The Federal Court Bar Association for the Northern District of New York (FCBA) marked its 10th anniversary at its annual meeting and dinner today in Albany, with attorneys from across the 32-county Northern District participating in the day-long gathering which included special dinner guest speaker, David McCraw, New York Times Vice President and Assistant General Counsel.
In its first decade, the FCBA has grown to more than 600 members consisting of practicing attorneys in the Central New York and Capital Region, as well as lawyers located in Northern New York and the Southern Tier, said President Yvonne E. Hennessey.
The annual meeting brings together attorneys who practice in the Northern District with members of the federal judiciary, explained Hennessey. The event also features special recognition for those making unique contributions in the legal field.
This year, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. 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.
Three scholarships were awarded again this year to top law students in the Northern District. The awards include a monetary stipend, along with an opportunity to serve as an intern for a federal judge.
Members of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps stationed at Fort Drum were recognized and given a $1,000 donation from the FCBA for the Installation Morale Welfare & Recreation Fund at the Jefferson County Army facility.
To mark the 10th anniversary, this year’s dinner included a presentation by some of the organization’s founders, recounting the beginning of the FCBA in 2003 and giving an overview of the organization’s accomplishments over the past ten years.
McCraw, a graduate of Albany Law School of Union University, discussed his work providing legal counsel to The New York Times’ newsroom on matters of libel, access to courts, Freedom of Information, newsgathering and litigation and also discussed changes the internet is bringing to journalism.
Hennessey presided over the meeting and dinner, sharing with members a list of accomplishments from the past year, including 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.
“This has been an exciting anniversary year for the FCBA,” Hennessey said. “From long-standing members of the bar to those admitted just this year, the call to learn and to serve remains strong and this Association remains committed to helping.”
Hennessey, Partner in Hiscock & Barclay’s Albany office, reiterated the FCBA’s commitment to helping pro se litigants navigate through the intricacies of federal court. 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 said. “It is how we help keep the pathway to this nation’s highest courts open to all.”