By Bennett Marcus.
You've seen attorney Arthur Aidala on television for years, as a longtime legal commentator analyzing complex cases for Fox News, as well as on Court TV, MSNBC, Fox 5, and New York 1. He also appears regularly on The Kelly File with his friend Megyn Kelly. What you may not know is that the man you see on TV is one of New York City's top criminal defense lawyers, taking on some of the high-profile cases making headlines in recent years. He successfully defended NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, who was falsely accused of sexual misconduct. Another famous case that he won despite long odds was that of Brigitte Harris, who killed her father after he abused her for years, and yet another was the crane operator in the fatal 2008 collapse in Midtown Manhattan.
Brooklyn Bar Association
Aidala is currently the 100th president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, which has over 2,000 members in every field of law. "I take it very seriously," says Aidala. He points out that Brooklyn, where he grew up and still lives, has changed tremendously. "I have seen first-hand the renaissance that Brooklyn is experiencing, and the way that Brooklyn has become a shining star in the city. I want the bar association to be a shining star in the citywide legal community."
Under Aidala's leadership, the association has broken records for fundraising, including some for renovations to the 125-year-old headquarters building. The main boardroom, which hadn't been touched since 1968, is undergoing a gut renovation, and on April 6, at the association's annual judges' night, U.S. Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito will cut the ribbon. Aidala also serves as an officer of the King's County Criminal Bar Association.
Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins
In addition to criminal cases, Aidala also works on corporate business deals, putting together, as he describes it, "the guy who sells the tires with the guy who sells the cars." Partners and associates in his firm, Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, are expert in a wide array of legal specialties, including personal injury law, real estate, civil litigation and matrimonial law. The newest addition to the firm, former Supreme Court Judge Barry Kamins, specializes in appellate and attorney disciplinary work, representing lawyers and judges who get into trouble with the bar. "It's a full-service law firm," Aidala says.
Diverse practice, helping people
Aidala doesn't take on high-profile cases for the notoriety. "I became a lawyer to help people," Aidala says. In the Brigitte Harris case, he was so moved by her situation, that he not only worked pro bono, but also convinced all the experts who testified to do so unpaid, because she did not have the funds. "The facts of that case were so horrific, and obviously it was very gratifying when we achieved such positive results for her," Aidala says. "With the exception of time with my family, nothing really is equivalent to that feeling of gratification I get when I help a fellow human being in their most desperate time of need."
Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation
In December, Aidala represented Maritza Ramos, the widow of slain Detective Rafael Ramos, as she launched The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation, which he says was a dream come true. "It was an opportunity to help a family who just had the ultimate tragedy do something good for the community," he says. Aidala used his local news contacts to help get the word out, and the foundation recently held its first fundraising event with Mariano Rivera as a guest. The organization aims to raise awareness of the dangers faced by law enforcement officers and to better connect officers with the community, and to support families who have lost loved ones working in that profession.