate educator, Ms. Askin began teaching as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University Law School in 1984, where she remained for 28 years. During her tenure, she was responsible for instituting elder law as part of its curriculum, and taught various seminars in both elder law and social welfare legislation. She also briefly taught at Seton Hall University Law School in 1992. Contributing extensively to Rutgers University, Ms. Askin and her husband, Frank, who also distinguished himself as the founding director of the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic, gifted more than one-million dollars to the university’s law school to establish an endowment to promote its groundbreaking clinical program. A wing at the law school bears the name – Frank and Marilyn Askin Legal Clinic.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Askin found success as a journalist for The Record in Hackensack, New Jersey, between 1956 and 1962. She has also worked as a high school English teacher in Newark, New Jersey while her husband went to law school. As an author, Ms. Askin published several informative books, including “The ABC’s of Elder Law” in 1990, “Elder Law Made Easy!” in 1995 and “Long Term Care Planning: The Basics and Beyond” in 1996. She was also a special editor for New Jersey Lawyer’s “Elder Law” during 2002 and has continued to work on the editorial board of the New Jersey Lawyer Magazine since 1987.
Ms. Askin’s countless other efforts have included serving on various committees pertinent to her career. She was active on the ethics committee for the Supreme Court District V-B between 1985 and 1989, the Supreme Court committee on relations with media between 1990 and 1995 and the Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts between 1995 and 2005. Moreover, she was also responsible for implementing elder law programs for practicing lawyers through the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education. Lecturing on behalf of the Institute, she hosted more than 90 seminars between 1983 and 2005. Ms. Askin served as an arbitrator for the Essex County Vicinage from its inception in 1991 until 1995.
Throughout the course of her distinguished career, Ms. Askin’s reputation earned her local recognition by her peers in being named as a “Mother of New Jersey Elder Law.” She also received recognition by New Jersey Governor Jim Florio. Proclaiming May 12 as Law Day for Senior Citizens in 1993, he wanted to make elder citizens more aware of the legal services available to them through the Older Americans Act. Honored at its first seminar, Mr. Florio recognized her contributions in the development of elder law as a specialty in the state of New Jersey. She also was publicly acclaimed by Governors McGreevey, Corzine and Codey as well as Senator Frank Lautenberg.
As a community leader, Ms. Askin has led various initiatives — as a member on the Child Placement Review Board in Essex County, on the board of trustees of Chrill Care, a nonprofit home health care agency, and on the Board for Meals on Wheels of the Oranges.
Ms. Askin received a Bachelor of Science in education, cum laude, at City College of New York in 1954, followed by postgraduate coursework at the University of California at Berkeley and at the Russian Institute at Columbia University. Several years later, she entered Rutgers Law School in Newark where she earned her J.D. in 1970. Ms. Askin has since been admitted to practice law by the New Jersey and New York Bar Associations, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Eminently qualified in her area of expertise, she was among the first five attorneys in New Jersey who passed the first-ever exam to become a CELA, a certified elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. A highly respected member of several professional organizations, Ms. Askin is a member and past president of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, where she was recently honored with a 2019 Trailblazer Award. Other memberships to her credit include the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Essex County Bar Association, the New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union and the American Bar Association, where she served in numerous capacities. Most notably, however, Ms. Askin is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), where she founded what is now the elder and disability law section, which she chaired for many years. In recognition of her services, the NJSBA established the annual Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Ms. Askin has been the recipient of numerous prestigious honors for her expertise and leadership. In 2000, she was among the first recipients of the Professional Lawyer of the Millennium Year Award, which the New Jersey State Bar instituted in the year 2000. She was bestowed with the Distinguished Service Award by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education in 2002. New Jersey’s Trial Lawyers Bar – the Association for Justice – presented her with its Presidential Award to Advocate of the Year in 2009. She also received the Salute to the Policy Makers Award by the Executive Women of New Jersey in 2004, the Rutgers University Law School Public Service Award and the Rutgers’s University Alumni Association’s Fannie Bear Besser Award for Public Service in 2005. Likewise, she received an Advocacy Award from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys in 2008. She was also the first awardee of the Essex County Bar Association’s Community Service Award in 1982, and in 1993 was recognized by the New Jersey Division on Aging and the New Jersey State Bar Association as “the Outstanding Provider of Legal Assistance to Older People in recognition of her contributions to the development of Elder Law in New Jersey.”
A celebrated Marquis listee, Ms. Askin has been showcased in over a dozen editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law and Who’s Who of American Women.
Marilyn Klein was born in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of Simon Klein, a baker, and Lena Merker Klein, a seamstress, both immigrants from Poland. She attended Herman Ridder Jr. High School where she got an early start in journalism as editor of its award-winning newspaper. She and her friend, Phyllis Hurwitz, later known as Shari Lewis, were soloists in the Glee Club.
She took two trains on the subway from the Bronx to Manhattan to attend Hunter College H. S. in Manhattan where she won the city-wide Latin Award but was disciplined when she wore slacks to school on a cold day. She spent the day in the Assistant Principal’s office, pending the arrival of her mother, who never came as she could not leave her job at the sweat shop. Marilyn ended up transferring to James Monroe H.S., her local high school, in order to skip a term so that she could enter CCNY earlier to exercise her political advocacy. In high school, her close friend was Stanley Milgram, who became a social psychologist, best known for his infamous obedience experiments demonstrating how far people will go to obey authority.
At City College during the Korean War and when its Cinderella Basketball team was scandalized, she ran for student council on a radical slate, DSD – Defer Students from the Draft – and lost. She gave up politics for chess and became a long-time friend of Larry Evans, an American chess grandmaster and later five-times winner of the U.S. Chess Championship. When her grades began to suffer because playing chess was full-time, she abandoned chess for duplicate bridge and she and her husband Frank are now Silver Life Masters.
After CCNY, she studied Anglo-Saxon at U.C. Berkeley and then traveled to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. While in Paris, she became an editor of the Paris-American Kiosk, a magazine distributed primarily to the GIs stationed in Europe and also worked at the Paris Edition of the Herald Tribune. Upon returning to the United States, she and her newspaper friends determined to make a Left Bank of Fort Lee, New Jersey, and bought a string of local newspapers there. That project was short-lived when the newspaper endorsed local Democrats to keep Fort Lee suburban and the all-Republican Borough Council withdrew the legal ads.
She then worked briefly at the Jersey Journal before her 6-year stint nights at the Bergen Record in Hackensack while attending the Russian Institute at Columbia University days. After her marriage to fellow Record reporter, they moved from the Westside of Manhattan to Leonia, NJ as it became impossible to find parking space for two cars in Manhattan. She had two children in Leonia, her precious daughter, Andrea, now deceased, and her son, Jonathan, now a professor at Brooklyn Law School. Her third child, Daniel, an environmental entrepreneur, was born in Newark where they moved after her car was stolen. The only way she could get to her teaching job at Arts High School and Weequahic H.S. in Newark was to take a bus from Leonia to New York and then another bus from the Port Authority to Newark. Frank needed their second car to travel to his law school classes and his night-time job at the Star-Ledger.
While in Newark, she enrolled at Rutgers Law School and became the lawyer that eventually merited her inclusion as an Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
About Marquis Who’s Who®
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who’s Who in America®, Marquis Who’s Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who’s Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® now publishes many Who’s Who titles, including Who’s Who in America®, Who’s Who in the World®, Who’s Who in American Law®, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare®, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering®, and Who’s Who in Asia®. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who’s Who® website at www.marquiswhoswho.com.
# # #