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Ceremony held for newest Brooklyn judge Lorna McAllister

December 16, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Lorna J. McAllister was sworn in as a judge of the Civil Court of the city of New York during a special ceremony at St. Francis College on Tuesday. Judge McAllister (left) with her husband State Sen. Jesse Hamilton III and father-in-law Jesse E. Hamilton II looking on in the background. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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Nearly 200 elected officials, judges, court attorneys, members of the community and family members packed into the St. Francis College Founders Hall Auditorium for the induction ceremony of Brooklyn’s latest judge — Lorna J. McAllister — on Remsen Street Tuesday night.

McAllister, who got her bachelor’s degree at Smith College and her master’s degree and J.D. from Rutgers University, began her law career at Belovin & Franzblau, LLP. She went on to become the court attorney for Hon. Robin K. Sheares and was working as principal court attorney for Hon. Peter P. Sweeney when she was elected.

Justice Sweeney was there to swear McAllister in during the ceremony, and Judge Sheares gave the opening remarks. Two of her family members also took part in the ceremony, including her husband State Sen. Jesse Hamilton III and son Jesse Hamilton IV.

“We are here for our sister who will now become Judge-elect Lorna J. McAllister,” said Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the mistress of ceremonies for the event.

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It was an atmosphere of triumph and jubilation as guest after guest, including Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio, Borough President Eric Adams, Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, Public Advocate Letitia James and a few others, each got up to speak about how qualified she was for the job.

“As one of the judges who has worked with Lorna, I can attest that she is ready for the position,” said Sheares. “Lorna has worked long hours in Family Court, handling a part by herself. And I mean by herself. She had no court officers or clerks — she was by herself. That doesn’t mean she should be assigned to Family Court, I’m saying that she should be exempt.”

McAllister’s husband, whom Seddio jokingly referred to as State Sen. Mr. McAllister, got up and told the touching tale of how they got together 32 years ago, when they both lived in NYCHA housing and were too poor to ride the bus.

“My mother always told me to be a lawyer or a doctor when I got older, but when I looked around there were no lawyers or doctors in NYCHA housing,” Hamilton said. “It took me a while to realize that I had that potential, and now there is not only one lawyer in the family, but two; and now we’re bringing home a judge.”

After a long list of speeches and performances, McAllister was finally sworn in by Judge Sweeney. The new judge gave a 15-minute speech, during which she thanked all in attendance and many others.

“It takes a village to raise a judge, and that village includes family, a phenomenal group of friends, educators, colleagues and mentors,” McAllister said while fighting back tears. “For me, looking around this auditorium, I am fortunate to see so many people who are all of those wrapped into one, people who have been in my corner since go.”

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