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Brooklyn Bar Association hosts Pro Bono Fair to help inexperienced lawyers

June 23, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Bar Association recently held a Pro Bono Fair to help inexperienced lawyers get a jumpstart into their legal careers. Pictured from left: Daniel Antonelli, Sidney Cherubin, Roseann Hiebert, Diana Szochet, Andrew Fallek, Amber Evans and Martin S. Needelman. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

The Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) hosted a Pro Bono Fair on Wednesday night at the bar association building in Brooklyn Heights. At the event, non-members had the opportunity to be introduced to the various organizations with pro bono opportunities for young or inexperienced lawyers.

Members of the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), the BBA Foundation, Brooklyn Legal Services, the Young Lawyers Committee and the Mentoring Committee were on hand to provide advice on how attorneys can jumpstart their careers.

“[Sidney Cherubin of the VLP] and I had this concept, and our working theory was that you could jumpstart your legal career by doing pro bono work and taking advantage of the learning opportunities that come with pro bono,” said Andrew Fallek, a past president of the BBA. “For people who have passed the bar but don’t have a job yet, this is a good opportunity to meet with the VLP or speak with [Martin] Needelman’s group, [Brooklyn Legal Services].”

Some two dozen people attended the event to see what the BBA had to offer, and Fallek said he was pleased that the crowd seemed genuinely interested. Daniel Antonelli, chair of the Young Lawyers Committee, remarked that he wished he had had a similar opportunity when he started his legal career.

“I feel like I did all of this informally,” Antonelli said. “I volunteered with the VLP, I found mentors through the bar association and I joined the referral service. But I did all of these things on my own, and that was a lot of hard work. I wish I could have come to this fair when I started out, because here you have people who can easily show you that path.”

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Past president of the BBA Diana Szochet represented BBA Foundation, the charitable arm of BBA, at the event. She spoke with attendees and recommended which committees could be helpful to them.

“Joining the BBA was one of the greatest things that was done for me back in the day,” Szochet said. “I had been practicing for 10 years already when I first came in this door, and it changed my career, because the first thing I did was sit down with [BBA Executive Director Avery Eli Okin], and he suggested committees that I should get involved in. That made a big difference, because he pointed me toward committees that helped me thrive.”

Although the Pro Bono Fair was a one-night-only event, the BBA offers the services that were promoted at the event all year long. Visit www.BrooklynBar.org for more information, or stop by the building at 123 Remsen St. during business hours.

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