Legal History Committee

The Legal History Committee is comprised of practicing lawyers, business people, jurists, academics, law students and others. We focus on significant topics in law and history that connect to today’s issues and concerns, including New York lawyers, the Association, and its priorities and influential “reform” work in New York City and State. The Committee hosts expert speakers at its monthly meetings and sponsors public programs, often in collaboration with other Committees.

  • Event Podcast: The Lincoln Deception, April 02, 2014

  • On February 18, 2014 Terry Golway, author of the book Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern Politics, addressed the Committee. He discussed the years that the Tammany Hall political club was in power in New York State. He discussed the question of why Tammany Hall managed to stay in power for as long as it did, the influence of Irish politics on the Irish immigrants that were key voters in New York, and the influence that Tammany Hall ideas had on politics in the rest of the U.S. He noted some of the influential and well known New York politicians that were part of the Tammany Hall political club including Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Robert Wagner, Senator Jacob Javitz, Senator and Governor Herbert Lehman, and he asserted that even Mayor David Dinkins had Tammany Hall connections.

  • On December 3, 2013, Richard Davis, former Watergate Special Prosecutor, addressed the Committee. He discussed the “Saturday Night Massacre,” and provided insight into the history, the staffing, and the inner workings of the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s Office. Mr. Davis discussed the succession of lead prosecutors, the inside discussions of what the role of the special prosecutor’s office should be, and Nixon’s attempts to avoid releasing the White House audio tapes he had made.

  • On September 24, 2013, Richard Tuske, Librarian of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, displayed and discussed various items from the Association’s library collection. Some highlights included an original volume of Papal edicts dating back several hundred years, Alexander Hamilton’s practice manual with his original, handwritten, first page, an original document showing FDR’s admission to the Association, and early trial reports from sensationalist criminal trials. Mr. Tuske also discussed the digitization of the Association’s collections of briefs and of foreign law sources.

  • On October 23, 2012, the Committee hosted Professor Samuel Estreicher of New York University Law School for a discussion of his paper, “The Roosevelt-Cardozo Way: The Case for Bar Eligibility After Two Years of Law School” (click here for the paper).