David Chidekel installed as president of Brooklyn Bar Association
Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister for June 25
David Chidekel Installed as President of Brooklyn Bar Association
Trial Lawyer, Skilled Thespian, Takes Oath of Office in Federal Court
Before an impressive assemblage in the Jack Weinstein Courtroom at the Federal Courthouse just down the street from Kings County Supreme Court, barrister David Chidekel was inducted last week as president of the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA).
Chidekel, one of the city’s top trial lawyers, has made his mark in the Kings County legal community, especially through his involvement with the Kings County Nathan R. Sobel Inn of Court. The Inn, patterned after the ancient London Inns of Court that paved the way for our modern system of jurisprudence, set out on a different mission from other bar associations. Its goal, when it was founded by now-retired Justices Ed Rappaport, Gerard Rosenberg and Abe Gerges as well as Justice Marsha Steinhardt, was to form the kind of collegial atmosphere that prevailed centuries ago at the London Inns.
Especially important to Inn founders was the mandate that younger lawyers be assigned to work with their seniors as well as members of the bench in common cause.
The common cause at the Inn — one that then-President Chidekel espoused and emulated — was best achieved in the preparation and execution of various illuminative skits requiring hours of preparation. Trials were staged in actual courtrooms (before limited budgets shut 360 Adams St. at 5 p.m.) and the Inn was broken down into eight performing panels, each assigned to re-enact realistic scenes from courtroom dramas.
Big cases and small — from Miranda cases to a fender-bender at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues — were depicted, explained and presented with great pageantry, such as when the very presentable Sara Gozo presented as a physician complete with the long white frock and stethoscope.
I was pleased to often be cast on Chidekel’s team, for I knew that he would work early, hard and long to obtain documents and assign roles on time and with the thoroughness and urgency that are the hallmarks of a good director. It should be clear that through his work with the BBA and the Criminal Bar Association he has earned his BBA leadership role. In addition, he has come to respectfully be known to his Inn cohorts as a “known thespian.”
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Chidekel’s Many Talents and Occupations Present a Lawyer With the Gift of Perspective
Our new president started out as a musician, which explains his showmanship skills. He then ventured far from that profession, over to the rolling hills of Appalachia, equipped with an MBA in health that would aid him to found clinics where they were really needed — the backwoods of Kentucky.
It was an admirable endeavor because we know that he was at “Ground Zero” of the looming opioid epidemic that would take thousands of lives there and throughout Appalachia.
His next bold move was to Florida, where he and his wife took over the operation of a nursing home. After a while, though the nursing home received a steady flow of business, Chidekel saw his calling elsewhere.
At the age of 41, he entered law school and, finally able to hone his exceptional research and oratorical skills, he soon became known as one of the most effective trial lawyers in these parts.
“I saw so many inequities — racial, ethnic and other — that I had no choice but to go into our courts to finally be able to do something about them. After what I’d seen, I felt I’d been selected by fate or some other higher power.”
Today, when Chidekel talks about the harshness of life in Appalachia or the ills of this society, he speaks as a man who’s actually been whereof he speaks. Throughout the year, Chidekel will have the invaluable aid of BBA Executive Director Avery Okin, who has guided many presidents through their successful terms.
Other officers sworn in include President-Elect Hon. Frank V. Carone, First Vice President Anthony J. Lamberti, Second Vice President Armena D. Gayle, Secretary Richard Klass and Treasurer Joseph S. Rosato. Joining the Trustees Class of 2019 is Maria Aragona. Members of the Trustees Class of 2021 include Daniel Antonelli, Michael Farkas, Randi Karmel, Jaime Lathrop, Dino Mastropietro, Andrew S. Rendeiro and Pamela Walker.
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