From The President Of The National Bar Association

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

As NYCLA prepares for the May 26 celebration of the 75th anniversary of its landmark Home of Law on Vesey Street, it has completed a period of self-analysis and restructuring. NYCLA has adopted a long-range strategic plan to insure that this great bar association will remain a bastion of opportunity and benefits for our members, and a beacon of service to the profession. NYCLA believes that the bar association of the future is not just a place, but a concept: a virtual panoply of resources and access. The concept hinges on three primary building blocks: (1) enhanced member benefits, bringing to each member tangible value; (2) a sound institutional structure, with exemplary modes of corporate governance; and (3) a renewed commitment to uphold NYCLA's unprecedented record as a champion of reform and public policy advocacy.

Member Benefits

Library: NYCLA now features an Electronic Research Center, affording members complete access to all of the major online legal research systems.

CLE Institute: The Institute continually expands its course offerings and has an aggressively competitive pricing policy that provides huge discounts to members. Attorneys may opt for live programming or alternative online and DVD options.

Retail Discounts: NYCLA now offers vastly expanding retail discount benefits for our members.

Website Redesign: NYCLA is about to redesign its website to offer ultra-modern navigability and expanded legal-research capabilities. An exclusive agreement with an established content provider will offer members access to unprecedented online tools, including customizable links to Internet search engines and information providers.

Organizational Structure

NYCLA recently completed a staff restructuring and implemented a wide array of practices to insure fiscal and ethical integrity. These innovations include the adoption of a Code of Conduct, an Audit Committee Charter, a revised Policy and Procedures Manual and Investment Committee protocols.

Public Policy Initiatives

NYCLA's proposal requiring the videotaping of all custodial interrogations is presented to the American Bar Association and adopted as ABA policy in February 2004; the NYCLA proposal is adopted by the NYS Bar Association House of Delegates; and draft legislation is now in preparation;

NYCLA's response to the Unified Court System Report on Pro Bono shapes NYS Bar Association policy and leads to the consideration of a broader definition of pro bono;

The NYCLA Task Force on Judicial Selection's series of in-depth reports, including one related to judicial disqualification that is adopted and implemented by the Unified Court System;

NYCLA's Justice Center builds bridges between the legal system and the community through its support of a Task Force on the Criminal Courts and its sponsorship of a Housing Court Conference, which marked the 30th anniversary of that Court with a major convocation designed to develop better mechanisms for serving litigants and preventing homelessness;

NYCLA continues to file amicus briefs on such important issues as the scope of the administrative authority of the courts and the right to counsel fees for prevailing plaintiffs in civil rights actions;

NYCLA advocates for full civil marriage rights for all couples, regardless of sexual preference;

NYCLA's Task Force on Diversity continues to press the profession to expand opportunities for all lawyers;

NYCLA's Northeast Business Law Center brings together leaders of the Delaware, New York and Massachusetts bench and bar, as well as other leaders in the field of commercial law throughout the Northeast, to promote ethics and the highest practice standards in commercial law;

NYCLA's pro bono project with the Alliance for Downtown New York to assist displaced commercial tenants in connection with the development of the Fulton Street Transportation Center;

NYCLA's 90th Annual Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria gathers together 1400 members of the profession to salute the progress of women in the law, including 50 Outstanding Women of the Law who have broken barriers to achieve preeminence in an array of professional settings.


Norman Reimer