Pandemic heroes: Bay Ridge Lawyers pays tribute to presidents at annual reception

July 3, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association (BRLA) honored its recent presidents during the 2023 Annual Cocktail Reception and Dance, hosted at The Vanderbilt at South Beach in Staten Island on Thursday, June 15.

The event served as a testament to the association’s resilience during the global pandemic and paid tribute to Mary Ann Stathopoulos (2019-2021), William Gillen (2021-2022), and Dominic Famulari (2022-present), who all played crucial roles in steering the association during the challenging period of COVID-19.

Mary Ann Stathopoulos with her family (from left to right): George, Alexis and Aris Stathopoulos.

“The recognition that they received at the event was very well deserved,” said Famulari, reflecting on his predecessors. “Maryann Stathopoulos and William Gillen led us through and out of the pandemic. We hit the ground running in September of 2021 under President Gillen when no other associations were having in-person events, and the Bay Ridge Lawyers never looked back.”

Stathopoulos, in particular, was applauded for her leadership in maintaining the organization’s regular online meetings at a time when most other bar associations fell dormant. Gillen built upon Stathopoulos’ hard work, keeping the momentum alive as the association transitioned out of the pandemic with the resumption of in-person events.

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William Gillen and his wife Staci.

“I was thrilled we finally got to get back together…last year was the first full year getting all our usual events going and it was great to finally have a dinner dance,” Gillen reminisced, adding that the experience had brought the three presidents closer. “I was very happy to share it with Mary Ann and Dom because of how close we’ve gotten over the past more than six or seven years as we each kind of came up as the officer chairs. There was no sharing of the spotlight, we all just celebrated together.”

Famulari continued to lead the organization as it resumed regular in-person events, hosting well-attended monthly meetings at Mama Rao’s and arranging for esteemed legal education lecturers, including Hon. Matthew D’Emic and Hon. Jeffrey Sunshine. Under his leadership, the association hosted a successful seminar in Atlantic City and reinstated its annual Cocktail Reception and Dance in grand style.

From left: Dominic Famulari, Santorini Rivera, Hon. Janet McFarlane, Gianna Famulari, and Marisa Arribito.

“The groundwork laid out by Will during his Presidency enabled us to have a hugely successful year in 2022-2023,” Famulari said. “It included great monthly meetings, a fabulous Santa Breakfast, a welcome to 2023 Party that was enjoyed by many, and an awesome Atlantic City seminar.”

Stathopoulos is an experienced corporate counsel with a robust track record in legal support functions. She has spent her career specializing in commercial finance, contracts, and regulatory compliance, with a focus on driving efficiency and innovation. She has served as the Managing Attorney for Cisco Systems Capital Corporation and held legal roles in multiple corporations including CIT Group Inc., and Citigroup Inc.

Gillen is a solo practitioner who has concentrated his practice on estate planning, probate and estate administration, guardianship, and real estate transactions. He established his practice in Bay Ridge in 2009 and has held various roles in the court system, including serving as a Guardian ad Litem in Surrogate’s Court Proceedings and as Court Evaluator and Attorney for the AIP in Guardianship Proceedings.

Famulari has had a broad-ranging legal career, currently working as a partner in the Law Office of John D. Famulari, concentrating on wills, estates, elder law, and real estate & litigation. He’s a former president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Brooklyn. He is also an accomplished lecturer, providing legal education at various associations and seminars.

The upcoming months promise more growth and innovation for the BRLA, with Adam Kalish set to take over as president in September. As Famulari put it, “The advice, encouragement, and support that I received was amazing and the best news is that going forward we are going to be in great hands with Adam Kalish as the incoming President.”

From left: Jenny Leung, Brian Chin, incoming president Adam Kalish, and Regina Boukhvalova.
Past president Stephen and Angie Chiaino.

From left: Hon. Peter Sweeney, Gregory LaSpina, Linda LoCascio, Hon. Lizette Colon, Hon. Rosemarie Montalbano, and Domenick Napoletano.
From left: Helen Galette, Mary Ann Stathopoulos, Yolanda Guadagnoli, president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, Lisa Becker, and Sarah Moore.
From left: Ryan Mahoney, Joseph Bova, and Ray Ferrier.

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