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Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association hosts networking event for young lawyers

October 31, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association recently started a Young Lawyers Committee in an attempt to hold more events aimed at helping inexperienced attorneys. Pictured from left: Hon. Genine Edwards, BWBA President Michele Mirman, Natoya McGhie, Hon. Lillian Wan and Carrie Ann Cavallo. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association’s (BWBA) Young Lawyers Committee hosted a speed networking event in Brooklyn Heights on Monday, the first-ever event for the newly formed committee.

BWBA recently formed the committee as a way to attract younger and more inexperienced lawyers to the organization. The committee is co-chaired by Natoya McGhie and Justice Genine Edwards.

“They recognized that bringing young people into the bar is probably the most important thing that we can do,” BWBA President Michele Mirman said of McGhie and Edwards. “Mentoring young people, for the bar and young attorneys, is the absolute most important thing we can do.”

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As expected, Monday’s event was aimed at young lawyers — BWBA brought in a group of seven panelists who spoke for an hour offering general advice. Later the panelists broke off into groups where they were able to talk with attendees in smaller groups.

The panelists included attorneys Tanya Branch, Carrie Anne Cavallo, Yung-Mi Lee, Angelicque Moreno, Joanne Seminara, Hemalee Patel and Cheri Veit. The group represented a mix of women working in different legal fields from the District Attorney’s Office to small-scale private practice to large Manhattan firms.

“I’ve been a practicing attorney for 40 years, I hate to say, and networking and meeting people has been lifeblood for me,” Mirman said. “I get cases by meeting attorneys, by meeting clients, by speaking constantly and being out there. That’s how you have to do it and these women here are going to show you the way.”

Judge Lillian Wan, from Brooklyn’s Family Court, served as the moderator for the event and led a discussion with the seven women. She asked questions concerning dealing with difficult adversaries, challenges they have faced in their careers and finding a good work/life balance.

“There are not a lot of women who try cases so when I was in a room full of men who were telling me, ‘You don’t know, Cookie, what you’re doing,’” Angelicque Moreno said, “it’s really hard to not turn around and go, ‘Don’t call me Cookie and let me tell you what I do know.’ You have to figure out that you can’t let people get under your skin and you have to build your reputation as somebody who is responsible and will not back down.”

“If other people are underestimating you, you can use that to your advantage,” Joanne Seminara explained. “I remember an early case where I was up against a really experienced attorney who was being rude and belligerent. But I won that case because I stayed in the moment, didn’t get nervous and I was prepared. You can best someone who is underestimating you by always being prepared.”

This event is part one of what is expected to be a two part series. The second part is expected to be hosted sometime after the New Year.

BWBA will meet again on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. at the Appellate Division for “Lunch with a Judge” with Hon. Randall T. Eng and the other judges from the court. The event is part of a regular series designed to introduce BWBA members to the various judges throughout Brooklyn.


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