Cobble Hill

Pro Bono Barrister for April 15

April 12, 2013 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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One of the most vital outreach programs performed through the Brooklyn Bar Association is the practice of holding regular forums — open to the public at no charge — dealing with critical, timely topics such as the upcoming session entitled “Consumer Debt And Bankruptcy — The Process, Defenses and Options.”

Fern Finkel, chair of the BBA’s Foundation Law Committee, reports that this program will get underway 6 p.m., the evening of April 30 at BBA Headquarters, 123 Remsen St.

Presenting the laws and practices associated with the complex nature of personal and business bankruptcy will be Richard A. Klass, chair of the BBA’s Mentor Committee; and David Doyaga, a past BBA president.

In keeping with the communal spirit of the evening, Chair Finkel wants all to know that light refreshments will be served and that she encourages member attorneys to post news of this public event in their offices and other places where possible.

 “We all know that many people today believe they can’t even afford a lawyer to go into bankruptcy,” one attorney told us. “They have misgivings about whether they will lose their home or automobiles if they do file. Programs such as this [Consumer Debt and Bankruptcy] session will help dispel their doubts,” he added.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The Public Forum outreach initiative was launched a few years back by then-BBA President Diana Szochet and has become an apt symbol of lawyers reaching out to help those in need.

In addition, Chair Finkel notes that “all members of the public are invited to attend [that night]” to benefit from an “informational lecture outlining the process of a typical mortgage foreclosure proceeding; defenses available to the homeowner and other options.”

To make reservations, contact BBA Executive Director Avery Eli Okin at [email protected] or phone (718) 624 0675. Also lending support to the popular forum are the BBA’s vaunted Volunteer Lawyers Project and the BBA Lawyer Referral Service.
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Social Media’ in The Legal Workplace?

Veteran lawyers — some of whom are particularly flummoxed by the challenges that social media present daily in the workplace — would do well to attend the April 16 Brooklyn Bar Association program entitled “Trends In The Workplace.”  The hash mark (#) is an ominous sign to many barristers, so this agenda, dealing with “social media in terms of employment law,” is one the that digitally deprived will miss at their professional peril. 
A spokeswoman for the CLE program has an interesting description of this program, suggesting that it be viewed as “The Laws of TMI.”  (TMI means “Too Much Information”)

Heading the Employment Committee is Pamela Elisofon, with a stellar panel consisting of Rhonda Epstein, Joan C. Lenihan, Hon. Katherine A Levine, Alan Podhaizer, Matthew S. Porges, Brigitte Remaud and David Tykulsker.

Two nights later, on April 18, another BBA expert — Anthony Lamberti — will lead his Elder Law Committee in a program described as “The (Not So) Basics of Medicaid.” Barrister Lamberti will be assisted by Ellyn Kravitz of Abrams Fensterman, LLP.

The intent of the evening’s agenda is to show attorneys “how to think about and handle Medicaid issues, including the eligibility rules for home care and long term care, exempt transfer rules and much more.” This will also be held at BBA headquarters and run from 6 to 8 p.m.
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Survival of LICH Is Vital to Lawyers, Too
From time to time, Dr. Ciril Godec, who heads Urology at Long Island College Hospital, writes a column on disease prevention for the Daily Eagle.  He is a recognized expert on good eating and good living. Many barristers and judges we know have been seeing him in the Cobble Hill hospital for years. In fact, one question I’ve heard recently is, “How are we going to see Dr. Godec if they close LICH?”

Columnist Denis Hamill put the dilemma aptly in a recent Daily News piece when he said, “The state of Long Island College Hospital is outrageous, showing contempt for Brooklynite.”

We agree. Without drastic action LICH will stop seeing many patients on April 30.

Hamill quoted LICH’s Dr. John Romanelli, who put the blame solely on SUNY Downstate. Dr. Romanelli said, “SUNY … is trying to make us fail to justify closing us down.”

Many people claim that SUNY is downsizing LICH to hasten its demise. Disconcerting are reports that a deal has already been made by SUNY to sell the extremely valuable land LICH now occupies. If lawyers for the LICH staff continue to press their cause, the SUNY board could be in trouble for trying to “rush to judgment” on closing the only real hospital serving an area of about 250,000 people.

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Prof. Farrell Gives Update on `No Fault’

Even lawyers who don’t handle negligence cases are often asked various questions by potential clients (usually relatives) about their “injury case.” Typical is the query whether they are barred from suing in an automobile case because of the often-misunderstood  “No Fault Insurance” law. The answer: probably not so long as they’ve sustained an injury which qualifies under the statute. Insurance carriers wish auto accident lawsuits would be totally eliminated.  But they haven’t yet wiped out the hardy group of barristers who are familiar with the intricacies of auto actions.

This is why so many showed up Thursday, April 11 to hear highly respected Prof. Richard Farrell outline his topic which was “Yes, the Rules of Evidence Apply to No Fault!”

Having succeeded the renowned Dean Jerome Prince as Brooklyn Law School’s leading evidence expert, Prof. Farrell clearly recalls the introduction of “No Fault” and the confusion it has wreaked on plaintiffs and defendants over the past four decades. As Brooklyn Law’s Wilbur A. Levin scholar, Prof. Farrell was in a unique position to provide sound advice on the key issues of (increasingly expensive) expert testimony and obtaining business records that regularly play important roles in auto accident litigation. The “No Fault” presentation, which awarded two CLE credits in the “Skills” category, according to the organization’s CLE Director Meredith Symonds.

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