City Bar Treasurer
Cullen & Dykman LLP
I’ve been a member of the City Bar’s Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Committee on and off for over half of my 30-plus year legal career. I attended early morning Bankruptcy Committee meetings month after month for many years, participating in and eventually chairing subcommittees, and “herding cats” to make sure the Committee’s work was fruitful (e.g., committee reports, Business Lawyer articles, an Examiner Guidebook published by West Publishing, CLE, and other speaking programs and lobbying for the recently enacted Uniform Voidable Transaction Act in New York, to name a few).
Eventually, I was given the opportunity to chair the Bankruptcy Committee and it was based not on who I knew but the work I had done. The experience was both challenging and rewarding. A successful Bankruptcy Committee chair experience led to a nomination and election as the current Treasurer of the City Bar (and its sister organization, the City Bar Fund), where I have the opportunity to work with accomplished leaders in all areas of the City’s legal community, including general counsels and state and federal judges, to set policy on all the great work of these two great organizations.
While the City Bar Association brings the NYC legal community together with CLE and other events, meetings, library services, committee work, etc., the City Bar Fund brings the legal community’s work out into the world. The City Bar Fund’s Vance Center for International Justice supports the rule of law around the world (putting the “lawyers” in “bring lawyers, guns and money”), the Lawyers Assistance Project helps lawyers and others in the profession cope with the profession’s high stress level and the unhealthy ways it can affect us all, the City Bar Justice Center provides free legal services for the City’s vast underserved population, and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion takes action to diversify a profession historically not reflective of the community at large – all important work to support and personally rewarding to be a part of.
The City Bar experience has helped my career in many ways. First, with the Bankruptcy Committee, a large portion of that Committee’s members are partners or associates at the larger NYC firms, and my participation in Committee work kept me abreast of the latest developments in the most sophisticated areas of restructuring law. Perhaps more importantly, it gave me an opportunity to establish life-long professional relationships with bankruptcy practitioners at all levels of the practice, including in-house counsel and judges. These friendships helped not only me, but my clients as well. Bankruptcy practice is difficult, and success often requires collaboration among many lawyers, and those relationships have been almost as important as legal skills and experience in getting positive results. Most recently, my role as the Treasurer of the City Bar Association and City Bar Fund has expanded this opportunity by allowing me to forge new and rewarding relationships with the City’s leading attorneys practicing in all areas of the law.
My experience is not unique, which is what makes the City Bar and City Bar Fund special. These organizations are about hard work and the opportunities it creates for the City’s legal community as well as for the people of the City and, indeed, the World. I’ve experienced it firsthand and I recommend that you take advantage of its many ways in which you can get involved.