The Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association (FCBA) held its annual meeting and dinner today in Syracuse, with attorneys from across the 32-county Northern District and a full complement of members of the federal judiciary that preside over the District.
Entering its second decade, the FCBA continues to expand membership to a new record high of 639 members spanning the geographic reach of most of New York–from Syracuse to Albany and from the north country to the southern tier, reported President and Co-President Yvonne E. Hennessey and John P. Langan.
The annual meeting brings together attorneys who practice in the Northern District with members of the federal bench. The event also features recognition for those in the legal field distinguishing themselves in the areas of pro bono service, pro se support, military service to our country, outstanding contribution to the profession, and scholastic achievement among law students.
Guest speaker Joseph DiMona, Vice President of Legal Affairs at Broadcast Music, Inc., provided the keynote address in the field of intellectual property. DiMona is Vice President of Legal Affairs at Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®) and has been handling legal matters for BMI for more than 20 years. In his role, Mr. DiMona oversees a wide range of matters before the BMI rate court in the Southern District of New York, the negotiation and drafting of music performance license agreements, and handling Copyright Royalty Board compulsory license proceedings and copyright infringement actions against unlicensed music users. DiMona addressed Associate members and distinguished guests in attendance about “Copyright Issues in the Digital Age”.
Association members welcomed one of their own as the newest federal judge in the District, Brenda Sannes. Judge Sannes was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate two weeks ago today and she was sworn in as the 27th judge since the creation of the District in 1814, filling Judge Mordue’s seat when he ascended to senior status. Judge Sannes formerly served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of New York where she was most recently the Chief of the Appellate Section.
This year, William J. Dreyer, a founding member and past-president of the Association, was honored with the Judge James R. Duane Award. The award is given to a distinguished member of the bar who has carried on Duane’s legacy of excellence in the practice of law, unwavering integrity and commitment to the legal profession. Duane was the first federal judge in New York, sitting from 1789 to 1794.
Hennessey and Langan presided over the meeting and dinner, sharing with members a list of accomplishments from the past year, including celebrations across the District in honor of the Northern District of New York’s 225th Anniversary as the Mother Court, the first court ever convened under the sovereignty of the United States, a record number of educational programs for attorneys in the Northern District, the development of programs for attorneys new to federal practice in the district, and the admission of nearly three dozen attorneys to practice in the Northern District, including 12 members of the Ft. Drum Judge Advocate General Corps.
“This has been another exciting year for the FCBA,” Hennessey and Langan said. “From long-standing members of this bar to those admitted just this year, the call to learn and to serve remains strong and this Association remains committed to helping.”
Hennessey and Langan, Partners at Hiscock & Barclay, reiterated the FCBA’s commitment to its pro se program. The volunteer pro se program provides guidance to litigants in matters of Court procedures and paperwork needed to file, prosecute or defend claims in federal civil actions.
“Our pro se program helps to ensure justice remains within reach, even to those who pursue civil claims without benefit of legal counsel,” Hennessey and Langan said. “It is how we help keep the pathway to this nation’s highest courts open to all its citizen.”