Columbian Lawyers visit Atlantic City for annual CLE weekend
Brooklyn Bar President Aidala Discusses Journalism and Law
Nearly 100 members of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn traveled to Atlantic City last week for a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar moderated by Arthur Aidala, titled “Law and Journalism,” held at the Borgata.
The event is an annual trip that is designed to let the association’s members get to know each other better while also providing them with five CLE credits. Attending members arrived at the Borgata the night before the CLE session, which was held Friday afternoon, stayed for dinner, and returned home on Saturday.
“It is definitely not easy to rearrange your schedule to be able to participate in a day like today,” said RoseAnn C. Branda, president of the Columbian Lawyers Association. “We have so many members of the judiciary here and so many colleagues here; I want to personally thank everybody for making the effort.”
It was a marathon CLE session that lasted five hours and was worth five credits. Aidala was the moderator, and he was joined by Hon. George J. Silver; Lisa Evers, a reporter for FOX 5 News; Kim Ringler, a New Jersey ethics attorney; and Lois Katz, who runs a public relations firm. The group discussed how attorneys and judges should handle the news media when they are involved in high-profile cases.
The members of the panel complemented each other well, as each presented a different point of view on the issue. Aidala discussed three of his most high-profile cases and described how he handled each situation, Judge Silver spoke about what judges can say about their high-profile cases, Katz suggested smart strategies, Evers explained what she looks for in a case and Ringler spoke about the ethics and what lawyers can and cannot legally get away with.
“You, as attorneys and judges, are regularly sought after as good guests for TV, but let me tell you what good TV means,” Katz said. “Good TV has little to do with the law. Good is entertaining and engaging.”
Aidala, who is president of the Brooklyn Bar Association and a FOX News legal commentator, suggested that attorneys should keep their cases out of the media if possible, as they do not have control over the story once it is out. He advised that while attorneys should be prepared and unafraid to let instincts take over, it is OK to find someone to help.
“This is my 12th year on the FOX News channel,” Aidala said. “I’ve appeared on television literally thousands of times, but that all goes out the window when I go from talking about another attorney’s case to talking about one of my own.”
While everyone discussed what attorneys can, should, can’t and shouldn’t say, Silver had some different advice for the judges in attendance — don’t say anything.
“Someone from the news came up to me and said, ‘Judge, we just heard you settled a case where the city paid $750,000 for an erection — can you comment on it?’” Silver explained, referring to the case of Rodney Cotton that was in the news and settled in July 2015. “People who know me know that I had 10,000 things to say, but I know that I really don’t want to work at Staples. As a judge, you really can’t say anything to the media. You have to instruct your staff as well.”
The Columbian Lawyers Association has one event left for this season — its annual installation dinner dance where President RoseAnn Branda will be honored and new officers will be sworn in. That will take place on June 10 at El Caribe in Mill Basin.
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