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Old Young-Lawyers Committee sees the good work of the BBA’s Mentorship program

Mentees and New Young-Lawyers still needed

August 22, 2022 Robert Abruzzese, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Brooklyn Bar Association’s Mentorship Committee held a happy hour mixer at Circa Brewing Co. in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday for attorneys who might potentially be interested in joining their one-on-one mentor program.

The turnout was a big success as more than 50 lawyers attended the mixer. More than half a dozen judges were even in attendance, eager to help the Brooklyn Bar Association and take on mentees.

The crowd was so large for two reasons: the first is attributed to Hon. Joanne Quinones and Natoya McGhie, the co-chairs of the committee, who have put in a lot of work to run the mentorship program. The second: because Dan Antonelli and a group of “Young Lawyers” from about 10 years ago returned to take part in the action.

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“I felt like we were back in action on Tuesday,” Antonelli said of his group of Young Lawyers that were active within the BBA from 2013 through 2018. “It was a lively crowd, young attorneys, and lots of new faces. It was an auspicious start to the year. Judge Quinones and Natoya McGee injected the Bar with a big dose of energy.”

Front row from left: Adam Roth, Ene Crooks, Laura Outeda, and Peter DeVries. Back row from left: Sidney Cherubin, Sean Kerley, Jimmy Lathrop, Adam Kalish, and M. Frank Francis.

Many in Antonelli’s group, including Adam Kalish, Adam Roth, Sidney Cherubin, and others are still very active in the BBA. However, some, like Sean Kerley, moved out of Brooklyn years ago. It was a group of about a dozen people who returned – they were impressed with what they saw coming up behind them.

Out of the over 50 in attendance there were judges including Hon. Lawrence Knipel, Hon. Bernard Graham, Hon. Lisa Lewis, and Hon. Inga O’Neale. There were over 25 attorneys with at least 10 years of experience looking to take on mentees as well.

With so many judges and experienced attorneys taking part in the program, Judge Quinones said that it motivates her and McGhie to work hard to make the program successful. They want to help as many inexperienced attorneys as possible to navigate the Brooklyn legal community.

“I am very much looking forward to serving as Chair of the BBA Mentorship Committee together with the newly appointed Vice Chair, the incomparable Natoya McGhie,” said Judge Quinones. “Like me, Ms. McGhie is an advocate of the power of mentoring.

All Judge Quinones had to do was to look over towards Antonelli’s group to see the truth of her statement. Many of these people met back around 2015 when the Young Lawyers Section at the Brooklyn Bar Association was active. Since then, a few have moved away, others have taken different jobs, but they still maintain a tight-knit group.

Hon. Lisa Lewis and Hon. Inga O’Neale are eager to give back to the legal community by taking on a mentor through the Brooklyn Bar Association.

The Young Lawyers Section is a group that meets regularly for networking events and occasionally hosts continuing legal education seminars. The term “young” is often misleading in this context because any attorneys with less than 10 years of experience are encouraged to join.

That section will often host events and co-mingle with the Mentorship Committee, which is also not just about 20-something lawyers. Anyone with less than 10 years of experience interested in being a mentee are encouraged to join, or even anyone of any age looking to switch areas of legal expertise. And anyone of any age who wants to be a mentor is encouraged to join.

Judge Quinones and McGhie will host Mentorship Committee events throughout the year. It’s designed to help foster an environment where older attorneys and younger ones can create relationships organically. They will then pair mentors and attorneys up one-on-one and encourage the two to meet regularly throughout the year.

“I often say that I would not be where I am were it not for the many people who guided, encouraged and mentored me,” Judge Quinones added. “Mentoring was essential to my personal and professional development and my relationships with my mentors continue today. These are the types of long-standing relationships we hope to help our newly admitted attorneys and law students develop with our seasoned practitioners.”

The BBA has had no trouble attracting mentors recently, a sign of the amount of leadership within the association. However, they are still looking for mentees. Anyone with less than 10 years of experience, or anyone looking to change legal fields, are encouraged to reach out to the Brooklyn Bar Association.

Of course, the Young Lawyers Committee is still active. Any attorneys who feel like they need to strengthen their local network, or just want a group of lawyers to commiserate with, are encouraged to reach out as well. It very well could be the next group of Young Lawyers who are coming back in 10 years to see the impressive work of the next wave of attorneys.

Attorneys old and young, experienced and inexperienced, were at Circa Brewing Co. on August 16 for a Brooklyn Bar Association Mentorship Committee mixer. Thanks to Adam Roth, who sponsored the event, more than 50 lawyers from Brooklyn showed up in order to sign up for the BBA’s mentorship program.
Photo: Judge Quinones.

Robert Abruzzese is the former Legal Editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Director of Member Services at the Brooklyn Bar Association. In addition to writing this column, he currently attends Touro Law Center and is a Legal Administrative Assistant at the Cavallo Firm, PLLC. You can reach him via email at [email protected].

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