Brooklyn attorney Maria Aragona is running for Civil Court judge
Brooklyn attorney Maria Aragona, who currently serves as the principal court attorney for Justice Kenneth Sherman, is running on June 23 for Civil Court judge in the 3rd Municipal Court District.
Aragona, a St. John’s University and Hofstra Law School graduate, worked for one year at a private practice prior to going to work in the court system. She was named court Employee of the Year in March 2019.
“Known for her work in various trial parts, Maria has a well-known reputation throughout the legal community for her ability, work ethic and professionalism,” Hon. Lawrence Knipel, administrative judge of the Brooklyn Supreme Court, Civil Term, said about Aragona at her Employee of the Year ceremony. “She also plays a prominent role in numerous local community organizations and bar associations.”
Aragona is president of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County, and of the Confederation of Columbian Lawyer Associations of New York State. Aragona is also a trustee of the Brooklyn Bar Association and vice president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn and active in the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association of New York and the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association.
“Maria refuses to accept the notion that she can’t help everyone,” Justice Sherman said at the same Employee of the Year ceremony. “There is hardly a person in this courthouse who hasn’t been helped by Maria in one way or another. We have a high calling here to deliver justice to our fellow citizens. Maria has never lost sight of that charge.”
Aragona said that she’s active in so many bar associations because she has always been involved in many organizations throughout her life. She explained that it was her experience with the bar that helped her to get a job within the court and one that provided her with many mentors over the years.
“The Confederation used to do a law student forum that I got involved in while I was still at Hofstra,” Aragona said. “Connie Mennella asked me to speak and it has always been something I’ve been very proud of. That helped to expose me to the bar associations where I have been able to form many of my professional relationships.”
Aragona was honored in March 2017 by the Catholic Lawyers Guild during Shrove Tuesday. When she presented her with that award, Judge Lizette Colon called Aragona a “rising star” and someone with wisdom beyond her years.
“She has been a rising star, not only in the Catholic Lawyers Guild, but in the legal community,” Colon said. “She does anything and everything for the Catholic Lawyers Guild and knows how to anticipate things that we don’t even ask her to do. As an attorney, she works with wisdom and the judgement of someone way beyond her years.
“Her selfless service is the exact example of all that we stand for: helping others without looking for remuneration or even recognition,” she continued. “Nothing is too small, nothing is too large for her to take on. She’ll go out of her way to help others.”
When Aragona was installed as president of the Confederation of Columbian Lawyers, she talked about the importance of family, and it’s easy to see why. She was heavily influenced to be an active community member by three previous generations of women who were apart of the Williamsburg community. She also was inspired to become a lawyer following her father’s death when she was just 10 years old.
“Following his death there was a legal dispute and even though I was just 10, I got a good education in exactly what the courts can do,” Aragona said. “From then on, I wanted to be a lawyer and I wanted to help people.”
Working for Justice Sherman has been a great experience, she explains as she sits in the jury coordinating part, which handles nearly every case prior to it going to trial. She points to Judge Lizette Colon, who previously had her position as principal court attorney to Justice Sherman, and who now handles the busy prenote discovery part.
“Judge Sherman helps so many people and I’ve watched him mentor Judge Colon, my predecessor, who is now able to help a ton of people herself and he has prepared me to move on and become a judge myself,” Aragona said. “So many cases go through his part before they go to trial. It’s the last step to settle a case and each day we deal with over 100 cases and between 20 and 30 motions.”
Aragona explained that her desire to get involved with the community goes back to her great grandmother who moved ro Brooklyn from Italy approximately 100 years ago. Her grandmother Tillie Tarantino and her aunt were also activists in the Williamsburg area and Maria herself is involved with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and Community Board 1, where she assists the Women’s Issues Committee as a non-board member. Her mother is also a teacher at P.S. 152.
“I’m the fourth generation of strong women who are community activists in Williamsburg,” Aragona said. “I’ve always been the type of person that people came to with advice. I’ve always wanted to help people. It’s why I went to law school, because I knew that a law degree would open those doors.”
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