I find it hard to believe that this is already my fourth President’s message that I have written for the RCBA Journal. This means that my time as President is speeding by quickly and will be over before I know it. It continues to be an interesting and fun ride!
Our Board has been busy with a number of activities. As we have done over the past few years, in January the Richmond County Bar Association sponsored a reception with the President of the New York State Bar Association, David Schraver and the President Elect, Glenn Lau-Kee. We have found these annual receptions to be quite beneficial on the State Bar level as it gives our Board, and our Delegates to the State Bar, greater visibility and access to key decision makers in the State Bar when addressing issues of concern to our members. This year we were also honored to have in attendance the President of the American Bar Association, James Silkenat. Having an ABA President at an RCBA function was truly a “first”. I am quite grateful that Jim Silkenat took the time from his busy schedule to meet with us.
Also in January, Judge McMahon held her annual outreach program in which local high school students experience, first hand, the devastating effects that drunk driving and substance abuse have on both the criminals and the innocent victims. Among other things, the students got to sit in on arraignments before Judge Rienzi where they saw how substance abuse irrevocably destroys numerous lives.
We are busy working on our Law Day celebration which will take place on May 1st in Judge McMahon’s Courtroom. This year’s theme is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Counts.” All are welcome and encouraged to participate.
We are also busy planning our Annual Dinner, which will be held on May 8th at the Staten Island Hilton. This year’s Honoree is the Hon. Barbara I. Panepinto. We will also be recognizing Pete Sipp with the Richard D. Lasher Meritorious Service Award.
Finally, this is also the time of year when the RCBA is planning its annual meeting where we have elections for Officers and Directors. I strongly encourage all interested and qualified attorneys to run for office. This is YOUR Bar Association - I urge you all to be active and make a positive impact on the practice of law in our community. If you are not ready to run for an elected position, join a committee, volunteer to help out at an event or find another way to get involved. I think that you will find that when you get involved in the Bar Association, you get much more out of it than you put into it.