Spring 2022

44th Street Notes – Spring 2022

44th Street Notes
New York City
Front view of building and statue
New York building
Spring 2022
Sheila S. Boston headshot
BY Sheila S. Boston

A Bar of Hope; a Voice of Progress

As President of this great Association, it is my privilege to review all of the policy work produced by our committees. I am always so inspired when I experience their dedication to this work. The comments on legislation and regulations, the letters to public officials, the white papers, and the memos that we craft are what give the New York City Bar Association its voice. With that voice we speak up for just causes in our community; we lend the technical prowess of New York City’s finest legal minds to some of its thorniest legal problems; and we offer informed guidance to our elected leaders. The power of our voice, which as you will see in these pages is so often heard and heeded, is at the center of our mission to be a Bar of Hope.
Bret Parker headshot

Moments of Civic Inspiration

There’s so much rancorous debate in our country about a variety of issues. Recently I’ve been wondering if we’ve lost the ability to listen to one other, learn from people with different perspectives, and reach consensus based on fact and principle regarding what’s best for the common good, rather than stubbornly adhere to our own views. And then I got called for grand jury duty, which reminded me of what is possible when we’re at our best.

The dynamic of grand jury duty is a bit different than regular jury duty, but I’ve served on the latter kind too (a medical malpractice case). The common thread is that groups of New Yorkers, all of them with different backgrounds and viewpoints, are gathered for a spirited conversation and work together to reach an important decision based on evidence, testimony, and law.

New York State Legislative Agenda

Upon taking office, City Bar President Sheila S. Boston identified six priorities built around her vision of a Bar of Hope that would rise to face the unprecedented challenges confronting New York and the Nation. Those priorities are: COVID-19 Recovery Projects; Criminal Justice Reform; Access to Justice; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Protection of the Rule of Law; and Mental Health and Wellness.

The City Bar’s 2022 New York State Legislative Agenda draws on these priorities and is rooted in our mission to equip and mobilize a diverse legal profession to practice with excellence, promote reform of the law, and uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest. The agenda focuses on positions relevant to the current legislative debate or of particular importance to the City Bar, as well as legislative proposals drafted by our committees. The City Bar’s committees generate dozens of reports over the course of each legislative session and this agenda represents only a portion of those positions.

2022 New York State Budget Advocacy – A Discussion with City Bar Committee Members (Podcast)

Welcome, Folks, to the Adams Administration!

On December 14, the Policy Department, in collaboration with the New York City Affairs Committee (Jeremy Feigelson, Chair), hosted a policy briefing for City Bar committee members about 2021 New York City elections and what to expect from a newly elected City government. The program was a conversation between the City Bar’s Director of Advocacy, Elizabeth Kocienda, and Anthony W. Crowell, a member of the New York City Affairs Committee and Dean and President, and Professor of Law, at New York Law School. Dean Crowell served as a senior advisor, and appointments committee co-lead, for Mayor Eric Adams’s transition.

Legal X-Ray of Mayor Eric Adams’s Campaign Proposals

New York City Mayor Eric Adams at the podium
The New York City Bar Association looks forward to engaging with the administration of Mayor Eric Adams to help advance legal reforms that will benefit all New Yorkers. To that end, the New York City Affairs Committee conducted an exhaustive review of Mayor Eric Adams’s campaign proposals, largely as cataloged in the campaign policy book 100+ Steps Forward for NYC and on the campaign’s website. For every proposal, the committee made a determination as to whether implementation could be lawfully carried out under mayoral authority alone, or whether it required action from others. The result is a “legal X-Ray” of almost 30 pages mapping out the possible route to making every campaign proposal a reality, providing a tool of accountability to the Adams administration, government actors, and the public. It is the sincere hope of the City Bar that this tool will promote consultation and collaboration, even in those cases where the Mayor is empowered to act by his own authority. This, as the committee states in the document, is “the path to successful reform.”
New York City Bar Policy logo
New York City Bar Policy

2021 New York State Legislative Session Recap: City Bar Policy Successes

The City Bar supports legislation at the local, state, and federal government levels. The path of advocacy for any one issue is long, winding, and difficult. The City Bar is very proud to have supported over twenty New York State bills that in 2021 were passed by the Legislature, signed by the Governor, and became law. Click below to read the positions that the City Bar took on these pieces of legislation, or click here to read a brief recap of the effects that each law will have for New Yorkers. Read our Legislative Agenda to learn about the reforms for which the City Bar continues to advocate.

Transition Memos to NYC Officials

Recommendations for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office related to Combating Mass Incarceration

“[T]here is no conflict between public safety and criminal justice reform…thoughtful and fundamental reforms that reduce recidivism increase public safety.”


Pro Bono Civil Legal Services and Access to Justice

Policy Recommendations for Mayor Adams: “When indigent individuals are forced to navigate complex legal systems without representation, it is nearly impossible for them to experience a fair and just legal system.”


Hands holding up a globe

International Issues and Business Issues

Special acknowledgment and gratitude is due to the over one dozen City Bar committees focused on the international arena. The International Cluster Committees, as we refer to them, are consistently active and vocal. Their recent statements call for prompt investigation of potential war crimes perpetrated by the Russian Federation in Ukraine and condemn attacks on freedom of expression, opinion, and press in Russia and Ukraine; voice support for Afghan nationals fleeing Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops; advocate for judicial independence in Guatemala; support compensation for victims of torture at Guantanamo Bay; and support a UN General Assembly resolution recognizing the right to a healthy environment. International Cluster Committees address a wide range of issues affecting US foreign policy and the need to establish and maintain norms that protect and promote human rights, equality, good governance, and peace throughout the world. Our international work includes letters to U.S. government officials, outreach to foreign leaders and governments, and statements and reports. NGOs and other organizations can adopt, adapt, or use these documents as the basis for—or to supplement and amplify—their efforts on behalf of individuals, groups, communities, and even whole nations where people are suffering from violations of internationally-recognized rights, and which need support from the global community. You can read more about these committees and their impactful work here.

The committees in the Business and Finance cluster address the myriad issues that affect corporations, businesses, and financial institutions, much of which happens on the federal level. This includes areas of law and policy affecting securities, bankruptcy, investment management, and consumer affairs, among others. In addition, our Council on Judicial Administration focuses much of its work on supporting the fair, effective, and efficient administration of justice in the Commercial Division of the New York State court system where many business disputes are heard. On the federal level, policy work often means acting quickly – and collaboratively – in order to respond in a timely manner to an agency’s call for public comments. Our Business and Finance committees have been up to the task, responding to several recent requests for public comment by the Securities and Exchange Commission over the past few months. To see the work of these committees, click here.

Professional Development Workshop Series

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors:

Allen & Overy LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

Ashurst LLP

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Clyde & Co LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Dechert LLP

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian LLP

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

King & Spalding LLP

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Labaton Sucharow LLP

New York City Law Department

Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

Proskauer Rose LLP

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Venable LLP

White & Case LLP

Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

New York City Bar logo

New York City Bar


Eric Friedman


Eli Cohen


Carrie Chatterson Studio


Arlene Bein 212.382.6685


Bret Parker

Director of Advocacy

Elizabeth Kocienda

Senior Policy Counsel

Maria Cilenti

Policy Counsel

Mary Margulis-Ohnuma

Executive Assistant

Amanda Chu

The mission of the New York City Bar Association, which was founded in 1870 and has approximately 24,000 members, is to equip and mobilize a diverse legal profession to practice with excellence, promote reform of the law, and uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest in our community, our nation, and throughout the world.

44TH STREET NOTES is published by
The Association of the Bar of the
City of New York, 42 W. 44th St.,
New York, NY 10036-6604.


To register for an event please visit www.nycbar.org.

To change your address, please contact 212.382.6663 or customerrelations@nycbar.org.

All of the Policy work of the City Bar is shaped by the dedicated members of its over 150 committees.
Join a Committee Today
Follow us on social media:

44th Street Notes logo
Thanks for reading our Spring 2022 Edition!