Press Releases

In Memoriam: Bettina (Betsy) Plevan

Sheila S. Boston

The New York City Bar Association mourns the passing of Bettina B. Plevan, who served as City Bar President from 2004-2006.

Betsy Plevan, as she was known to friends and colleagues, was the second woman to serve as City Bar President. She had joined the City Bar and served on her first committee –- State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction –- in 1975, not long after graduating from law school.

Under Ms. Plevan’s leadership, the City Bar made significant advances in the areas of diversity and pro bono. This included the founding of the City Bar’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, thought to be the first of its kind among bar associations in the country, and which drew over 100 signatories to its Statement of Diversity Principles in its first year.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Plevan reached out to leaders of the bar associations in the affected region to offer the knowledge the City Bar had acquired in providing extensive pro bono services following 9/11, to provide office space to displaced lawyers and to help displaced families obtain housing, medical care, social services and schooling. During her Presidency the City Bar’s Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service adopted the Pro Bono Principles, signed on to by dozens of law firms, and the City Bar Fund launched its pro bono Bankruptcy project.

Ms. Plevan oversaw the evolution of the City Bar’s public-facing identity. While “Association of the Bar of the City of New York” is still the entity’s legal name, it was considered long and unwieldy for many purposes, and it was often quoted incorrectly in the press. With “New York City Bar Association” already in common usage, that became the standard, while the pro bono activities of the City Bar Fund were renamed the “City Bar Justice Center.” The current logos were developed at that time as well.

Ms. Plevan was a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department of Proskauer Rose LLP and a former member of the firm’s seven-person Executive Committee; President of the Federal Bar Council, a member of the ABA Board of Governors from 2006-2009; Chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary from 2013-2014; and co-chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

Among her many other contributions and attributes, Ms. Plevan will be remembered for her generous availability to those seeking her knowledge and expertise on labor and employment issues, as well as for her deep commitment to the advancement of women and historically underrepresented groups in the legal profession.

The funeral will be at Central Synagogue (652 Lexington Ave at East 55th Street), on Sunday, October 31, at 11:00 a.m. To join the livestream, click here: