I am delighted and honored to serve as the Federal Bar Council’s 36th President. For 84 years, many practitioners and judges have devoted their time to the Council’s activities and created and fostered this vibrant organization. Everyone who practices in the federal courts in the Second Circuit should be a member. I encourage anyone who is not yet a member to join and anyone who is a member to become more involved.
The stated goals of the Federal Bar Council are to promote excellence in federal practice, to protect the administration of justice, to encourage respectful, cordial relations between the bench and the bar, and to promote fellowship among federal practitioners. How does it do this? The Council activities include the work of 19 committees and affinity groups, including a First Decade Committee for attorneys practicing less than ten years. The Council presents over 30 CLE programs each year on cutting-edge issues, which are moderated by judges in the Second Circuit, and are free of charge to FBC members. The Council has a very active Inn of Court which promotes the ideals of professionalism, mentoring, ethics and legal skills at monthly programs. Recent CLE programs have included, Legal Ethics and the Reform of Culture in Financial Services in conjunction with the New York Federal Reserve Bank, President Obama's Clemency Initiative: Perspectives from the Released and Their Advocates, and a panel discussion on Unconscious Bias: What Is It and Does It Impact Our Professional Experiences As Lawyers? The Public Service Committee offers our members the opportunity to participate in pro bono projects to improve access to justice in the courts of the Second Circuit.
One of the Council’s signature events is the Thanksgiving Luncheon, which takes place the day before Thanksgiving, attended by more than one thousand lawyers and judges. At the luncheon, the Emory Buckner Award is presented to a distinguished public servant, and the honorees have included Governors, U.S. Senators and Ambassadors. At each year’s Law Day Dinner, the Learned Hand Medal is presented for “Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence” and the prominent Americans who have received this award have included 14 Justices of the United States Supreme Court. The Council also hosts a weekend Fall Retreat and a week-long Winter Conference, which include timely, informative CLE programs led by guest panelists of national reputation. There are also a variety of other receptions and professional events at which members of the bench and bar come together, including a spring Judges’ Reception, which is open to all members.
Through these committees and programs, the Federal Bar Council offers its members the opportunity to learn, to discuss relevant legal issues, to socialize and develop friendships, and to do meaningful pro bono work. As an added benefit, contact information for all members is listed in the annual Redbook distributed to members without charge.
Attorneys interested in joining the Federal Bar Council will find the membership application and pertinent information on this website. Members who would like to become more involved in the Council’s activities may contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or our Executive Director, Joan Salzman, at email@example.com.
-David R. Schaefer, President