Letter From The President Of The New York County Lawyers' Association

2014-05-30 10:10

To The Readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

I joined NYCLA in 1999, and little did I know how profound an impact this association would have on my life and professional career. Soon after joining I learned that NYCLA was the first major bar association in the country to admit members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. That is very meaningful to me. NYCLA is not only inclusive; it has been and still is openly progressive and involved in the important issues of the day. Its members care about their professional advancement, of course, but they are also concerned about the justice system and the communities they serve. I am filled with excitement as I assume the role of NYCLA’s 60th President. 

As a senior partner in the New York law firm of Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP, I most recently served as President of the NYCLA Foundation. In addition I served in a number of other capacities at NYCLA, including Director of its Ethics Institute from 2008 to 2013, Co-Chair of the Task Force on Ethics Reform from 2005 to 2008, Chair and Co-Chair of the Committee on Professional Discipline from 2000 to 2008, and Co-Chair of the Institute Advisory Board from 2007 to 2013. I served as Chair, General Practice Section of the New York State Bar Association from 2013 to 2014. 

My area of expertise in my practice is litigation and mediation, representing licensed professionals, professional practices, administrative law and commercial law. Prior to private practice, I was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, where I represented various agencies of the United States government in litigation in the United States District Court and United States Court of Appeals. I also served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Army, where I prosecuted and defended criminal cases and was the chief legal advisor to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I am a mediator for the AAA; the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York; and the New York State Supreme Court, and I am a frequent lecturer for various bar associations and in New York area law schools.

As a published author and writer I was the Editor-in-Chief of The New York Rules of Professional Conduct Annotated, Oxford University Press, 2010 and authored the book, In the Thick of Things: The Found Photographs of Sgt. Charles Tesser, G&H Soho Press, 2014.

What’s next for NYCLA? This year our committees will be engaged in a series of public conferences on the role of the rule of law in balancing the security and liberty of Americans. Also, we will be implementing many new ways for our members to connect with each other, and we will be exploring ways for the community to connect with our lawyers. For example, we will provide ample opportunities for our members and guests to socialize and participate in affinity groups—LGBT, veterans, senior and retired lawyers, etc. We will be engaging in important public policy initiatives and will have notable speakers at interesting events. We will plan events with the minority and specialty bars in New York. We will assist our members to obtain excellent services, at reasonable cost, from stenographers, expert witnesses, discovery companies and all the other professionals and companies that serve lawyers. We are exploring an exciting new way to provide state-of-the-art library and information resources through the New York County Lawyers’ Association Legal Concierge. We will have skills programming that will assist our new lawyers and lawyers in transition.

Outside of my passion for law, I enjoy spending time with my family – my wife and three children. You can often find me with a shovel in hand in my backyard organic fruit orchard, where I have different varieties of heirloom apple and pear trees.  In the vegetable and flower gardens, you can usually find me screaming and waving my hands at the resident groundhog. I also enjoy yoga – it helps ease my aching back after the digging!

As I assume the responsibilities of NYCLA President, I enter this new position with the mantra, “We can help each other live up to the highest expectation.”  I look forward to working with you all through the upcoming years.


Lewis Tesser