Profiles of newly elected presidents of the Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester County Bar Associations.
Brooklyn Bar Association
Aimee Richter, 49, is a partner at Lee Anav Chung White Kim Ruger & Richter LLP and the co-chair of the firm’s matrimonial and family law practice group. She obtained her law degree from Brooklyn Law School and started practicing in 1993.
Her one year term began on June 1.
Richter said that the approximately 3000-member group is currently focused on trying to increase their membership and recruiting younger lawyers to join the association. Richter has created a survey for members and non-members in order to understand what they are looking to get out of the bar membership and how those goals can be achieved.
She has also launched a new award which will be presented to a “trailblazing member” of the association at their annual gala on December 4. She added that she will be working towards promoting the bench and the bar, improving the court system and providing scholarships to deserving Brooklyn Law School students for the duration of her term.
Additional officers include president-elect David M. Chidekel, first vice president Hon. Frank V. Carone, second vice president Anthony J. Lamberti, secretary Armena D. Gayle and treasurer Richard Klass.
Bronx County Bar Association
Daniel Cassidy, 50, is the principal at the Law Offices of Daniel D Cassidy and is of counsel to Mead, Hecht, Conklin & Gallagher, a premier personal injury defense firm. He graduated from Pace University School of Law and started practicing in 1992.
His one year term commenced on July 1.
Cassidy said that he is elated to have been elected the President of the roughly 1000-member bar association because it consists of a vibrant group of people and has a great CLE program and a drug & alcohol abuse outreach program. He added that he plans to build on the work of the previous presidents and organise various events to improve their membership and attract younger lawyers.
He also aims to get actively involved with the community and help organise mock trials for the politics and law classes at various high schools across the Bronx, along with launching a new women’s committee and diversity committee.
Additional officers include first vice president Tina Wells; second vice president Peter Ridge; secretary Wayne A.J. Wattley; and treasurer Michael J. Barsky.
Queens County Bar Association
Gregory J. Newman, 53, is a partner at Newman and Newman LLP. He is a Brooklyn Law School graduate who began practicing in 1988.
He was installed on May 4.
His plans for the roughly 2000-member group are to launch a new website for the association and improve their social media presence. He also aims to increase their membership by recruiting law students and improving the benefits offered by the association to its members.
He added that the group aims to help immigrants living in Queens County under the “current political climate” and help the younger members get actively involved with the group’s various committees.
Additional officers are president-elect Hilary Gingold; vice president Marie-Eleana First; secretary Clifford M. Welden; and treasurer Richard Lazarus.
Richmond County Bar Association
Allyn J. Crawford, 48, is a founding partner at Crawford Bringslid Vander Neut and handles matters concerning commercial litigation, real estate, and business transactions. He obtained his law degree from Brooklyn Law School and began practicing in 1995.
His one-year term started on May 24.
Crawford said that he is honoured to have been elected to the position by his peers to expand the goals of the roughly 600-member organisation. He said that he plans to get younger newly admitted attorneys involved with the association and continue the expansion of their CLE program.
He added that the group is concerned with promoting a positive image of attorneys in the community and ensuring that “lawyers have every advantage to keep practicing and protecting people in the community.”
Additional officers are president-elect Toni Anne Barone; vice president Jay Duskin; secretary William J. Barillari; and treasurer Sheila T. McGinn.
Nassau County Bar Association
Steven Leventhal, 63, is a partner at Leventhal, Mullaney & Blinkoff, LLP. He graduated from New York University School of Law and started practicing in 1980.
His one-year term started on June 1.
During his term, Leventhal wants to help the 4500-member group adapt to the changes in the legal profession, the society and the advent of newer technology. He said that the group “needs to develop and institutionalise non-dues sources of revenue in order to continue to provide their extensive pro-bono services.”
He will also be focused on attracting members of the minority communities and to that end will be launching a new LGBTQ committee. The group will be partnering with the Suffolk County Bar Association “to establish a task force to review the feasibility of establishing a fifth department of the appellate division to deal with the staggering caseload” of the second department.
Additional officers are president-elect Elena Karabatos; vice president Richard Collins; treasurer Dorian R. Glover; and Secretary Gregory S. Lisi.
Suffolk County Bar Association
Patricia Meisenheimer is an associate at Bracken Margolin Besunder. She graduated from Hofstra University School of Law and was admitted to the bar in 1985.
Her one-year term started on June 2.
Meisenheimer hopes that theme of her presidency will be about maintaining “professionalism and civility in the practice of law” in Suffolk County. She said that the 2500-member group will be focused on maintaining ethical standards within the legal profession and the inclusion of diverse lawyers in the association. She will also be setting up a task force to assess the legal services being provided in the County and the need for more services.
She said that her number one priority for the duration of her term will be to ensure the access to justice for all members of the community. “The practice of law is not a right, but a privilege,” she said. “With this privilege comes a responsibility to ensure that every citizen has access to legal services.”
Additional officers include president-elect Justin Block; first vice president Lynn Poster-Zimmerman; second vice president Hon. Derrick Robinson; treasurer Daniel J. Tambasco; and secretary Vincent J. Messina, Jr.
Dutchess County Bar Association
Jeffrey S. Battistoni, 57, is a counsel at Van DeWater & Van DeWater, LLP. He attended Albany Law School and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1986.
His term as the President of the Dutchess County Bar Association began in May.
Battistoni said that his main priority is to review the bylaws of the association and ensure that the 550-member organisation is in compliance with them. He also plans to initiate a formal review process for the association employees and set up a monthly schedule for the group’s events.
He added that the group will also be focused on increasing their membership, helping younger lawyers in the community and dealing with any issues affecting lawyers that may crop up in the future. To that end, he plans to organise a panel of experienced lawyers to answer any questions younger lawyers may have.
Additional officers are president-elect Veronica McMillan, vice president Mark Starkman, secretary Rachel Flanagan Frost, treasurer Daniel Stafford, assistant treasurer Craig Burgess and immediate past president Kelly Traver.
Orange County Bar Association
Leonard Kessler, 62, is an attorney at Kessler Law Offices in Westtown. He is a 1978 graduate of the College of William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law.
His one-year term started on May 1.
Kessler said his goals are to attract younger and more diverse members to the 395-member association, maintain relevancy to younger members of the group and help them integrate with other lawyers so they can benefits from their experiences. Kessler added that the group will strive to allocate more resources to the administration of the Orange County Supreme Court.
Additional officers include first vice president Stephen Hunter; second vice president Mark Starkman; third vice president Nancy Morgan; secretary Craig S. Brown; and treasurer Carl S. Wise.
Putnam County Bar Association
Town Justice Christi J. Acker, 50, is currently running for the Supreme Court in the Ninth Judicial District and is presently serving her 10th year presiding over the Pine Plains Town Justice Court in Dutchess County. She also serves as a Principal Court Attorney to County Court/Acting Supreme Court Justice James T. Rooney in Putnam County. She graduated from Villanova University School of Law and started practicing in 1992.
Her two-year term as the President of the Putnam County Bar Association began in January.
Acker said that the 90-member bar association is a relatively small organization which is currently striving to remain relevant to its members. The group will be focused on organising various events to facilitate social interactions between its members, providing high school scholarships and preparing for their annual dinner on Oct. 12. The association is also concerned with ensuring the presence of counsel at every criminal arraignment and increasing their membership.
“Although the legal community in Putnam County is small, there is plenty of talent, intellect and professionalism,” said Acker. “It has been a pleasure to work in the community for the past 25 years.”
Additional officers are first vice president Faye Thorpe; second vice president Stamatia Dewbury; secretary Kathy M. Valletta; and treasurer Hon. Thomas Jacobellis.
Rockland County Bar Association
Andrea Composto, 43, is a partner at the Law Offices of Composto & Composto. She is a graduate of Albany Law School who began practicing in New York in 2002.
She was installed as the President of the Rockland County Bar Association on June 22.
Composto said that the 500-member organisation primarily aims to increase their membership and revitalizing their website and online media presence. The group will also be working towards celebrating their 125th anniversary in 2018.
Composto plans to re-launch the mock trial program in Rockland County for the benefit of high school students in the area. She is also keen on improving the visibility of LGBT attorneys by forming a new committee within the association.
Composto has previously served as the president of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, where she formed the group’s first LGBT committee. She is also actively involved with the Columbian Lawyers Association of Rockland County and LeGal, the LGBT Bar Association of New York.
She said she lives by the motto, “if you want something done, ask a busy person.”
Additional officers of the Rockland County Bar Association are vice president Ricki Berger, treasurer Ira S. Schoeps and secretary James M. Birnbaum.
Westchester County Bar Association
Stephanie Burns, 47, is an educational law attorney practicing at Keane & Beane P.C. She graduated from Pace University School of Law and started practicing in 1997.
Her one-year term began on May 1.
Burns said that during her tenure, the roughly 2000 member group will be hosting various events to help increase their membership and recruit younger lawyers. The association also plans to expand the facilitation of their pro-bono services and provide support for the veterans in the community.
Burns added that the group will be focusing on meeting the needs of the court system and helping people who require legal representation.
Additional officers include president-elect Richard Vecchio; vice president Hon. Linda S. Jamieson; vice president James L. Hyer; treasurer Wendy M. Weathers.; assistant treasurer Hon. Michael J. McDermott; secretary Dolores Gebhardt; and assistant secretary Jessica Thaler-Parker.