Pro Bono Barrister: BBA public forums exemplify good that lawyers do

April 21, 2014 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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One survey that was reported on television (so it must be true) claimed that members of Congress are now even less popular than lawyers. Even trial lawyers ranked higher than the intransigents who now rule, or ruin, at a whim — or a campaign contribution — and are clearly more beholden to their financial backers than their electorate.

But, in keeping with this column’s 13-year-old theme of “telling about the good that lawyers do,” there’s a lot to tell.

For instance, increased public outreach programs, wherein skilled — and often expensive — practitioners provide representation to the needy, Pro Bono,  are helping the public image of the Bar here in Brooklyn.

One endeavor, the Brooklyn Bar Volunteer Law Program, has helped thousands of the legally underserved over the past two decades.  

A newer and meritorious initiative comes in the form of free Brooklyn Bar Association public forums, at which members of the public are invited to BBA headquarters, 123 Remsen St., to hear from and question lawyers who are experts in a number of fields.

These forums began about six years ago under the BBA aegis of then-President Diana Szochet. Heading the BBA’s public forums today is Chair Fern Finkel.

The next forum is titled “Mediation in the Community — What Is it, and How Can it Help?” It will get underway at 6 p.m. on May 13 at BBA headquarters on Remsen Street.

Chair Finkel states, “All members of the public are invited to attend an informational lecture on the mediation process, and how mediation may be a better alternative than formal court or administrative proceedings.”

Those who attend will learn “how to avoid costly proceedings by mediating neighbor disputes, family matters, special education needs, attorney-client disputes and even criminal cases,” she added.

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