Brooklyn Bar Association News


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Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jun 17, 2021

The Brooklyn Bar Association held an induction ceremony for Armena Gayle, the 106th president in the Association's history, along with the rest of the newly elected officers and trustees on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

Gayle has been a practicing attorney since 1993 after she graduated from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and then the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. She began working at the Kings County District Attorney's Office in 1994 and left to start a private practice in East New York in 1996, an office she still maintains.

Gayle's practice includes work as Counsel to the Public Administrator of Kings County, a position she served under the Honorable Diana A. Johnson and currently serves under the Honorable Harriet L. Thompson. In addition to her work in private practice, Armena also served as a part-time staff attorney with Housing Works, Inc., Client Legal Services from 2000 to 2020, where she provided legal services to indigent New Yorkers battling the twin crises of HIV/AIDS and homelessness.

She officially became the second Black president in this history of the Brooklyn Bar Association. Gayle explained during her speech that she was inspired to join the BBA by the Association's first Black president, Lynn Terrlonge.

"I couldn't have imagined that 20 years later, I would be making these closing remarks to this Association as the new president. none of that would have been possible without Lynn's outreach to me back in the 90s," Gayle said.

"I can't imagine the number of people that Lynn touched, and she was my real life guardian Angel as the gifts that she left to me were immeasurable," Gayle continued. "Regrettably, I cannot celebrate this moment with Lynn. I wish I could, but I can't. Lynn passed away in Feb. of 2002 just three months shy of completing her term as president."

Gayle is a Delegate with the New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates and is a Second District Representative for the New York State Bar Associations Nominating Committee. She served as a Former Committee Member to the New York State Grievance Committee for the 2nd, 11th, and 13th, Judicial Districts and is a recipient of the 1999 Pro Bono Award from the Brooklyn Bar Association, Volunteer Lawyers Project.

Gayle, who was given the oath of office by Hon. Frank Seddio, a former Surrogate Court judge and past president of the Association, was sworn in along with officers: Richard Klass, president-elect, Joseph Rosato, first vice president, Anthony Vaughn, Jr., second vice president, Christina Golkin, secretary, and Daniel Antonelli, treasurer.

The trustees who were sworn in on Wednesday included Margherita Racanelli, from the class of 2022, and Charles Fiore, Steven Harkavy, Antar Jones, Randi Karmel, Dino Mastropietro, Hemalee Patel, and Pamela Walker, from the class of 2024.

Download a copy of the 2021 Induction Program

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on May 17, 2021

BBA Stands in Solidarity With Those Who Value Diversity

May is the perfect month to celebrate the Brooklyn community’s diversity.  It is both Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month.  Among the holidays celebrated are Cinco de Mayo (May 5), which recognizes Mexican culture and heritage; Eid al-Fitr (May 12-13), which marks the end of Islamic holy month of Ramadan; and Shavuot, a Jewish holiday (May 16-18) that commemorates the giving of the Torah.  The month closes with Memorial Day (May 31), when we recognize and honor our military veterans -- men and women of all races, ethnicities, and religions -- who died in wars to defend our country. The message of May: There is no room for hate within America’s borders or on its streets.

With this message in mind, the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) pledges to stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Jewish members of our community. According to a  recent report issued by the Asian American Bar Association of New York, titled “A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions,” incidences of  anti-Asian hate and violence in the New York City area “skyrocketed in 2020.” (Please see the full report here).  Similarly, incidences of anti-Semitic hatred and violence have increased dramatically in New York City and throughout the world. The BBA condemns all acts of hatred targeting people because of their race, ethnicity, or religion.  The promise of this great nation is freedom and justice for all.  The realization of this promise can be found in a society that values its diversity in May -- and every month in the year.

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jul 19, 2021

The New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination announced on Monday that it is seeking recommendations and applications for an opening on the Court of Appeals that will open at the end of the year.

Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals Hon. Eugene Fahey is retiring at the end of the year and prospective replacements have until August 6, 2021 to submit applications.

Applications can be downloaded at www.nysegov.com or you can contact Henry M. Greenberg, the Commission's Counsel, c/o Greenberg Traurig LLP, 54 State Street, 6th Floor, Albany, NY 12208 (greenbergh@gtlaw.com, Tel: 518-689-1492). Email completed applications to CJN_Applications@gtlaw.com or mail them to Greenberg Traurig LLP, 54 State Street, 6th Floor, Albany, NY 12208.

Anyone who applied for vacancies left by Hon. Leslie E. Stein and Hon. Paul G. Feinman may also be considered for this position. They do not need to submit an additional application, but they do need to indicate to the Commission on or before August 6, 2021 that they want to be considered.

From the press release:

The Commission was created by Article 6, § 2 of the New York State Constitution.  Consistent with its mandate, the Commission is entrusted with the responsibility for evaluating, and then recommending to the Governor, candidates to fill vacancies on the Court of Appeals.  The Commission vigorously seeks out, carefully evaluates and then nominates to the Governor three to seven well-qualified candidates from the extraordinary, diverse community of lawyers admitted to practice in New York State for at least ten years.  The Governor’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the New York State Senate.

To fill past judicial vacancies on the Court, the Commission has nominated to the Governor a wide variety of lawyers, including private practitioners, public interest attorneys, law professors, government officials and sitting Federal and State judges.  While prospective candidates must file an application with the Commission, recommendations may be made by anyone who believes that a prospective candidate could be an excellent Judge of the Court.  Recommendations of qualified candidates for a vacancy are encouraged and may be made to the Commission’s Counsel.

If any person or organization wishes to receive copies of future Commission press releases, please provide an e-mail or mailing address to the Commission’s Counsel.  The Commission will register the address and make every effort to distribute future press releases in the designated manner.  Persons interested in learning more about the Commission are encouraged to visit its website: www.nysegov.com/cjn.

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jul 16, 2021

Fully-Vaccinated Attorneys can apply for court passes to allow them to use the courts without a mask/safety screening

On Wednesday, the New York State Court System opened for limited filings and along with that it announced that attorneys and court users who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can show proof of that vaccination to request a court-issued pass permitting them to enter the courthouse without completing a health-safety screening and without a wearing a mask.

Judges and court employees who can prove that they are fully vaccinated will be able to enter court facilities without having their temperature taken, completing the online COVID-19 Daily Self-Assessment, or wearing a mask.

Any attorneys or court users who have not been issued a pass must complete the health-safety screening and wear a mask at all times.

To obtain this pass — attorneys must show a valid secure pass or valid office/agency identification along with proof of vaccine. Acceptable proof of a COVID-19 vaccination includes a vaccination card, a photograph of a COVID-19 vaccination card, or the COVID-19 Vaccination New York State Excelsior Pass. Passes will be valid for 90 days.

For a complete list of the current COVID protocols for entering a courthouse, see NYCourts.gov.

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jul 12, 2021

Members of the Brooklyn Bar Association had an opportunity to meet with Justice Reginald Boddie, the presiding justice of the Kings County Supreme Court, Commercial Division during a "virtual introduction" on Wednesday, June 30th on Zoom.

Justice Boddie spent approximately 40 minutes with members of the Brooklyn Bar Association and discussing the rules and expectations in his Part.

"Primarily this was designed to give both His Honor, the opportunity to explain what his expectations are in his commercial part, and as well as the Bar the opportunity to pose some specific questions about how they should expect his part to proceed," said Anthony Genovesi, co-chair of the BBA's Commercial Law & Litigation Committee, who helped to organize the event along with co-chair Dewey Golkin and vice chair Jeffrey Miller.

"Justice Boddie has a really extensive resume," Genovesi continued. "He graduated from Brown University and Northeastern University Law School. His honor has been a judge since 2010 and the aspects of his resume that I think are really notable are dating back to the time during which Justice Boddie was first an attorney in private practice. The resume is really quite extensive with respect to his honor's community service working with United Youth Enterprises, working with community school boards and neighborhood centers."

You can watch the entire "introduction" with Justice Boddie below:

Download Justice Reginald Boddie's Commercial Division Rules here

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jul 7, 2021

A letter to local bar associations was sent by the court on Wednesday where it announced that it is going to request that Chief Judge Janet DiFiore expand the mandatory E-Filing program in New York City Civil Courts as soon as the late summer.

Citing the successful e-filing program in the landlord and tenant courts, Hon. George Silver, the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the NYC Courts and Interim Administrative Judge for the NYC Civil Court, Hon. Carolyn Walker-Diallo, the Supervising Civil Court Judge in the Kings County Civil Court, and Alia Razzaq, the Chief Clerk of the NYC Civil Court, issued the following notification of intent to request expansion of the e-filing program on Wednesday:

Based on the successful e-filing program in the NYC Civil Court for all landlord and tenant matters, please be advised that we are specifically requesting e-filing for actions brought by a provider of health services specified in Insurance Law Sec. 5102(a)(1) against an insurer for failure to comply with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Superintendent pursuant to Insurance Law Sec. 5108(b).

 

This notice is to advise you that we will be submitting our request for this mandatory program to the Chief Administrative Judge, who is required by statute to post the proposal on the UCS website inviting comments from attorneys and all affected parties (http://www.nycourts.gov/rules/efiling). We will be requesting that this mandatory program, if authorized, be effective late summer/early fall 2021.

 

This request and any public comment received will be presented for consultation purposes to the NYC Civil Court Advisory Committee on E-Filing. After the committee has reported its review of the proposal to the Chief Administrative Judge, he will consider our request and may issue an Order thereon. 

 

The NYSCEF Resource Center training staff will offer free virtual CLE training for attorneys, as well as training to their staff and all other interested filers. (For further training information see www.nycourts.gov/efile).

 

Also, as you may already be aware, by legislation and by statute, all unrepresented parties are exempt from participating in e-filing in any case. However, unrepresented parties may choose to e-file.

 

Click here to download a full copy of the memorandum

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jun 28, 2021

The Kings County Court System will hosts its annual Caribbean-American Heritage Month Celebration online this year at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

This year's theme is, "Our Shared History, Our Shared Future: COVID-19 and the Caribbean Community" and the guest speakers include Congresswoman Stacey Plasket and entrepreneur and chef Peter Ivey.

Hon. Sylvia Hinds-Radix served as the chair of the Kings County Courts Caribbean American Heritage Month Committee and Hon. Dena Douglas, and Betty Matondo-John will serve as the mistresses of ceremonies at the celebration.

Click here to watch the presentation live. Use the password: 1234

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jun 25, 2021

The Brooklyn Bar Association hosted a "Financial Fitness and Economic Growth" webinar co-sponsored with Citizens Committee for NYC on Wednesday, June 23 where it brought together a group of financial experts in an effort to help members of the local community best to understand their finances.

Second Vice President Anthony Vaughn, Jr., moderated the 70-minute webinar alongside Christina Massalay, vice president of Credit Suisse, Joseph Lemkini, an attorney from Stark & Stark's Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group, Tony Jao, a regional manager from Investors Bank, and Dr. Rahsaan Harris.

The topics will included consumer debt — understanding the importance of income to debt ratios, FICO scores, APRs when obtaining loans and savings accounts; bankruptcy — learning the difference between the different classes of bankruptcy, including Chapter 7, 11, and 13; and Home Mortgages — understanding the process of obtaining generational wealth through home ownership.

Watch the webinar in its entirety below:

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jun 14, 2021

 

It is fitting that the theme of NYC Pride for 2021 is “The Fight Continues,” as Pride month is a time to reflect on the battles waged and focus on fighting the battles that still need to be won. We remember the events at Stonewall and The Snake Pit and want to reiterate that we are in solidarity with our siblings whose black and transgender lives matter. We further recognize the increasing tide of hate against other minority communities, particularly Asian and Jewish Americans. We cannot change the history of systemic racism and homophobia in the United States, nor the deaths of so many at the hands of the police, but we can endeavor to recognize the reality of them and work toward a better future.  We continue to acknowledge the disparities in our black and brown communities in housing, employment, education, and health care since the days of slavery and Jim Crow, and the current crisis of mass incarceration and excessive force by the police.

In the LGBTQ+ community, we have learned that “silence=death and action=life” when our health and lives are at risk.  As such, we commit ourselves to speak up when we see injustice and to educate our fellow professionals on implicit and explicit bias. We will continue in our efforts to educate legal professionals on the issues, legal and otherwise, facing the LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis, and, moving forward, we will endeavor to seek out and amplify the voices of the disenfranchised, both within and without our community.

We welcome all members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies in our charge to make a difference and to join us for meetings and events. For more information on committee membership, please contact Robert Abruzzese, Member Services Director rabruzzese@brooklynbar.org.

While we continue to wait for a world where Pride is celebrated in a more familiar way, we still assert our right to be loud and proud of all our differences and diversity and wish everyone a happy and safe Pride month.

LGBTQ+ Committee

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Jun 7, 2021

The New York Bar Foundation announced its new slate of officers and board members earlier this month including its new vice president, Hon. Cheryl E. Chambers. The other new officers and board members included Carla M. Palumbo, who was named president of the Foundation, Vincent E. Doyle, and Lauren Sharkey.

Justice Chambers, an associate justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, has served on the Foundation's Board of Directors for seven years. A Follow of the New York Bar Foundation, and a member of the Charles Evans Hughes Circle of Giving, Justice Chambers has also chaired the bylaws and governance committee and served on the nominating and personnel committees.

“I am thrilled to step into my new role as Vice President of the New York Bar Foundation at such a pivotal moment, when the Foundation will maximize its philanthropy and grantmaking to support organizations that drive access to justice and tackle the greatest inequities in New York State," said Justice Chambers. "I look forward to working with the dedicated and visionary leadership of the Foundation and the New York State Bar Association to continue the work of both organizations.”

Justice Chambers was appointed to the Appellate Division by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2008 and was appointed to a senior seat in November 2016. She is the second African American woman to serve on the Appellate Division.

Prior to becoming a judge, Justice Chambers served in the Kings County District Attorney's Office and served as the chief of the domestic violence bureau, deputy chief in the trial division, and as an assistant district attorney in the trial and appeals bureaus.

Justice Chambers is active in the legal community and is a member of multiple bar associations. She served as chair of the NYS Bar Association's judicial section, the bylaw's committee, and she served on the diversity and inclusion committee. She is a fellow of the American Bar Association, and serves as a director of the Judicial Friends and the Association of Supreme Court Justices of NYC. Justice Chambers is also served as chair of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association.

A graduate from Brooklyn College and the Boston University School of Law, Justice Chambers has received the Vivian Agress Trailblazer Award from the Brooklyn Bar Association, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Trailblazer Award from the NYSBA, the Jurist of the Year Award from the MBBA, and the Jewish Lawyer's Guild Golda Meir Award.

The New York Bar Foundation is the non-profit and charitable arm of the New York State Bar Association. 


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