D. Bernadette Neckles, Esq. Court Attorney Referee
Bernadette, at an early age, learned the value of education and hard work. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with Honors from Brooklyn College and her Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Miami School of Law. She has been admitted to the practice in the States of New York and Florida.
As a young attorney, Bernadette spent the first four years of her legal career (1998-2001) in private practice handling civil rights, employment discrimination, landlord-tenant and contract matters. She spent the next eleven years of her legal career (2002-2012) in the Kings County Court System. Starting as a Court Attorney in the Kings County Civil and Criminal Courts, she advanced to a confidential Principal Law Secretary/Legal Adviser to a Kings County, Supreme Court Justice and later to the Administrative Judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term. During her tenure as the judge’s legal advisor, Bernadette counseled and advised the judge on a multitude of legal matters, researched complex issues, drafted hundreds of decisions and orders, mediated and settled cases. She gained a valuable insight into, and the working knowledge of, the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a trial-level judge. In addition, Bernadette assisted the Administrative Judge in the development of court policies and procedures, and in the implementation of new programs for the Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term.
For the past seven years (2012 to the present), Bernadette has assumed a quasi-judicial role as a Court Attorney Referee in Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term. She worked in the residential foreclosure part in which she successfully conferenced hundreds of residential foreclosure cases, many of which resulted in affordable loan modifications to homeowners. Bernadette currently handles a heavy caseload of non-jury trials, framed-issue hearings, conferences, and inquests. She issues decisions and orders, as well as reports and recommendations to the judges of her court.
Bernadette’s commitment to the Brooklyn community is illustrated by her extensive pro bono service. She has been volunteering as an arbitrator in the Small Claims Part of Kings County Civil Court for the past fourteen years, where she presides over small claims matters. As an active member in various professional and civil associations, Bernadette participates in, among others, Summer Youth Employment Program, National Read Across America Event, Women in Prison Project, and a number of community forums and legal outreach programs. She mentors students from elementary, intermediate, and high schools. Bernadette was instrumental in organizing at the Kings County Supreme Court an annual summer internship program for law school, college, and high school students from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds.
Bernadette is a member of highly regarded bar associations, including the American Bar Association, the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Brooklyn Bar Association, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York. She is also a member of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County and of Church Women United, Inc., Brooklyn.
Bernadette has the compassion, qualifications and experience to become a Civil Court Judge in Kings County. She was screened by the Kings County Democratic Judicial Screening Committee and was found “Qualified” to become a Civil Court Judge. Bernadette is committed to serving the residents of Kings County.