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‘Effective Trial Techniques’ to be explored by Kings County Columbian Lawyers on Sept. 8

Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister

September 8, 2015 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Justice George Silver. Eagle file photo by Mario Belluomo
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Justice George Silver Will Be Guest Lecturer

The Kings County Columbian Lawyers Association will kick off its fall season today, when members hear from Justice George Silver at the Rex Manor, 1100 60th St.  This will be a Continuing Legal Education session on a timely topic, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Effective Techniques, but Were Afraid to Ask.”

Justice Silver is one of the most eloquent and quick-witted jurists in our fair city, and Columbians can look forward to some interesting insights into what lawyers can do to improve their skills to the benefit of their clients. While he currently serves in the First Department, he is well known in Kings County, having spent several years on the Kings Civil Court bench.

Dinner will be served at 6 p.m., according to Columbians Executive Secretary Lucinda DiSalvo.  Participation in the program will earn each barrister one hour of CLE credit.

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

The Columbians are led this year by President Rose Ann C. Branda, First Vice President Dean G. Delianites, Second Vice President Linda LoCascio, Third Vice President Joseph Rosato, Treasurer Mark Longo, Corresponding Secretary Susanne Gennusa, Recording Secretary Hon. Frank Seddio and Historian George J. Siracuse.

It should be noted that President Branda’s reputation for leadership — she has also headed the Brooklyn Bar Association and the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association (BRLA) — is exceeded only by her high standing in the area of domestic law, of which she is one of the city’s most respected practitioners.

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BRLA Leaders Borrino, Becker Take Time Out to “Light the Night” on Sept. 26

Now in its seventh decade, the BRLA is the most respected neighborhood bar association in the city and has a long history of service; it is known for its civic outreach into its community and beyond.

Continuing that worthwhile theme this year, BRLA members — led by President Grace Borrino — will take a leading role in the “Light the Night” observance, which will take place in Staten Island on Sept. 26.

The BRLA is highly motivated to back this cause, which aids the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, because immediate past president Lisa Becker is a lymphoma survivor and has been involved with the society for the past 12 years.

Incoming President Borrino, by the way, like Becker, has been associated with the respected Caruso, Caruso & Branda firm, where she started in 2005. Becker is senior counsel with the New York City Department of Education.

Borrino’s practice has focused on domestic relations clients. She handles these cases from “inception of the case through completion of matrimonial trial and post-dispositional issues.”

Like her predecessor, she “worked her way up” in the BRLA, serving as corresponding secretary, treasurer, recording secretary and vice president before being sworn in as president last June.

Both of these barristers have established themselves as legal scholars and professionals dedicated to doing the best job they can for their clients and their communities.

Becker received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1987 from St. John’s University, where she interned in the Queens and Kings County Criminal Courts — often appearing in court on behalf of crime and domestic violence victims. She then received her J.D. degree in 1994 from CUNY Law School at Queens College.

She says she has “always been emotionally drawn to public interest law,” so, after graduating law school, she became an assistant district attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. While there, serving as a prosecutor in the Domestic Violence Bureau, she “felt most gratified assisting domestic violence victims … prosecuting their abusers.”

Her outstanding service in the DA’s Office was a major factor in earning her a position with the highly respected Caruso, Caruso and Branda firm in 1997. A past president, Branda (as noted above,  one of the city’s top matrimonial lawyers) was an inspiration and a “valued mentor,” she told us, as was partner Mark Caruso, whose practice focuses on real estate law.

Attorney Becker — a mother of two — and her husband Ralph Mercante live on Staten Island, so it was no surprise that she volunteered to aid victims of the violent Superstorm Sandy back in 2012.

President Borrino, a graduate of St. John’s University who is currently affiliated with the Caruso, Caruso & Branda firm, received her SJD from Brooklyn Law School, where she was active in the Phi Delta Phi professional fraternity and earned the prestigious Richardson Merit Scholarship.

She was selected for three consecutive years — 2013 to 2015 — by The New York Times as a “Super Lawyer Rising Star.”

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Justice Ash Reports: Kings County Civil Forum Set for Sept. 30

Justice Sylvia G. Ash has announced that the next Goldberg/Aronin Civil Forum, in which lawyers, jurists and court personnel get together to smooth the workings of the Kings County Supreme Court, will be held on Sept. 30 at 9 a.m. in the 11th floor boardroom of 360 Adams St.

The forum, named for the late Justices Richard Goldberg and Irving Aronin, was started back in the 1990s by then-Administrative Justice Michael Pesce to develop a “team approach” to handling conflicts on court calendars and other administrative matters.

Through the years, a number of justices have chaired the forum, including retired Administrative Justices Joseph Levine and Abraham Gerges. Justice Ash succeeds Justice Donald Kurtz, who handled the forum for several years. As was the tradition under Justice Kurtz and his predecessors, Justice Ash notes that “refreshments will be served.”

Lawyers with specific questions may submit them in advance to Justice Ash’s court attorney Hajin Suh at [email protected].


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