The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) last month hosted a networking reception, Celebrating Diversity in the Bar, as part of its 127th Annual Meeting at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.
The event was held in collaboration with minority bar associations to introduce attorneys to opportunities for involvement and professional development available through NYSBA.
"As the voice of New York's lawyers, we recognize that in order to be most effective in the next century, and continue to deserve respect and trust, the organized bar must reflect the diversity of the public it serves," said A. Thomas Levin, NYSBA president.
Mr. Levin explained that the NYSBA has already taken steps to make diversity one of the cornerstones of its strategic plan which will guide the bar's future efforts. For example, last year, the House of Delegates, the association's decision and policymaking body, formally adopted an association-wide diversity policy to increase the effectiveness of NYSBA in addressing societal and member needs.
The policy resulted from a recommendation of the Special Committee on Association Governance, Mr. Levin said. That committee, chaired by Dennis R. Baldwin, Mackenzie Hughes LLP, proposed the policy as part of its charge to recommend ways to improve and enhance the governance and structure of the association.
In his first act upon taking office, Mr. Levin appointed a Committee on Diversity and Leadership Development, which was later approved by the House of Delegates.
The committee already has begun to help identify, encourage and mentor future leaders of the bar to prepare for leadership positions and advance diversity initiatives in the 72,000-member statewide lawyers' group.