Michael F. Bonamarte
Justinian Society of Lawyers
President 2017 – 18
As I take over as the President of the Justinian Society of Lawyers my message to all of our members, past, present and future is simple. “Respect and Embrace”. This will be the theme for my year as your President. Let’s respect the traditions and people that have made this organization so great. Let’s embrace the ideas that will be presented to us in the future. Doing these two things will keep this organization great for years to come.
Thank you to all of you who attended the Installation Dinner in May at Gibson’s. We had another tremendous showing and a wonderful evening. As I mentioned at the time, I’m always amazed by the continued support of our longtime members and Past Presidents. It says so much about our group that people who join stay committed for so many years. The visions of those who have come before us have shaped this great organization. Thank you.
I will take this opportunity to thank a few of the people that have encouraged my involvement with this Society and have helped shape the course of my legal career. My dad, Michael F. Bonamarte III, introduced me to Leonard Amari when I was applying to law schools. We went to a Justinian Society event. My dad was a long time Lake County Justinian. He passed away too soon back in 2006, shortly after I began my legal career. I always trusted his judgment, especially when it came to people he suggested I surround myself with. Leonard Amari is a perfect example of that. Leonard encouraged me to start coming to the meetings. He got me writing for the newsletter. We would run together. We have lunch together. He introduced to Gregg Garofalo. I had lunch with Gregg and Antonio Romanucci. Shortly afterward, Gregg selected me as the Society secretary back in 2012. Leonard, thank you for getting me involved. Gregg, thank you for taking a shot with me. Gregg, I cherish the opportunity you gave me, our professional relationship, and our friendship.
Back in law school, when I started expressing some interest in trial work, my dad suggested I reach out to Steve Levin. Steve and his partner, John Perconti, gave me my first clerking job as a law student back in 2003. I started as an associate in 2005 and am now a partner with this great firm. Levin & Perconti is the only firm I’ve ever worked for. Steve also encouraged me to not only be active in different bar associations, but also to pick one or two organizations and aim to be the President. The Justinian Society seemed like a perfect fit to achieve that objective. John is a well deserving recipient of the Award of Excellence. Steve and John are now my great friends, partners, and both are father figures to me. The lessons they have taught me go far beyond lessons in law, they have taught me lessons in life. Steve and John, thank you both from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you also to my other law partners, Susan Novosad and Margaret Battersby, and the rest of the team at Levin & Perconti. There are no others that I’d rather be on this journey with.
To my wife Julia, thank you for dealing with the hectic lifestyle that comes with the crazy business of being a trial lawyer and also being involved with many different legal organizations. Thank you for standing by me. Thank you for everything you do in raising our wonderful daughter, Gabriella Grace (“GG”), who just turned 2 years old a few weeks before I sat down to pen this letter.
Thank you to all of the officers and executive committee members. My past experiences with each of you make me excited to lead with you this year.
A special thank you to Nina Vidmer. Nina, does her job so diligently and so passionately. I could not do this without you.
Thank you to Len DeFranco, our editor of the Newsletter. The transition from Len Amari to Len DeFranco has been seamless.
Thank you to Judge Gloria Coco for continuing in her role as the chair of the October Installation Dinner. She does such a wonderful job every year putting together a truly magical evening.
Finally, thank you immediate Past President, Frank Sommario. I learned so much from you about the details of the job as President. Our continuous meetings throughout your year were so extremely helpful in making a smooth transition. I admire the job you did and your unparalleled commitment to the Justinian Society of Lawyers.
Opportunities present themselves all the time in life. To the young members of our Society or those thinking of getting involved who happen to be reading this, get involved in this group. We are a group of warm people and great legal minds committed to the Society and committed to helping the young members of the Society. Your opportunity of a lifetime might just be around the corner at our next event.
We are a part of the best bar association in the state. It is my honor and pleasure to serve you.
Very truly yours,
Michael F. Bonamarte
President, Justinian Society of Lawyers 2017-2018