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