Brooklyn Boro

Bay Ridge Lawyers lead the way to Atlantic City seminars

Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister

January 27, 2015 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Lisa Becker, Eagle file photo by Mario Belluomo
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Members Will Win Valued CLE Credits – And Perhaps More – In Famed ‘Boardwalk Empire’

Who ever said that a top neighborhood bar association has to be dull? Certainly not the members and leaders of the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association (BRLA), which has been a valued and progressive legal force in the profession here for almost six decades.

Keeping up a long tradition, the BRLA members, led by President Lisa Becker, are looking forward to their annual Atlantic City Seminar, set for Feb. 5 and 6 at the Tropicana Atlantic City. Not only will they gain CLE credits, it’s probable that some of them may come back winners from the variety of games of chance available there, while others may return a little wiser for the experience.

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The BRLA was the first legal organization in Kings County to see Atlantic City as a popular seminar site, back in the mid-1990s, thanks largely to Larry DiGiovanna, former Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) and BRLA president. By the way, he also serves as the long-range planning chair of the BRLA.

President Becker advises that some very skilled barristers will be providing CLE-accredited programs, as follows: Milica Brogan, Corporate Governance; Joseph Rosato, Ethics–Grievance Committee Procedure; Michael Ferrier, Corrupt Foreign Practices Act; Anthony Lamberti, Elder Law Updates; and Rosa Pannitto, Representing Children in Custody and Visitation Disputes.

The BRLA was also the first bar association in Brooklyn to offer continuing legal education credit. That initiative was carried out by Tom Tafuri and John Bonina, Jr.

Other BRLA officers include Vice President Grace Borrino, Secretary Stephen Spinelli, Treasurer Margaret Stanton and Corresponding Secretary Joseph Vasile. Immediate past president is Joann Monaco.

Secretary Vasile reports that the next regular meeting of the BRLA (which will precede the A.C. venture) will take place Wednesday, Jan. 28, starting at 6 p.m. at Hunter’s Steak & Ale House, 9404 Fourth Ave.

Guest speaker that evening will be Diana Szochet with the topic “Everything You Wanted to Know About Attorney Ethics Discipline but Were Afraid to Ask.”


Justice Sylvia Ash, John Lonuzzi Direct “Night at the Movies”

Ever since the Kings County American Inn of Court was founded by retired Justices Abe Gerges and Gerard Rosenberg, former Justice Edward Rappaport and Justice Marsha Steinhardt more than 14 years ago, it has focused on some special traditions of the ancient London Inns of Court.

Key among these was the regular restaging of actual trials – judge, barristers, jury and all – during which the experienced practitioners could hone their skills, while new barristers could experience the feel and challenge of a true-to-life courtroom scene.

Over the years, noted jurists and barristers have donned masks, costumes and other paraphernalia to better embody their roles: they’ve dressed as Lil’ Bo Peep, the Big Bad Wolf, Chicken Little (Justice Gerges sporting the famed fowl’s “comb”) and even TV legend Larry King (Justice Rosenberg handled that role flawlessly). On one occasion, Justice Steinhardt introduced a charming, gray rabbit, who – having lost again to the tortoise – resisted being offered into evidence.

What dramatic postures will Justice Sylvia Ash and her co-chair, John Lonuzzi, have their “cast” assume next Tuesday night, Jan. 27, to keep with the potentially amusing show theme: A Night at the Movies?

We know that the movies selected as examples are “My Cousin Vinny,” “Anatomy of a Murder” and “The Verdict.” Who will reprise the roles played by Brooklyn’s Marisa Tomei, Lee Remmick and Paul Newman? That’s a closely guarded secret. And so, the tension builds in anticipation of next Tuesday’s performance, which gets underway at 6 p.m. at Brooklyn Bar Headquarters, 123 Remsen St.

Inn Administrator Lucy DiSalvo and Executive Director Jeff Feldman advise that they have arranged for a tasty buffet dinner to be served before the session, at 5:30 p.m.

The Kings Inn is led by President Dave Chidekel (a devoted thespian), President-Elect Justice Arthur Schack (who always wins when the Inn uses a “Jeopardy” board filled with questions often focused on Supreme Court precedent), Judge Miriam Cyrulnik (whose talented turn as a 3-year-old, orphaned tyke brought laughter to many), Treasurer Jon Besunder and Secretary Appellate Division Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix (who directed the cutting-edge street drama “Stop & Frisk: From Jay-Z to Judge Sheindlin.”


Anthony Lamberti Takes Helm at Brooklyn Barrister

The Brooklyn Barrister, the official publication of the Brooklyn Bar Association, has a new editor-in-chief – well-regarded estates attorney Anthony Lamberti.

The changes in style and content are evident to this writer. The most recent Barrister, for instance, had a front page featuring valuable articles by Steve Cohn (“A Bill Becomes a Law: Referee Protection Act”) and Andrew Cabasso (“Online Marketing Ethics”).

Each of these writers provided timely information of importance to practicing lawyers. A former president of the BRLA, Editor Lamberti chairs the BBA’s Elder Law Committee. At one time, he was the court attorney to now retired Justice Leonard Scholnick.


This Just In …

Appellate Division Justice Reinaldo E. Rivera will be speaking for the Columbian Lawyers Association (CLA) of Brooklyn on Feb. 3 at the Rex Manor. The CLA will also be hosting its Atlantic City 5 Credit Seminar on May 7 and 8. An impressive lineup of speakers includes Hon. Judith R. McMahon, Vito A. Cannavo, Mark Longo, Deborah Scalise and Michael Ross. Stay tuned for more on this great event…


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