Kenneth C. Frazier, executive vice president and general counsel, Merck & Company, Inc., will present the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture on Thursday, September 6, at the New York County Lawyers' Association's (NYCLA) Home of Law at 14 Vesey Street, New York City. He will discuss diversity in the legal profession.
In addition to his corporate work, Mr. Frazier performs extensive pro bono work. He took on a leadership role and successfully waged a six-year fight to free James Willie "Bo" Cochran, an Alabama man sentenced to death for the 1976 murder of a store manager. In recognition of his legal advocacy, public service and civic and community contributions, Mr. Frazier received the Association of Corporate Counsel's 2004 Excellence in Corporate Practice Award.
In 1948, NYCLA established the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture series to honor the Hon. Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948), who served as the Association's eighth president (1919-1921), governor of New York (1907-1910), associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1910-1916), U.S. secretary of state (1921-1925) and chief justice of the U.S, Supreme Court (1930-1941).
Mr. Hughes launched his law career before graduating from law school. In 1871, after the Great Chicago Fire killed more than 300 people, a Chicago lawyer, Walter S. Carter, had so many claims to prosecute involving insurers bankrupted by the fire that he moved his office to New York. Since he had more business than he could personally handle, he decided to hire the most promising law students to help him and, in a departure from standard practice, paid these "associates" a salary. One of these associates was Charles Evans Hughes.
When Mr. Hughes entered the Carter law firm upon graduation from Columbia Law School in 1884, the firm's name was Chamberlain, Carter & Hornblower. Four years later, Mr. Hughes was made partner and the law firm's name was changed to Carter, Hughes & Cravath. Now known as Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, the law firm assumed sponsorship of the lecture series in 2007.