Dear Member of the Queens County Bar Association,
“The Law must be stable, and yet it cannot stand still.”
Hon. Charles W. Froessel, quoting Dean Pond, January 19, 1976
On May 2, 2019, the Association held its 142nd Annual Dinner and Installation of Officers & Managers at Terrace on the Park. It was a festive occasion, well-attended, replete with many of our brand new student ambassadors from the law schools, young lawyers, and a live band named Flor Fitzgerald and Timbajazz, playing songs chock full of flavorful Latin rhythms. The Keynote Speaker was Kenneth G. Standard, the first black president of the Harvard Club of New York City. The Association honored the late Hon. Richard A. Brown and the Hon Jeremy S. Weinstein, and also presented the Association’s highest honor, the Hon. Charles W. Froessel Award to the Hon. Randall T. Eng.
A short time after these festivities, I took a few days respite and visited the Crawford County Historical Society in Pennsylvania to research some of my family history. As I conducted my research, I started wondering about the rich and illustrious history of our beloved Association, which has existed for 143 years. Specifically, I wanted to know why the Association was formed in the first place? Just exactly what was the mindset and intent of our forebears? So, I reached out to our Bar Bulletin’s editor Mr. Kerson, and he in turn sent me a thick packet of material entitled, “Spirit of ‘76, Queens County Bar Association 100th Anniversary 1876-1976…The Merger of its Centennial With Our Nation’s Bicentennial.”
Lo and behold, in this packet was an Address written by Judge Charles W. Froessel himself, delivered on January 19, 1976, at the first meeting of our Association in the Bicentennial Year, 1976.
I learned much from Judge Froessel’s speech. For me, it confirmed my hunch that even though 143 years have passed, human nature remains human nature; the nature of attorneys is the same today as it was when the Association was formed 143 years ago.
I was struck in particular by several poignant observances and remarks from Judge Froessel’s speech and I highlight them here:[i]
- At age thirty-three (that’s right, age 33!) Thomas Jefferson, the youngest delegate from Virginia, and principal author, penned the Declaration of Independence.
- “The depression of 1929 and its aftermath had its impact on us as on everyone else. During the next 10 years, 300 members were lost for nonpayment of dues. However, as new members came in, the Association became more active…we stimulated investigations as to retainers in personal injury and condemnation cases, and the unlawful practice of law.”
- “What I should like to emphasize this evening is the lawyers’ role in the constant struggle for freedom. In that struggle, the courageous, independent and competent lawyer has always been in the forefront.”
- “The law must be stable but yet it cannot stand still.” (Hon. Charles W. Froessel, quoting Dean Pond)
The take away from these points raised in Froessel’s Address is that the influx of new blood is crucial to the survival of the Association. When new and young attorneys join and participate, the space is then supported to allow for the proper and timely advocacy of current issues that attorneys face. Advocacy for attorneys supports both their well-being and their pursuit of excellence in the practice of law. As Froessel’s Address enumerates, the Association has previously successfully advocated for rights and justice for members of the legal profession.
As members, what issues do you see facing attorneys today? What are the needs of the members of the legal profession that need to be addressed?
The Queens County Bar Association is here for you Dear Members; for the past 143 years it has provided stability, framework and structure. The Association is the forum where you can come and share ideas, to advocate for the well-being of yourselves and the members of the legal profession. As Froessel reminds us “…the law cannot stand still.” Change is necessary in the practice of law. Dear Members, you have the power to effect real and positive change and you can do so within the Association’s stable environment. Advocacy for attorneys and sustained support is possible. All you have to do is to take that first step. Come and participate, and invite your colleagues. You are more than welcome.
[i] Highlights taken from A Historical Centennial-Bicentennial Merger, Charles W. Froessel, Address delivered on January 19, 1976 at the first meeting of the Association in 1976.