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Columbian Lawyers elect new officers at president’s final meeting

May 6, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hon. Sylvia Ash (left) was the guest speaker at the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn’s final monthly meeting under President Bart Russo (right) on Tuesday night. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

Nearly 150 judges and lawyers packed the Rex Manor in Borough Park for the final monthly Continuing Legal Education (CLE) meeting of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn under President Bart Russo on Tuesday night.

Russo spent time reflecting on his year as president of the organization and thanked many in attendance for their support.

“Sadly this is my last monthly meeting as president,” Russo said. “I thank everyone for their support throughout the year. Even during a snowstorm back in early march, we still had over 80 people here that night. It meant a lot.

“Your support has helped make this group an immense success, and I know that next year Rose Ann [Branda] will lead us to even bigger and better things.”

Russo also gave a special thanks to Executive Secretary Lucinda DiSalvo for all of the work and effort she puts into the group.

“What could any of us get done without Lucy? Not much,” Russo joked.

Elections were held for new officers during the meeting. Rose Ann C. Branda will take over as president; Dean G. Delianites, Linda LoCascio and Joseph S. Rosato are the new first, second and third presidents, respectively; and Susanne Gennusa is the corresponding secretary. Mark A. Longo, Hon. Frank Seddio and George J. Siracuse retain their positions as the treasurer, recording secretary and historian, respectively.

In addition to its new officers being elected, Grace M. Borrino was elected to the board of directors, class of 2016, and Ben Bartolotta, Ralph Marra and Salvatore Scibetta were elected to the board of directors, class of 2018.

Hon. Sylvia G. Ash was the guest speaker during the meeting where she discussed “Courting the Jury.”

During her speech, she gave practical tips on how attorneys can help get favorable outcome to their cases by focusing on the jury.

“It doesn’t matter if it is a civil or criminal case, in order of increasing your chances of having a favorable jury, you have and must court the jury,” Ash said. “That begins at jury selection and continues throughout the trial.”

Among her many tips, Judge Ash said that often times it can be little things that don’t have much to do with the facts of the case that can sway a jury. For example, she cited a recent case a colleague had that turned because of a lack of eye contact a witness made with jurors.

“That was the reason [the juror] believed that [the defendant] was guilty,” Ash explained. “It had nothing to do with the facts of the case or with the charges. Jurors are told to use their everyday experiences, and this was her experience that she believed a guilty person couldn’t look you in the eye.”

The Columbian Lawyers Association will host its annual installation dinner dance in honor of outgoing-president Russo at El Caribe on June 12.

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