President's Message

Presidents Message

Published in the FALL 2019 journal

Dear Members,

I hope everyone had a chance to get away and enjoy some summer fun. The kids are back in school and we are back in court, though these days we don’t really stop. This brings me to an important mes- sage for our membership. There have recently been several unexpected and tragic deaths amongst our colleagues. This has led to many conversations regarding the stresses of the legal profession and what we can do to foster our health and well-being and support each other. In addition, changes in our practice, including the new ADR initia- tives, ongoing pressures to meet court standards and goals, and the complete revamping of the Landlord/Tenant laws have taken many of us out of our comfort zones while we engage in the already difficult and stressful practice of law.

Our Health and Wellness Committee, led by Karen Soren, has been innovating programs in response to these sudden tragedies and the stresses of our daily practice. Karen has spearheaded a “Walk with a Judge” program. In July, Surrogate Matthew Titone joined us for a walk through the beautiful grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Karen is planning another “Walk with a Judge” in the Fall featuring Family Court Judge Karen Wolff. RCBA will also be co-sponsoring a wellness program, “Guided Meditation for Health and Healing,” at Snug Harbor on October 29. We hope you will join us for our transformative health and wellness programs in the coming year. Your health is very important to us!

As for the new ADR initiatives, the RCBA has been very busy this summer. Deputy Administrative Judge George Silver came to discuss the implementation of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Richmond County. The Bar Association was assured that we will be partners in formulating a working plan with the Courts. To that end, our ADR committee has been hard at work creating a working plan tailored to the needs of the unique practice of law in Richmond County, and will be presenting it to Administrative Judge Desmond Green by the time you read this.

In addition, on September 17, RCBA presented a comprehen-sive CLE for our landlord-tenant practitioners on the extensive changes in this area of the law. Our New Lawyers Committee has been hard at work and hard at play. The Committee has been hosting happy hours at which sea- soned attorneys and judges have spoken of their experiences. After two rain-outs, we finally got the Staten Island Yankee game in. The game actually made it to the fifth inning before the skies opened up and put an abrupt end to the game. Still, a good time was had by all!

In addition, I have been working with new lawyers Elen Krut and Joseph Maligno to re-establish a mentorship program through which attorneys, both new and seasoned, can learn from one another. Elen and Joe are also working on a brochure for new members which will explain the benefits of RCBA membership and make it easy to join. The Annual Golf and Tennis Outing is upon us once again, on October 3 at the Richmond County Country Club. I encourage everyone to take a day for their health and wellness and get some fresh air, exercise and good food! If you can’t make it out to play during the day, please join us for the Dinner. We will have a great Jazz Band playing throughout the night and a whiskey tasting, in addition to fun raffles and great camaraderie. Lastly, although we did not get enough participants for an Italy CLE, Toni Ann Barone is hard at work on a new exciting destination to be revealed shortly. It will be a great opportunity to get away, enjoy the companionship of your colleagues in a fun setting, and earn some CLE credits.

I encourage each of you to stay involved in your Bar Association and encourage others to join and get involved. No one understands a lawyer like another lawyer. In addition to supporting our members in the practice of law, we are also here to support each each other’s well being, develop and encourage wellness practices, and overall, to be here for one another. Thank you.


Respectfully Submitted,

Jay Duskin, President, RCBA