Pro Bono Barrister: June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BBA deals with delicate issue of depression affecting lawyers

"Doing Nothing About Depression Is NOT an Option." That is the very sensitive, potentially hot-button topic of the next CLE-accredited presentation by the Brooklyn Bar Association on set for 6 p.m., June 25.

Lawyers have to deal with their own problems as well as the problems of their clients in these challenging economic times. So it should come as no surprise that a special panel comprised of Hon. Robin Garson, Hon. Sara Krauss, New York City Bar Association Director Eileen Travis and Touro Law Professor Marjorie Silver will tackle the difficult issue of depression and ways lawyers can deal with it while protecting their clients and their licenses to practice.

"Through the use of video, PowerPoint presentation and related personal experiences, the panel will describe the signs and symptoms of depression to look for in ourselves or our colleagues," according to a BBA announcement. They will also outline available "assistance to the affected attorney, law student or judge and the rules/statutes which apply to such situations."

"Early identification" of depression is important, "as well as providing prompt and appropriate assistance," a BBA announcement advises. The panel will also handle questions dealing with problems of attorneys who have been the subject of a grievance related to issues of depression.

Significant is that this particular session will be offered at no charge to BBA members, especially those who might benefit from the special guidance of Hon. Krauss, who heads the association’s Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee.

Also sponsoring the event is the BBA’s Professional Responding Committee, chaired by Gregg Fonti, and the Volunteer Lawyers Project, headed by Jeannie Costello.

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Steve Cohn’s ‘Salute to Stars’ In Seneca Club’s spotlight

Very few political clubs can do what Steve Cohn’s Seneca Club did last Thursday, recognizing scores of community leaders and attracting a bevy of Democratic names such as mayoral candidates Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former Comptroller William Thompson and Comptroller John Liu.

This competing trio shared the spotlight with a score of other officeholders and Democratic candidates such as Judge Robin Garson and Judge Shawnda Simpson.

Over the years Steve, a leading New York state pro bono lawyer, has worked long and hard to achieve a large following almost independent of elective politics because he has truly served his communities.

Visible proof of this was the presence of several hundred friends of Steve Cohn gathered for the "Salute to Community Leaders and Elected Officials" held at the Polonaise Restaurant on Greenpoint Avenue a popular venue for Seneca Club events over the years.

While each of the mayoral hopefuls was given her or his opportunity to take center stage, the most impressive personal tribute was a larger-than-life trophy presented to Steve by wife Hana, daughter Mariel and son Warren who spoke lovingly of Steve as "the greatest father ever" in anticipation of Fathers Day.

Among those enjoying the salute were Kings District Attorney Joe Hynes, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Senator Dan Squadron, Councilman Steve Levin, Brooklyn Bar Association President Domenick Napoletano, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and incoming Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura.

Sitting at our table among other judicial notables were retired Kings Supreme Court Justice Joseph Levine known as the Kings photo laureate whose images of scores of judges line the 11th floor of 360 Adams St., Mary Zuckerbraun, retired Justice Leonard Scholnick with Stephanie, retired Justice Randolph Justice and Civil Court Judge Robin Garson, whose name will be on the ballot for a Supreme Court position.

Having a wonderful time was Verena Otey, who celebrated when her husband this writer received the Journalist of the Year Award presented by host Cohn on behalf of the Seneca Club.

It came as a great surprise to this writer. The nominating speech by Hon. Levine was so moving that host Steve who started his legal career as secretary to then-Civil Court Judge Levine insisted that it be submitted to the Eagle for publication. Who am I to disagree? Look for it in next week’s Eagle!

This week we’re pleased to present some of the excellent photographs taken that night by photo laureate Levine!

Everyone there appreciated the dedication to civic and other causes demonstrated by the club’s Executive Members Cohn and Linda Minucci, President Gerald Esposito and Vice President Ramona Vergara.

It was good to see longtime friends and colleagues there as well including legendary Carroll Gardens civic leader Buddy Scotto whose daughter Debra is making a strong run for a Democratic district leader post; Dime Savings Bank Board Member Robert Charles Golden, John Gilhooly and Maureen Moore.

Named last for his superb sense of humor and top legal skills is the inimitable Richard S. Goldberg, the other half of the renowned Goldberg & Cohn firm.

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PRO BONO BARRISTER is a weekly column dedicated to telling about the good that lawyers do. Send your comments or suggestions to this writer care of this newspaper or to [email protected].
Notice: Readers seeking legal representation on a Pro Bono Publico basis should not contact this columnist. Rather, they should seek out the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project at 718 -624-3894.

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