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As people are living and working longer, the definition of what it means to be a senior continues to evolve. The demographics affect us all, including lawyers. Senior lawyers currently make up 25 percent of the Association’s membership, and include those who continue to work full time at law firms or in solo practices, as well as those who opt for part-time employment opportunities or donate pro bono services in their communities. In July 2006, the New York State Bar Association formed a special committee to recognize such lawyers and the unique issues that they face. As the result of the work of this committee, in 2008, the House of Delegates approved creation of the first 50+ Lawyers Section of the New York State Bar Association.

50+ Lawyers Section Profile

Lawyers who are age 50 or older have valuable experience, talents, and interests. Many such senior lawyers are considering or have already decided whether to continue to pursue their full-time legal careers or whether to transition to a new position, a reduced time commitment at their current position and/or retirement from a full-time legal career. Accordingly, the 50+ Lawyers Section has been created and charged with the mission of:

  • Providing opportunities to senior lawyers to continue and maintain their legal careers as well as to utilize their expertise in such activities as delivering pro bono and civic service, mentoring younger lawyers, serving on boards of directors for business and charitable organizations, and lecturing and writing;
  • Providing programs and services in matters such as job opportunities; CLE programs; seminars and lectures; career transition counseling; pro bono training; networking and social activities; recreational, travel and other programs designed to improve the quality of life of senior lawyers; and professional, financial and retirement planning; and
  • Acting as a voice of senior lawyers within the Association and the community

Scope of Activities

The 50+ Lawyers Section seeks to address such issues as:

  • Career continuity
  • Career changes
  • The desire and opportunity to:
    • Render pro bono service
    • Serve on boards
    • Mentor other attorneys
    • Take CLE courses relevant to seniors
  • Social activities for seniors

 

Contact the 50+ Section Liaison

To learn more about this Section, please contact Ernesto Guerrero
[email protected]
(518) 487-5535

Please do not contact the Section liaison with a request for legal advice or an attorney referral. You can instead visit our ‘Public Resources’ or ‘Lawyer Referral Service’ page for this type of request.

Hon Adam Seiden

Hon. Adam Seiden

Hon. Adam Seiden is Chair of the 50+ Section. Judge Seiden is admitted to practice law in the State of New York for forty-six (46) years. He is a sole practitioner with a general practice located in Mt. Vernon, New York. He recently retired (mandatory) after twenty-seven (27) years as Associate City Court Judge of the Mount Vernon City Court where he published in excess of one hundred (100) decisions in the New York Official Reports.

Judge Seiden is a past president of both the Mount Vernon and Westchester County Bar Associations and is on the executive committee of New York State Bar Association as vice president from the Ninth Judicial District. He is also a member of the House of Delegates for the American Bar Association.

Judge Seiden holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lehman College, Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School and LLM degree from New York University School of Law.

Online Community

The Voice of Experience

The Voice of Experience features substantive articles for lawyers who are age 50 or older and is published to help with career continuity and career changes. Formerly titled The Senior Lawyer, articles that have appeared in past issues include such topics as value of important papers, estate planning, ethical issues, life settlements and retaining and maintaining closed files. Also included are updates on Section news, committee reports, programs and events. The Voice of Experience is published by the 50+ Section and distributed to Section members free of charge.

The Voice of Experience is published as a benefit for members of the 50+Section and is copyrighted by the New York State Bar Association.

The Voice of Experience encourages article submissions on topics of interest to members of the Section. Writing an article for a NYSBA Section publication is a great way to get your name out in the legal community and advertise your knowledge. Our authors are respected state-wide for their legal expertise.

Author Guidelines

NYSBA has created comprehensive author guidelines, with information regarding our reprint policy, style guidelines, and obtaining MCLE Author Credits.

Awards

2024 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award

Nomination form coming soon.

2023 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award Winner

Michael Perna, Esq.

Orange County, NY

Michael Perna, Esq.The 50+ Section of the New York State Bar Association is pleased to announce that the 2023 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award recipient is Michael Perna of Orange County, New York.

Public service has been a constant in Michael’s life. For fifteen years after graduating from Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception in Douglaston, NY, Michael was a New York City public school teacher. During that time Michael became an active leader of the NYC teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers, and attended Fordham School of Law where he was the Student Bar Association Evening Division vice president. Upon graduation from law school, Michael was honored to have been the inaugural recipient of the Adele Monaco Memorial Award. Named after a classmate, the late Ms. Monaco, this award is presented to that member of the graduating law school class in the evening division who has made a positive impact on the lives of evening division students through the demonstration of compassion, determination, and commitment to public service.

Post-graduation, Michael’s career has focused primarily on public sector labor and employment. He has served as Assistant General Counsel with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations, a Trial Examiner at the NYC Office of Collective Bargaining and had two stints in private practice initially with the firm of Ehrlich, Frazer & Feldman, and then, with their successor firm, Frazer & Feldman, LLP, of Garden City, NY. Michael is currently employed as a Labor Relations Specialist with New York State United Teachers devoting his expertise and experience to supporting unionized workers.

With the ongoing and constant support of his partner (now spouse!) of over thirty years, David Joscher, Michael has been able to formalize his commitment to public service by joining the Attorney Emeritus Program of the NYS Unified Court System, a program begun by Chief Judge Lippman, for whom today’s award is named. As Chief Judge, Jonathan Lippman instituted several reforms aimed at increasing access to legal services.[1] Attorney Emeritus Program attorneys offer pro bono services under the auspices of qualified legal service provider, bar association, or court-sponsored volunteer lawyer program.

For the last two years, Michael has focused his efforts at supporting the pro bono work of two noteworthy organizations, Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. – LawNY – and Pro Bono Partnership of White Plains, NY. These organizations work closely with volunteer attorneys to offer legal services to clients unable to afford needed legal assistance. With Law NY, Michael has engaged with elderly, low income individuals in rural parts of western New York, providing estate planning assistance. He is looking forward to expanding his efforts on behalf of Law NY clients to include uncontested divorce work. Pro Bono Partnership assists qualifying nonprofit organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York (primarily the Lower Hudson Valley and Long Island) that primarily serve communities in this tristate area with their business legal needs. The Partnership, on a case-by-case basis, strives to match a nonprofit’s need with the volunteer. Most recently, Michael has volunteered to be part of a new alternate dispute resolution program being implemented in the 9th Judicial District inviting small claims court litigants to use non-binding mediation provided by a panel of attorneys pro bono.

[1] Please take the time to listen to the podcast “Access to Justice is Not a Luxury Affordable Only in Good Times” a discussion between the former Chief Judge Lippman and David Miranda about the partnership between the NYSBA and the courts to create a pro bono network of attorneys in response to the pandemic.

Honorees

2022 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award honorees were Emilia Rodriguez, Esq., Pace Women’s Justice Center, White Plains, NY, and Daniel D. Shonn, Jr. Esq., Daniel D. Shonn Attorney, Akron, NY

2021 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award honoree was Scott Fein, Esq., Partner, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP, Albany, NY

2020 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award honorees were: Jonathan J. Lerner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, New York, NY and George “Jerry” Mackey, Barclay Damon LLP, Rochester, NY.

2019 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award honorees were: Ronald C. Mayer, The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program, New York, NY and Shirani Ponnambalam, Pace Women’s Justice Center, White Plains, NY.

2018 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award honorees were: Joan Lia Levy, Esq., Pro Bono Partnership, Inc., White Plains, NY and Anthony Szczygiel, Esq., Center for Elder Law & Justice, Buffalo, NY.

Special Commendation: Blaine V. Fogg, Esq., Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, New York, NY.

2017 Jonathan Lippman Pro Bono Award honoree was Glenn J. Pogust, Esq., Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, New York, NY

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