Your City Bar in a Changing Profession – Bret I. Parker

Bret I. Parker

Fall 2013

One of my favorite quotes in our beautiful landmark building on West 44th Street is in the Tweed Room, and it’s attributed to former City Bar President Harrison Tweed back in 1945: “I have a high opinion of lawyers – they are better to work with or play with or fight with or drink with than most other varieties of mankind.” Based on recent receptions we’ve hosted, I can tell you that Mr. Tweed was absolutely right and some things have not changed!

Our profession does change, though, as the report of our Task Force on New Lawyers in a Changing Profession documents, and as our President, Carey Dunne, describes in these pages. And for the sake of the young lawyers who will be most affected by these changes, and for the future of the profession, we are launching several new initiatives, as Carey explains.

At the same time, we continue to work to meet the needs of all of our members, from law students to the most senior members of the bar. We recently added an affiliate committee membership category so more City Bar members can serve on committees. Recognizing that in-house counsel are increasingly shaping the nature of the profession, we are creating more programs to support them and are making sure that they are part of everything we do. We’re also adding free CLE courses for members and more networking opportunities like the upcoming “Bar @ the Bar” members-only happy-hour events, as well as adding resources for solo attorneys and small law firms, such as a Virtual Law Firm program. And we’re focusing on details like adding catering options so more committees and individual members themselves can hold their meetings and events here at the Association, and enhancing the library to be even more functional.

As a membership association, it’s your participation and support that allows the Association to increase access to justice and promote reform of the law, maintain the high ethical standards of the profession, and provide service to the bar and the public. What makes the practice of law different from most other vocations is that every lawyer is a steward of the profession and part of a larger community that together has the obligation to help not just our clients but the public at large.

Now that I’ve been at the helm as Executive Director of the City Bar for about seven months (on top of my 15 years as a member), I can tell you that there’s no better time to be a part of this community, and that exciting days are ahead for your Association. What do you want this place to be? As always, I welcome your suggestions and comments at (and follow me on Twitter at NYCBarExecDirec). In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you around your House of the Association.