Brooklyn Bar Association hosts surrogate’s court mixer at circa brewing company

September 26, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Circa Brewing Company in Downtown Brooklyn was abuzz on Thursday, Sept. 21, as the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) hosted its inaugural “Surrogate’s Court Bench and Bar Mixer.”

Linda LoCascio and Bruno Codispoti.

The mixer, which proved to be an enormous success, almost transformed the brewery into a satellite BBA venue. The atmosphere was punctuated by the presence of Surrogate Court judges Hon. Rosemarie Montalbano and Hon. Bernard Graham. Judge Graham, who is an acting surrogate, is running unopposed in the upcoming November election.

From left: Nicole Reinhardt, Adela Guity Lalin, Hon. Rosemarie Montalbano, Diane Matero, Elba Galvan and Hon. Bernard Graham.

Both judges were not just titular guests. They actively participated for the majority of the evening, engaging with the BBA attorneys and introducing their respective staff. Such interactions highlight the core purpose of the event — to foster relationships and understanding between the Surrogate’s Court and the bar.

Daniel Antonelli (left) and Public Administrator Javier Ortiz.

The strategic mind behind this successful event was none other than Daniel Antonelli, the BBA’s second vice president and chair of the Trusts and Estates Section. According to Antonelli, this kind of interaction is pivotal due to the distinct nature of the Surrogate’s Court, which differs considerably from other courts. While most courts have an adversarial framework, the Surrogate’s Court, though it does oversee trials, tends to operate on more congenial terms.

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Natoya McGhie and BBA President Joseph Rosato.

Events of this sort not only facilitate the ease of resolving current or forthcoming issues by fostering familiarity among the court and its members, but they also serve as an effective avenue for the BBA to showcase its ethos and benefits to both potential and existing members. Antonelli emphasized that such close-knit bench and bar collaborations are truly unique to bar associations.

The evening was not just limited to the Surrogate Court judges. The event was graced by several other luminaries. Among those in attendance were former Surrogate Court Judge Hon. Frank Seddio; BBA President Joseph Rosato; and Hon. Lawrence Knipel, the administrative judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term. 

Hon. Frank Seddio and Hon. Rosemarie Montalbano.

The County Clerk and Commissioner of Jurors, Hon. Nancy Sunshine, also marked her presence, alongside Public Administrator Javier Ortiz. Their attendance underscored the importance and significance of the event in the legal community of Brooklyn.

From left: Hon. Jeffrey Sunshine, Hon. Lawrence Knipel, and Hon. Nancy Sunshine.


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