Catholic Lawyers Guild honors Charles Small on Shrove Tuesday
The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County celebrated Shrove Tuesday with a Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brooklyn Heights and afterwards it held a luncheon at the Brooklyn Bar Association where it honored Charles Small.
“This is a wonderful tradition that the Catholic Lawyers Guild does,” said the Rev. Patrick Keating. “We come together and share a meal, we begin with mass, and then we honor a very special person. We do this as a family, the Brooklyn court system.”
Small, who currently serves as the chief clerk of the Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term, and acting chief clerk of the Criminal Term, is the first black person to serve as chief clerk in Brooklyn.
“A Brooklyn Law School graduate and admitted attorney, in his over 25 years of service, Charles has dedicated himself to excellence in our Brooklyn court system,” Gregory Cerchione said. “Beginning as an associate court clerk, he is now the highest ranking non-judicial employee in the Brooklyn Supreme Court.
“Charles always has a smile on his face, treats everyone with respect and kindness and is known throughout our community as a good guy,” Cerchione continued.
Small said that he was concerned when Cerchione called him to tell him that he would be honored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild because in the 20 years he had known Cerchione, he never called him with a complaint. After being told the good news, Small denied that he had done anything besides his job.
“Every year on Shrove Tuesday, the Catholic Lawyers Guild recognizes a member of the legal community who has demonstrated excellence and good will throughout their career,” Cerchione said. “Charles Small, chief clerk for Civil Matters and acting chief clerk for Criminal Matters, embodies this award.”
After he accepted his plaque, Small recalled that he nearly missed out on a career in the court system and was working another job when an acquaintance named Cecil Watson encouraged him to apply for a job.
“I want to thank Mr. Cecil Watson for bringing me an application and pointing me in the right direction,” Small said. “He told me that I if I got into the court system that I would be set for life. I even took a pay cut and my siblings thought I was nuts.”
After he thanked many of the people in the audience, including judges, attorneys and family members, Small said that he was also grateful to be given the award during Black History Month.
“I think it’s fitting that I would receive this award during Black History Month,” Small said. “Being the first minority to be anything, you have to go through so much and there are plenty of people to thank for paving the way for me to be here.”
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