Bay Ridge Lawyers Association installs Margaret Stanton as president
The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association continued a long tradition when it held its annual Passing of the Gavel ceremony, where it invites back many of its past presidents for the installation of its newest president, at The Pearl Room in Bay Ridge on Wednesday night.
Margaret M. Stanton was installed as the president by Judge Patricia DiMango, star of the television show “Hot Bench.” Joseph R. Vasile, MaryAnn K. Stathopoulos, William S. Gillen and Dominic J. Famulari were also installed as officers.
Grace M. Borrino, Helen Galette, Yolanda Guadagnoli, Mario Romano, Hon. Vincent Del Giudice, Matthew Elias, Aileen Fox and Sarah K. Moore were sworn in as directors.
After DiMango swore everyone in, Ray Ferrier, the president who served longest ago, started the Passing of the Gavel ceremony. It is a ceremony where the presidents line up in order of service and the past president farthest removed from service holds the gavel and offers words of advice. They then pass it to the next president until it reaches the incoming president.
“There is nobody to the left of me,” Ferrier joked referring to the fact that he’s the oldest living president in the association. “Margaret, I know that you are going to do a fantastic job and I will help you in any way that I can.”
One by one, the past presidents went down the line each offering words of advice to Stanton.
“I enjoyed the year that I was president of the association,” said Sam Hagen. “I found it to be the most exciting peak of the service to the legal community.”
“I know you have wonderful plans for this year, Margaret,” said Aileen Fox. “I know that you will lead us well. Congratulations. We look forward to the year coming up, but please enjoy every minute of it.”
“I know you as a very dear friend and an excellent lawyer,” the immediate past President, Stephen Spinelli told Stanton. “You are so blessed to be on this line. They told me that last year and I realized how much and how deeply the people here care about this organization and us as presidents. I received so much help from you last year and we are all here for you now.”
After the ceremony ended, a pair of local politicians — Councilmember Vincent Gentile and state Sen. Marty Golden — brought with them a citation on behalf of the City Council and a proclamation on behalf of the state Senate, respectively.
“I can see the many judges that are in this room come here for a reason because the BRLA does such a fantastic job,” Golden said. “We’re all proud of the great work that they’ve done … I’m here with a proclamation from the state Senate for all of the good achievements that you’ve been able to accomplish — your matrimonial practice, your adoption practice, your different areas of law where you’ve made a difference, and keeping us organized.”
When Stanton got the opportunity to speak, she thanked her son DiMango, the past presidents who helped encourage her rise through the organization and her officers that have already helped her this year. She talked about plans for the upcoming year and also called upon the members to help bring in new and younger attorneys into the group.
“I wish I had joined the BRLA earlier than I did. I really do,” Stanton said. “I have to say for all of the attorneys, any attorneys you may have in your firm, especially the young ones, this is the place to be. Not only is everyone here available to help you, and I do mean help you no matter what it is, it’s also a place where a lot of friendships that I have begun.”
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