• 1920

    The Association condemns the New York Legislature’s expulsion of five socialist members.





    The Association begins construction of the Bar Building next door.


    The Association installs a courtroom “dedicated to the public service
    rather than to the convenience of members, which is to be available for
    occasional use by judges of the state and federal courts and for hearings
    in arbitrations, local or international.”


  • 1925

    WNYC Radio broadcasts the Association’s lecture series.


    Two judges are indicted and 16 attorneys disbarred following the Association’s city-wide investigation of judicial corruption and court fixing under Tammany mayor Jimmy Walker.


    Delegations from the British, Irish and French Bars visit New York, and the Association.


  • 1933

    The Association is the venue for the Southern District of New York’s obscenity case regarding James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that the book was not obscene.


    A resolution adopted at the Association’s Annual Meeting states, “Resolved, that it is the opinion of the Association that under Article III of the Constitution, as correctly interpreted, women are eligible for membership in the Association.” The first twelve women members are elected to the City Bar: Dorothy Straus, Dorothy Kenyon, Catherine Noyes Lee, Susan Brandeis, Edna Rapallo, Rosalie Loew Whitney, Mary Chase Clark, Mary Donton, Emelyn Laura Mackenzie, Margaret J. Mangan, Margaret May Burnet, and Julia Morris van Dernoot


    The House Committee reports that “All out war conditions have brought your committee many problems, the solution of which required expenditures not of an ordinary character, for instance, black shades and other equipment as prescribed by the Office of Civilian Defense including air raid shelters and the like” and “Art Committee reports on best means to be taken to protect the art works of the Association in anticipation of possible air raids on New York City.”



    The “War Committee of the Bar of the City of New York,” supported by 10 bar associations and run by the City Bar, was set up to provide free legal advice to men being inducted into the army. Following the war, it acted as a placement service for lawyers returning from service.

  • 1945

    Harrison Tweed, President of the City Bar 1945-1948, at a stated meeting delivers his famous speech, “I have a high opinion of lawyers. With all their faults, they stack up well against those in every other occupation or profession. They are better to work with or play with or fight with or drink with, than most other varieties of mankind.” In a subsequent letter published in 1946, he followed these words with an exhortation to members of the Association to focus on working for the good of others: “I should like to see this Association engage more wholeheartedly, and perhaps even a little dangerously, in things which concern the public good and are—and this is important—things of which lawyers possess special knowledge.”


    The City Bar and New York County Lawyers Association launch the Legal Referral Service, the oldest lawyer referral service in New York State.


    The Association begins publishing “The Record.”


    The City Bar’s Entertainment Committee begins its “Twelfth Night Musical Comedy.” Now a biennial tradition, the Twelfth Night show honors prominent members of the bench or bar.


  • 1947

    The International Bar Association is founded at the House of the Association.

    The Association launches what would become its National Moot Court competition, with an “Inter-Law School Competition” between Yale and Columbia. Supreme Court justices Ginsburg, Kennedy, O’Connor, Rehnquist, White, Marshall, Stewart, and Jackson, as well as other luminaries of the bench and bar, have presided over the Association’s Moot Court finals.


    The Association’s Committee on the Bill of Rights issues a report with recommendations for how to preserve an individual’s rights when testifying, particularly in the wake of hearings from the House Un-American Activities Committee.


    The Association opposes the ABA’s resolution recommending states require loyalty oaths of their lawyers.



    The Association Medal is established as the “Award of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York,” to be presented from time to time “to a member of the New York Bar who has made exceptional contributions to the honor and standing of the bar in this community.”

  • 1952

    The Association leads the successful fight against the Bricker Amendment, which would have limited the President’s power to make treaties or executive agreements with other countries.


    Responding to a Newsweek interview in which Sen. Joseph McCarthy denounced a City Bar member as a defender of Communists, City Bar President Bethuel M. Webster wrote in a letter to the editor that “the right to counsel requires public acceptance of the correlative right of a lawyer to represent and defend, in accordance with the standards of the bar, any client without having imputed to him his client’s reputation, views or character.”

    The Association’s report “Children and Families in the Courts of New York City” argues for a single integrated court to handle family matters, and its proposal was eventually adopted.


  • 1955

    The Association’s report titled “Bad Housekeeping” documents the archaic, confusing and wasteful way in which New York State courts are administered, and is believed by many to have influenced the creation of the Judicial Conference, headed by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, charged with administering the courts in an efficient and responsible way.

    The Committee on the Bill of Rights presents a report on Book Burning: “RESOLVED, that The Association of the Bar of the City of New York deplores and condemns the attempts of any individual or group, private or public, to interfere in any manner with the publication, circulation, or reading of any published matter, other than by means of regular applicable statutory procedure and standards; this resolution does not purport to limit the expression of views by an individual or group concerning any published matter.”


    The Association publishes its “Report of the Special Committee on the Federal Loyalty-Security Program,” writing, “The approach of the Committee is that in striving to achieve security we dare not lapse into the oppressive measures of the Communist enemy.” The Washington Post says “The members and staff of the Association’s distinguished Special Committee...have performed a service for the American people — a service in the highest tradition of the Bar.”

    The Association elects its first Jewish president:
    Louis M. Loeb.