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For Brooklyn Judges, Zoom use goes beyond business

April 10, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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Zoom is a video conferencing program that is suddenly as ubiquitous in the legal community as the phrase social distancing has become. They go hand in hand, after all, since the coronavirus has forced so many to work from home.

One Brooklyn judge shared with the Brooklyn Eagle that she and her colleagues aren’t simply using the platform for work-related purposes. They’re also using it to check in on each other.

“I live alone so for me Zoom has been my lifeline, my connection to family and friends and to the outside world,” said Hon. Joanne Quinones. “I think we must stay connected whether we live alone or with loved ones. It’s important to be there for one another.”

Last Wednesday, Judge Quinones had a conference call with attorney Susan Ianelli and judges Hon. Jane Tully, Hon. Kim Petersen, Hon. Rosemarie Montalbano and Hon. Joy Campanelli. The call was supposed to be so they could discuss work, but it quickly became a way to commiserate with people they’re used to interacting with in person on a daily basis.

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“We basically asked how everyone was doing and what people are doing to keep busy,” Judge Quinones said. “Cleaning and cooking were top on everyone’s lists.”

The next day, Judge Quinones had a video conference with members of the Women’s Bar Association for the State of New York. The topic was how they would be able to still have an installation ceremony for Brooklyn attorney Joy Thompson, who will take over as president of the statewide bar association in June.

Later that same day, Judge Quinones had another video conference with the Latino Judge’s Association. The agenda was so they could check in on each other to ensure they have everything they need to work from home. But, as most of these video conferences have gone lately, things again became mostly personal as the group was checking in to make sure everyone is staying safe during the pandemic.

“We talked about what it’s like to be getting ready for a world where court proceedings are virtual, about making sure we have the programs to do our jobs effectively via Skype,” Judge Quinones said. “We also expressed concern for our colleagues who have tested positive and are keeping them in our thoughts.”

During the conference call with the Latino Judges Association, Judge Quinones organized yoga-Zoom meetings where she and some other judges, including Hon. Sallie Manzanet-Daniels and Hon. Llinet Rosado, plan to call each other three times per week to do yoga together.

“Thank you, Joanne, This was so healing for me,” said Hon. Laura Visitacion-Lewis. “I didn’t feel so alone when surrounded by you. Let’s continue to be there for each other.”

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