Catholic Lawyers honor five at annual awards dinner

May 31, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Honorees of the 42nd annual Catholic Lawyers Guild awards dinner (from left): Hon. Carl Landicino, Yolanda Guadagnoli, Hon. Donald S. Kurtz, Dennis Quirk and Hon. Danny K. Chun. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County celebrated its 42nd annual awards dinner program by honoring five leaders in the local legal community, including judges Hon. Donald S. Kurtz, Hon. Danny K. Chun and Hon. Carl Landicino. The event was held at Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island on May 26.

In addition to Judge Kurtz, Judge Chun and Judge Landicino, two popular members of the Brooklyn legal community were honored — Yolanda Guadagnoli and Dennis Quirk.

“If you read the bios of our honorees, you will truly be astonished,” said Hon. Lizette Colon, president of the Catholic Lawyers Guild. “Many of you are wonderful people who do great things, but this group of honorees is spectacular.”

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Before the event began, the group started by recognizing the late Judge Arthur Schack, who passed away in early May.

“Our legal community was devastated to learn about the passing of our friend Judge Arthur Schack,” said Gregory Cerchione. “He was a steadfast supporter and friend of the guild, as well as a past recipient of the guild’s President Award. He was a legal scholar, a notable trial judge and a champion of the common people. He is deeply missed.”

Joseph Bellard presented the first award of the evening to Kurtz, the Hon. William T. Bellard Award named for Joseph’s father.

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“I’m truly humbled and very honored to receive an award named after one of the true icons of the Brooklyn Supreme Court,” said Kurtz, who was the 11th recipient of the award. “I have some great Judge Bellard stories, but I can’t repeat any of them. Suffice to say that he was a very colorful figure. I’m honored to be included among the distinguished recipients to receive this award.”

Chun modestly admitted that he might not be deserving of the Ecumenical Award, but added that it probably had to do with his history as a preacher’s son, a choir conductor and church organist. He also talked about discussing his religious beliefs with Judge Matthew D’Emic.

“I’m grateful. Brooklyn is a great place, and all of us know, I don’t have to remind anyone, that we’re not who we are because of what we did or what we accomplished,” Chun said. “We are who we are because of the true blessing of our god.”

Landicino was presented with the Distinguished Jurist Award by Hon. Robert J. Miller.

“I know that being in a room like this means that you take the profession very seriously,” Landicino said. “I think those of you who know me know that I take the profession very seriously. I’m especially grateful tonight and humbled by this recognition. I thank you all for attending tonight. The room is loaded with people, which is marvelous.”

Before Colon presented Guadagnoli with the President’s Award, she took a moment to playfully embarrass Guadagnoli by sharing with everyone her nickname — sparkles.

“Anyone who has been in her presence, been in the courthouse and has seen her negotiate has seen why we call her that,” Colon said. “Because you have probably seen the bling on her beautiful accessories and her nails from halfway across the building.

“I selected Yolanda Guadagnoli because, besides supporting the guild, she also embodies what an attorney should be,” Colon continued. “Somebody in the trenches, somebody who lives the value and honor of the Catholic Lawyers Guild. Every day she exemplifies that.”

Finally, Joseph Rosato presented Quirk with the St. Thomas More Award, sharing a brief story from his time as a young court officer.

“I remember they gave us some forms to sign, including the union form, and I asked him, ‘Do most people join the union?’” Rosato recalled. “I was told, ‘No, everyone joins the union.’

“Since being elected president of the NYS Court Officers Association in 1974, Dennis has turned what was a benevolent association for court officers into a powerful and well-respected labor union,” Rosato said of Quirk, who has been president of the NYS Court Officers Association for 42 years. “His aggressive approach to collective bargaining and grievance procedures makes him one of the best labor leaders in the state.”


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