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Attorneys growing their network with speed at the Brooklyn Bar Association

November 1, 2022 Rob Abruzzese
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One of the biggest reasons to join the Brooklyn Bar Association is its robust mentorship program, and that was on full display Thursday night as nearly 50 members were on hand to serve as both mentors and mentees during a Speed Networking event.

The event was appropriately titled, “Speed Mentoring: A Networking Experience”. There were about 25 mentors and 25 mentees including seven judges, Hon. Joanne Quinones, co-chair of the BBA’s Mentorship Committee, Hon. Kathy King, Hon. Bernard Graham, Hon. Carl Landicino, Hon. Lisa Lewis, Hon. Cheryl Gonzales, supervising judge of the Kings County Housing Court, and Hon. Devin P. Cohen, as well as other bar leaders.

“As someone who has benefited from formal and informal mentoring, I cannot underscore the importance of any and all types of mentoring, including speed mentoring where law students and newer attorneys get to speak one-on-one with judges and seasoned practitioners in short intervals,” Judge Quinones said. “Speed mentoring is a unique, fun and organized way to network.”

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Kings County Public Administrator Javier Ortiz was one of Thursday night’s mentors. Each group spent three minutes with each other before switching off for a new mentor/mentee combo. Eagle photo by Robert Abruzzese

At the event, members were paired up and got between three and five minutes to speak with each other before switching. This way everyone at the event got an opportunity to meet everyone else. Mentees could ask questions and would be given opportunities to follow up after the event.

“I’m a first-generation lawyer, and I wished I had an opportunity to participate in a program like this while in school to meet judges and practicing attorneys,” said Natoya McGhie, co-chair of the Mentorship Committee. “Tonight’s one-on-one speed mentoring gave law students and our mentees the opportunity to interact with seasoned attorneys and judges from diverse practice areas, without that added pressure of going up to each person you see at an event to start an initial conversation.”

About 50 members of the Brooklyn Bar Association paired up for a Speed Mentoring event at the bar association on Thursday night. Eagle photo by Robert Abruzzese

This program works in conjunction with the BBA Mentorship Committee’s mentorship program that pairs mentors and mentees one-on-one. Those pairings are often blind, done based on participants’ interest in various areas of the law. Speed Networking gives people the opportunity to connect via shared personalities and experiences.

“It was only through my involvement in associations that I was able to find mentors, like our Committee Chair Judge Joanne Quinones,” McGhie said. “My mentors have been invaluable to my growth and professional development, so it’s great to see that we had a great turnout. We received a lot of positive feedback tonight, and we hope that the Committee can continue to support and guide our mentees and mentors and help them develop lasting relationships.”

Pictured from left: Abayomi Ajaiyeoba (in yellow), Natoya McGhie and Hon. Joanne Quinones. Eagle photo by Robert Abruzzese

The event was sponsored by Daniel Antonelli, the secretary at the Brooklyn Bar Association. Antonelli said that mentorship was the key to him growing his law practice.

“Most of the success of my practice grew out of my Brooklyn Bar experience whether it was the referral service, developing mentors through programming or volunteer work, or learning substance through (continuing legal education),” Antonelli said. “Just about everything traces back to the BBA.”

The Brooklyn Bar Association will host a reception for court attorneys at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9. It will recognize their work in the court system.

Pictured from left: Sherlly Alceus, Hon. Cheryl Gonzales, Natoya McGhie, Hon. Bernard Graham, Hon. Joanne Quinones, Jamie Baum, and Brittany Bastien. Eagle photo by Robert Abruzzese
Hon. Kathy King (left) and Raymi Ramseur-Usher. Eagle photo by Robert Abruzzese
In addition to seven judges in attendance on Thursday, legal community leaders such as Salvatore Scibetta, the president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, were on hand to serve as mentors. Eagle photo by Robert Abruzzese

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