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By: Anita M. DeCarlo, Presidentanita decarlo

 I am honored and humbled to follow in the footsteps of wonderful lawyers and leaders of The Justinian Society of Lawyers, including my Father, Vito D. DeCarlo, and our Secretary, Natalie Petric’s Grandfather, Anthony J. Fornelli. My theme this year is gratitude. I am thankful for our Past Presidents, our current Officers and the members of the Executive Committee. I am especially thankful for our members who make our Society what it is today!

I am constantly asked “what makes the Justinian Society of Lawyers so special?” When first asked, I found it impossible to answer. My response was not words, but emotions, including happiness, support, and of course, gratitude. Adequately translating these emotions into words proved difficult until now:

This Society began in 1921 as a fraternal organization, a family, a place where attorneys, young and old, can seek and give guidance. The Justinian Society of Lawyers is special because of mentoring. Many organizations mentor and have mentoring programs. Our organization is not founded nor based upon “official” mentoring. It is founded on family. In a family, we seek guidance from our fathers, mothers, grandparents, siblings and extended family. Nothing is asked in return. This is the mentoring found within our Society. No question is too small, no question is too large. Repayment and/or gratitude is never expected. Except of course, to mentor others, and to do so gracefully.

I have been mentored by so many Justinians that I am unable to list them. I have also been honored to mentor others. As a young lawyer, it is easy to become overwhelmed by what you do not know. My mentors reminded me of all that I did know. The first time I was approached by a young lawyer for advice, my initial reaction was concealed confusion. I was still being mentored, how could I possibly mentor someone else? But, again, this is why our Society is so special. Our Justinian Family reminds us that as we are learning, we are simultaneously teaching. Is this not the cornerstone of why we “practice” law? We are constantly learning and growing. No one will ever have all the answers and the answers are constantly changing. We don’t practice to be perfect. We practice to be better than the day before.

I previously stated that my theme this year is “gratitude” and I, also, previously stated that within our Society “no gratitude is expected.” However, true gratitude, expressed without expectation is the most heart-felt. I am overcome with gratitude for the Justinian Society of Lawyers and all of the mentoring I have received. I am thankful for an amazing group of Officers, our Executive Board, and for our members who all continue this tradition.

Our membership is down, however, our membership committee will be working tirelessly this year to remedy this situation. Our Dues Notices have already been sent out. Thank you to everyone who has paid your dues. I encourage our unpaid members to join again. Our family tradition of mentoring is in your hands. To any new members, please join us, as our Justinian Family needs to grow and multiply.

Secretary, Natalie Petric is chairing the Justinian Society of Lawyers Endowment Fund Installation and Awards Dinner to be held at the Palmer House on September 10, 2014. Michael V. Favia will be receiving the Justinian Society of Lawyers President’s Award, Leonard F. Amari will be receiving the Justice Moses Harrison Award. The Reverend Monsignor Kenneth J. Velo will be receiving the Justinian Society of Lawyers Award of Excellence.

A special thank you for all of our Past Presidents, including immediate Past President Bertucci. I will be continuing his focus on our law school chapters. In closing, thank you for taking the time to read this message, thank you for your membership, thank you for your support and most especially, thank you for your mentoring!