The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association installed Dominic Famulari as its newest president during an installation ceremony at Mama Rao’s in Dyker Heights on Wednesday night.
“I don’t think there is one person in here who can say anything bad about Dominic except that he is wonderful, he is a gentleman, he is a scholar, he is just really the salt of the Earth,” said Surrogate Court judge Rosemarie Montalbano, who performed the oath. “It really is an honor for me to be here for this.”
The ceremony that the BRLA uses is called the “Passing of the Gavel.” The group has used it for decades going back to a trip to England where members watched an official Inns of Court presentation and they decided to bring the ceremony back with them.
Every year in recent memory, the ceremony was started by Ray Ferrier, who was the president of the association the longest ago. While holding a gavel, Ferrier welcomes Famulari as the president, says a few words about him, and offers encouragement in his new position.
Ferrier then hands the gavel off to the president who served the longest after him, who happened to be Thomas Tafuri on Wednesday, and down the line it goes until it got to the immediate past president, William Gillen, and then finally to the new president themselves, who then offers thanks and usually outlines some of their plans for the upcoming year.
“Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, some of our members, including Harry English, went to England and while they were there, they went to an Inns of Court meeting where they held this ceremony,” Ferrier explained. “At first…”
“The Irish guys didn’t like it,” interrupted retired Justice John Ingram.
“It was opposed because we oppose everything,” Ferrier continued with a laugh. “But Harry English prevailed, and we have our passing of the gavel ceremony.”
During the ceremony each past president took their time to congratulate Famulari, who is well known to all of them both personally and professionally.
“I’ve known Dominic since 1995 when we went to law school together,” said Joann Monaco. “As the years have gone on, I’ve gotten to know him as an attorney and as a friend. The one word that comes to mind is dedicated. We all know the time Dominic spends with his family, with his son, with his children, with his dad, but he’s also dedicated at work. Anyone can call on him anytime of the day or night for a form, for advice, for anything and he is always there to answer. I don’t know how you get any work done.”
Famulari comes with a lot of experience running bar associations as he has previously served as president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn in 2011/2012, and he was president of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Brooklyn in 2017/2018. He was even an officer of the Italian American Law Students Association at Brooklyn Law.
Famulari started his legal career in 1997 when he joined the Law Office of John D. Famulari to work as a partner with his father. In his approximately
25-year career since, Famulari has worked out of his office on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge with his father with a practice that concentrated on wills, estates, elder law, guardianship matters, real estate and litigation.
Famulari is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, although his work there is limited to just wills, estates and real estate closings.
Famulari has also served as guardian ad litem, a referee, a court evaluator and other Part 36 appointee matters in Brooklyn and Staten Island.