I submit this letter as my declaration of candidacy for the position of President-Elect of the New York State Bar Association. My qualifications are based upon my full life’s experiences, including 35 years of law practice, and my demonstrated understanding of and commitment to our Association.
After graduation from the University of Michigan Law School in 1984, I began my practice in New York City as an associate with Nixon Hargrave Devans and Doyle (now Nixon Peabody). From there my career has included small firm practice, at a firm I founded 25 years ago, as well as public sector, including a stint as Corporation Counsel for the City of Rochester.
I have remained committed to the profession not only by serving my clients as ably as I know how, but also through bar service. I am a past president of the Monroe County Bar Association, the first minority to serve in that role in the history of the association. I am a past president of the Rochester Black Bar Association. I am a former general counsel of the National Bar Association, the largest association of Black attorneys and judges in the world. And most importantly, I have long been active and committed to the New York State Bar Association.
I currently serve as chair of the Finance Committee, a role I have held under the past five presidents. No other position in our Association provides that level of insight into as many aspects of our structure and operations. I am a member of the House of Delegates and a past member of the Executive Committee, both At-Large and as Vice President for the 7th JD. I am a past chair of the Trial Lawyers Section and Editor of the TLS Digest. I formerly co-chaired the Future of the Legal Profession Task Force and have been active on numerous other committees and sections.
I have held leadership roles on many boards and commissions. By appointment of former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, I serve on the Franklin H. Williams Commission, having the purpose of expanding diversity and cultural awareness on the bench and throughout the courts of New York. I sit on the screening committee of the Fourth Department, Appellate Division, by appointment of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, to evaluate candidates for appointment to the court.
My character has never been questioned. I have never had a grievance filed against me, and I have never been disciplined or sanctioned by any court, or charged with any crime.
While I have great respect for our Association’s past, our Association now needs more than ever to pride itself on its future. Fresh thoughts and progressive leadership will be needed to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing profession. My experiences and background will enable me to speak to a broader and more diverse set of interests, voices and concerns of our membership, making the Association more relevant to members, the profession and to the public.
I look forward to my opportunity to come before the Nominating Committee to state my interest and to answer any questions the Committee may have.