By Jessica DePinto
“Home is a concept, not a place; it is a state of mind where self-definition starts; . . . [it] is where one first learned to be separate and it remains in the mind as the place where reunion, if it ever were to occur, would happen.
-A. Bartlett Giamatti, President, National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (1986 – 1989)
A. Bartlett (Bart) Giamatti delivered this quote in a lecture presented on American Institutions at the School of Law at the University of Michigan in 1989. Bart Giamatti, a recipient of the Justinian Society of Award of Excellence during Richard Caldarazzo’s term, described “home” in his essay/lecture on baseball – but the quote aptly describes our professional home, the Justinian Society of Lawyers.
Many members have described the Society as their professional family. The words “home” and “family” are interchangeable in our Italian-American lexicon. If home is a state of mind where self-definition starts, then our professional identities were largely formed around the dinner table of our monthly meetings. The Society provided the leadership and professional development opportunities that allowed us to confidently assume our role as advocates and counselors in our chosen practice areas.
Like any venerable institution, we are vulnerable to the ambiguities birthed by change: technological advances in the profession, the business of the profession and the exhilarating pace of twenty-first century life. However, I am confident that through the wisdom of our senior members, the leadership of our current officers, and the enthusiasm of our junior members, our Society will not only endure, but thrive. On a personal note, I thank Anthony Fornelli, Leonard Amari, Judge Gloria Coco, Judge Lisa Marino, Joe Bisceglia, Leonard DeFranco, Joe Gagliardo, Rich Pellegrino, Cristina Mungai, Katherine Amari, and Sam Tornatore for their candor and wisdom during my tenure as an officer. Special thanks to Nina Vidmer for her continued service. I am energized by the enthusiasm of our junior members, Michael Pisano, Nicole Petrarca, Disa DiBuono and law students Karalyn Devaney, Marie Sarantakis, and Joe Promisco. I am fortunate to serve beside talented and supportive officers: Frank Sommario, Michael Bonamarte, Vincent Vidmer, Natalie Petric and Judge Regina A. Scannicchio.
The theme of my presidency is “Engage, Educate and Enjoy.” Thanks to the efforts led by past presidents Anita DeCarlo, Antonio Romanucci, and First Vice President Frank Sommario, we circulated a survey in May to better gauge member demographics and interests and identify steps to increase engagement as our current officers will work toward a strategic plan in advance of the Society’s 100th anniversary in 2021. In years past, our dinner meetings provided an opportunity to learn about developments in the profession and tools to enhance our role as leaders in the communities we serve. We will re-introduce that practice during our monthly meetings in November and April. Finally, during this term, I wish us all the pleasure of relaxing in the company of old friends and welcoming new ones to our table.