Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Honors Three Outstanding Attorneys During Annual Meeting

By David Alexander & Jennifer Andrus

January 25, 2023

Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Honors Three Outstanding Attorneys During Annual Meeting


By David Alexander & Jennifer Andrus

The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion honored three outstanding attorneys during the association’s Annual Meeting  in New York City.

Retired federal Judge Randolph Treece and Ross Moskowitz, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, received the John E. Higgins Diversity Trailblazer Award and Ronelle Porter was named the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Beacon Award recipient.

“These three distinguished individuals epitomize the enormous impact we can have,” said Sherry Levin Wallach, president of the New York State Bar Association. “Each has given a lifetime of service mentoring lawyers of color and promoting fairness in the legal and justice system by sponsoring affinity groups, advocating for young attorneys, and devoting their careers to integrity and inclusiveness.”

In accepting the award, Treece told the crowd he “stood on the shoulders of those before me.” He practiced law alongside John Higgins, for whom the award is named, in New York’s capital region at a time when there were just a few black lawyers in private practice. The two worked together in creating a black bar association and bringing more people of color into the legal profession.

Treece is of counsel at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy. His 45-year law career includes a 14-year term as a United States magistrate judge for the Northern District of New York, where he was the first African American to be appointed to the federal judiciary in the Northern District.

Moskowitz serves as a strategic adviser to leading real estate development clients. His pro bono service included assisting the Museum of Arts & Design in its acquisition of 2 Columbus Circle in New York and defending the deal in four separate lawsuits.

In accepting his award, he said that “each of us has our own story. We don’t have the same starting point, but embracing our differences can broaden your thinking.”

Porter, assistant deputy chair, Capital Markets and Corporate at Loeb & Loeb, focuses her work on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, joint ventures, cross border transactions, corporate governance and general corporate matters. She co-chairs the firm’s New York Women’s LEAD Network and is a member of Loeb & Loeb’s Diversity Committee.

During her acceptance speech, she challenged those gathered to “move into spaces not open and welcoming,” noting there are few women of color in the fields of corporate finance law and M&A. She encouraged those at the event to help others while pursing their own goals, noting her motto is ‘lift while you climb.”

The Higgins Award recognizes exceptional efforts of a member of the legal community to promote the full and equal participation of diverse people at all levels of the legal profession.

The Beacon Award was created following the 2020 death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It honors an individual who is honest, direct and courageous in the face of opposition and is an outspoken advocate for those less privileged.

The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion honors attorneys each year during NYSBA’s Annual Meeting. The recipients were recognized at the Constance Baker Motley Symposium, a joint effort by the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Task Force on the U.S. Territories, on Wednesday, Jan. 18. The symposium focused on the fight to overturn the century-old Insular Cases, which the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have relied on to deny constitutional protections to residents of the territories.


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