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Columbian Lawyers Association learns the dos and don’ts of the grievance process

October 5, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
John P. Connors Jr. (left) and Thomas Graham Amon Jr. (right) gave a Continuing Legal Education lecture on “The Dos and Don’ts of the Grievance Process” to the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn on Tuesday. Also pictured is Dean Delianites, president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese.
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The Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn held a Continuing Legal Education meeting where it hosted two attorneys who gave a lecture titled “The Do’s and Don’ts of the Grievance Process” at the Rex Manor in Dyker Heights on Tuesday.

Attorneys John P. Connors Jr., from the law firm of Connors and Connors P.C. in Staten Island, and Thomas Graham Amon Jr., from the Grievance Committee for the Second Judicial District, spoke for about an hour on the grievance process, what gets attorneys into trouble and how they can avoid it.

The biggest issue that both Connors and Graham Amon stressed was the importance of answering the complaint from the Grievance Committee as soon as possible.

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“One of the things that lawyers unfortunately get wrong is that when they get that letter [from the Grievance Committee] and they find out they are the subject of a grievance, there is that tendency to put that letter to the side and worry about your current clients or cases,” Connors said. “There is a tendency to put it off and that is absolutely the wrong thing to do.”

Connors compared failure to answer a letter from the Grievance Committee to refusing to blow into a breathalyzer during a DUI stop — neither is exactly an admission of guilt, but both can get someone into legal trouble.

“You absolutely must cooperate with the Grievance Committee or you will find yourself suspended or disbarred merely for not cooperating,” Connors said.

The other big issue that Connors and Graham Amon stressed was keeping escrow accounts in proper order as it is another thing that can get attorneys suspended or disbarred.

“So many of these things that occur really come up through the escrow accounts,” Connors said. “It’s not just an issue of people taking clients funds, it could be something as simple as a bounced check. That bounced check becomes the genesis of an investigation and then you’ll wish that you had kept your books in better order.”

The Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn has its 50th anniversary party coming up on Oct. 27 at the Brooklyn Museum at 6:30 p.m. President Dean Delianites discussed the party at the event and encouraged everyone involved in the group to attend.

“This year we’re proud to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of this great organization,” Delianites said. “I can’t stress enough how wonderful this event will be. This is something that you will not want to miss. It’s a beautiful venue and this is a celebration of us, of what has been accomplished from 1966 to today.”

With Columbus Day coming up, members were reminded that they could march in Manhattan’s Columbus Day Parade with the group on Monday. Justice Carl Landicino also spoke about the day’s importance for Italian Americans.

“At times we kind of forget where we came from and the people who brought us to this country,” Landicino said. “Obviously Columbus opened those doors, but our ancestors made a very courageous leap in some situations. They didn’t know what to expect here, didn’t know if they would return, left behind their families and all without an iPhone. If we remember that courage, that fortitude and that resilience, we should all be grateful.” 

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