Legal eagles honor trailblazing judge

Legal eagles honor trailblazing judge
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Brooklyn Heights

A true trailblazer

Three cheers to retired Justice Yvonne Lewis, who was honored for her groundbreaking service to the judiciary at the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association’s Black History Month celebration at the Brooklyn Bar Association in Brooklyn Heights on Feb. 21.

Legal eagles from around Kings County flocked to the association’s Remsen Street headquarters to celebrate Lewis, who was the first African-American woman to be elected judge of the Kings County Civil Court in 1986, and the second to take a seat at Brooklyn’s Supreme Court in 1991, before she retired in 2015, according to one of the leaders behind the event, vice president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, Natoya McGhie.

Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix of the Appellate Division, Second Department, spoke at the legal society’s home between Henry and Clinton streets, telling attendees about how Lewis was a mentor to her, and remembering how the two women would often be the only people of color in courtrooms in the 1980s, according to McGhie.

The event was presided over by the Women’s Bar Association President Carrie Anne Cavallo and the Brooklyn Bar Association President David Chidekel, and was closed out with a beautiful rendition of Etta James’s “At Last” by 13-year-old Nathaniel Sobers.

The get-together also honored prominent African-American leaders, which aligns with the Women’s Bar Association’s mission, according to McGhie.

“It’s what our organization is about. It’s about community efforts and promoting equality and recognizing those in the legal organization,” she said.

— Kevin Duggan

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kdugg[email protected]glocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.