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Brooklyn Bar Association will honor three at annual foundation dinner

One current and one former Surrogate’s Court judge among honorees

November 26, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hon. Margarita Lopez Torres sits in the Surrogate’s Court in Brooklyn. Eagle file photo by Mario Belluomo

The Brooklyn Bar Association is honoring three people including one judge, one retired judge and an attorney at this year’s annual BBA Foundation Dinner that will be held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday, Dec. 10.

The event is expected to draw a crowd of approximately 900 people who will watch these three members of the local legal community be honored for their contributions. This year’s honorees include Hon. Margarita Lopez Torres, retired justice and past president Hon. Frank Seddio, and attorney Alphonso David, counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Seven people will also be given the second annual Vivian H. Agress Trailblazer Award, including immediate past President Aimee Richter, Hon. Joanne D. Quinones, Hon. Marsha Steinhardt, Hon. Larry D. Martin, Hon. William Miller, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Charles Small, chief clerk of the Supreme Court, Civil Term.

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BBA President David Chidekel helped select the three award recipients and explained how they each have contributed to the legal community in their own way. Two of them played a big role in opening the first Surrogate’s Court Help Center in Brooklyn — Justice Lopez Torres and Justice Seddio, who is a former Surrogate’s Court judge himself.

“Hon. Margarita Lopez Torres is a native Brooklynite and resident of Brooklyn — and a true made-in-Brooklyn success story,” said Chidekel. “Having served in Criminal and Family Courts and Supreme Court, she now serves in Surrogate’s Court and uses the knowledge she gained by serving in different courts to help people navigate the maze of the legal system.”

“Frank Seddio reflects the work ethic of so many Brooklyn residents,” Chidekel said. “Originally he was a NYC police officer and, while a police officer, became a lawyer while balancing career and home. To serve the residents of his neighborhood he became an assemblyman and then a Surrogate Court judge. To this date he serves his community in many ways, from his award-winning Christmas light display to training many young lawyers.”

Chidekel said that part of the reason they wanted to honor David was because of his work on the New York Marriage Equality Law, his work teaching at Cardozo School of Law and his current position with the governor.

“David embodies the immigrant spirit and work ethic that made Brooklyn the great city it is,” Chidekel said. “Originally born in Liberia, he came here as a young child and, using education as his way to the American dream, he became an attorney. Now, as counsel to the governor, he is sometimes referred to as the third most powerful man in New York.”

The annual BBA Foundation dinner allows the organization to play an active role in helping the local community through the Theodore T. Jones Memorial Scholarship, the 100 Year Association Scholarship, public education programs and the Brooklyn Legal Pipeline, which mentors students and prepares first-generation lawyers for law school.

On top of those charitable causes, the BBA Foundation also helps to maintain the law library and other services used by local attorneys at the bar association building on Remsen Street. In the past, the Foundation has made donations to causes like Hurricane Maria rebuilding efforts, helping the Puerto Rican Bar Association raise money for new generators following the hurricane.

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