Pro Bono Barrister for October 15

Kings Inn Confronts Confrontational Lawyers!

In the most recent illustrative session of the Kings County Inns of Court, a team of experienced barristers re-enacted the challenges attorneys face at examinations before trial when they meet up with a “difficult” adversary. Heading the panel were Justice Carl Landicino, Federal Judge William Kuntz and dramatist David Chidekel. Justice Ellen Spodek, the Inn’s president, also peppered the participants with questions and situations they explored in the session, which awarded members with two CLE credits.

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Justice Sgrai To Offer Insights to Columbian Lawyers

The Kings County Columbian Lawyers Association. will get an overview of the appeals process on Nov. 6 at the Rex Manor on 11th Avenue. Guest speaker App. Div. Justice Sandra L. Sgrai will present "An Overview of the Appellate Division, Second Department"

Inn Executive Secretary Lucy DiSalvo reports that there is also a CLE benefit for lawyers who participate worth one credit in the area of professional practice. All meetings at the Rex Manor, 11th Ave. and 60th St., feature a "delicious Italian dinner,” says publicity chair Greg Cerchione.

Leading the Columbians this year is President Robert Musso, aided by 1st Vice Pres. Bartholomew Russo, 2nd Vice Pres. Rose Ann C. Branda, 3rd Vice Pres. Dean Delianites, Treasurer Mark Longo, Corr. Secretary Linda Locascio, Recording Secy. Hon. Frank Seddio, Historian George Siracuse. Chaplain is Msgr. David L. Cassato while Lucy DiSalvo serves as Executive Secretary.
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Barrister English Early Advocate of American Inns

Back in 1985, a sizable contingent of Brooklyn lawyers and jurists traveled to London to attend the American Bar Association Convention and to experience life and law in that historic place where much of our legal precedent originated.

Many organizations, including the Brooklyn Bar Association, made the enlightening trip.

Leading the Bay Ridge Lawyers Assn. was the venerable Harry G. English, a neighborhood practitioner and respected college professor specializing in estates and trusts. He was also an inspiring mentor to this writer and many other lawyers.

Our agenda -- English’s agenda actually -- at the convention was his long-standing goal to stir interest bringing the ancient English Inns of Court to the United States. (We teased him about the name coincidence, but he always maintained that "I’m not even English!")

What he wanted was an actual link between the legal profession here and England, where much of our common law originated. His desire, by the way, was shared with then Chief Justice Warren Burger and leading U.S. bar leaders.

Fortunately for those of us who accompanied him, attorney English made elaborate preparations for us to attend at a mock trial in the Middle Inn of Court off Hoburn Street that also involved dinner and a rare opportunity to compare American law with that of legal forebearers.

It was a night we remember well, and the "Gavel Passing" practice of the English Inns soon crossed the Atlantic into Bay Ridge. We were awed by the size and decor of the Inn meeting hall. With huge oak-panelled walls containing portraits of jurists and barristers who made the law over 700 years ago, just being there was an experience most American lawyers would cherish.

We observed a mock murder trial and learned of other traditions, for instance The ‘Gavel Passing’ ceremony–depicted on this page last week--was introduced at the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association by the late aforementioned Harry G. English in 1985.

The trial was held in one of the oldest English Inns of Court, a stone’s throw from the legendary "Old Bailey.”

The efforts by Justice Burger -- and attorneys like the late Harry English at the grass-roots level – proved successful.

Consequently the Inn tradition spread throughout the United States. The Brooklyn American Inn of Court, headed now by President Justice Ellen Spodek, is now in its 13th year.