To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
"[T]here is no profession that devotes more time to the public good than the legal profession."
This is my final letter as president of the New York County Lawyers' Association (NYCLA). As I reflect back on these past two years, I am more proud to be an American lawyer than ever, for I have been reminded time and time again of the extraordinary contributions that lawyers make to our community and to our society. I have previously noted in this column that there is no profession that devotes more time to the public good than the legal profession. Whether in organized efforts through bar associations and other organizations or in individual efforts to help the disadvantaged, lawyers make a difference.
Every day, thousands of lawyers contribute their 'stock in trade' to benefit the less advantaged. Indeed, the great social progress of the 20th century occurred in large part as a result of the efforts of lawyers. In efforts as diverse as women's suffrage, civil rights, equal education, voting rights, equal employment opportunities and many more, volunteer lawyers have played pivotal roles. Lawyers do the public good in so many different, important and meaningful ways by volunteering their time and services to help not-for-profit organizations, serving on community boards and co-op and condominium boards, serving as arbitrators in Small Claims Court and as special masters in Supreme Court, as lecturers at inner-city public schools and in countless other venues that the term pro bono publico has even greater meaning. Yes, ours is still a noble profession.
It has been a great privilege to write this letter. NYCLA's voice is an important one as our nation struggles with profound issues, among them, due process, security, equal rights, access to justice, pro bono service, diversity in our profession and corporate responsibility. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share NYCLA's positions on these and other important and timely issues. Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to NYCLA's Board members, committee and section chairs and other volunteer leaders, as well as to the Association's dedicated staff - it has been a privilege to work with each of them. I especially want to thank Norman L. Reimer, NYCLA's President-Elect, for his unparalleled support throughout my term. Norm willingly accepted the most challenging assignments and tackled the most difficult jobs with enthusiasm, humor and steely determination. The future of the New York County Lawyers' Association is in good hands.