North Brooklyn

Brooklyn lawyer Domenick Napoletano installed as NYS Bar Association president

June 7, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
Domenick Napoletano, newly installed as the 127th president of the New York State Bar Association, addresses attendees at the Liberty Warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Eagle photos by John McCarten
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Domenick Napoletano was officially installed as the 127th president of the New York State Bar Association at a ceremony held at the Liberty Warehouse in Red Hook on Tuesday. Napoletano, a Brooklyn native and solo practitioner, brings a mindset of hard work and resilience to his new role.

Growing up as the only child of Italian immigrants, Napoletano learned early on the value of perseverance. Reflecting on his childhood, he said, “In order to get something, I had to work on getting it. I would say that is what has carried me throughout my life.” This determination led him to be the first in his family to graduate from grammar school, high school, college, and law school.

Napoletano’s background as a solo practitioner gives him a unique perspective on the challenges faced by many members of the Bar Association. 

“Two-thirds of our members are solo and small-firm practitioners,” Napoletano said. “I know what their needs are because I still often struggle with them myself every day.” His presidency will focus on addressing these everyday issues and advocating for the interests of solo and small-firm lawyers.

Among his priorities, Napoletano aims to update the CPLR and streamline confusing and contradictory court rules. He also wants to reintroduce New York Practice as a mandatory course in law schools and on the bar exam, ensuring new lawyers are better prepared for the realities of practicing law in New York State.

Before his presidency began, Napoletano had already started laying the groundwork for change by meeting with judicial leaders to discuss judicial independence initiatives. He also plans to empower the Bar Association’s sections and committees to take on important initiatives, leveraging the expertise within the organization.

The installation ceremony was attended by Napoletano’s family, friends and colleagues, and he was joined on stage during the installation by his wife, Fran; daughter, Alexis; and granddaughter, Sophia. The event, originally planned for 100 people, had to be expanded due to overwhelming interest and support.

Napoletano’s installation was conducted by retired Judge Michael Pesce, a lifelong mentor who has known him since childhood. The ceremony’s backdrop of the Statue of Liberty symbolized Napoletano’s journey from a first-generation immigrant family to achieving the American dream.

Napoletano has been an active member of the New York State Bar Association since 1981, holding numerous leadership roles, including treasurer from 2018 to 2023. He has co-chaired the Presidential Committee on Access to Justice and the Emergency Task Force for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners, addressing critical issues such as legal representation and the impact of COVID-19 on solo practitioners.

In his new role, Napoletano plans to continue his focus on the day-to-day issues facing lawyers, ensuring the association remains a valuable resource for its members. 

“I want every one of our members to know and believe that this association is truly here for them and the profession, and only them,” Napoletano said. “Plain and simple, I want to help our lawyers be more effective at serving the public.”

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