Brooklyn Elementary School Named to Honor Joanne Seminara ’85

Joanne Seminara A new elementary school set to open in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, this September will be named in honor of the late Joanne Seminara ’85, a beloved community advocate and attorney.  

Expected to serve up to 300 students, the school will be located on Third Avenue, and called the Joanne Seminara School of Law & Medicine. The honor was bestowed through the joint efforts of the city Department of Education and City Council Member Justin Brannan, who represents southwest Brooklyn and worked closely with Seminara during his time in local government.  

“Joanne Seminara was the real deal,” Brannan told the Brooklyn Paper. “Her compass unfailingly led her toward equity, fairness, and integrity. She was simply a good and decent person, who lived to leave our community and our world a little bit better than how she found it.” 

Well known as a staunch advocate for her neighborhood and a mentor, Seminara served as a member of Community Board 10, which represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Fort Hamilton, for 26 years, and led the board as chair from 2010 to 2013.  

Seminara, who died in 2022, practiced law for more than three decades in New York and New Jersey. After 15 years in general law practice with a focus on trust and estates, real estate, and small business management, Seminara joined another Brooklyn Law alumna Judith Grimaldi ’93, at her law firm, Grimaldi Yeung Law Group, which practices primarily in Brooklyn but serves all boroughs and with a satellite office in Manhattan. Seminara quickly added elder law and Medicaid planning to her legal expertise and became a partner, said Grimaldi, a former adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School. 

It was Seminara, a dear friend, who first inspired her to become a lawyer, said Grimaldi. The firm is proud of the acknowledgment that she will receive with the naming of the new school.  

“The school will focus its curriculum on law and medicine, a fitting tribute to her long-standing work as an elder law attorney,” Grimaldi said. “As a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, she dedicated her professional and personal energies to the betterment of Brooklyn and New York City at large. She was a perfect example of how to successfully combine the love of family, community, and law into one’s life work and for this she deserves to be so honored and remembered in this special way. “