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No good deed goes unskewered at upcoming Brooklyn Law School Roast

Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister

November 3, 2014 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Law School Dean Nick Allard. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Law School
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In slightly more than two years in his post, Brooklyn Law School Dean Nick Allard has certainly made his mark at that venerable institution of higher learning on Joralemon Street.

He’s headed bold initiatives that introduced needed changes to the overall legal education system, including the introduction of a two-year law school term instead of the traditional three years. He’s also established the kind of accessible rapport with the faculty and students that has eased the way for his energetic agenda.

With law schools losing enrollment as a result of the sudden shrinkage in the job market due to technology and a radically shifting economy, Dean Allard — once one of the most respected lobbyists in Washington — has used his legendary persuasive powers to shape new attitudes and shed timeworn, trite traditions.

He’s been a visible and versatile communicator on behalf of BLS and the law profession — a bright beacon of hope on a darkening horizon. Yet, as fate would have it, he’s about to get his comeuppance on Nov. 13 at a public skewering, hosted by the Student Bar Association. He’ll be roasted — and, ultimately, toasted — that night by some pretty potent, would-be Torquemadas.

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

It’s a mobile feast of sorts, getting underway at 6 p.m. at Geraldo’s Café, then heading to the Forchelli Conference Center at 7 p.m. Both venues are located at Brooklyn Law School’s Feil Hall at 205 State St.

Among the roasters will be the ever-popular former Borough President Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura and some new “talents,” billed in the invitation as “Deanette” Marla Allard and “Wiseguy” Nate Allard.

Allard was observed at lunch last Thursday at Caffe Buon Gusto, confirming that the aforementioned Allards were indeed his wife, who hosts the Washington, D.C television show “Relatively Speaking,” and a son reputed to be a “natural born comic.” Serving as emcee will be the Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s own Charisma L. Troiano.

The roastee will face fire from some pretty big guns, among them Stephen Trachtenberg, president emeritus of George Washington University; and one-time NBA star and Olympian Tom McMillen, who served in Congress back in the early 1990s, when it was actually “working.”

Also having their naysay will be visiting Professor Andrew Napolitano, a Fox commentator; Mark Rotenberg, vice president and general counsel to Johns Hopkins University; as well as current and former Student Bar Association Presidents Elizabeth Geddes (’15) and Colin Hedrick (’13).

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Dean Sure to Face Charges for Obamacare, Other Ills

The roasters will have a wealth of material to work with, especially if they focus on Allard’s Washington, D.C. background, where he served as partner in Patton Boggs — perhaps the top lobbying firm in the nation. He was not just a partner; he co-chaired the firm’s public policy department, as well as its government advocacy practice group. All of which means he will have plenty to answer for on Nov. 13.

Some observers suggest that he is probably one of the best advocates in the valued cause of convincing the National Democratic Committee to hold the 2016 Convention right here in Barclays Center. On the positive side, it goes without saying that many of our most eminent lobbyists actually urge legislators to support worthwhile agendas on behalf of the needy and the under-represented. There are certainly some excellent organizations and causes on behalf of which the peripatetic educator has labored in the wilting Washington vineyards. But, why should the SBA roasters bother with accentuating the positive?

After all, when you have very knowledgeable and authoritative sources like Rotenberg and Trachtenberg to lend special insights on Dean Allard’s deeds in a gossip factory such as our nation’s capital, those in attendance are sure to learn things about the tormented guest of honor that might shock the faint of heart.

We should probably expect “Deanette” and “Wiseguy” Allard to betray family secrets at the BLS dean’s expense. And, when it comes to roasting, our beloved Marty Markowitz — who’s been sliced and diced in scores of roasts — will seek long-overdue redemption.

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May Link Many ‘Disasters’ to Dean’s Washington Agenda

One veteran Brooklyn Law School grad suggests that the high-powered former Patton Boggs partner may be unfairly and inaccurately blamed for, at least, the following: encouraging the invasion of Iraq; overheating the real estate market to create the Great Recession of 2007; and, of course, fouling up national health care with the terribly troubled rollout of Obamacare.

In addition, he reminds us, there may be good reason for connecting Dean Allard and his cohorts to global warming, ominous flaming sun spots, the southward movement of endangered polar bears and the endless traffic sprawls on all of the approaches to the Brooklyn Bridge. (In truth, Allard undoubtedly had nothing to do with the aforementioned, but since when has truth played any significant role at such a roast?)

Given that he only assumed his lead role at Brooklyn Law School in summer 2012, some might think it a bit premature to be publically taking a hot poker to this well-meaning lobbyist-turned-educator so early in his term. Au contraire, this writer would say. He’s earned it. He’s been visible — practically fearless — innovative and determined to guide Brooklyn Law School to what he believes to be its rightful high place in the legal firmament.

In making the case for the pre-eminence of Brooklyn Law School, he has also given a boost and a sense of direction to the deserved rise of this too-often-maligned borough, far beyond the boundaries of this city and state.

It’s fitting that former B.P. Markowitz will be a roaster that night. His enthusiastic leadership ushered Brooklyn upward to a new level of respect. In a certain way — casting no aspersions on the fine work of new B.P. Eric Adams — Dean Allard, with his unique skills and background, is poised to do even more for our borough and our beloved BLS.

One question for the Dean: considering the ferocious onslaught he’ll endure for the benefit of the BLS Student Bar Association the evening of Nov. 13, isn’t he concerned — perhaps a little apprehensive — about what might be said?

“Not at all!” he calmly replied across a table at Buon Gusto. “Not in the slightest. After all, I’ll have the right of rebuttal (after the skewers are done) and then I will deliver … I will have the last say.”

Postscript: This writer, a proud Brooklyn Law School graduate, regrets that he cannot be in attendance Nov. 13, due to a long-scheduled trip to Eastern Europe, when the roast of Dean Allard gets underway. Its actual title is somewhat more gruesome than the one used in this column. It’s actually titled “Roasted Alive in Brooklyn: Dean Allard – Well Done and Carved Up.”

It’s sure to be a remarkable and enjoyable evening, in itself indicative of a new era for the school. But tickets will be available to the general public. Lawyers here, especially other alumni, would be doing the right and fun thing that night by attending. Call 718-625-2200, or go to the Brooklyn Law School web site.

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Columbian Lawyers to Probe Ways to Deal with “Serious Injury” Issue

When the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn holds its next CLE-accredited session, its members will receive some expert advice in trying automobile negligence cases.

The program, titled “Proving That an Injury Is Not a Serious Injury,” will feature a thorough presentation by representatives of Baker, McEvoy, Morrissey & Moskovits, P.C.

Though the title seems to indicate that the lecturers will be leaning toward the defendant’s side, such may not be the case. In fact, last Thursday, two leading Columbian lawyers — Ross D’Apice and Greg Cercione — were overheard at 360 Adams St., wondering aloud whether the Baker firm’s agenda would be directed more toward those defending “serious injury” cases. They will find out Nov. 5, when the Columbians gather for a delicious dinner at the Rex Manor, followed by the much-anticipated program.

Leading the Columbians this year is President Bartholomew Russo, aided by a talented team composed of First Vice President Rose Ann C. Branda, Second Vice President Dean Delianites, Third Vice President Linda Locascio, Treasurer Mark Longo, Corresponding Secretary Joseph Rosato and Recording Secretary Hon. Frank R. Seddio. Historian is George Siracuse and Msgr. David Cassato serves as chaplain.

Serving as executive secretary is Lucinda DiSalvo, court attorney to Justice Ellen Spodek.


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