Dec
20
Hon. Durin B. Rogers to be sworn in

Dec
02
Events
6:00 pm - 10:30 pm
JOB POSTINGS: Legal Position(s) available in Genesee County

Jun
10
Events
6:00 pm - 10:30 pm
JOB POSTINGS: Legal Position available in Genesee County

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Legal Pioneer Charlotte Smallwood-Cook, Esq. to Retire

Oct 23rd 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 oral-portrait-smallwood-cookprior.jpgCharlotte_Smallwood_Cook-present.jpg

Charlotte Smallwood-Cook, Esq., legal pioneer and first elected district attorney, retires.  Event planned in her honor October 23, 2012.


The legal pioneer —Charlotte Smallwood-Cook,  New York state’s first elected female district attorney — plans to retire this month after a career spanning more than 65 years.  The WCBA is hosting an event to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Charlotte Smallwood Cook on October 23, 2012 at the Wyoming County Court Facility in Warsaw, starting at 5:00 PM.  Futher details will be posted, however, PLEASE SAVE THE DATE.    Below is an excerpt from the "Batavia Daily News" article on Charlotte

. . . . 

Smallwood-Cook was about 26 years old when a county sheriff told her she’d make a good district attorney. She and her husband Ned took on the challenge at a time when society was skeptical of the idea, to say the least.

Ned wanted and encouraged her to run.

“I’d tried a lot of cases and the sheriff told me, ‘You would make a good D.A. someday,’” she said. “So I went home and told Ned what he said.”

They looked up how a district attorney’s job works and approached the local Republican party boss, who wasn’t happy with the prospect.

He advised her to wait until Wyoming County’s then-current D.A. became a judge. He added it was no job for a woman, because of all the nasty rape cases.

“I said, ‘If you were a woman who’d been raped, would you rather have a D.A. who’s a woman or a man?” Smallwood-Cook said.

“‘Well, you can’t run. We won’t let you run. Nobody will sign your petition.’” she said. “So I thanked him and off we went.”

Smallwood-Cook toughed it out, winning both the primary and the election. She served a three-year term, and prosecuted the county’s first capital murder case in 40 years, before declining to seek re-election, after Ned’s unexpected death.

And she overcame the initial skepticism after her election became national news. Remarks included a barbed joke from Arthur Godfrey — the enormously-popular radio and television host — about her being a new mother and district attorney simultaneously.

The prickly Godfrey would become an entertainment pariah about five years later after notoriously firing singer Julius LaRosa on a live broadcast.

The sexist “joke” still angers Smallwood-Cook, although she says she eventually met Godfrey when a friend later appeared on his show.

Smallwood-Cook, now 89, continued her legal career, fostering many other attorneys and staff along the way. She eventually remarried, was widowed again, and still loves her practice.

As for her post-retirement plans?

“That’s a big question,” she said. “There are many things you can think of, but we’ll just have to wait and see about that next chapter, huh?”

Come Say goodbye to Charlotte Smallwood-Cook

. . . .