When the City Bar Talks….

Last March, in his remarks in accepting the Association Medal at the New York City Bar Association, former New York City Corporation Counsel and longtime City Bar member Zachary W. Carter spoke of his favorite metaphor for the City Bar. It was the old EF Hutton ad campaign in which a hush comes over a crowd and everyone leans in when someone says, “My broker is E.F. Hutton. And E.F. Hutton says….” The tagline: “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.”

Mr. Carter described “the role of the committee process in shaping the development of law, not only in New York City or New York State, but throughout the nation. Because when this bar Association issues a report on a substantive legal issue, given the amount of thought that’s put into it, given the supervision of the report-writing process, the quality control, when the New York City Bar talks, people in the profession, and outside, listen.”

Several recent events remind us of Mr. Carter’s words and support his metaphor.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill that is intended to address critical shortages of Supreme Court and Family Court judges in the city and state. Legislators reportedly identified where the new judges should be placed based in part on a report by the City Bar and the Fund for Modern Courts, which highlighted the dire need for additional Family Court judges in New York City.

When the City Bar’s Compliance Committee issued its “Framework for Chief Compliance Officer Liability in the Financial Sector” last year, it received wide attention, including in the Wall Street Journal. Earlier this month, SEC Commissioner Hester M. Peirce referenced the report in a statement.

And last weekend, the City Bar’s tweets marking the sixth anniversary of the attempted coup in Turkey, and decrying the persecution of Turkish lawyers since then, has received an outpouring of gratitude and hundreds of shares from lawyers and human rights defenders in that part of the world.

The City Bar is grateful for the continuing hard work of our committees in speaking forcefully on important issues of the day. In his remarks, Mr. Carter said that one of the reasons he thought people listened when the City Bar spoke is that it’s a place “where people were willing to take off their parochial, institutional hats and advocate for a position that represented neutral justice for the greater good….And there’s probably never been a time in our nation’s history, or in the city’s history, when it has been more important for the New York City Bar Association to play that role.”