Judge Dweynie Paul and Brooklyn Bar Association discuss her legal journey and court developments
The Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) invited Hon. Dweynie Paul to sitdown with its incoming president to discuss her career and courthouse as part of its Judicial Series on Wednesday, June 21.
Moderated by BBA’s Membership Committee co-chair, Anthony Vaughn Jr., the conversation ranged from Judge Paul’s career trajectory as a trailblazing judge of Haitian descent, to the ever-evolving court procedures amid the ongoing transition out of the COVID pandemic.
“It’s a chance for our members to hear from our judges to find out what’s going on in the court system and keep up to date,” remarked Vaughn, highlighting the importance of the event.
Judge Paul, a Brooklyn resident with deep Queens roots, shared an emotional story about her early exposure to the court system, which sparked her interest in law and public service.
“My journey started a long time ago as far as my decision to become a judge,” said Judge Paul. “My older brother died during a youth trip, and it ended up in the Supreme Court as a wrongful death suit… that sparked the desire to be a part of the court system so I can help shape that structure,” Judge Paul said.
After earning degrees from Stony Brook University and George Washington University Law School, she embarked on her legal career as a court attorney in Maryland, eventually moving back to New York to litigate and finally serve in the court that would later see her become a judge.
With the assistance of Principal Court Attorney Lauren Brown, Judge Paul offered attendees a closer look at the operations of the Civil Court, highlighting its diverse caseload and discussing the current state of virtual trials. On the topic of no-fault cases still being entirely virtual, Judge Paul expressed doubts about a return to in-person trials, saying, “At 100 no-fault trials a day, fully virtual, I don’t think (no fault trials) will come back to in person.”
The conversation further encompassed the court’s response to the pandemic, including the suspension and gradual resumption of jury trials, and the hopeful return of night court in 2023.
Engagement, according to Vaughn, was the key theme emerging from the conversation. He commended Judge Paul’s commitment to maintaining active engagement with her staff, the bar, and the public, even amid the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Offering words of wisdom for young practitioners, Judge Paul stressed the importance of courtroom decorum.
“The art of courtroom decorum is slowly dying and it’s not ok… it sets the tone for the case and sets respect for the work our counselors are doing and the work the court is doing,” Paul said.
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