To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
Well, the first year of my presidency has come to a close. I have been honored and privileged to serve as president of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and am very much looking forward to next year and building upon all that has been accomplished during this past year.
Over the past year, NYCLA has focused on increasing member satisfaction and value, as well as assisting its members in career building in these tough economic times. The association also has made efforts to help the legal community network with one another, learn about relevant topics, and accomplish meaningful pro bono work.
Accomplishments were achieved in 2011-2012 within our membership programs, continuing legal education; pro bono, and Justice Center programs; research and technology services; public policy initiatives; and our task forces and working groups, foundation, and committees.
We improved our publications and developed new communications channels (such as LinkedIn groups), fostered our existing committees and developed new ones, and enhanced and added new programs to our roster including networking events, meet-ups, public forums, work-life balance programs, practice of law Series, and special events.
To aid members in keeping up-to-date on relevant topics in the legal field, our Continuing Legal Education Institute not only partnered with other organizations to develop programs in specialty areas, but also developed training programs on technological advances to help you keep up with the latest advancements in the legal field. In the library, NYCLA installed 25 new computers with wireless access and expanded its Westlaw subscription with new resources to help members meet their clients’ needs.
NYCLA aims to advance the science of jurisprudence and promote the administration of justice and legal reforms. It carried on in that tradition during 2011-2012 by advocating for justice for a variety of groups and individuals and through our pro bono projects, such as the Manhattan CLARO project and free walk-in clinics that provide advice on self-representation strategies. We advocated for an increase in judicial salaries by testifying at a public hearing, issuing statements, and adopting a resolution through our Judicial Section.
Our Task Force on Judicial Budget Cuts made enormous efforts in shedding light on how the budget cuts are affecting the operation of the courts. It conducted extensive interviews with administrative judges, court personnel, and practitioners; published two reports last August; conducted an electronic survey; and held an all-day public hearing and issued a hearing report. Through the great efforts of the task force, it has become clear to the New York legal community that the public’s access to justice had declined and efforts need to be made to restore funding.
Our committees and sections, which deliver your membership experience to individual practice areas, provided opportunities for our members to interact with one another and consider issues within their jurisdictions. With over 50 committees and sections, there is a group for everyone to join. At the 2012 Annual Meeting, the Non-Profit Organizations Committee received the 2012 Eppler Award for its Report on Proposed Revisions to the New York Not- For-Profit Corporation Law. Also, the 2012 Kobak Prize was awarded to the Young Lawyers’ Section for the development of engaging programs that combine legal education, career development, and networking. Finally, I am pleased to share that the NYCLA Foundation continued its fine work in fundraising for NYCLA’s programs and objectives.
I thank the NYCLA officers, the members of NYCLA’s board of directors, members, and NYCLA staff for helping to bring us to where we are today. I am certain that with optimism in the air and the drive of our staff and members, we will continue to achieve success in the year ahead and make the legal community a better place for all of us and for our clients. If you’re not already a member of NYCLA, consider joining at nycla.org and let us help you tap into our community of nearly 9,000 attorneys, judges, academics and law school students. And please follow me on Twitter: @NYCLAPres.
Stewart D. Aaron