Columbian Lawyers Association host 50th anniversary party at Brooklyn Museum
The Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn started 50 years ago with a modest 10 members. On Thursday, more than 350 members packed into the Brooklyn Museum to celebrate the semi-centennial anniversary of the organization.
“Given the extraordinary turnout of over 350 people, the magnificence of this room, the extraordinary food and the usual entertainment style of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, there is no doubt that this event was fitting of this momentous occasion,” said Steve Bamundo.
There was no set program for the reception; however, a few people did get up in front of the crowd to say a few words, including Hon. Patricia DiMango, star of the syndicated television show “Hot Bench,” who was introduced by past President Annette Scarano.
“She has been a devoted and supportive member of our association,” Scarano said of DiMango. “I remember vividly the first time I met her. I was extremely impressed. Not because she was also a professional woman at that meeting that evening, but, my God, she had some killer shoes. I knew then that this was a woman that was going to go places — and she certainly has.”
Most of the night was devoted to commemorating the Italian-American lawyers and judge who started the organization. DiMango thanked the group’s founders, who were all men, for their role in eventually incorporating women into the organization and helping them to get a foothold within the local legal community.
“If not for this organization, I would not be a judge,” DiMango said. “Judge [Guy James Mangano] and Judge Anthony Cutrona pushed for women. We would go to the dinner, judges’ night, and they would read off the judges, and there were no women, but now there are. There are [female] judges on the Supreme Court, the Criminal Court. We have found a place thanks to this organization.”
Mark Longo, who boasted being a member for 39 years, also got up to address the crowd, mostly to thank so many for attending. He spoke briefly about the founders’ mission to “confront anti-Italian sentiment and unfair stereotyping,” and how the group set out to help Italian-American lawyers living in Brooklyn.
Judge Carmine Ventiera, Judge M. Henry Martuscello, Judge Frank J. Pino, Judge Frank Composto, Austen Canade, Gary Sousa, Anthony S. Caronna, Joseph Spagna, Arthur Spagna, Philip DiCostanzo, Frank DiGiovanna and Judge Anthony J. Cutrona were credited by current President Dean Delianites as the founders of the association. A special thank you was given to Cutrona for being “the heart and soul of the organization.”
“I’m sure I can say that the small group who met at 66 Court St. 50 years ago could not have envisioned that today we would be enjoying each other’s company in this beautiful venue and sharing this evening with so many prominent attorneys and jurists, including the Chief Justice of the State of New York, Janet DiFiore,” Delianites said. “As the saying goes, we’ve come a long way, baby.”
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