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Brooklyn Bar Association looking for newly admitted attorneys for its Mentorship Program

January 9, 2022 Robert Abruzzese, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Brooklyn Bar Association will revive a longstanding tradition later this month when its Mentorship Committee hosts an interest meeting on Zoom.

On Thursday, Jan. 27, President-elect Richard Klass will head the virtual meeting in which the BBA will start pairing newly admitted attorneys with more established ones in an effort to help improve their careers and elevate the legal community.

The program is free for BBA members, and attorneys admitted less than five years can join the Brooklyn Bar Association for free right now if they participate in the mentorship program.

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Mentorship has always been one of the foundations of the Brooklyn Bar Association going back generations. However, in recent years, the program has been limited. Klass, who will be installed as president in June, has been working behind the scenes for months now, trying to revive it.

Klass got his own start thanks to mentors in his uncle and two other lawyers who worked with him. The trio shared a suite with him and often passed along to him whatever overflow work that they didn’t have time to handle.

Klass, who joined the BBA as a law school student at New York Law School, eventually made a name for himself within the association while working with many committees, including the Mentorship Committee, which is why he wanted to see it revived.

Justice Joanne Quinones, vice chair of the Mentorship Committee.
Natoya McGhie, past president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association.

The legal community is a collegial one, so, of course, Klass isn’t running the program alone. He’ll have the assistance of Hon. Joanne Quinones, the vice chair of the Mentorship Committee, and Natoya McGhie, the immediate past president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association.

Judge Quinones is another who is obsessed with mentorship. She always has interns working for her, often many interns, and runs what has become affectionately known as Camp Quinones every summer. The camp will often invite alumni back every summer as part of programs to teach the new interns.

McGhie was president-elect at the BWBA when Carrie Anne Cavallo restarted its mentorship program. So not only did she get to participate in the program, but she got an up-close view of what it takes to start one up. The same program thrived while she was president of the BWBA, even at the height of COVID.

The event on the 27th will put McGhie’s experience to the test, as it will take place entirely on Zoom. The Brooklyn Bar Association had begun hosting hybrid and in-person events. However, with COVID numbers on the rise, it has decided to pause similar events until the Spring.

The trio are up to the task, though, and have already gotten many potential mentors to volunteer, as well as a few mentees. The bulk of the BBA membership currently has worked as attorneys for at least 10 years so it is asking members who know newer attorneys to sign up for a mentor. Any lawyers with less than five years’ experience will get free dues for the rest of the 2021-2022 year as an incentive.

If you are interested in taking part in our Mentorship Program at the Brooklyn Bar Association, please go to our website – www.BrooklynBar.org – to register and for more info. 

Flag Raising Ceremony Delayed

Speaking of pausing hybrid and in-person events, the Brooklyn Bar Association regrets to announce that it is going to briefly postpone our Flag Rising Ceremony that was previously scheduled for Jan. 12.

The event was planned to kick off our 150th Anniversary in 2022 and was to include many of our past presidents as well as Attorney General Letitia James and many other guests. However, we feel that we do not want to risk the health of our guests, which is what led to the decision to postpone.

The plan is to have the event later this month virtually. Details will follow, but the expectation is that a Virtual Flag Raising Ceremony will be held live during the last week of the month. Check BrooklynBar.org and this column for announcements.

Hon. Nancy Sunshine, county clerk, clerk of the Supreme Court and commissioner of jurors.
Hon. Charles Small, chief clerk of the Supreme Court, Civil Term.

Virtual Sitdown with Hon. Nancy Sunshine and Hon. Charles Small

The Brooklyn Bar Association is hosting two of the borough’s top clerks during a virtual sitdown on Thursday, Jan. 13, at 1 p.m.

Hon. Nancy Sunshine, county clerk, clerk of the Supreme Court and commissioner of jurors; and Hon. Charles Small, chief clerk of the Supreme Court, Civil Term, will “sit down” with moderator Adam Kalish for an hour to discuss issues their offices are seeing and best practices for attorneys. They will also be able to take questions from the audience.

The BBA has been hosting similar “sitdowns” every month since September, a continuation of a program that started last year. Previously, members got to sit down with judges Hon. Reginald Boddie, Hon. Lawrence Knipel, Hon. Ellen Spodek, Hon. Cheryl Gonzales, and others. However, this time around members said that they wanted to hear from the clerks.

The sitdown is sponsored by the BBA’s Membership Committee and organized by co-chairs Pamela Walker and Anthony Vaughn., Jr. If you have a question for the judges, please email Robert Abruzzese, director of member services.

Robert Abruzzese is the former Legal Editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the current Director of Member Services at the Brooklyn Bar Association. Now as a legal columnist for the Eagle, Abruzzese writes for the BBA and the local legal community. For information about joining the Brooklyn Bar Association, you can reach him via email at [email protected].


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