President-Elect Candidate Statement: Mark A. Berman
I am an innovative leader who understands bar economics. NYSBA needs to do better in remaining relevant, whether to young or more senior attorneys; solos or attorneys at larger firms; male or female; or from Upstate or Downstate. My record demonstrates that I can bring relevance to our declining membership.
Creative programming is critical. During the pandemic, I came up with the idea for, developed, moderated and/or participated in programs attended by 3800 lawyers!
Technology will determine our future and, as founding Chair of the Committee on Technology and the Legal Profession and Technology Co-Chair of Chief Judge DiFiore’s Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Court, I am well suited to lead this charge.
Under my leadership, the Technology Committee issued a report, which the HOD overwhelmingly approved, mandating that cybersecurity training become a CLE requirement. This would be a first in the nation. I also have brought a technology member benefit platform to NYSBA, and am working on others, all with revenue sharing. I am the editor of NYSBA’s Virtual Lawyering book, the first bar association book of its kind.
My support of women is unparalleled. While ComFed Chair, I created an award presented to female litigators who distinguished themselves in the courtroom as well as scholarships awarded to junior women to prepare them to be commercial litigators. ComFed issued in 2017 the incredible report, If Not Now When? under my leadership addressing the inequality of women. I had published this month a letter to the New York Law Journal expressing disappointment that its article about NYSBA’s 2020 follow-up report failed to include a link to it and did not discuss in detail the report’s suggestions.
As the Champions Committee Co-Chair (men supporting women) of WILS, I created and moderated Promoting Female Mediators, Arbitrators, and Lead Trial Lawyers. I developed two incredible programs: Civil Rights & Systemic Racism and Celebrating Juneteenth, which Chief Judge DiFiore both praised. The Juneteenth program moved me to suggest that NYSBA use June 19th, now a court holiday, annually to have programming on civility and ethics, as well as to address attorney wellness.
No other candidate has dedicated one’s association service more to successfully fostering our younger generation. Under my leadership, NYSBA embedded itself in our future – educating on technology – becoming the first bar association to teach a law school course: initially at CUNY, and then at Syracuse and Albany. I developed the idea of a free post-bar program for 2020 graduates in New York Practice. I created the Innovation Tournament where students will design “apps” to “Bridge the Justice Gap” for the underserved. Increasing relevance to young lawyers is essential. I organized the most successful webinar in years for YLS. NYSBA needs to provide more support to YLS. Creative programming for younger lawyers must be emphasized, such as the ComFed Kids’ Club that I created.
Demonstrative of the innovation that I would bring to NYSBA is my association-related service submission in the atypical high-tech form of a PowerPoint including live hyperlinks.