When do you need the attorney general in a surrogate court case?
Kings County Criminal Bar Association president Christopher Wright (left) hosted the Brooklyn Bar Association’s first hybrid CLE with legal aid attorneys Julie Schaul and Brian Chelcun. Eagle photo by Robert Abruzzese
Much attention has been paid to the surrogate court since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and this is especially true in Brooklyn, a borough of over 2.5 million people that has been hit hard by the pandemic, and a housing market that is still strong.
With the resumption of traffic in the courts, surrogate court practitioners are busier than ever. The Brooklyn Bar Association’s Trusts & Estates section and surrogate court committees have held regular monthly meetings that have regularly drawn up to 100 members to hear the latest news.
Overall, things are going well, although the tribunal has been upheld. However, given the high demand for alternative court practitioners, the Brooklyn Bar Association wants to make sure lawyers are prepared to handle the workload. It therefore prepared a one-hour Continuing Legal Education (CLE) conference for its members.
On Tuesday, November 30 at 1 p.m., the BBA welcomes Lisa barbieri, a deputy attorney general of AG Letitia james‘Office, which will give a talk on the various interests represented by the AG’s office in alternative court proceedings. These include probate, accounting, kinship, withdrawal, cypress, construction, and guardianship.
The talk is titled “The Role of the NYS Attorney General in Alternate Court Proceedings: When and Why Do I Need the GA?” And lawyers can register to attend on our website BrooklynBar.org.
Barbieri, a graduate of Boston University Law School, joined the AG’s office as an Assistant to the Charities Office in April 2006. Prior to this appointment, she was Senior Counsel at the Surrogate Court of New York County. Before working for New York State,
Barbieri initially worked in private practice, focusing in the areas of tax law and estate planning, for five years. She then joined Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP, where she worked for seven years, also focusing on tax law and estate planning.
Go to Zoom, for now
This meeting will take place entirely on Zoom. However, the BBA is moving away from meetings solely on Zoom and recently hosted its first successful hybrid continuing legal education course co-sponsored by the Kings County Criminal Bar Association and its president. Christophe wright.
About 15 BBA and KCCBA members attended the “Speedy Trial and Discovery After COVID” conference in person, with about 70 other members joining them through Zoom.
The first CLE Hybrid didn’t start without sound issues, but they were quickly phased out and around 85 of our members have heard of Julie schau and Brian Chelcun, two attorneys who are members of the Legal Aid Society, share their experiences in handling cases and developing discovery requests with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.
The hybrid structure was popular with attendees, and the ability to attend face-to-face was a big hit with members. During the meeting, a member of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office posed a question to the speakers, which sparked a discussion that continued after the event. The ability to continue this has clearly led the legal aid lawyer and the ADA to better understand the role of both and an example of good face-to-face meetings that can be done.
Batson, implicit bias and peremptory challenges
On Tuesday, December 7, the BBA will once again be fully virtual for its CLE – Batson, Implicit Bias and Peremptory Challenges with Xavier donaldson, from Donaldson & Chilliest LLP. While the association wants to offer as many hybrid CLEs as possible, doing them virtually offers the flexibility to have more events and allow more people to attend.
A peremptory challenge is a tool used in jury selection that allows a lawyer to oppose a jury proposal that is made without giving a reason. These challenges are not meant to be used to discriminate on the basis of color, race or gender, however, in practice, lawyers can often find ways to get the jurors they want for a case. A Batson challenge is a challenge launched by one party against the other party’s use of the peremptory challenge to eliminate the potential juror.
Donaldson will discuss these jury selection tools and discuss how implicit biases play a role in this practice. The idea behind CLE is to prepare attorneys in how to handle jury selection and best practices to ensure that the jury platform ends up looking like a good representation of the people of Brooklyn.
A virtual session with the statewide coordinating judge for matrimonial matters
The BBA is also planning a virtual meeting with the Hon. Jeffrey Sun, who is the state coordinating judge for matrimonial matters for NYS.
This event does not qualify for CLE credit, but a similar event hosted by BBA last year was extremely well received by members. With divorces due to COVID, the marriage field has been more turbulent than ever. On top of that, COVID has caused a bit of a backlog that still looms, and association leaders felt it was appropriate to welcome another one to ensure lawyers understand the current demands of the court.
NYC Human Rights Law: A Look at Protections at Work, Home and in Public
One of the last events the BBA has on its schedule for 2021 is an event for the public – New York City Human Rights Law Title 8: How Am I Protected at Work, Home, and in Public?
This discussion will take place virtually on Tuesday December 14 at 6 p.m. and will be moderated by Finkel Fern, chairman of the Brooklyn Bar Association Foundation Legal Committee, and will feature Anthony Vaughn, Jr., the BBA’s second vice president.
The Brooklyn Bar Association Foundation regularly holds similar events for the public where lawyers are invited to educate the community about their rights.
This virtual presentation will review Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the New York Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public housing.
Remember, the Brooklyn Bar Association is having an open house for in-person parties at the BBA building in Brooklyn Heights on Thursday, December 16 from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The BBA is trying to keep the building from being too crowded at one point, so this party will have events at 4 p.m. as well as 7 p.m. and it will last until 8:30 p.m. Laurent KnipelKings County Supreme Court Administrative Justice Civil Term will play guitar during the evening.
This is the BBA’s first holiday party in over 50 years. Typically, the association holds an annual dinner every December instead, however, due to COVID this year’s dinner has been delayed until March. The annual dinner has a tradition that dates back to 1972 and it is only the second time since then that the BBA has not hosted one. Still, its members wanted to get together and celebrate the holidays together.
If you would like to attend the BBA Holiday Party, or any of its events, you can register on the website BrooklynBar.org. The holiday party is free, but guests are asked to bring a toy donation for Toys for Tots, a used costume to donate to the Kings County District Attorney’s office, or make a small donation to the BBA Foundation.
Robert Abruzzese is the former legal editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the current director of member services for the Brooklyn Bar Association. Now a legal columnist for the Eagle, Abruzzese writes about the BBA and the local legal community. For more information on membership in the Brooklyn Bar Association, you can reach him by email at [emailÂ protected].