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Columbian Lawyers Association hosts 11th annual CLE trip to Atlantic City

May 16, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
President Dean Delianites and the Columbian Lawyers Association hosted their 11th annual trip to Atlantic City where the group attended a five-hour Continuing Legal Education (CLE) lecture. Eagle file photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn continued a tradition that now goes back 11 years when it went to the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey from May 11-13 for a weekend-long Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar.

“This was our 11th year. Every year the attendance increases, and this year was no different — our best year yet,” said Dean Delianites, president of the Columbian Lawyers.

The annual excursion to the shore started under past President Domenick Napoletano. It gives members an opportunity to pick up five CLE credits, out of the 24 they are legally required to obtain every two years. It also gives everyone a chance to come together in a relaxed atmosphere.

“The Columbian Lawyers Association is one of the most well-respected bar associations of its kind and I think a big part of that is because the people genuinely like each other and want to spend time with each other, so it allows us to work better together,” Delianites said.

“Not only do these trips really help the special camaraderie that we’ve developed, but we also put on relevant, informative and educational CLEs,” Delianites continued. “It’s the best of both worlds — we get to relax and learn as colleagues. It’s a win-win.”

This year’s weekend-long CLE session featured five speakers — Mark Hale, from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit; Paul Callan, a CNN legal analyst and former media law professor; Brian Sokoloff; Amy Marion; and Justice Matthew J. D’Emic, the administrative judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term.

“It was a great panel of speakers, who we were lucky to get,” Delianites said. “They spoke on the ethical, criminal and civil ramifications of wrongful convictions.”

Marion covered the procedure involved in moving to vacate a conviction and detailed the ethical implications attorneys have in bringing forth these proceedings, Hale spoke about his Conviction Review Unit and the work it does and D’Emic explained the judge’s role in these proceedings and talked about three cases where he denied motions to vacate murder convictions.

Callan then spoke about civil proceedings to recover damages for the wrongfully convicted and Sokoloff covered the opposite spectrum of attorneys representing municipalities and police departments who are sued for misconduct.

“The hardest part in these cases is often getting a lawyer to take on these cases of wrongful conviction — to get that advocate who calls the attention of the conviction review unit and getting the DA’s Office to agree,” D’Emic said.

“As a judge, you have to be very careful because you don’t want to release somebody who doesn’t deserve it, but at the same time, Mark Hale put it perfectly, there is no acceptable percentage of people you want in jail who are innocent,” D’Emic continued. “So, you have to look at every motion to vacate very carefully.”

The entire event was not simply the CLEs. There was a reception on Thursday night and then dinner again on Friday. After dinner on Friday was perhaps the most popular event — karaoke — where the judges and lawyers of the Columbian Lawyers show off their singing and dancing skills. Photos are strictly off limits, but Christopher Caputo, president of the Richmond County Bar Association, did dedicate a song to Lucy DiSalvo, executive director of the Columbian Lawyers.


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