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

2011-09-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

Thoughts On The Tenth Anniversary Of September 11

The tenth anniversary of September 11 carries special significance for all Americans and, for those of us at the New York County Lawyers' Association (NYCLA), the day is permanently etched in our hearts and minds given NYCLA's proximity to Ground Zero. NYCLA, like many organizations and businesses, was shut down for a time and to this day feels the aftershocks of that enormous human tragedy.

NYCLA is proud that so many of its members joined with other attorneys, bar associations and legal services providers around the City, State and nation to provide pro bono legal services to those affected. NYCLA members - ranging from senior partners at large firms to solo practitioners, retired judges to the newly admitted - volunteered to recruit, coordinate and train attorneys who assisted victims' survivors in preparing, coordinating and filing the documents for the issuance of death certificates. Moreover, our Association established an adopt-a-family program to aid the families of firefighters, police officers and other members of our public and uniformed services who perished in the World Trade Center.

A Call To Action: NYCLA's Task Force On Unemployed And Transitioning Lawyers

It was in the spirit of those efforts that I issued my call to action upon my induction as NYCLA President earlier this year at the historic St. Paul's Chapel. Citing the memorable words of one of my heroes, singer-songwriter-storyteller Harry Chapin, I said: "When in doubt, do something."

As we observe the tenth anniversary of that horrific event, let all of us, as members of this noble profession, step up, once again during these difficult economic times, and do something not only for those less fortunate but for the justice system itself. NYCLA offers a wide array of pro bono trainings and programs that provide legal counseling to those in need. In addition, NYCLA recently launched the Task Force on Unemployed and Transitioning Lawyers, where we will train these lawyers and offer them opportunities to take on pro bono litigation matters. We are seeking experienced lawyers to volunteer to supervise these unemployed and transitioning lawyers, who will be helping not only their needy clients, but also will be helping our over-burdened, under-funded court system. If you are interested in serving as a supervisor, please contact Blair Fensterstock, chair of NYCLA's Task Force on Unemployed and Transitioning Lawyers (bfenstertock@fensterstock. com). Please note that in order to participate in these pro bono initiatives, attorneys must be NYCLA members.

As those of you who have volunteered in the past are aware, pro bono service is tremendously enriching and rewarding. It also fulfills an obligation that I believe each attorney has to give back. NYCLA welcomes your involvement.

As we commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11, let us remember that even in the darkest of times and, perhaps, especially in the darkest of times, our justice system and the rule of law will always thrive. Let's all do something together.

I commit to you that NYCLA will remain faithful to its founding mission, to offer "free legal services for the indigent, low-income and other persons in need." And please, let me know, "What can NYCLA and I do for you?" You can reach me at stewart.aaron@aporter.com.


Stewart D. Aaron