Meet the Bar Leaders: Anthony Lamberti’s journey from Brooklyn’s sandlots to its courtrooms
Anthony J. Lamberti grew up playing stickball in the streets and used that love of baseball to help him get an education. Today, he is celebrating 15 years of successful private practice and is considered one of the top lawyers dealing in Article 81 Guardianships, elder law and trusts and estates in the borough.
Lamberti grew up in the Marlboro Houses in Gravesend and graduated from Brooklyn Tech High School in 1974. He then went on to John Jay College where he played second base and helped win the school’s first conference championship that eventually inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.
After college, Lamberti got a job as a court officer. It was a good job with a decent salary and a pension, but he eventually decided to go back to school and enrolled at Brooklyn Law School in 1986.
“In the back of my mind, I always thought about being a lawyer and going to law school, but at the time I got finished with college, the economics of things were such that landing a civil service job in law enforcement was a pretty cushy deal,” Lamberti said. “But being exposed to the courts every day, I said, ‘I think I can do this.’ I applied, I got into [Brooklyn Law School] and I went at night while I was still working in the court system.”
After graduation, Lamberti worked for Supreme Court Justice Seymour Gerschwer, whom he had known from his days as a court officer. When Justice Leonard Scholnick took over the guardianship part in 1998, Justice Sebastian Leone recommended Lamberti for a position working for Scholnick because of his previous experience in the conservatorship office. It was working for Scholnick that ultimately changed things for Lamberti.
“We did the Article 81 Guardianships and that’s how I got very immersed in the elder law field,” Lamberti said. “Justice Scholnick was just really great to work for, too. He was a family guy himself so he would always be rushing me out the door at 4:30 to spend time with my family. He also encouraged me to get involved with the bar association activities.”
Getting involved in the local bar associations — Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) and Bay Ridge Lawyers Association (BRLA) — paid off when Lamberti would go into private practice for good in 2002 following a failed bid at becoming a judge in a 2000 election that he lost to Hon. David Schmidt.
“Being involved in the Bar Association gave me the opportunity to interact and meet a lot of lawyers,” Lamberti said. “People knew I was in the system, knew I was the principal law clerk to Judge Skolnick so it was very beneficial to me. When I went into practice that’s where all of the exposure that I got in the Bar Association helped.”
Lamberti became chair of the BBA’s Elder Law Committee in 1997, a group he still heads. He joined its board of trustees in 1999. He joined the board of directors of the BRLA in 1999. He would go on to become the president of the BRLA in 2007-2008 and will be the BBA president in 3 1/2 years. He is also active within the New York State Bar Association, joined its Elder Law Section in 2008 and is currently the 13th Judicial District co-chair of the Guardianship Sub-Committee.
“A lot of people in the legal community, in the Bar Association, referred me clients because they knew that I did this and they didn’t,” Lamberti said. “Most lawyers don’t do guardianships or elder law. Personal injury attorneys don’t do it. I was getting my share of referrals. It has been 15 years of being out of the court system and in private practice. Now I’ve branched into Staten Island. I have an office there and in Brooklyn.”
Lamberti started down the path to becoming a president of the BBA when he was nominated by Arthur Aidala to the executive board and, as secretary, is currently three-and-a-half years away from the helm. He said that he doesn’t have specific goals in mind for when he takes over the position, but said that many current members would love to see the building on Remsen Street to be renovated.
“I’ve gotten some advice from past presidents,” Lamberti said. “They told me to take notes on my installation and that there is a reason that Avery Okin has been executive director for over 30 years. They also told me not to get ahead of myself about being president. But I think the long-term goal for a lot of us is refurbishment of the building. [The BBA] is a magnificent tool and, while it would be a big project, really upgrading our space is on a lot of our minds.”
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