The Brooklyn Bar Association Foundation hosted the 2017 iteration of its annual dinner, encapsulating the far-reaching accomplishments of Brooklyn’s judiciary.
The New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge Hotel (333 Adams Street) was the setting of the event, which featured cocktails, dinner and awards. According to Brooklyn Bar Association Executive Director Avery Okin, more than 900 people attended the cocktail hour, while 871 attended the dinner.
The event also serves as a fundraiser for several of the Brooklyn Bar Association’s programs, including its law library, public education programs and scholarships for law school and pre-law students.
“The biggest reason for the dinner is it’s the fundraising arm of the foundation, which is what allows us to do what the foundation does, which is giving,” explained Brooklyn Bar Association President Aimee Richter.
“It’s so congenial and it’s such a happy atmosphere. You meet old friends, new friends, people you do business with, colleagues. It’s the only time everyone in the Brooklyn legal community can get together,” Richter continued.
One of the awards presented at the event was the newly created Vivian H. Agress Trailblazer Award, named for the association’s first female president, who died earlier this year. All of the organization’s past female presidents were presented with the inaugural award. They are Miriam Cyrulnik 1994-1995, Lynn Terrelonge 2001 (posthumously), Nancy Sunshine 2002-2003, Rose Ann Branda 2007-2008, Diana Szochet 2008-2009, Andrea Bonina 2010-2011, and Rebecca Rose Woodland 2014-2015. Every year going forward, the association will present one award to a trailblazer in the field of law.
“I knew her [Agress] because I’ve been involved in the bar association since the early ’90s,” Richter said. “She was the epitome of grace and class. She was intelligent. I thought what it must’ve been like to be the first female president of a predominantly male group.”
Other award recipients included Kings County Supreme Court Justices Rachel Adams and Bernard Graham for the 2017 Annual Award, as well as Presiding Justice Randall Eng, Appellate Division, Second Department, and Kings County Supreme Court Justices Martin Solomon and Neil Firetog, all of whom are retiring.