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Bay Ridge Lawyers head to Atlantic City for continuing legal education seminar

February 12, 2019 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Every year the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association hosts its annual winter seminar in Atlantic City, where members enjoy a couple of meals together and take five continuing legal education courses.

Every year, the group that goes gets a little bit larger, and this year’s group was the biggest of all: Nearly 100 lawyers, judges, court employees and their families showed up at the Tropicana for this year’s seminar.

“It was an absolutely fabulous trip, and it was definitely the most well attended that we’ve ever had,” said Joseph Vasile, president of the BRLA. “The speakers were terrific. All of them had really interesting and relevant presentations. That fact — that this event has gotten so big — says a lot about the people who put the work in behind the scenes.”

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Betsey Jean-Jacques, BRLA President Joseph Vasile, Charles G. Fiore, James Kasdon and Janet McFarland, president of the Staten Island Women’s Bar Association.

It was Vasile who handled a lot of the organizing of the speakers, while Stephen Chiaino, MaryAnn K. Stathopoulos and Mario Romano worked on the annual seminar committee.

There were a total of six speakers on Friday for five separate CLE lectures. Janet McFarland, president of the Staten Island Women’s Bar Association, and Betsey Jean-Jacques, the principal law clerk for Hon. Francois Rivera, were the first two speakers who gave a lecture titled, “Mental Hygiene Law Overview — 2019.”

“The mental hygiene law covers all types of civil commitments — the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, in-patient hospitalizations, outpatient treatment, 17a guardianships, Article 81 guardianships, and it covers the developmentally disabled individuals that live in group homes,” McFarland said. “The newest part of the law covers the civil commitment of sex offenders being released from prison.”

Hon. Frank Seddio (left) and Ray Ferrier.

Other speakers included Hon. Frank Seddio, former Surrogate’s Court judge and chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party; Charles G. Fiore; James E. Kasdon; and Pery Krinsky.

Former Justice Seddio, who has always maintained his law practice even as he has changed careers over the years, gave a lecture on contesting wills. Seddio, who estimates that he has done about 200 wills a year — at least 4,000 in his lifetime, explained that a patient and thorough attorney can make a will that is nearly impossible to contest.

“The easier a will is to read, the harder it is to challenge,” Seddio said. “I call the complicated wills ‘Manhattan wills,’ because they’re always 400 pages and have an executive’s clause that’s 27 paragraphs.”

One tip Seddio gave was that if a person wants to leave someone out who normally would inherit, like a son, daughter or brother, then they should be included in the will with an explanation as to why they’re not receiving an inheritance.

From left: Stephen Chiaino, Pery Krinsky and President Joseph Vasile.

“I have in mind: ‘But I’ve made no provisions for my brother Joe, who is a no good bum,” Seddio joked. “Make sure that paragraph is in there if you’re leaving someone out.

Charles G. Fiore’s lecture was titled “What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Dealing With the NYC Public Administrator.”

James Kasdon’s lecture was titled “Condo and Co-op Foreclosures: the Board’s Perspective.”
Pery Krinsky wrapped up the seminar with his ethics lecture titled, “How to Stack the Deck When Betting on Your Firm’s Future… Without Gambling Away Your Law License.”


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