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Columbian Lawyers host Administrative Judge Knipel at Monthly Meeting

October 14, 2022 Rob Abruzzese
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It’s October which means that bar associations in Brooklyn and New York are busy hosting regular continuing legal education (CLE) seminars, and the Columbian Lawyers of Brooklyn are no different as they held its monthly meeting at Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island on Wednesday.

President Salvatore Scibetta held an important CLE seminar early as he and the Columbian Lawyers hosted Hon. Lawrence Knipel, the administrative judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term.

Justice Knipel is a graduate of New York University Law School and began his legal career at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, Civil Division as an intern in 1976. In 1978, he went to work as an associate at Van Ginkel & Benjamin, a firm that specialized in tax law.

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After being a law clerk to Judge Martin Schneier from 1980-1982, and then to Justice Jules Spodek from 1982-1990, Justice Knipel became a judge of the Kings County Civil Court in 1991.He became a Kings County Supreme Court Justice in 1998 and was named administrative judge for Civil Matters in 2013.

The Administrative Judge gave an hour-long lecture in front of a crowd of roughly 70 attorneys on Wednesday night entitled, “Brooklyn Courts in Transition: Major Changes in Law and Practice” where he discussed everything going on in his courthouse lately, an update on the judges, and how COVID-19 has changed the way the court runs both physically and online in virtual spaces.

Temperature checks and masks are no longer required in the Kings County Supreme Court, and social distancing has been reduced from six feet to three feet. Judges have once again been assigned to their own courtrooms, Justice Knipel said. Judges are being encouraged to conduct more in-person motion practice.

The facades of the building itself have been found in danger of collapse by the NYC Department of Buildings, Justice Knipel said, so additional temporary shedding has been erected surrounding the entire courthouse at 360 Adams Street. Justice Knipel said that the city expects to begin renovations of the building in 2023.

Following the lecture, members got an opportunity to ask Justice Knipel questions, which the judge candidly answered.




October is Italian Heritage Month and the Columbian Lawyers Association will celebrate it with its annual event “Sapori da le Marche” at Tiro a Segno Dinner Club in Manhattan on Thursday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m.

President Salvatore Scibetta reminded members who are planning to attend that tickets will not be sold at the door and that RSVP’s are required. He explained that even if people plan to bring a check to the event itself, the Columbian Lawyers still need to know how many guests will be attending. This event is open to non-members.




Gregory Cerchione, a past president of the Columbian Lawyers Association, is being honored by Futures in Education on October 18 at Cipriani Wall Street at 6 p.m.

Cerchione is being recognized for helping to improve the lives of Catholic school students in Brooklyn and Queens. The event helps raise money for student scholarships as part of its annual Scholarship Fund Dinner.

“It’s a tremendous fundraiser for their scholarship program,” said past president Bart Russo. “It would be great if everyone could turn out to support Greg Cerchione and the scholarship program.”




The Annual Red Mass, which is hosted by the Columbian Lawyers Association as well as the Catholic Lawyers Guild, will be held on Wednesday, October 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James on Jay Street and Cathedral Place, just one block north of Tillary Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Red Mass is a recent revival of an old European tradition that came to the United States in 1928 when Cardinal Hayes first called the legal profession together in Manhattan. It’s a tradition that invites people of all faiths to the church for a special prayer for the legal community.

“The Red Mass is steeped in tradition,” said past president Bart Russo. “It’s always a nice event with a good turnout of judges. We have a small reception afterwards.”

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