A Familial Responsibility: FLAA Board Members Hon. Sherry Klein Heitler ’76 (Ret.) and Jill Heitler Blomberg ’97 Share a Dedication to Giving Back


For the Heitler family, giving back to Fordham Law School is a family affair.

Hon. Sherry Klein Heitler ’76, a former justice of the New York State Supreme Court, taught at Fordham Law as an adjunct professor and mentored students by guiding them on their job searches. She has served on the Fordham Law Association (FLAA) Board of Directors for many years and now has taken emeritus status. Her daughter, Jill Heitler Blomberg ’97, is also on the board, “I believe that my mom and I are the first mother-daughter pair on the board and there’s something really special about sharing that experience.”

“I’m a very big believer in giving back, in everything in life,” said Heitler, who currently works at JAMS, the world’s largest private alternative dispute resolution provider. “One of the first committees I ever sat on—and loved working on years and years ago under Dean Emeritus John D. Feerick ’61—involved figuring out how to engage young people so that they would want to remain part of the Fordham family. I participate in the FLAA meetings, because I think it’s extremely important to pay it forward.”

Justice Klein Heitler ’76 and Jill Heitler Blomberg ’97 on Jill’s Diploma Ceremony Day. (Photo courtesy: The Heitlers)

Like her mother, Blomberg has a shared dedication to fostering the well-being of future generations. She has been practicing exclusively with Schoonmaker George, a Connecticut matrimonial law firm, for almost a quarter of a century and has focused on mentoring young lawyers and future lawyers. Blomberg became the president of the Connecticut alumni chapter in 2007 and was elected to the FLAA board in 2021. Last year, she presented a short TED-style talk at her 25th reunion entitled “Being Comfortable With the Uncomfortable.”

Blomberg’s journey wasn’t always an easy one and she’s quick to credit her mentors and supporters along the way. “Despite my struggles as a test-taker, I deeply appreciated Fordham Law School for taking a chance on me and acknowledging that my worth extended beyond mere numbers. To this day when I mentor anyone who struggles, especially young women, I share my story and work with them to see the value they bring to the table.” She also met her husband, Jeffrey Blomberg ’97, at Fordham Law School. “There were many life-changing outcomes beyond a great legal education,” Blomberg added.

Heitler is a lifelong New Yorker, whose first job was assistant director of admissions at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus at the age of 22. Her interest in law sparked after she was asked to sit on the Labor Negotiating Board of the United Jewish Appeal and witnessed the behind-the-scenes negotiations process, which steered her to apply to law school and enroll at Fordham Law as a young mother. “I wanted to be in court and litigate,” Heitler said of her decision to start her own law firm with a friend, after serving as a law assistant in the Civil Court of the City of New York.

Her father, Hon. Alvin F. Klein, served the New York court system as a civil court judge and as a justice of the Supreme Court for over 25 years. After practicing for 14 years, Heitler became the next judge in her family in 1994 when she was elected to the city’s Civil Court—the same court in which she began her legal career 17 years earlier.

In 1996, she was named a New York State acting Supreme Court justice in New York County and, in 2000, she was elected to be a New York State Supreme Court justice. She has served in many roles in the New York State court system, including Appellate Term – First Department, Administrative Judge for the Center for Complex Litigation, Administrative Judge for Civil Matters – First Judicial District, Chief of Policy and Planning for the New York State Unified Court System, Office of Court Administration and interim Dean of the New York State Judicial Institute.

Serving on the board together has strengthened the bond of this mother-daughter team. Their service is a testament to their dedication to upholding the legacy of their father-grandfather, Judge Klein, and ensuring that his values of giving back to the community persist for generations to come. With compassion and generosity as their guide, this dynamic duo remains a powerful Fordham Law force for positive change, determined to make the world a better place.

(L-R) Hon. Sherry Klein Heitler ’76 (Ret.) and Jill Heitler Blomberg ’97


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