Dear Member of the Queens County Bar Association,
Each year your new President starts her or his term with writing The President’s Message. I will be no exception to this time honored tradition.
The large turnout at our annual Installation Dinner conveys to me the respect for the history of our Association and a degree of commitment to its continued existence as a viable (and venerable) source of support for the interests of its members, both bench and bar, and for the public at large. Our outgoing President Paul Kerson exhibited great enthusiasm, respect, support and commitment to the Association. For these things, and others, he has our deepest thanks and sincerest appreciation.
The depth of commitment we each have is a personal thing, influenced by many factors and demands on our time. Traditionally, taking an active role in the Association’s activities meant being willing to devote a considerable amount of time over a period of years. This model is showing signs of strain both for members and the Association. I will be actively advertising for members to take on projects (or facets of a project) that have a short lifetime and do not require burdensome amounts of time. Be sure to look for my “Help Wanted Ads” which will appear in the Bulletin and in Association emails.
We are a profession that is based on human contact on a very personal level and conflict resolution. The Association has done a credible job in fostering good working relations among members of the bench and bar. What has been lacking is a sustained effort to build a good and visible relationship with the public at large. We have no relationship with the public, who represent our client base. We must publicize our members, educate the public and develop potential clients for members. We can do all of this at the same time. Check for future “Help Wanted Ads” in this regard.
Many of you here are members of multiple voluntary bar associations each having a significant positive presence on the legal landscape in Queens County. Relations with this Association have not always been good and there has been some historical ill will. This condition has splintered the Queens bar and has impaired the ability of the bar in general to be an effective voice for change where and when it is needed. I hope to foster better relations with these other associations so that we may cooperate on issues that affect us all.
Our members, present and future, started their legal lives as law students. Many local law students have little or no knowledge of the Association or what life is like in a small firm or solo practice outside of Manhattan. We can strengthen our bonds with these students while helping them get acclimated to professional life. I hope that we can assign each first year law student who joins the association with a bridge to the profession in the form of a mentor member of the Association. In exchange I would ask the student to attend at least two functions per year at the Association.
I believe we are capable of achieving these goals. We can do it by many of us helping a little. I am optimistic for the future. All offers of participation to whatever degree you feel comfortable are heartily welcome!
Gregory J. Brown