The City Bar Moving Forward: A Message to the Legal Community – Bret I. Parker

Bret I. Parker

I am truly excited as I begin working on your behalf as Executive Director of the City Bar. As a member of the Association for 17 years, like many of you I have attended events at the City Bar that interested me, taken CLE courses to improve my knowledge and skills, participated in committee work to address important issues, performed pro bono service and met other City Bar members to develop my professional network while making close friends along the way. If you’d like to know more about me, please click here. I have a profound respect for the deep roots of this organization and the excellent work of my predecessor, and we belong to an organization worthy of great pride. I do not intend to fix what is not broken. However, the profession and our world are changing faster than ever. Organizations must adapt in order to remain healthy and relevant to all of its current and future members. I am committed to applying my experience and skills to collaborate with our President, Carey Dunne, and our talented staff to examine, and where necessary change, how we do certain things and to create new initiatives that will benefit the Association and our membership. The great breadth of our membership (including new lawyers and established lawyers, big-firm lawyers and in-house lawyers, students and academics, government lawyers and solo practitioners) is both our strength and our challenge if we are to meet all of our members’ needs. There is an extraordinary amount of activity going on here, but we need to communicate these offerings effectively so you can learn about all we have to offer and take advantage of the opportunities available to our members. It will take some managing to ensure that the City Bar remains the preeminent bar association for the 21st Century, as it has been in the last two centuries, but I am certain that we will succeed. Over the past couple of years, through our Executive Committee, the City Bar has engaged in a strategic planning initiative to ensure that any steps we take are on the right track. Through research, surveys and interviews of our members and non-members, the Executive Committee formulated the following mission for the Association:

  • Harnessing the expertise of the legal profession to identify and address legal and public policy issues in ways that promote law reform, ethics and the fair and effective administration of justice, and a respect for the rule of law at home and abroad.
  • Elevating the profession by enhancing diversity and encouraging appropriate standards of professional and judicial ethics, competence, civility, and integrity.
  • Addressing unmet legal needs, especially the needs of traditionally disadvantaged groups and individuals.
  • Mobilizing the legal profession to engage in activities that promote social justice, human rights, and democratic values and principles.
  • Supporting individual attorneys through professional development, assistance, continuing legal education, programs, written reports, presentations of professional and public interest, networking and career opportunities, and service on committees.

These are all important goals, but the devil is in the details. I plan to do a lot of thinking and listening over the summer, and I encourage your input. What is the City Bar doing that is critical and shouldn’t change? What, if any, are the changes you would like to see in the City Bar? How can we better serve and communicate with you? How can we better serve the public? This is your Association, so please feel free to email me here. I intend to read every response. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you around the House of the Association. Bret I. Parker is Executive Director of the New York City Bar Association